Leading squash stars head for San Francisco's NetSuite Open
Many of the world's top squash players converge on San Francisco this week for the NetSuite Open.
Taking place between Tuesday September 27 and Saturday October 1 in a specially constructed outdoor arena on Justin Herman Plaza, World Champion Gregory Gaultier will be aiming to win his third NetSuite Open crown and a share of the $100,000 prize fund.
The World No.2 had an inauspicious start to the season after bowing out of the Hong Kong Open at the second round stage to Fares Dessouki but a runner-up finish at the China Open earlier this month – where he lost out to World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy – saw a return to form and the Frenchman goes into the event as title favourite.
Seeded to meet the Frenchman in the final is England No.1 and last year’s runner-up Nick Matthew, who makes his first appearance of the 2016/17 campaign.
The 36-year-old Yorkshireman opens up against a qualifier in round one, but has a difficult path to the final, with the likes of World No.10 Ali Farag, who he lost to during March’s British Open, and ‘Colombian Cannonball’ Miguel Angel Rodriguez likely to stand in his way.
The 2016 instalment also features the most lucrative women’s NetSuite Open ever, with a prize purse of $50,000 – double that of last year – on offer amongst a high-quality field.
Defending champion Amanda Sobhy will look to make the most of her home support as the United States No1 seeks to continue her strong start to the season.
World No.7 Sobhy, 23, reached the final of the Hong Kong Open in August – where only defeat to World Junior Champion Nouran Gohar prevented her from lifting a maiden World Series crown – before making it to the last eight of the Al Ahram Open last week.
The charismatic American begins her tournament against a qualifier in round one and will be one of the star attractions in a tournament that also features World No.2 Laura Massaro and Malaysian eight-time World Champion Nicol David – the latter of whom Sobhy is seeded to meet in the semi-final.
2016 NetSuite Open – Men’s First Round Draw
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Max Lee (HKG) v  Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
 Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
[Qualifier] v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v [WC] James Willstrop (ENG)
[Qualifier] v  Simon Rösner (GER)
 Ali Farag (EGY) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
2016 NetSuite Open – Women’s First Round Draw
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v Olivia Blatchford (USA)
[Qualifier] v  Victoria Lust (ENG)
 Heba El Torky (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Line Hansen (DEN) v  Joelle King (NZL)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v [Qualifier]
Coline Aumard (FRA) v  Joey Chan (HKG)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v [Qualifier]
[WC] Reyna Pacheco (USA) v  Nicol David (MAS)