Darwish joins Gaultier
on the injured list
Top seed and world number one Karim Darwish will not
defend his Saudi International title after failing to recover
from the injury that kept him out of the just-concluded PSA
Masters in Mumbai. It was last year's event in Al Khobar that
propelled Darwish to the number one position that he has held
for eleven months in 2009.
The top two seeds remain Egyptian though, with Ramy Ashour,
winner of the PSA Masters, installed as top seed as world
champion Amr Shabana - winner here in 2006 and 2007 -
moves to the top of the draw as second seed.
Unofficial calculations suggest that Darwish and Gregory
Gaultier, who withdrew from the tournament a few days ago, will
fall to numbers 4 and 5 in the world in the January rankings,
while whoever does best here out of Ashour, Shabana and Nick
Matthew will become world number one - amazingly the fourth
time in five years that this event will determine the world
Thu 10th Dec:
Injury rules Gaultier out of
World number two Gregory Gaultier has been forced to
withdraw from the Saudi International, the final PSA World Tour
Super Series squash event of the year, due to a quadriceps
The withdrawal will almost certainly dash the Frenchman's hopes
of being reinstated as world number one in the January 2010 PSA
World Squash Rankings. The 26-year-old from Aix-en-Provence
reached No1 for the first time in November, but was then
replaced this month by Egyptian Karim Darwish.
The $250,000 Saudi International will take place for the fifth
year at the Sunset Beach resort in Al-Khobar,
Saudi Arabia, from 13-18 December.
Gaultier's exit elevates Egypt's Ramy Ashour to second
seed, behind top-seeded compatriot Darwish, the defending
champion. Fellow Egyptian Amr Shabana is the No3 seed,
while England's Nick Matthew is promoted to fourth seed.
Amazingly, Ramy Ashour now faces his older brother Hisham
Ashour in the first round – only a week after the pair met
in the opening round of the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in India.
Furthermore, a first round win by Matthew is now likely to take
the England number one to a second round clash with his national
rival James Willstrop, the 10th seed and England number
Italian Amr Swelim is the new player in the revised draw
– the Cairo-based world No39 lining up against Australia's fifth
seed David Palmer in the first round.