Paul Coll with the 2022 British Open trophy.
Paul Coll with the 2022 British Open trophy.

Analysing the Men’s Title Contenders

The British Open is the oldest event on the PSA calendar, dating back to 1930, and heads to Birmingham for the first time since 2001 this season with 48 men looking to add their name to impressive list of winners when the Platinum event takes place between April 9-16 at Birmingham Rep and Edgbaston Priory Club.

Squash fans can get their tickets to watch all the drama here.

Mostafa Asal is currently suspended, therefore he is guaranteed to lose his World No.1 spot to either World No.2 Diego Elias or British No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy. The chasing pair both had chances to claim the top spot from Asal within March but haven’t managed to do so. But with the 21-year-old losing semi-final points from last year, Elias is in pole position to take over the top spot but if ElShorbagy wins the event or reaches the final with Elias not progressing past the semi-final, he will be back to World No.1 for the first time since August 2021.

Reigning champion Paul Coll and World Champion Ali Farag are also inside the top four seeds and also have major claims to the next Platinum title up for grabs. We’ve broken down the form and chances of all the top four seeds heading into this year’s competition.

Diego Elias

The Peruvian Puma has seen three chances to lead the world rankings come and go after early defeats in the Black Ball Open, Canary Wharf Classic and Optasia Championships. The 26-year-old was in the form of his life at the start of the year, completing a hat-trick of wins at the Tournament of Champions, Motor City Open and Pittsburgh Open, can he recapture that form at the next Platinum event of the season in Birmingham?

He faces extremely tough opposition in round two of the event as not only will he be taking on Wales’ World No.10 Joel Makin, but he will play him on a traditional court, one that Makin practices on nearly every day, as the early rounds are taking place at the Welshman’s home club, Edgbaston Priory.

Mohamed ElShorbagy

Mohamed ElShorbagy is a three-time British Open champion

The Three-time British Open champion will be looking to add a fourth to his collection in Birmingham next week as he features in the prestigious event for the 12th time in his career. ‘The Beast picked up his fifth title of the season at the Black Ball Open last month and looked sure to be taking his place at the peak of the PSA World rankings once again.

However, an injury to the World No.3 plagued him during his match against Ali Farag in Canary Wharf and it still wasn’t right at the Optasia Championships as he lost in his opening match. But if we’ve learnt anything from ElShorbagy’s career it is one thing…you can never, ever write him off.

If the England No.1 can defeat either Farkas or Cardenas in round two, he’s due to face the winner of in-form Karim Abdel Gawad or Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez (who beat ElShorbagy in January). But with the absence of Asal, ElShorbagy is still capable of regaining the World No.1 spot, if he can better the result of Elias.

Ali Farag

Reigning World Champion Ali Farag returned to PSA action in February this year after recovering from a knee injury that he sustained at the U.S. Open in October 2022. Since his return, he has reached at least the quarter finals of each event he has played and has been gathering momentum every step of the way.

Farag comes into this year’s British Open still without ever picking up the title. He has been the runner-up for the last three years in the event, but a new location for the Platinum event may provide new fortunes for the World No.5.

Farag is the No.2 seed for the tournament and if all goes well for him, he will not face anyone seeded within the top 16 until the quarter final stage, where he is seeded to meet with compatriot Tarek Momen, with whom he has only lost once to in the last 12 matches. If the body can stay healthy, there could be a brand new British Open winner come Sunday April 16th.

Paul Coll

Paul Coll celebrates his semi-final victory against Ali Farag in Canary Wharf

New Zealand’s Paul Coll is on for a third successive British Open title as he heads to Birmingham next week. Coll became the first Kiwi male to win the title back in 2021 and repeated that success again last April as he again defeated Ali Farag in the final.

Coll hadn’t been in the form that he is capable of this season but after clinching the Canary Wharf Classic title in confident fashion, ‘Superman’ will be hoping that the form is back for a strong finish to the season.

The World No.4 is due to face Eain Yow Ng in his opening match of the tournament in round two then 9/16 seed Saurav Ghosal followed by No.6 seed Marwan ElShorbagy if all seedings are met. Coll is situated in the bottom half of the draw and if he can achieve his seeding and reach the semi-finals, he could be up against the winner of No.1 seed Elias and Joel Makin, who might have had a lot of energy taken out of them as the semi-finals come around. The stars just might align for Coll to claim a British Open hat-trick in a place he often travels to work with his coach, Rob Owen.

Squash fans will be able to watch all the RD1 and RD2 action from the traditional courts on the British Open website, before action from the Rep for the third round onwards will be streamed live on SQUASHTV.

Stay tuned for tomorrow when we’ll be looking at the main contenders for the women’s crown.