The draw for the women’s 2020 CIB Black Ball Squash Open has been released, with defending champion Raneem El Welily predicted to play World No.2 Nouran Gohar in the final of the PSA World Tour Platinum event, being held between 8th and 14th March.
El Welily beat reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini at the Black Ball Sporting Club in March 2019 to capture the inaugural title and she will once again be the favourite this time around as a 48-woman draw battles for the $180,000 total prize fund.
El Welily and El Sherbini have been drawn on the same side of the draw and are seeded to meet in the semi-finals, which would be their first encounter since the 2016 U.S. Open not to take place in a PSA World Tour final.
El Welily will play either South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller or compatriot Menna Nasser in round two, and could face the likes of Yathreb Adel and World No.5 Nour El Tayeb as she looks to reach a second straight Black Ball Open final.
Meanwhile, El Sherbini will go up against one of Millie Tomlinson or Rachael Chadwick in round two, with further matchups against the likes of World No.14 Alison Waters and World No.6 Joelle King predicted to follow.
In the bottom half of the draw, No.2 seed Gohar will take on either Canada’s Hollie Naughton or the Netherlands’ Tessa ter Sluis in the last 32. Her path to the final contains the likes of India’s Joshna Chinappa and World No.7 Sarah-Jane Perry, while she is seeded to play J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions winner Camille Serme in the last four.
The wildcards for the tournament are Egyptian duo Salma Youssef and Nour Aboulmakarim, who take on American Sabrina Sobhy and 2007 World Champion Rachael Grinham, respectively.
Wales’ Tesni Evans and Hong Kong’s Annie Au have both withdrawn from the event since the entry list was announced – and on 6th March England’s Alison Waters and Victoria Lust withdrew.
Action from the glass court stages at Black Ball Sporting Club will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the PSA Facebook page (excluding Europe & Japan).
The winner of the tournament will also qualify for the season-ending PSA World Tour Finals. The World Tour Finals brings together the world’s top eight male and female players and features the reigning World Champions as well as all PSA Platinum title winners. The other places will be allocated to the highest ranked players on the Road to Egypt Standings, with points on offer at all PSA World Tour events throughout the 2019/20 season.