The Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex will play host to a series of blistering first round fixtures at the 2017 Qatar Classic after the main draw for the World Series tournament was released today (September 22).
The Qatar Classic, which takes place between October 29 – November 3, is the second World Series tournament of the 2017/18 season and will see Egypt’s World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy take on New Zealand’s World No.10 Paul Coll in the pick of the first round fixtures.
Defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad joins Coll and ElShorbagy in the bottom half of the draw and has a first round clash with Spain’s former World No.5 in store, with Golan memorably getting the better of the reigning World Champion in February’s Windy City Open.
Gawad is seeded to meet 2009 winner Nick Matthew in the semi-finals but the Englishman’s route to the last four is filled with peril.
The 37-year-old will be competing at his last ever Qatar Classic after announcing his retirement earlier this week but will have to be at his best to make sure his final appearance in Doha isn’t cut short at the second round stage – with Egyptian three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour seeded to meet him there.
Ashour, who takes on a qualifier in round one, will return to the scene of his second and third World Championship triumphs, while the man he beat in both finals, two-time Qatar Classic champion Mohamed ElShorbagy, is seeded on the top half of the draw, alongside World No.1 Gregory Gaultier, who he is seeded to meet in the semi-finals.
Elsewhere, 2005 winner James Willstrop has a difficult first round clash with Diego Elias to negotiate, while tournament wildcard and local hero Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi is in action against World No.9 Fares Dessouky.
The 2017 Qatar Classic has $165,000 up for grabs in prize money – the most in the tournament’s history – while players will also compete for points for the World Series Standings as they bid to finish in the top eight at the end of the season, which will enable them to qualify for the lucrative PSA World Series Finals next June.
The qualifying stages will be held between October 27-28, while the main draw takes place between October 29 – November 3. Entry to the tournament is free of charge.
Action from every round of the tournament will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe Only), while the semi-finals and finals will be shown live on mainstream broadcast channels around the world, including BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.
2017 Qatar Classic – First Round Draw
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Qualifier]
Diego Elias (PER) v  James Willstrop (ENG)
 Ali Farag (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v [Qualifier]
Fares Dessouky (EGY) v [WC] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
[Qualifier] v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v [Qualifier]
Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Qualifier]
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Paul Coll (NZL)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Simon Rösner (GER) v [Qualifier]
Borja Golan (ESP) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)