By Howard Harding
Egypt’s reigning World No.1 Ramy Ashour is set to play his first ever match on Swedish soil when the 2014 Case Swedish Open gets underway in Linköping in February.
The top-seeded 26-year-old from Cairo will make his Swedish debut against top-ranked German Simon Rosner in the 11th staging of the biggest PSA World Tour event in continental Europe at Linköping Sporthall.
“It will be very exciting to play the Case Swedish Open since I have heard so many great things about this professional tournament and it will be the first time I play a tournament in Sweden,” Ashour told the event’s website www.swedishopensquash.se/en
Tournament director Fredrik Johnson, who launched the event in 2002, added: “The fact that we now have the world number one Ashour for the Case Swedish Open is probably the best thing that has happened so far to this world class event and it ensures that we again have a world event to look forward to here in Sweden.”
France’s defending Swedish Open champion Gregory Gaultier, looking for a third successive title, is the event’s No.2 seed and faces a qualifier in the opening round.
England’s Nick Matthew, three times the champion from 2009-2011, is the No.3 seed – but will be bidding to make the final for a sixth successive time since 2004. The 33-year-old World Champion from Sheffield takes on England team-mate Tom Richards in the opening round – and is expected to line up against Gaultier in the semis, in a repeat of November’s PSA World Championship final.
Fourth seed Borja Golan, the World No.7, will also be making his Swedish Open debut. The highest-ranked Spaniard of all-time, who reached the first PSA World Series final of his career at this month’s Hong Kong Open, begins his campaign against a qualifier.