11-Oct-11: After the Draws, comes the Analysis ...           Full Draws
PSA Preview:
Matthew Seeded To Retain
World Title In Rotterdam

Defending champion Nick Matthew, the world number one from England, is expected to retain his title in next month's PSA World Open, according to the draw for the sport's most prestigious event made in Rotterdam.

The 2011 championship, featuring a stunning line-up including five former world champions and seven world number ones, will be held for the first time in Rotterdam, from 28 October to 6 November.

After qualifying and early rounds at the renowned Victoria Squash club, the event will move onto an ASB all-glass court which will be erected on the podium of the New Luxor Theatre in the Dutch City of Sports.

Matthew, who became England's first ever world champion in Saudi Arabia last year, begins the defence of his title against a qualifier - and is expected to meet his first seeded opponent in the last 16 round when he faces Egypt's Mohamed El Shorbagy, the 20-year-old world No8 from Egypt in only his fourth appearance in the championship.

The 31-year-old from Sheffield's predicted quarter-final opponent is England team-mate Peter Barker, the world No7 from London. And Egyptian rival Karim Darwish, the No3 seed from Cairo, is his expected semi-final opponent before the expected clash with Egypt's world No2 Ramy Ashour in the final.

Ashour, winner of the 2008 event in England and already champion of three PSA World Series events in 2011, also begins his Rotterdam campaign against a qualifier. The 24-year-old from Cairo would expect to meet top-ranked Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in the quarter-finals, before a semi-final clash with England's James Willstrop, the fourth seed.

The field features three players competing in their 12th successive championships after making their debuts in Qatar in 1998 - though France's Thierry Lincou also first attempted to qualify 14 years ago in 1997.

Like Egypt's Amr Shabana and Australian David Palmer, Lincou is both a former world number one and a former world champion, and begins his 2011 campaign against a qualifier.

Shabana is bidding to emulate Pakistani legends Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan by becoming only the third player in history to win the title a fifth time. The 32-year-old from Cairo won the crown in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009. Boosted by his title triumph in this month's US Open in Philadelphia, the fifth seed begins his 2011 campaign against a qualifier.

Palmer, the 35-year-old who famously won his first of two world titles in his then home country of Belgium in 2002 after saving match-balls in the final, is seeded eight - his first opponent being Scotland's Alan Clyne.

Dutch interest will be led by Laurens Jan Anjema, the six-time national champion from The Hague who is the 12th seed. Anjema, winner of this week's new PSA International 35 NetSuite Open in the USA, will be making his eighth appearance in the event - and looking to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.

Malaysian interest in the 2011 World Open will be very much focussed in the lower half of the draw where it two leading players Azlan Iskandar, the No13 seed, and Ong Beng Hee, the former world No7, have been drawn against each other in the first round!
WISPA Preview:
David Eyes up Super Sixth
World Title in Rotterdam

The Women’s World Open 2011 draw was made in Rotterdam yesterday in front of the distinguished guests and the Dutch media, and World no.1 and defending champion Nicol David was duly installed as top seed and favourite to lift her sixth title.

Overseen by WISPA Tour Director Tim Garner, the names were drawn by City Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb assisted by former World Champion Vanessa Atkinson. Featuring players from 25 different countries the event will take place for the first time in Rotterdam, aptly known as the City of Sports, from 29th October at Victoria Squash Club culminating in the grand final at the New Luxor Theatre on 6th November.

Despite having lost in the US Open last week, Malaysian Nicol David remains hot favourite in to retain the trophy she lifted in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, last year. However if she beats compatriot Delia Arnold and then her seeded opponent Donna Urquhart, she finds last week’s conqueror Kasey Brown potentially blocking her path in the quarter-finals!

Brown’s path to the quarters is far from simple facing what is sure to be a vociferous crowd backing local wildcard Orla Noom in the first round and then one of the form players Egyptian Raneem El Weleily in the Last 16. El Weleily showed her class two weeks ago winning the Carol Weymuller Open and beating 4 top 10 players in doing so!

Local favourite Natalie Grinham finds herself in a tough section of the draw, but the former World no.2 will be keen to delight home fans. Assuming she negotiates her way past a qualifier she is seeded to come up against 4th seed Madeline Perry. The Irish woman has enjoyed a renaissance in recent months winning the CIMB Singapore Masters and reaching the semi-finals of the US Open. Also in that section are former World no.3 Alison Waters, who is on her way back after injury, talented French woman Camille Serme and World Junior Champion Nour El Tayeb!

Third seed Rachel Grinham tops the bottom half of the draw, but faces a tricky path to the semi-finals. If she is able to get past a qualifier and then Mexican Samantha Teran, she faces a potential quarter-final berth against mercurial Omneya Abdel Kawy or WISPA President Jaclyn Hawkes. Grinham will no doubt hope that Hawkes can repeat her victory over Kawy in Singapore given Grinham has always found Kawy a nemesis despite her superior ranking.

The final quarter of the draw also has the potential for fire-works with a rematch possible between second seed Jenny Duncalf and fifth seed Laura Massaro. The British no.1 and 2 played in the recent US Open where Massaro caused an upset beating her more illustrious opponent. Having also beaten her in the British Nationals earlier in the year, Duncalf whilst wary of the dangers will be keen for revenge. Both players also face tricky, if different, challenges earlier on with Massaro set to take on the silky racket skills of Annie Au, while Duncalf is seeded to play athletic Kiwi Joelle King.

The quality of the field befits an event of the stature of the World Open and squash fans from across the globe are sure to tune in to see if Malaysian starlet Nicol David can continue her dominance of the championship or if some is ready to step and wrestle the title from her. What can be sure is that the person who lifts the trophy on November 6th will deserve to be the champion of the World.

Full Draws

Tickets for the later stages at Luxor Theatre are still available.
Entry to every session at Victoria Squash is FREE OF CHARGE
Rotterdam's Luxor
and Victoria Squash and plays host to the World Open Squash 2011.
Five for David
Nicol David claims her fifth World Open ...
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