Laura Massaro and Raneem El Welily out to stop Nicol David from adding to her haul of silverware in Hull
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent
Malaysia’s Nicol David is seeded to win her sixth British Open title in Hull later this year after the announcement this week of the women’s draw for the 2015 Allam British Open Squash Championships.
The WSA World Series event will take place at the Yorkshire city’s Airco Arena from May 11-17, with players from 46 countries competing in both the men’s and women’s championships.
Hull City FC owner Dr Allam, who recently extended his sponsorship of the prestigious tournament for a further three years, has been instrumental in leading the way for squash on the global stage with his ongoing sponsorship and commitment to equal prize money for men and women by 2017.
“I am delighted to welcome the world’s best squash players back to Hull to compete for the Allam British Open title,” said Dr Allam today. “Squash is a great passion of mine and to bring these amazing athletes from all corners of the globe to the UK, and particularly Hull East Yorkshire, is an enormous pleasure.
“I look forward to watching some great matches, seeing the best of both men and woman in action, and seeing new talent coming through – all competing for this world-famous title.”
Nicol David, who earlier this year became the longest-reigning world number one of all-time, is expected to reach her eighth British Open final since 2005 and defend the title she won for the fifth time last year in Hull.
The 31-year-old from Penang is due to face a qualifier in the opening round – and faces the prospect of a semi-final battle with local favourite Laura Massaro in a repeat of the 2013 and 2014 finals.
It was two years ago that Massaro, now ranked three in the world, won the title to become first English winner of the women’s trophy since 1991!
Egyptian Raneem El Welily is expected to meet David in the 2015 final. The world No.2 from Cairo is enjoying the best run of her career, and earlier this month celebrated her fourth successive WSA Tour final appearance by beating David to win the WSA World Series Windy City Open title.
The 2015 British Open welcomes back two of WSA’s biggest names: Natalie Grinham, the former world No.2 from the Netherlands who was runner-up in 2005, will make her first appearance since 2013 following the birth of her second child last July.
Joelle King (right), the former world No.4 from New Zealand, will be playing her first WSA Tour match since last year’s British Open after rupturing her Achilles tendon in the NZ national championship final last August.
Rising English star Fiona Moverley, who hails from Hull, has been guaranteed a place in the qualifying draw: “I’m beyond excited to be involved in such a huge event in my home city,” said the 28-year-old world No.81.
“I didn’t play in the previous two years so to actually be playing in 2015 means the world to me. I’m hoping I can put on a good show in front of a passionate local crowd.”
Allam British Open, First Round Draw:
 Nicol David (MAS) v Qualifier
 Emma Beddoes (ENG) v Natalie Grinham (NED)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Qualifier
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v Joshana Chinappa (IND)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Qualifier
 Joelle King (NZL) v Qualifier
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) v Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v Joey Chan (HKG)
 Dipika Pallikal (IND) v Emily Whitlock (ENG)
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v Qualifier
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Heba El Torky (EGY)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v Qualifier
 Annie Au (HKG) v Nicolette Fernandes (GUY)
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Qualifier
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v Qualifier
For all the latest WSA Tour news: wsaworldtour.com
Pictures by MARIAN KRAUS and from Squash Mad archive