• Start it up: El Shorbagy, Rodriguez lead strong 2019 Motor City Open field

    Bloomfield Hills, Mich. – Are you ready to rumble?

    The 2019 Motor City Open presented by the Suburban Collection opens play this Tuesday, January 29, as eight of the world’s Top 20 lead a competitive field vying for the crown.

    The favorite will be defending champion and top seed Marwan El Shorbagy who defeated New Zealand’s Paul Coll in an epic five-setter last year. El Shorbagy is one of four former champions returning to the Birmingham Athletic Club for the 20th annual MCO.

    Eye on ball: Marwan Shorbagy shows perfect form in a long rally with Paul Coll. (Photo by Bryan Mitchell for MCO)

    Top seed Marwan El Shorbagy of Egypt looks defend his 2018 crown. (Photo by Bryan Mitchell for MCO)

    Not returning will be Coll whose spot as #2 seed will be filled by World #6 Miguel Rodriguez of Columbia. One of the most exciting players on tour, the relentless Rodriguez won the MCO in 2015. He lost in the semis last year to Egypt’s’ El Shorbagy.

    Third seed is another Egyptian hopeful, Mohamed Abouelghar, currently World #10. He will be followed by four-seed Diego Elias of Peru (World #11), 2017 champ and five-seed Ryan Cuskelly (World #14), #6-seed Raphael Kandra of Germany (World #15), Egyptian Omar Mossad (World #17) at the seventh spot, and eight-seed Nicolas Mueller of Switserland.

    Mueller, currently #18 in the world, has vaulted in the rankings since his narrow loss to Coll in the semifinals here last year when he was ranked #27. Five-seed Cuskelly has been a crowd favorite at the MCO, and will be seeking to recapture the magic of his 2017 win when he downed Ali Farag, rising World #1 and winner of last weekend’s Tournament of Champions in New York.

    Defending champ - and $5 seed - Ryan Cuskelly of Australia took care of business in his first round win over Gregoire Marche of France. (Photo by Bryan Mitchell for MCO)

    Fifth seed Ryan Cuskelly of Australia looks to rekindle the form that won him the 2017 MCO title. (Photo by Bryan Mitchell for MCO)

    Other notables in this year’s field include unseeded veteran Olli Tuominen for Finland who won the MCO title in 2007.

    First round play gets under way at 4 PM Tuesday afternoon. The top eight seeds get a first-round bye and will be first in action in Wednesday’s Round of 16.

    Finals will be held Saturday, February 2 at 6.30 PM.

    The MCO is the second-longest running pro squash tourney in the US. In addition to his take of the $75,000 total purse, the champion will take home a Longines watch from Greenstone’s Jewelers.

    A charity auction will be held in conjunction with the MCO with proceeds to benefit Racquet Up Detroit, a youth development program that combines squash, mentoring, and community service. Racquet Up juniors will be among those participating in the MCO’s Junior Clinic where tourney pros coach young players from the greater-Detroit area and Windsor.

    Miguel Angel Rodriguez was everywhere in his five-game, comeback visotry over Egypts' Mohamed Abouelghar. (MCO photo)

    The dynamic Miguel Angel Rodriguez won here in 2015 and is seeded #2. Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar will be seeded right behind him at #3. (MCO photo)

    MCO SCHEDULE

    First Round: Tuesday, Jan. 29, match starts scheduled 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
    Second Round: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
    Quarter Finals: Thursday, Jan. 31, 6:30 p.m. – 7.30 p.m.
    Semi-Finals: Friday, Feb. 1, 6:30 p.m. – 7.30 p.m.
    Finals: Saturday, Feb. 2, 6:30 p.m.

    LOCATION:
    Birmingham Athletic Club
    4033 W. Maple Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI

    FOR TICKETS AND INFORMATION CONTACT: Julian Wellings, MCO Squash Director, 248.646.5050, jwellings@bacmi.net

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *