World No. 1 and World Champion to lead World Series Finals draw

Ramy Ashour and England`s new World Open champion Nick Matthew will lead the eight-man field for next year`s ATCO PSA World Series Squash Finals in London.

Updated: Dec 22, 2010, 11:44 AM IST

New Delhi: Egypt`s world number one Ramy Ashour and England`s new World Open champion Nick Matthew will lead the eight-man field for next year`s ATCO PSA World Series Squash Finals in London.

The ATCO PSA World Series Finals, which will be staged at The Queen`s Club from January 11-15, is the culmination of the 2010 PSA Super Series tour - the tenth and last event of which, the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters, reached its climax on Sunday here.

Formerly known as the "Super Series Finals", the Queen`s Club event will see the world`s eight top male players competing for the Tour championship title and the highest first prize ever played for in the UK and Europe.

Matthew and Ashour, the 2007 champion, will be joined by Egyptians Karim Darwish, Amr Shabana and Wael El Hindi; Frenchman Thierry Lincou; and Englishmen James Willstrop and event debutant Peter Barker.

France`s defending champion Gregory Gaultier also qualified for the event, but has been forced to withdraw after injuring his hamstring in this month`s Saudi PSA World Open. The 2008 and 2009 champion will be out of action until February.

Ramy Ashour had an unassailable lead at the top of the 2010 PSA Super Series Rankings before the PSA Masters, after triumphs in the Hong Kong Open, the British Grand Prix and the Kuwait Open.

Nick Matthew, the 30-year-old from Sheffield who followed his double gold medal success in the Commonwealth Games in October by becoming England`s first ever world champion in Saudi Arabia last week, claimed Super Series titles this year at the North American and Australian Opens, at the Sky Open in Egypt, and finally at the PSA Masters in India.

The eight players will play best-of-three-game matches in two pools of four from Tuesday to Thursday (January 11-13) before best-of-five game semi-finals on Friday January 14, followed by the Grand Final on Saturday January 15.

"After consultation with players, the promoters and the venue, we have decided to make all the pool stage matches over the first three days `best of three games` - to add a new element of excitement and competitiveness, as our top eight players battle for places in the semi-finals," said PSA COO Lee Beachill.

The World Series Finals will take place in an iconic inflatable structure, specifically created for the show-piece event. Inside the structure, the `Z-Court` will contain the very latest in squash-viewing - enabling uninterrupted 360 degree views of the action.

The purple glass court features innovative lighting and natural flooring, and combined with the new coloured ball has been specifically developed to capture the speed of the game on camera and produce the best quality viewing experience.

PTI