Malaysian superstar aims for her sixth British Open title but rival Raneem could topple her from the top spot
By SCARLETT SMITH in Hull
The world’s number one female squash player, Nicol David begins her title defence in Hull tomorrow as she aims for an incredible sixth British Open victory.
The Malaysian is one of the sport’s greatest-ever players with a record eight World Open titles to her name. She is aiming for her 100th final appearance in Hull.
Speaking ahead of her match against Welsh qualifier Tesni Evans, the 31-year-old said: “The British Open is so special because it’s one of the most prestigious events ever held, apart from the World Championships. And it’s the longest-running squash tournament, so everyone wants to win it!”
David will have to fight off challenges from British pair Alison Waters and Laura Massaro. Massaro, the 2013 British Open champion, is making a return to competitive squash after taking a six-week break from the world tour to rest and recharge her batteries.
The world number two, Egyptian Raneem El Welily, will also be on the hunt for her first British Open title.
Welily beat David in the recent Chicago final, and held four match balls in the last World Championship final in Cairo, and she knows that victory here in Hull will propel her to number one in the world, and finally end David’s phenomenal run at the top of the rankings.
Round one in the Men’s and Women’s draws today, with action split between the Airco Arena and the University of Hull as the last sixteens are decided.
Men’s Round One (bottom half):
13.00  Tarek Momen (Egy) v [wc] Adrian Waller (Eng)
15.00  Omar Mosaad (Egy) v Max Lee (Hkg)
20.00  Miguel Rodriguez (Col) v Chris Simpson (Eng)
21.00  Gregory Gaultier (Fra) v [Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
University of Hull:
14.00 [UH] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) v Cameron Pilley (Aus)
15.00 [UH] Stephen Coppinger (Rsa) v [Q] Zahed Mohamed (Egy)
20.00 [UH] Mazen Hesham (Egy) v [Q] Leo Au (Hkg)
21.00 [UH] Daryl Selby (Eng) v [Q] Tom Richards (Eng)
Women’s Round One:
12.00  Raneem El Welily (Egy) v [Q] Line Hansen (Den)
14.00  Alison Waters (Eng) v Nicolette Fernandes (Guy)
18.00  Laura Massaro (Eng) v Joshana Chinappa (Ind)
19.00  Nicol David (Mas) v [Q] Tesni Evans (Wal)
University of Hull:
12.00  Dipika Pallikal (Ind) v Emily Whitlock (Eng)
12.00  Camille Serme (Fra) v Joey Chan (Hkg)
13.00  Nour El Sherbini (Egy) v Heba El Torky (Egy)
13.00  Jenny Duncalf (Eng) v [Q] Siyoli Waters (Rsa)
14.00  Annie Au (Hkg) v [Q] Delia Arnold (Mas)
15.00  Rachael Grinham (Aus) v [Q] Yathreb Adel (Egy)
18.00  Joelle King (Nzl) v [Q] Sabrina Sobhy (Usa)
18.00  Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy) v [wc] Victoria Lust (Eng)
19.00  Emma Beddoes (Eng) v Natalie Grinham (Ned)
19.00  Nouran Gohar (Egy) v [Q] Sam Cornett (Can)
20.00  Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) v Salma Hany Ibrahim (Egy)
21.00  Nour El Tayeb (Egy) v[Q] Donna Urquhart (Aus)
Picture by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)