The PSA World Tour heads back to Chicago next for the biggest event of the season, the PSA World Championships. 64 men will feature in this year’s draw including four former World Champions, seven former World No.1s and 21 different nationalities.
We’ve taken a look at the main title contenders for this year’s championships and what their form is like heading into the event.
Newly crowned World No.1 Diego Elias has reached the quarter-finals of the World Championships in the previous three years but has never progressed further in his six appearances in the biggest event on the calendar.
This year, however, is the first time that the Peruvian is a top four seed and with the World No.1 ranking secured, this could relieve some tension for the 26-year-old as he looks to claim the biggest prize on offer in the sport.
Elias is in the same quarter as No.6 seed Marwan ElShorbagy and the always dangerous Karim Abdel Gawad. The latter defeated Elias in the Optasia Championships last month and has since beaten Mohamed ElShorbagy at the British Open, which secured the No.1 ranking for the ‘Peruvian Puma’. If Elias is to progress further than the quarter-finals for the first time, a semi-final showdown with ElShorbagy could give Elias the chance to become the first South American World Champion.
2017 World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy comes into the event as the No.3 seed and will be determined to add another World Championship title to his list of accomplishments. The British No.1 has been beaten in the final four times, including the last two years as he lost to Ali Farag on both occasions.
ElShorbagy has already claimed five World Tour titles this season but has seen his form dip of late due to an injury sustained at the Canary Wharf Classic. ‘The Beast’ is in a difficult quarter of the draw as he may need to navigate his way past one of Tarek Momen, Fares Dessouky or Mohamed Abouelghar to reach the semi-finals.
After observing a six-week suspension, the ‘Raging Bull’ Mostafa Asal is back in World Tour action, and what an event to mark his return.
The 21-year-old will be chomping at the bit to return to competitive action after missing the Optasia Championships and the British Open. Asal will be looking to build on his narrow defeat in last year’s semi-final to eventual winner Ali Farag as he bids to return to the top of the rankings.
Asal is seeded to face Wales’ Joel Makin in round three of the event. Asal’s last match before his suspension was a loss to the Welshman in the Canary Wharf Classic, losing a hotly-contested five game battle in London. If the top seed is to get past Makin, he could face either Egypt’s Mazen Hesham or reignite his feud with France’s Victor Crouin in the quarter-finals before a potential match up with either Ali Farag or Paul Coll. If Asal is to capture the title, he will have to do it the hard way.
Recent British Open winner Ali Farag is looking to join Egyptian squash legend Amr Shabana on four World Championship titles as he heads back to Chicago, the city where he captured his first two World Championship titles.
Farag has been injured for a large part of the season, only returning to action in February at the Pittsburgh Open after four months on the sidelines. The Egyptian’s performances gained momentum as he returned to tournament play and culminated in him capturing his first major title on British soil in Birmingham earlier this month.
Farag is seeded to face New Zealand’s Paul Coll in the quarter-finals of the event. Coll overcame Farag on his way to capturing the Canary Wharf Classic title in March in an extremely tight four games, but the form that Farag showed at the British Open is hard to ignore as he bids to win a third successive World Championship title.
New Zealand’s Paul Coll comes into this year’s World Championships seeded outside the top four for the first time since 2019 as the ever changing positions of the world’s top five have seen Coll slip to World No.5.
Coll captured his first title of the 2022-23 season at the Canary Wharf Classic after a frustrating season which had seen him lose in two finals and in three semi-finals. Coll is due to face the in-form and improving Ali Farag in the quarter-finals but will take confidence in the fact that he has beaten the Egyptian in three of their last four matches.
Given the strength of the top four seeds, it would be easy to disregard Coll, but given he physicality and determination of the two-time British Open champion, you can never rule him out.
The PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family will take place May 3-11 with play split between Union Station and the University Club of Chicago. Live action from round one will be shown on the tournament website while RD2 onwards will be shown live on SQUASHTV.
Tickets for the event are available to purchase here.