Matthew and Willstrop top seeds in Richmond!

All squash fans waiting with tense until Egyptian Ramy Ashour is back in business at the North American Open in Richmond, the tournament he won in 2009

James Willstrop leads a star-studded field featuring 6 former world number ones and 5 former champions of the event which is being staged in Richmond for the 4th year in a row and for the 8th time overall.

Willstrop is expected to meet English compatriot Nick Matthew in next Saturday’s final. Matthew, the world No1 throughout 2011 who reclaimed his top ranking this month, successfully retained the NAO title last year and is now looking to win it for a third time in a row.

The 2012 North American Open will signal the long-awaited Tour return of Ramy Ashour, the 24-year-old Egyptian who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since December.

Ashour, the No4 seed, finished as runner-up to Matthew in both the 2010 and 2011 finals – but this year is scheduled to face the world No1 in the semi-finals. Ashour, the 2009 champion, will take on a qualifier in the first round.

Willstrop will begin his Richmond campaign against Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller, while Matthew faces Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the first round.

Main draw 1st round:
[1] James Willstrop (ENG) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
Thierry Lincou (FRA) v Patrick Chifunda (ZAM)
Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY) v Adrian Grant (ENG)
[6] Amr Shabana (EGY) v Qualifier
[8] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) v Qualifier
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Qualifier
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Shahier Razik (CAN)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Qualifier
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Qualifier
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Qualifier
Alan Clyne (SCO) v Qualifier
[5] Karim Darwish (EGY) v Qualifier
[7] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) v Alister Walker (BOT)
Simon Rosner (GER) v Chris Ryder (ENG)
Olli Tuominen (FIN) v Julian Illingworth (USA)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)

1st qualifying round:
Martin Knight (NZL) bye
Matthew Karwalski (AUS) v John Street (USA)
Shawn Delierre (CAN) v Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v Sean Steinour (USA)
Siddharth Suchde (IND) v Yasir Butt (PAK)
Kamran Khan (MAS) v Yann Perrin (FRA)
Chris Simpson (ENG) v Fred Reid (CAN)
Zac Alexander (AUS) bye
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bye
Adrian Waller (ENG) v Francis Johnson (USA)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) v Christopher Gordon (USA)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v Julien Balbo (FRA)
Jan Koukal (CZE) v Ryan Donegan (USA)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) v Joey Barrington (ENG)
Robbie Temple (ENG) v Olivier Pett (ENG)
Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) bye