Reigning British Open champion Paul Coll arrived in Doha yesterday, hoping to put an end to Egypt’s dominance at the Qatar QTerminals Classic, which begins today at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.
Since 2013 when Mohamed ElShorbagy – a current World No.2 – won the Qatar Classic title, no non-Egyptian player has managed to win the tournament, which is PSA’s Platinum category event and is offering $187,500 as prize money in this year’s edition.
Top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy gestures at the Hamad International Airport upon his arrival, yesterday.
With Egypt’s current World No.1 Ali Farag – winner of 2018 and 2020 Qatar Classic in Doha – not featuring in the event, three-time champion ElShorbagy is favourite to regain the title but Coll must be sensing title triumph after his British Open glory in August.
The New Zealander defeated ElShorbagy in the semi-final before topping Farag in August to become the first player from his country to win the prestigious British Open title. The Kiwi reached the 2019 World Championships and the Qatar Classic in 2020 finals and will be hoping to be third time lucky in Doha.
Peru’s Diego Elias, a World No.8 and World No.9 Joel Makin of Wales will be the other non-Egyptians, seeking the coveted title.
A view of glass court at Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.
The first round of the Qatar Q-Terminals Classic, however, will not feature the top seeds including ElShorbagy and Coll, who will begin their campaigns from second round, scheduled tomorrow.
Qatar Tennis Squash Badminton Federation (QTSBF) said it will ensure all safety protocols to protect health of all stakeholders during the tournament, which will conclude on October 23.
“All the health protocols as mandated by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) are in place for the tournament and will be implemented during the tournament,” said QTSBF Secretary-General Tareq Zainal.
Today’s opening round will see 2005 champion James Willstrop – a World No.31 – in action as the Englishman will take on America’s Faraz Khan, eyeing a second round clash against Egypt’s third seed Tariq Momen, who won the 2019 Men’s World Championship crown in Doha.
World No.4 Tarek Momen arrives in Doha.
World No.32 Greg Lobban of Scotland will also start the event today with a match against India’s Ramit Tandon.
Two Qatari wild card entrants will also play in the first round with Ayed Azlan Amjad taking on England’s Declan James, while Abdulrahman Al Malki will meet Germany’s Raphael Kandra.
Qatar’s top player Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi, the World No.35, withdrew from the home event after he injured his calf at the CIB Egyptian Open.
Meanwhile, the second round tomorrow will see mouthwatering clashes including a duel between Egyptian duo of ElShorbagy and Youssef Ibrahim. The World No.2 is seeking a revenge of his last year’s loss against Ibrahim in the quarter-finals.
First Round Matches
12 noon: Greg Lobban (SCO) v Ramit Tandon (IND)
12:45pm: Faraz Khan (USA) vs James Willstrop (ENG)
1:30pm: Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) v Patrick Rooney (ENG)
2:15pm: [WC] Syed Azlan Amjad (QAT) v Declan James (ENG)
4pm: Raphael Kandra (GER) v [WC] Abdulrahman Al Malki (QAT)
4:45pm: Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) v Alan Clyne (SCO)
5:30pm: Borja Golan (ESP) v Todd Harrity (USA)
6:15pm: Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) vs Richie Fallows (ENG)
12 noon: Bernat Jaume (ESP) v George Parker (ESP)
1:30pm: Iker Pajares Bernabeu v Dimitri Steinmann (SUI)
2:15pm: Adrian Waller (ENG) v Nathan Lake (ENG)
4pm: Arturo Salazar (MEX) v Mohamed ElSherbin (EGY)
12 noon: Cesar Salazar (MEX) v Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA)
1:30pm: Lucas Serme (FRA) v Mazen Gamal (EGY)
2:15pm: Shahjahan Khan (USA) v Tom Richards (ENG)
4pm: Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Ryosei Kobayashi (JPN)