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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Megan Craig’s battle of the sexes in NZ

Lee Hortonhttps://squashmad.com
Former Sun, Mirror, People and Sunday Express sports executive. Knows a bit about newspapers and the art of talking a good game. Brighter than some but a way to go to match others.

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Megan Craig in action
Megan Craig in action

Megan puts best foot forward in Wellington 

Megan Craig will be a prominent name in both the men’s and women’s draws at the Wellington Squash Open this weekend.

New Zealand’s No 1 female squash player has entered both competitions to maintain the high level she has been playing at this season.

For the first time, New Zealand hosted three female World Squash Association tour events this year, with Craig winning the Christchurch International, runner-up in the Southern Open and a beaten semifinalist in the New Zealand International Classic.

Craig said she thrived playing in front of a home crowd.

“There’s not so much pressure of the money spent to get there, you can go to somewhere like Canada but only get one match if you lose, it’s a long way to go for just that.”

The Wellington Open will be her last event before she takes a few weeks off to rest ahead of the Victorian and Australian Opens in Melbourne in July.

Top female players entering the men’s draw in this kind of tournament is nothing new, with Craig having won two men’s events in the past.

“In New Zealand events I normally try and play the men’s as well because we don’t have as many women, I like having a big run round and as many games as I can,” Craig said.

The 22-year-old should comfortably account for the other seven women in the women’s draw, but will have a tougher time in the men’s as she is likely to face Evan Williams if she makes the semifinal.

The Wellington player has been resurgent this season after coming back from wrist surgery and has seen his world ranking climb from 183 at the start of May to 114 this week on the back of two pro tour wins.

Craig said her targets for the year include defending her national title in August, qualifying for the main draw of the World Championships in Malaysia in December and getting her world ranking inside the top 30 for the first time (currently 49).

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