The top 8 players who have earned the most points from the 9 PSA World Series championships in 2011 will meet in London next month (4-8 January) at the ATCO PSA World Series Finals, the flagship PSA World Tour event. The $110,000 event will take place for the 3rd time at The Queen’s Club.
James Willstrop did manage to win the last 3 World Series events back to back to move ahead of English rival Nick Matthew both in the World Series Standings and in next month’s world rankings.
Willstrop, the top seed, will be making his 7th appearance in the event since 2005 – and could face England team-mate Matthew, the No2 seed, in Sunday’s final.
It would be the pair’s first clash since Matthew slipped behind his rival in the rankings – with Willstrop looking for his first victory for more than four years.
In his fifth appearance in the event last year, Matthew reached the final for the first time. But the match against Egypt’s 4-time world champion Amr Shabana was not played, due to problems with inflatable construction in which the event has played.
Shabana, twice a finalist since making his 1st World Series Finals appearance in 2004, is the event’s 6th seed – behind fellow countrymen Ramy Ashour, the 2007 champion, and Karim Darwish, the 3rd and 5th seeds, respectively.
It’s the Frenchman Greg Gaultier who has a distinguished World Series Finals record. The 28-year-old, seeded 4, has reached the final in all his three appearances in the event, winning the title in 2008 and 2009.
England’s Peter Barker, who made his debut last year, will be providing London interest in the event. At least a quarter-finalist in all nine World Series events this year, the left-hander is the No7 seed.
And Azlan Iskandar will be only the 2nd Malaysian ever to appear in the event. The 29-year-old has enjoyed his best run on the PSA Tour for some years and will celebrate his debut in the event after finishing in 8th place in the standings.
Players will compete in two pools of four, leading to semi-finals between the winners of each pool and the runners-up of the other, followed by the final.
Group 1: James Willstrop (England), Ramy Ashour (Egypt), Karim Darwish (Egypt), Mohd Azlan Iskandar (Malaysia)
Group 2: Nick Matthew (England), Gregory Gaultier (France), Amr Shabana (Egypt), Peter Barker (England)
Wednesday 4 January 2012 draw:
Group 1 – Ramy Ashour v Mohd Azlan Iskandar
Group 1 – James Willstrop v Karim Darwish
Group 2 – Nick Matthew v Gregory Gaultier
Group 2 – Amr Shabana v Peter Barker
Thursday 5 January 2012
Group 1 – Karim Darwish v Mohd Azlan Iskandar
Group 1 – James Willstrop v Ramy Ashour
Group 2 – Nick Matthew v Amr Shabana
Group 2 – Gregory Gaultier v Peter Barker
Friday 6 January 2012
Group 1 – James Willstrop v Mohd Azlan Iskandar
Group 1 – Ramy Ashour v Karim Darwish
Group 2 – Nick Matthew v Peter Barker
Group 2 – Gregory Gaultier v Amr Shabana
Saturday 7 January 2012
Group 1 Winner v Group 2 Runner Up
Group 1 Runner up v Group 2 Winner
Sunday 8 January 2012
Tickets for the ATCO PSA World Series Finals are available from Ticketmaster or call +44-844 847 2419