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Paris Squash 2023 : everything you need to know about the men's draw

For the first time, world squash elite, both male and female, will be gathered for a PSA event on French soil from August, 27th to September, 2nd and the show promises to be spectacular. It's been a long time since a tournament of this magnitude was held in Paris: the best players in the world could not miss it and all of them will be featuring but Mostafa Asal, currently serving a 3-month ban.


As I said in the piece focused on the women's draw, I drew some inspiration from Gill Gross and his brilliant tennis show Monday Match Analysis, using the same items he does for his Grand Slam quarter by quarter previews. Enjoy the read ...


QUARTER #1

=> Top seeds: Ali Farag (world No.1), Victor Crouin (WR8), Youssef Soliman (WR11), Nicolas Mueller (WR16)

=> Theoretical quarterfinal: Ali Farag v Victor Crouin (H2H : 1-0)

=> Dark horse: Patrick Rooney

=> Upset alert: Adrian Waller

=> Early popcorn match: Ali Farag v Youssef Soliman

Out of action for a few months due to a knee injury, Ali Farag made a stunning comeback in 2023, winning both the British Open and the World Championship and getting back the world No.1 spot. The Paris Squash 2023 draw offers him a tough opener against Youssef Soliman, although the H2H against his fellow Egyptian is widely in his favour. The same thing can be said about his potential round of 16 with Nicolas Mueller, while the French crowd are expecting a quarterfinal showdown between Farag et Victor Crouin. The young Frenchman, who had a breakthrough season in 2022/23, will have to navigate through a section filled with tricky opponents: Patrick Rooney, Yahya Elnawasany, Cesar Salazar, Timothy Brownell, Charlie Lee and Adrian Waller. The latter has a tricky first round against Lee, who's been improving a lot lately.


QUARTER #2

=> Top seeds: Paul Coll (WR5), Tarek Momen (WR9), Karim Abdel Gawad (WR12), Eain Yow Ng (WR18), Saurav Ghosal (WR19)

=> Theoretical quarterfinal: Paul Coll v Tarek Momen (H2H : 10-2)

=> Dark horse: Mohamed Abouelghar

=> Upset alert: Tarek Momen

=> Early popcorn match: Karim Abdel Gawad v Paul Coll

This is probably the strongest quarter, and it's unlikely the player who'll make it to the semis will be unscathed. There were several early popcorn matches, but we had to go for the round 2 clash between two former world number 1s, Karim Abdel Gawad and Paul Coll. One match to watch for sure, at the Squash Montmartre on Monday late afternoon. The uphill battle will continue for the winner, with a next round against Saurav Ghosal or Eain Yow Ng, and in sight a quarter versus Tarek Momen. After a tough 2022/23 campaign, the former world champ started the new season with a title in a Bronze event in Canada, but he may cross path with his very dangerous fellow Egyptian Mohamed Abouelghar, a potential banana skin for every seeded player in this section.


QUARTER #3

=> Top seeds: Mohamed ElShorbagy (WR3), Mazen Hesham (WR7), Miguel Angel Rodriguez (WR14), Baptiste Masotti (WR15)

=> Theoretical quarterfinal: Mohamed ElShorbagy v Mazen Hesham (H2H : 10-0)

=> Dark horse: Aly Abou Eleinen

=> Upset alert: Miguel Angel Rodriguez

=> Early popcorn match: Baptiste Masotti v Mohamed ElShorbagy

The draw was unlucky for Baptiste Masotti, who'll face Mohamed ElShorbagy in the round of 16. The attacking Frenchman will need the crowd support to create an upset against someone who's won their first 6 encounters. If it goes to seeding, the World No.3 may then face Miguel Angel Rodriguez – although the Colombian would be in danger against uprising Aly Abou Eleinen – and Mazen Hesham. If he picks up where he left off at the end of last season, the Black Falcon should make the quarters even though there are in his section some players not to be taken lightly, such as Iker Pajares, Auguste Dussourd and Abdulla Al Tamimi.


QUARTER #4

=> Top seeds: Diego Elias (WR2), Marwan ElShorbagy (WR6), Joel Makin (WR10)

=> Theoretical quarterfinal: Diego Elias vs. Marwan ElShorbagy (H2H : 11-3)

=> Dark horse: Youssef Ibrahim

=> Upset alert: none

=> Early popcorn match: George Parker v Dimitri Steinmann

In this quarter, there is big potential clash in the round of 16 between 2 top 10 players, Marwan ElShorbagy and Joel Makin. In the bottom part of the draw, Diego Elias, who had an amazing 2022/23 season, is above the rest of the field. Youssef Ibrahim may be able to cause him some trouble, but the mercurial lefthander has not been back to his best yet after his injury. On the opening day, there will be some French interest in all the glass court matches except one: the clash between high tempered Dimitri Steinmann and George Parker should be entertaining.


Semifinal theoretical lineup => [1] Ai Farag v [4] Paul Coll

=> [3] Mohamed ElShorbagy v [2] Diego Elias

This is science fiction given the strength of the field, but if it goes to seedings the semis would both be classics of the current era. Farag and Coll have met no less than 24 times in the last 6 years (18 of those going to Farag) while Elias and ElShorbagy have offered us some epic battles last season.


By Jérôme Elhaïk

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