Enticing early men’s clashes in January’s ToC
Former World No.1 Gregory Gaultier will take on Egypt’s Omar Mosaad in a repeat of the 2015 PSA Men’s World Championship final when the Frenchman makes his first PSA appearance for 15 months as he lines up at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in January.
Gaultier finally got his hands on the World Championship crown in his fifth final after battling past former World No.3 Mosaad in the title decider in Bellevue four years ago, and the pair will lock horns once again on US soil, with Grand Central Terminal’s stunning Vanderbilt Hall the setting for their latest bout.
36-year-old Gaultier hasn’t competed on the PSA Tour since October 2018 due to a knee injury, but he will make his highly-anticipated return at the first PSA Platinum event of the new year, where both he and Mosaad receive a bye into round two.
Elsewhere, new World Champion Tarek Momen faces a tricky second round tie as he competes with World Championship semi-finalist Marwan ElShorbagy, while the last 32 also pits Peru’s Diego Elias, now at a career-best World No. 7, up against World No.12 Joel Makin in a dazzling early round fixture.
Defending champion and World No.1 Ali Farag also receives a bye into round two, where he will play either compatriot Mazen Hesham or Scotland’s Alan Clyne, while 2019 runner-up Mohamed ElShorbagy begins his title challenge against either Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly or the winner of the wildcard playoff, which takes place in early January.
In the women’s event, reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini will launch her attempt to win a record-tying fourth Tournament of Champions title against either Dutchwoman Milou van der Heijden or Scotland’s Lisa Aitken. Canadian Jonathon Power is the only player to have won four ToC titles since the event’s name change and transition to the PSA World Tour in 1992.
El Sherbini is seeded to face World No.9 Tesni Evans, World No.8 Sarah-Jane Perry and World No.4 Nour El Tayeb en route to the final, where she is predicted to meet World No.1 Raneem El Welily in a repeat of last year’s title decider.
2015 winner El Welily begins her tournament against either France’s Coline Aumard or Canada’s Hollie Naughton in round two. She is likely to face players such as Hong Kong’s Annie Au, 2017 champion Camille Serme or World No.3 Nouran Gohar as she aims to reach a third Tournament of Champions final.
A record $390,000 prize purse will be split equally between the men’s and women’s divisions at this year’s “ToC”, as the tournament is commonly referred to, while a spot at June’s PSA World Tour Finals will also be up for grabs.