The draws for the 2020 Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family have been released, with men’s World No.2 Ali Farag and women’s World No.4 Nour El Sherbini returning to Chicago a year on from their historic World Championship triumphs inside Union Station’s Great Hall.
UPDATE : Tesni Evans withdraws injured
That World Championship – the sport’s first $1,000,000 tournament – replaced the 2019 Windy City Open, but the Platinum event returns between 27th February and 4th March with a host of blockbuster fixtures in store in the University Club of Chicago’s iconic Cathedral Hall.
Farag begins his tournament with a bye, but is seeded to lock horns with two-time winner Gregory Gaultier in a mouthwatering third round encounter. Stars such as World Champion Tarek Momen, World No.7 Diego Elias and two-time runner-up Marwan ElShorbagy are seeded on the same side of the draw as Farag and Gaultier.
The bottom half of the men’s draw features two-time winner Mohamed ElShorbagy – the reigning champion who reclaimed the World No.1 ranking on 1st February – former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad and World Championship runner-up Paul Coll.
The men’s draw system (8 seeds with 9/16 seeds allocated randomly into round two) has thrown up some mammoth second round matches – Joel Makin v Gregoire Marche, Diego Elias v Fares Dessouky, Gawad v Miguel Rodriguez, and Simon Rosner v Mohamed Abouelghar !
In the women’s draw El Sherbini receives a bye in round one – as do all the top sixteen seeds – and could come up against United States duo Olivia Fiechter and Olivia Blatchford Clyne in rounds two and three if they make it past their respective opponents.
In the last eight, the four-time World Champion is seeded to play Tournament of Champions winner Camille Serme in a repeat of their final battle inside New York’s Grand Central Terminal last month, while defending champion Nour El Tayeb – El Sherbini’s final opponent in Chicago last March when she lifted a third World Championship crown – could await her in the semi-finals.
World No.1 Raneem El Welily is the most successful player ever at the Windy City Open with three successive wins in 2015-2017 and she will kickstart her attempts to become the first person to win four titles here against either England’s Julianne Courtice or Canada’s Danielle Letourneau in round two.
New Zealand’s Joelle King is seeded to meet the Egyptian in the last eight, while World No.2 Nouran Gohar is her predicted semi-final opponent if results go to seedings.
Men’s wildcard Shahjahan Khan faces Hong Kong’s Leo Au in the opening round, while his female counterpart Hana Moataz lines up against Belgium’s Nele Gilis.
The Windy City Open is the most lucrative tournament on the PSA World Tour outside of the World Championship, with $500,000 on offer split evenly across the men’s and women’s events. A spot at June’s PSA World Tour Finals will also be up for grabs.