By ALAN THATCHER (Squash Mad Editor)
England’s Mohamed ElShorbagy and Sarah-Jane Perry are seeded to meet home favourites Paul Coll and Joelle King in the finals of the 2022 New Zealand Open, the PSA World Tour Silver event which takes place from November 8-13 at the Trustpower Arena, Tauranga.
New Zealand’s No.1 players Coll and King will compete on home soil for the first time in more than five years when the New Zealand Open returns after a long absence from the calendar.
World No.2 Coll will headline the Robertson Lodges New Zealand Men’s Open and will kick off his title challenge against an American in round two, with the winner of Christopher Gordon and Timothy Brownell earning their spot against the home favourite.
From there, Greymouth-born Coll is seeded to play England’s Adrian Waller in the quarter-finals before a potential semi-final clash with 2018 Allam British Open champion Miguel Rodriguez. Former World No.1 and No.2 seed ElShorbagy is predicted to be Coll’s opponent in the title decider.
Coll said: “It’s going to be great to be able to play back home again and in a PSA Tour event, the New Zealand Open. There hasn’t been a tournament like this in the country since 1993 so that makes it even more special.
“It’s going to be a great tournament with some top players from all around the world, and I can’t wait to get stuck in.”
In the women’s Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Open, World No.5 King also receives a bye through to round two where she will take on Kenzy Ayman of Egypt or Jessica Turnbull of Australia. The 33-year-old from Cambridge is seeded to line up against USA’s Sabrina Sobhy in the next round before a tricky semi-final fixture against No.3 seed Salma Hany.
King’s predicted final opponent will be England’s Perry. That match would be a repeat of the 2018 Commonwealth Games singles final, in which King triumphed to become New Zealand’s first gold medalist in the singles event.
The other Kiwi players in the draw are men’s World No.93 Lwamba Chileshe and women’s World No.95 Kaitlyn Watts, who take the wild card positions for the event.
In the top half of the men’s competition, No.6 seed Waller meets the winner of the first round tie between Scotland’s Greg Lobban and England’s Charlie Lee.
Several British players join No.2 seed Perry in the bottom half of the women’s competition. Wales’s Tesni Evans, a semi-finalist in Nantes and a quarter-finalist in the CIB Egyptian Open, is No.6 seed and will meet the winner of the first round tie between wild card Watts and Scotland’s Lisa Aitken.
England’s unseeded Alicia Mead meets Hong Kong’s 9/16 seed Tsz-Wing Tong with the winner facing Nantes champion Nele Gilis, the No.4 seed.
England’s 9/16 seed Jasmine Hutton plays Egypt’s Malak Khafagy with the winner meeting Canada’s No.7 seed Hollie Naughton, who was runner-up to Gina Kennedy in the recent Commonwealth Games.
A $US150,000 prize fund will be on offer throughout the event, while the tournament will be preceded by the Nations Cup between November 3-6, which is the first event to be held in the new SquashFORWARD series.
The SquashFORWARD series has been created to trial changes to the traditional competition and scoring formats used at official tournaments, including those on the PSA Tour.
An announcement on the entered teams and schedule for the Nations Cup will be made in October. Live action from both the Nations Cup and New Zealand Open will be streamed live on SQUASHTV.
2022 PSA Silver New Zealand Open, Trustpower Arena, Tauranga, November 8-13.
2022 Robertson Lodges New Zealand Open, Men’s Draw:
 Paul Coll (NZL) [bye] Christopher Gordon (USA) v [9/16] Timothy Brownell (USA)
[9/16] Greg Lobban (SCO) v Charlie Lee (ENG)
 Adrian Waller (ENG) [bye]  Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) [bye] Syed Azlan Amjad (QAT) v [9/16] Balazs Farkas (HUN)
[9/16] David Baillargeon (CAN) v [WC] Lwamba Chileshe (NZL)
 Miguel Rodriguez (COL) [bye]  Victor Crouin (FRA) [bye] Spencer Lovejoy (USA) v [9/16] Henry Leung (HKG)
[9/16] Tsz Kwan Lau (HKG) v Andrew Douglas (USA)
 Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) [bye]  Saurav Ghosal (IND) [bye] Martin Svec (CZE) v [9/16] Leandro Romiglio (ARG)
[9/16] Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) v Addeen Idrakie (MAS)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) [bye]
2022 Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Open Women’s Draw:
 Joelle King (NZL) [bye] Jessica Turnbull (AUS) v [9/16] Kenzy Ayman (EGY)
[9/16] Ka Yi Lee (HKG) v Salma Eltayeb (EGY)
 Sabrina Sobhy (USA) [bye]  Tinne Gilis (BEL) [bye] Sarah Cardwell (AUS) v [9/16] Olivia Clyne (USA)
[9/16] Satomi Watanabe (JPN) v Nadia Pfister (SUI)
 Salma Hany (EGY) [bye]  Nele Gilis (BEL) [bye] Alicia Mead (ENG) v [9/16] Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG)
[9/16] Jasmine Hutton (ENG) v Malak Khafagy (EGY)
 Hollie Naughton (CAN) [bye]  Tesni Evans (WAL) [bye] [WC] Kaitlyn Watts (NZL) v [9/16] Lisa Aitken (SCO)
[9/16] Tomato Ho (HKG) v Saskia Beinhard (GER)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) [bye]
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour