Massaro and Evans set to clash in women’s last four
By DONNA HELMER
The Dunlop National Squash Championships will play host to a series of mouthwatering encounters, with Nick Matthew and James Willstrop seeded to meet in a blockbuster final showdown, after the main draws were released this week.
In the top half of the Men’s draw, defending champion and top seed, Nick Matthew will begin his title defence against a qualifier and is seeded to meet Declan James in the quarters before a potential final clash with long-term rival and former World No.1, James Willstrop.
The Yorkshiremen have locked horns in five previous Nationals finals with three-time World Champion Matthew enjoying the lion’s share of victories.
Willstrop, the two-time National champion, will first have to navigate a potential semi-final clash with 2011 champion, Daryl Selby – the only player ever to have toppled nine-time champion Matthew in a Nationals final.
Selby, who commences his campaign against a qualifier, will be wary however of a potential quarter-final challenge from Scot Greg Lobban, who last week dispatched the World No.15 in three at the Edinburgh Open final.
Looking to upset the proceedings will be a trio of rising young stars including George Parker, Richie Fallows and Josh Masters.
In the women’s draw, top seed and defending champion Laura Massaro is seeded to meet World No.12 Tesni Evans in a mouth-watering last four encounter. The Welshwoman, seeded 3/4 memorably got the better of the four-time National champion and former World No.1 in Round 2 of the AJ Bell PSA World Championships back in December.
Meanwhile, the bottom half of the women’s draw sees a blistering first round clash between former title holders Jenny Duncalf, the former World No.2 and Sarah-Jane Perry, the current World No.8.
Perry, who lifted the NetSuite Open title last year, is seeded to go on to meet four-time National champion and World No.10 Alison Waters in the semi-finals.
With six former title holders seeded to meet in the Men’s and Women’s semi-finals, the 2018 Championships promises to be one of the most hotly contested to date.
The qualifying stages will be held on 13th and 14th February, with the main draw taking place between 15th and 18th February. Action from the quarter-finals onwards will be shown live and free on SQUASHTV to digital subscribers around the world.
View the draws at nationalsquashchampionships.com
Buy tickets at www.isportstore.com
Picture courtesy of England Squash