Egypt's world number one Ramy Ashour is expected to notch up the 30th PSA World Tour title of his career at this week's Kuwait PSA Cup, the third PSA World Series squash event of the year at Qadsia Sporting Club in Kuwait.
The unique event, originally scheduled for November last year but postponed due to local government elections, is open to the top 48 players in the world. The championship gets underway today and reaches its final on Thursday 14 March.
Squash legend Jahangir Khan, the record ten-time British Open champion from Pakistan who is Vice Chairman of the event's organising committee, said: "This is the latest event in our three-year deal with the PSA and we are delighted to welcome so many of the world's top players to Kuwait.
"We are indebted to the support of Sheikha Fadyah Al-Sabah, the daughter of the Patriarch Amir HH Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah, who is Chairman of the organising committee. The Sheikha has played a huge role in supporting and developing squash in Kuwait for more than ten years - and this year this has led to additional backing from the government of Kuwait.
"Kuwait squash has advanced considerably in recent years," Khan continued. "The country's top player Abdullah Al Muzayen is now 38 in the world - and qualifies for the Kuwait PSA Cup by right! So we can have a second Kuwaiti in the draw as a wild card - and this will enable 18-year-old Yousif Nizar Saleh to compete in his first World Series championship."
With the first two World Series title of the year already under his belt, Ramy Ashour is enjoying a formidable run of form. The 25-year-old from Cairo has reached the final of the last nine Tour events in which he has participated - and claimed title triumphs in the most recent six in a row!
With the top 16 seeds receiving a bye in the first round, favourite Ashour faces the winner of the match between Swiss number one Nicolas Mueller and New Zealand champion Campbell Grayson to begin his Kuwait campaign for success.
England's James Willstrop is the event's defending champion. It was his surprise victory in Kuwait in November 2011 which led the 29-year-old from Leeds to top the world rankings for the first time in January 2012.
Third seed Willstrop is placed in the lower half of the draw - and will play his opening match against either Alan Clyne of Scotland or Frenchman Gregoire Marche.
England's Nick Matthew is the event's No2 seed. Winner of a record fifth British national title last month, world number two Matthew is looking to claim his first PSA Tour title of the year - and takes on the winner of the first round match featuring his Commonwealth Games gold-medal-winning doubles partner Adrian Grant and Kuwaiti wild card Yousif Nizar Saleh.
France's new world No3 Gregory Gaultier is the event's fourth seed. The 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence - runner-up in the first World Series event of the year, the Tournament of Champions in New York - is in Ashour's half of the draw and lines up against either South African Stephen Coppinger or local hero Abdullah Al Muzayen in his opening match.
1st round draw:
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bye
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Campbell Grayson (NZL)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) v Leo Au (HKG)
 Simon Rosner (GER) bye
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) bye
Chris Simpson (ENG) v Jonathan Kemp (ENG)
Olli Tuominen (FIN) v Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN)
 Amr Shabana (EGY) bye
 Peter Barker (ENG) bye
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Joe Lee (ENG)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)
 Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bye
 Borja Golan (ESP) bye
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v Abdullah Al Muzayen (KUW)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bye
 James Willstrop (ENG) bye
Alan Clyne (SCO) v Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bye
 Tom Richards (ENG) bye
Adrian Waller (ENG) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
Martin Knight (NZL) v Zac Alexander (AUS)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) bye
 Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bye
Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) v Max Lee (HKG)
Ong Beng Hee (MAS) v Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
 Alister Walker (BOT) bye
 Daryl Selby (ENG) bye
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Siddharth Suchde (IND)
Adrian Grant (ENG) v Yousif Nizar Saleh (KUW)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bye
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