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Willstrop is top seed in new Chinese event

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Shanghai’s waterfront $70k China Open joins the PSA calendar 
By Squash Mad Reporter

James Willstrop is looking forward to Shanghai
James Willstrop is looking forward to Shanghai

English World No.6 James Willstrop, one of the biggest names in world squash, will top the draw when the 2014 China Open – Squash Stars On The Bund, gets underway in the Chinese city of Shanghai on September 4.

The PSA International 70 tournament, the most prestigious squash tournament ever to be held in China, is set to take place in the spectacular setting of The Peninsula Shanghai from September 4 – 7, with the 11th floor venue offering breath-taking views of Shanghai and it’s famous waterfront – The Bund.

Willstrop, who held the World No.1 ranking throughout most of 2012, will be favourite to land the title and claim what would be his first PSA World Tour title since the 2013 Canary Wharf Classic but he will face tough competition from fellow English Commonwealth Games competitors Peter Barker and Daryl Selby, the World No.8 and No.10, respectively and the most successful player in Spanish history, World No.7 Borja Golan.

“It’s very exciting to have a new event come on to the tour and I’m really looking forward to playing the 2014 China Open,” said Willstrop, a two-time Commonwealth Games silver-medalist.

“The venue looks amazing and everything around the tournament looks like it will be top class. For a new event at such a high level to come onto the circuit makes it even more exciting for us as players.

“It’s very important for the sport to bring new events on to the tour and we don’t often get new competitions starting out at this level.

“San Francisco was the last tournament to start at this level and it has been building well for the last two years, with the sport growing well on the West Coast of America, so hopefully we can begin something similar in Shanghai this year.”

With the sport currently experiencing unprecedented growth across Asia, the 2014 China Open will expose citizens of one of the country’s most influential cities to world class squash in what promises to be an exhilarating tournament from start to finish.

“China is an area that we really need to tap into,” added Willstrop, who will begin his campaign against Chinese wild card Junjie Wang. “It’s an untapped country for squash and a huge mover in world sport and hopefully this event will help us kickstart something across Asia.

“There are some great established venues on the PSA World Tour at present and I’m sure Shanghai will prove to be another great addition.

“For me personally, I will hopefully get some good match-play momentum from the upcoming Commonwealth Games to take into the start of the PSA World Tour season and hopefully get off to a good start.”

“It is very exciting to see these great players convening in Shanghai for the China Open,” said Franco Amadei, tournament promoter from SECA World.

“This is a squash premiere also for us at SECA, but we are fully committed to providing the players with the best possible environment in and out of the court at The Peninsula Shanghai and we wish them to play at their top and enjoy being the Stars on The Bund!”

China Open Main Draw (First Round):

[1] James Willstrop (ENG) v [WC] Junjie Wang (CHN)
[Qualifier] v [8] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY)
[5] Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [4] Daryl Selby (ENG)
[3] Peter Barker (ENG) v Max Lee (HKG)
[Qualifier] v [7] Saurav Ghosal (IND)
[6] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) v Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
[Qualifier] v [2] Borja Golan (ESP)

For more information on the PSA World Tour visit: www.psaworldour.com

Picture courtesy of PSA

 

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