World No.1 Nicol David will be looking to add title number 61 to her WSA haul next week as she and the world’s top stars head to the WSA World Series $95K Allam British Open Championships at the O2 Arena in London, England from May 15-20.
Malaysia’s six–time World Open champion will have the chance to equal current British Open champion Rachael Grinham’s four titles, if she can replicate the form that saw her lift the ATCO World Series Finals in London in January.
Rachael Grinham is the third-most successful player in British Open history, having won the title in 2003, 2004 and 2007 and most recently in 2009, after which the event suffered a two-year absence from both the WSA and PSA calendars.
However, both players have some work to do to catch the most successful British Open winners, Susan Devoy and Michelle Martin. Former New Zealand international Devoy won eight British Open events between 1984-92, and Martin won six titles in the mid-90’s.
Hoping to close the gap on these legends of the women’s game, David is looking forward to the challenge of competing in the rejuvenated tournament.
“This year’s British Open is going to be a spectacular event, especially as it is held in London during the Olympic year. Everyone is also very pleased that the tournament is back on again after two years out of the WSA World Tour circuit. It’ll be the biggest British Open I’ll ever be participating in as the title sponsor Allam has raised the prize money for the WSA to make it a top tier World Series event.
“The O2 Arena is going to be the highlight of this tournament and I’m sure all the players are looking forward to play in this amazing set-up coming into the later stages of the event.”
Top seed David and sixth seed Grinham feature in the same half of the draw, and could face each other in the quarter final. David plays a qualifier to open her bid for the title, while Rachel will face England’s Emma Beddoes in the first round of the event.
British hopes will be shouldered by number two seed Jenny Duncalf who faces Delia Arnold of Malaysia, while third seed Laura Massaro will face an as yet unknown qualifier. Attention will also be focussed on another home hope, the former world number three and in-form wildcard entrant Alison Waters, who has won three consecutive tournaments. Waters, coming back from a long-term injury, lines up against 13th seed Low Wee Wern.
WSA Chairman Ingrid Lofdahl-Bentzer has spoken of her delight at the return of the ‘Wimbledon of Squash’ to the WSA World Tour calendar: “Thanks to Mr Allam and England Squash’s determination to resurrect this prestigious event, we will again see some fierce competition for one of the most coveted titles of them all. The WSA are proud to field all of their top players, representing over ten nations, with an eclectic mix of experience and youth”.
The journey to the WSA Allam British Open title begins at the renowned St Georges Hill Country Club for the hotly contested qualifying rounds, as well as the first round draws, to be held over the weekend of May 13-15, before moving to the O2 Arena.
1st round – 15th May 2012
 Nicol David (MAS) v Qualifier
 Samantha Teran (MEX) v Qualifier
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Emma Beddoes (ENG)
 Joelle King (NZL) v Qualifier
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v Qualifier
 Natalie Grinham (NED) v Qualifier
 Kasey Brown (AUS) v Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v Sarah Kippax (ENG)
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) v Alison Waters (ENG)
 Annie Au (HKG) v Qualifier
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Joey Chan (HKG)
 Madeline Perry (IRL) v Qualifier
 Dipika Pallikal (IND) v Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)
 Raneem El Weleily (EGY) v Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Donna Urquhart (AUS) v Qualifier
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v Delia Arnold (MAS)