Three-time winner Mohamed ElShorbagy of Egypt will be leading a star cast of the world’s top players as they descend on the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha from 27th October to 2nd November for the Qatar Classic 2018, the 16th edition of the annual tournament.
Forty-eight players, including the world’s top 30, will continue their battle for points on the PSA World Series Standings at the $177,750 total prize money tournament, considered to be one of the richest in the series.
Defending champion El Shorbagy won the tournament for the third time in his career last year courtesy of a 3-1 win over Tarek Momen, his compatriot and surprise finalist.
The 27-year-old Egyptian will no doubt have a real battle in his hands in his quest for a successful defense of the title as he squares up against the likes of compatriots Ali Farag, Marwan ElShorbagy and Momen, Germany’s Simon Rosner, Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez and the player he defeated in last year’s semis, Gregory Gaultier of France, and others.
Qatar’s challenge will be led by Abdullah Mohammed Al Tamimi, the world No. 28 who broke into the world’s top 30 rankings after his remarkable victory at the $35,000 Malaysian Open in July. The 23-year-old will be joined by compatriots Syed Azlan Amjad (146 ranked) and Abdulrahman Al Malki (ranked 242) in their quests to bring glory to Qatar. The duo are wild card entries for the tournament.
Historically, England’s Peter Nicol secured the tournament’s first title in 2001 after defeating Australia’s David Palmer in the final, repeating the following year against the same opponent.
Former World No. Ones Lee Beachill and James Willstrop kept the title in English hands either side of a short break in 2004 while the World Championship was held in Qatar, before Egyptian trio Ramy Ashour, Amr Shabana and Karim Darwish took up the mantle of the Qatar Classic champion over the next three tournaments.
This will be the second PSA Platinum event of the season – after the US Open – and winners of Platinum events will automatically qualify for a coveted berth at the season-ending World Series Finals in Dubai next year, which includes both a men’s and women’s tournament and features the reigning PSA World Champions together with the season’s Platinum event winners and players that qualify by placing high enough on the PSA Road to Dubai Leaderboard.
Tournament Director Tareq Zainal said:
“Once again, we are proud to host the world’s top players in Doha. It has always been our tradition to organize a tournament whose memories will linger on for a long time in the minds of all participants, and this year’s edition is not an exception. Squash is growing in leaps and bounds in Qatar and we are proud of what we’ve been able to achieve over the years. All hands are definitely on deck to ensure the best tournament ever.”
Tickets will soon be on sale in selected malls and locations across Qatar.