Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini says that she will fight to keep her hands on her World No.1 spot at next week’s Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Open as she aims to hold off the challenge of World No.2 Raneem El Welily.
Title victories at the China Open and U.S. Open have seen El Welily cut the points gap between herself and El Sherbini at the summit of the rankings to just 26 points and she will end El Sherbini’s 31-month reign at World No.1 if she equals or surpasses the 23-year-old’s results in Hong Kong.
But El Sherbini – who beat El Welily to win the Hong Kong Open last year – is determined to hold onto the coveted World No.1 spot, which she has held since May 2016.
“I will fight for the spot until the end,” said El Sherbini.
“However, the No.1 spot is based on numbers and it can go up or down according to the events being played. It’s out of my hands now, but I’m aiming to win as many titles as I can and then the ranking will come.
“There is no pressure [on her] at all, it’s another challenge for me and I have to deal with it. It’s not the end of the world for me, there’s still more I want to achieve in the sport. I have always aimed for records and this is what I will do.”
Despite dominating the 2017/18 season, El Sherbini has made a slow start to the current campaign and is hoping that she can kick on in Hong Kong as she aims to retain her title.
She said: “It’s been a slow start, I started my summer training a bit late due to an injury, but we still have a long season [ahead]. I feel I’m getting better each tournament and I’m looking for better results
“[Last year] It was my first World Series [title] to win [last] season and was a very proud moment for me. The Hong Kong Open has a huge history and I’m proud to put my name beside the legends who have won that tournament before.”
El Sherbini will top the draw in Hong Kong between November 19-25 and features alongside the likes of El Welily, 10-time winner Nicol David and France’s Camille Serme, while World No.12 Annie Au heads the home hopes in the women’s draw.
Meanwhile, defending men’s champion Mohamed ElShorbagy returns and will compete against World No.2 Ali Farag, Germany’s Simon Rösner, Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodrigue and more. Max Lee and Leo Au are the highest-ranked Hong Kong players in the draw.
The Hong Kong Open is the third Platinum tournament of the season and will take place at the Hong Kong Squash Centre between November 19-22 before moving to the Hong Kong Park Sports Centre between November 23-25.
$329,000 will be equally split between the men’s and women’s draws for the first time, while the winners of the tournament will qualify for the season-ending PSA World Tour Finals.
Glass court fixtures from the Hong Kong Open will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only). The semi-finals and finals will be shown by major broadcasters around the world, including BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.
For more information, follow the tournament on Facebook, Twitter or visit the event website.
2018 Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open – Men’s Draw
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) [bye]
[9/16] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) [bye]
[17/32] Alan Clyne (SCO) v Ramit Tandon (IND)
Mostafa Asal (EGY) v [17/32] Tom Richards (ENG)
[17/32] Joel Makin (WAL) v [WC] Chi Him Wong (HKG)
[9/16] Declan James (ENG) [bye]
[17/32] Leo Au (HKG) v Edmon Lopez (ESP)
 Paul Coll (NZL) [bye]
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) [bye]
[WC] Henry Leung (HKG) v [17/32] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
[17/32] Eain Yow Ng (MAS) v Ben Coleman (ENG)
Joshua Masters (ENG) v [17/32] Chris Simpson (ENG)
[9/16] Raphael Kandra (GER) [bye]
Todd Harrity (USA) v [17/32] Cesar Salazar (MEX)
[17/32] Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Rex Hedrick (AUS)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) [bye]
 Simon Rösner (GER) [bye]
Peter Creed (WAL) v [17/32] Adrian Waller (ENG)
[9/16] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) [bye]
[9/16] Omar Mosaad (EGY) [bye]
[17/32] Zahed Salem (EGY) v Karim El Hammamy (EGY)
Mazen Gamal (EGY) v [17/32] Greg Lobban (SCO)
[9/16] Max Lee (HKG) [bye]
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) [bye]
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) [bye]
Nathan Lake (ENG) v [17/32] Lucas Serme (FRA)
[17/32] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
George Parker (ENG) v [17/32] Campbell Grayson (NZL)
[9/16] Saurav Ghosal (IND) [bye]
[9/16] Diego Elias (PER) [bye]
[17/32] Gregoire Marche (FRA) v Arturo Salazar (MEX)
 Ali Farag (EGY) [bye]
2018 Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open – Women’s Draw
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) [bye]
Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) v [17/32] Nele Gilis (BEL)
[17/32] Amanda Sobhy (USA) v Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL)
 Annie Au (HKG) [bye]
 Tesni Evans (WAL) [bye]
Julianne Courtice (ENG) v [17/32] Mariam Metwally (EGY)
[17/32] Zeina Mickawy (EGY) v Low Wee Wern (MAS)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) [bye]
 Joelle King (NZL) [bye]
Ho Tze-Lok (HKG) v [17/32] Mayar Hany (EGY)
[17/32] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS)
 Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) [bye]
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) [bye]
[WC] Lee Ka Yi (HKG) v [17/32] Milou van der Heijden (NED)
[17/32] Fiona Moverley (ENG) v Tong Tsz-Wing (HKG)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) [bye]
 Camille Serme (FRA) [bye]
Tinne Gilis (BEL) v [17/32] Rachael Grinham (NED)
[17/32] Millie Tomlinson (ENG) v Nada Abbas (EGY)
 Nicol David (MAS) [bye]
 Alison Waters (ENG) [bye]
Danielle Letourneau (CAN) v [17/32] Nadine Shahin (EGY)
[17/32] Emily Whitlock (ENG) v [WC] Vanessa Chu (HKG)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) [bye]
 Laura Massaro (ENG) [bye]
Haley Mendez (USA) v [17/32] Yathreb Adel (EGY)
[17/32] Joey Chan (HKG) v Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
 Salma Hany (EGY) [bye]
 Victoria Lust (ENG) [bye]
Hollie Naughton (CAN) v [17/32] Coline Aumard (FRA)
[17/32] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v Rachel Arnold (MAS)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) [bye]