Ashour Gets Dream First Round Draw

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Defending champion Ramy Ashour has been handed a dream first round draw at the 2012 Australian Open, with the Egyptian set to face a qualifier in his opening match.

Ashour will be the overwhelming favourite to win his second Australian Open in succession after main rivals Nick Matthew and James Willstrop elected not to make the trip to Canberra this year.

The Australian Open will be held in the nation’s capital from August 13-19, the third year in a row that Canberra has hosted the tournament.

Ashour will likely take on Malaysian Nafiizwan Adnan in the second round and could face Australian number one Cameron Pilley in the semi-finals.

Pilley also opens against a qualifier but could then have to get past a pair of Egyptians – Omar Abdel Aziz and third seed Omar Mosaad – if he is to make the final four.

Second seeded Englishman Peter Barker has a tricky start against rising Hong Kong star Max Lee before a probable clash with Czech number one Jan Koukal.

Ryan Cuskelly will take on dangerous Kuwaiti Abdullah Al Muzayen in his first match, while fellow New South Welshman Matthew Karwalski is up against Mosaad.

There is one all-Australian clash, with Brisbane’s Zac Alexander drawn to face Victorian wildcard Rex Hedrick.

With women’s entries closing later Tuesday, eight of the top 10 have confirmed they will travel to Canberra.

Malaysia’s Nicol David will defend her crown and will be joined in the field by English duo Jenny Duncalf and Laura Massaro and 2010 champion Madeline Perry of Ireland.

Former champions Annie Au (Hong Kong), Joelle King (New Zealand) and Rachael Grinham and Kasey Brown (both Australia) will also be in Canberra in August.

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Nicol David, Founder
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