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Riyadh gears up for Saudi Women’s Masters squash tournament

Nour El-Sherbini is the top seed for the PSA Women’s Masters event in Riyadh. (Reuters)
LONDON: World champion Nour El-Sherbini and France’s Camille Serme are seeded to meet in the final of the inaugural Saudi PSA Women’s Squash Masters after the main draw for the World Series tournament was released.
The Saudi Women’s Masters is set to be the first women’s professional squash tournament to take place in Saudi Arabia and will be held between Nov. 26 and Dec. 1 in Riyadh.
It will be the third women’s World Series tournament of the 2017/18 season, following the US Open presented by Macquarie Investment Management and the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open, and El-Sherbini stars in a strong draw that sees her seeded to meet compatriot and world No. 5 Nouran Gohar in the last four.
No. 2 seed Camille Serme is also involved and she is seeded to meet eight-time world champion Nicol David in the quarter-finals. Serme, who will meet a yet-to-be-confirmed wildcard in round one, has never beaten the Malaysian legend in 16 previous attempts but she will need to break that unwanted streak if she is to play to her seeding, with world No.2 Raneem El-Welily seeded to meet the winner in the semifinals.
In addition to the lucrative $165,000 prize fund up for grabs, the world’s top players will also be battling for points on the PSA World Series Standings.
After her victory over Raneem El-Welily in the final of the US Open, Egyptian world No. 8 Nour El-Tayeb heads up the standings and every point will be vital as players bid to earn a top-eight berth by the end of the season to qualify for June’s lucrative PSA World Series Finals in Dubai.
The Saudi Women's Masters will be a boon for women’s sport in the Kingdom.
“We believe that the Saudi PSA Women’s Squash Masters will have a crucial role in promoting squash to a new generation of Saudi women,” said PSA Chairman, Saudi businessman and Saudi Squash Federation President, Ziad Al-Turki. “We are delighted to showcase the sport’s leading female players and look forward to the tournament forming an integral part of the 2017/18 PSA World Tour calendar, while simultaneously contributing to the growth of the sport across the region. The support of Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan (President of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports) has been instrumental in putting on this event and I am pleased to be working with her to ensure the successful delivery of this tournament.”