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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

NAO: Shabana v Palmer in First Round

Alan Thatcherhttps://squashmad.com
Founder of World Squash Day, Squash Mad and the new Squash 200 Partnership, building clubs of the future. Founder of the Kent Open and co-promoter of the St. James's Place Canary Wharf Classic. Author and Public Speaker.

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NAO FIRST ROUND SHOWDOWNS:

Great matches to watch out for:

Ramy Ashour v Adrian Grant: Grant is one of the fittest guys on the tour and will be out to spring a major shock in Richmond.

David Palmer v Amr Shabana: A fascinating first round clash between two former world champions. Normally you would only see this kind of match-up at the quarter-final stages but the new PSA seeding system, with fewer seeds in each event, makes for a fascinatingly random rollercoaster of a draw in each tournament. It certainly makes for more exciting matches earlier in the draw!

Shahier Razik v Gilly Lane

The Canadian number one versus the US wild card. Get set for a battle that will be physically and mentally draining. Razik has several marathon victories under his belt, a sure testimony to his composure under pressure. Gilly Lane is keen to make his mark on the game and there is nowhere better to produce winning performances than on home soil. A great student of the game, he is travelling the world learning his craft and will be hoping for some home backing from the Richmond crowd.

Stewart Boswell v Alister Walker

This could be another marathon. Here are two solid, resilient competitors who are evenly matched and seem comfortable in the immense physical cauldron of prolonged rallies. Boswell is approaching veteran status but clearly still loving the sport. Walker has recently uprooted his home base in Yorkshire to move to the US and will be aiming for some key victories to make his move a successful one. He waved goodbye to England with a pop at the national federation’s coaching set-up, so he might not be heading back that way for a while.

Daryl Selby v Azlan Iskander

Daryl Selby has cemented a place in the world top ten after two years of solid, professional performances. This could be a classic encounter with the talented Malaysian Iskander seeking the results that could lead to his ranking matching his potential.

Peter Barker v Wael El Hindi

Another battle you would not have seen in previous years at this stage of the competition. The seeds are not given so much protection any more and so the US-based El Hindi will be very keen to remind people that he was a top eight player until recently. Barker has worked hard on improving his game, often spending time on court with his great mentor Peter Nicol, a fellow left-hander, and spent most of last year in the top eight of the rankings.

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