The Optasia Championship returns next month as a PSA World Tour GOLD event with a star-studded line-up featuring the top three male players in the world set to battle it out for honours at the Wimbledon Club from 21st to 26th March.
World #1 Mostafa Asal makes his debut at the Championship this year and is due to face the winner of Germany’s Raphael Kandra or 2019 champion Karim Abdel Gawad in round two after receiving a bye in the opening round.
Meanwhile, World #2 Ali Farag returns to Wimbledon as he bids to retain his title. The reigning World Champion, who has been sidelined since October due to injury, will take on the winner of the all-French battle between Gregoire Marche and Baptiste Masotti in round two.
In-form World #3 and last year’s runner-up Diego Elias will also appear this year and although his record against the top two seeds isn’t the best, having only won four matches against Asal and Farag in 26 attempts, the Peruvian looks to have stepped up his level in recent months and is well and truly in the hunt for the World #1 spot. After receiving a bye in round one, he’ll take on the winner of Youssef Soliman and Greg Lobban.
Both ElShorbagy brothers are in the draw again for this year’s event as the fourth and fifth seeds. Mohamed – who won the 2017 edition of this event – will be looking to recapture the form of the first half of the season which saw him capture four titles and move back up to the world’s top three. Marwan has also been in fine form this season and has already reached five finals, claiming one title.
He will be determined to build on his runner-up finish at the Tournament of Champions and make a charge towards the top five places in the PSA World Rankings. Mohamed will face the winner of event wildcard Charlie Lee and Abdulla Al Tamimi, while Marwan will play either Switzerland’s Nicholas Mueller or Egypt’s Moustafa El Sirty in the last 16.
Fellow top 10 players Mazen Hesham, Fares Dessouky and Victor Crouin also feature in the event and make up the top eight seeding positions. Hesham reached the final of the recent Motor City Open after beating Dessouky in the semi-final.
France’s Crouin has been beaten in the quarter finals of his last four events and is due to face top seed Asal in the last eight in Wimbledon, a highly anticipated contest due to the nature of their last encounter and their comments about each other on social media, with Asal labelling Crouin ‘jealous’ after the latter had criticised Asal’s conduct on court.
All of the action from the Optasia Championships will be shown live on SQUASHTV, with tickets still available to buy online.
[9/16] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Raphael Kandra (GER)
[9/16] Joel Makin (WAL) v Eain Yow Ng (MAS)
 Victor Crouin (FRA) bye  Fares Dessouky (EGY) bye
[9/16] Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Patrick Rooney (ENG)
[9/16] Youssef Soliman (EGY) v Greg Lobban (SCO)
 Diego Elias (PER) bye  Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) bye
[9/16] Abdulla Al Tamimi (QAT) v [WC] Charlie Lee (ENG)
[9/16] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Moustafa El Sirty (EGY)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bye  Mazen Hesham (EGY) bye
[9/16] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) v Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA)
[9/16] Gregoire Marche (FRA) v Baptiste Masotti (FRA)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bye