August 22, 2013: France’s world No2 Gregory Gaultier will be hoping to make amends for a runner-up finish last year by winning the men’s title in the 2013 Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships – the first PSA World Series event of the second half the year at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
The $230,000 championships, from 9-18 October, will make history by being the first major event in the sport to provide equal prize money for both the women’s and men’s events.
Former world No1 Gaultier heads a star-studded men’s U.S. Open field which includes four further world number ones.
The 2006 champion from Aix-en-Provence will take on US wildcard Christopher Gordon in the opening round. New York-born Gordon, ranked 45 in the world, made a significant breakthrough in March when he won the US National title for the first time – against expectations.
Top seed Gaultier is expected to meet English rival James Willstrop in the final. The second seed from Harrogate in Yorkshire has been a semi-finalist in his last three appearances in the championships – but reached the final in 2007.
It was his England team-mate and fellow former world No1 Nick Matthew who emerged triumphant in the 2007 final. The world No4 from Sheffield, who opens his 2013 campaign against a qualifier, is expected to meet Willstrop in the semi-finals. Willstrop plays fellow countryman Chris Simpson in the first round.
Fourth seed Karim Darwish, also a former world No1, will be hoping to maintain Egypt’s stranglehold on the title since 2009. He is supported by fifth-seeded compatriot Mohamed Elshorbagy.
But it is Egypt’s seventh seed Amr Shabana who is the only two-time champion in the draw. A number one for 33 months in a row from April 2006, Shabana won the title in 2009 and 2011 and first reached the final in 2006.
World No35 Julian Illingworth leads US interest in the event. The eight-time national champion from New York faces top-ranked German Simon Rosner in the opening round.
World No1 Ramy Ashour will not be returning to defend his title, citing personal reasons. Ashour has been travelling nonstop promoting the sport in an effort to secure a bid in the 2020 Olympics.
“It very much saddens me not to take part in the amazing, prestigious U.S. Open event and not to be able to defend my title,” said the Egyptian. “I am sure the event will be a great success as it has always been and will keep growing with the support of the passionate sponsors and U.S. Squash.”
U.S. Squash CEO Kevin Klipstein said: “We are going to miss having Ramy at the 2013 U.S. Open. We’re proud to have him as our 2012 champion, and the sport should be very proud and appreciative to have our world No. 1’s put so much into the 2020 Olympic bid campaign and be willing to serve as the face of the sport to promote squash and our chances to be included in the Olympic Games. We look forward to welcoming him back next year.”
Men’s 1st round draw:
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [WC] Christopher Gordon (USA)
Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v Qualifier
 Borja Golan (ESP) v Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
Alan Clyne (SCO) v Qualifier
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v Qualifier
 Karim Darwish (EGY) v Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Qualifier
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Qualifier
Henrik Mustonen (FIN) v Joe Lee (ENG)
 Peter Barker (ENG) v Qualifier
 Amr Shabana (EGY) v Qualifier
Simon Rosner (GER) v Julian Illingworth (USA)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Qualifier
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Chris Simpson (ENG). —- Will Shand