Nov 8 2013, 6:44am CST | by IANS
Doha, Nov 8 — France's World No.2 Gregory Gaultier will lead the field at this week's Qatar Classic after Egypt's World No.1 Ramy Ashour withdrew from the PSA World Series event following an injury sustained at last week's World Championship in England.
"Just got out of the hospital and the doctors advised me not to play Qatar so that my hamstring injury won't get any worse," said the World No.1 from Cairo. "Let's thank the LORD for whatever he has for us."
The 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence is scheduled to link up with Spain's World No.8 Borja Golan in the quarter-finals -- before a likely semi-final encounter with England's Nick Matthew, the man who beat him in last week's World Championship final in Manchester.
Gaultier and Matthew fought out a blistering 111-minute final which went the full distance -- with home hero Matthew prevailing to win the prestigious title for a third time.
But 2009 Qatar Classic champion Matthew has a lot to do before reaching the semis: His first opponent is former England team-mate Alister Walker, the World No.15 who now represents Botswana. A predicted second round clash with the Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez, the highest-ranked South American of all-time, could take the Sheffield star on to a quarter-final clash with sixth seed Amr Shabana.
The distinguished Egyptian made his first major PSA Tour appearance in Doha in 1996, a full five years before Matthew began his Classic encounters. Four-time world champion Shabana -- the 34-year-old from Cairo whose latest goal is to become the oldest World No.1 or world champion -- has reached the Qatar final on three occasions, winning the title in 2007. He plays India's Saurav Ghosal in the opening round.
England's World No.3 James Willstrop, elevated to second seed following Ashour's withdrawal, begins his 11th Qatar campaign against wild card Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi, a promising Qatari junior who is ranked 99.
The revised draw now sees Willstrop in the same quarter as Mohamed Elshorbagy, the fifth-seeded Egyptian who upset the Englishman in the World Championship quarter-finals.
Willstrop's biggest threat in his half of the draw is fourth seed Karim Darwish, the only two-time winner of the title in the draw. The World No.5 from Cairo, champion in 2008 and 2010, begins his latest campaign against a qualifier before an expected quarter-final meeting with compatriot Tarek Momen, the new No.8 seed.
The 2013 Qatar Classic, the seventh PSA World Series event of the year and one of the leading events on the PSA World Tour since 1992, takes place at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in the Qatar capital Doha Nov 10-15, following two days of qualifying.
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