The world's best players will head to New Delhi next week to compete in the ninth and final PSA World Series squash event of the year, the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters which is marking its third successive year in India.
Top seed in the $165,000 championship at the Siri Fort Complex - organised by KWAN Entertainment and Marketing Solutions Private Limited - will be Nick Matthew, the 31-year-old whose title triumph in the event a year ago took the Englishman to the top of January's PSA world rankings, a position he has held throughout the year.
Matthew is making a comeback after being forced to withdraw midway through last month's PSA World Series Kuwait PSA Cup with an adductor injury. The Yorkshireman opens his 2011 Masters campaign against Australian Ryan Cuskelly.
Matthew is expected to face Egyptian rival Ramy Ashour in the final on Sunday 18 December. Ashour, the previous world number one, is also returning to the PSA Tour, after a hamstring injury caused his withdrawal from the PSA World Open in November.
Ashour - winner of three World Series titles this year, in the USA, Australia and England - faces Malaysia's Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan in the first round.
But the man in form currently is England's James Willstrop, winner of back-to-back World Series titles, the Hong Kong Open and PSA Cup. Runner-up to compatriot Matthew in last year's Delhi final, fourth seed Willstrop opens his 2011 campaign against rising Swiss star Nicolas Mueller - and is scheduled to meet Ashour in the semi-finals.
The event is also the last chance for players to fight for places in next year's ATCO PSA World Series Finals - the event in London in January which will star the top eight players in the 2011 Dunlop PSA World Series Standings.
Matthew and Willstrop currently jointly head the list - with Ashour, fellow Egyptians Amr Shabana and Karim Darwish, plus Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, assured of places in the Queen's Club event. It seems unlikely that seventh-placed Englishman Peter Barker, a quarter-finalist in each of the eight events to date, will not qualify - but the eighth place is still open.
Malaysian Mohd Azlan Iskandar, currently at No8, faces fellow countryman Ong Beng Hee as he begins his bid to consolidate his place in the draw. The most likely 'outsider' is Laurens Jan Anjema - but the Dutchman, who faces German Simon Rosner in the first round, needs to achieve his best ever World Series finish to oust Iskandar.
Among those for whom outright victory could give them a place in the Queen's line-up are Mueller, England's Tom Richards and Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy.
Punj Lloyd PSA Masters 1st round draw:
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY) v Tom Richards (ENG)
Adrian Grant (ENG) v Borja Golan (ESP)
 Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Chris Ryder (ENG)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) v Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) v Siddharth Suchde (IND)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
Alister Walker (BOT) v Alan Clyne (SCO)
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) v Simon Rosner (GER)
 Daryl Selby (ENG) v Mohammed Abbas (EGY)
 Peter Barker (ENG) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
Julian Illingworth (USA) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Jonathan Kemp (ENG)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
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