English pair Ferreira and Smith tipped for gold
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad International Correspondent
The three World Hardball Doubles Squash Championships titles will change hands according to the seedings and draws revealed today for the 2017 event which will be held in St Louis, in the US state of Missouri, from 21-24 September.
The 12th edition of the biennial championships, featuring Men’s, Women’s and Mixed events and organised by the Squash Doubles Association (SDA) and Women’s Squash Doubles Association (WSDA) Pro Tours under the auspices of the World Squash Federation (WSF), will take place at the Racquet Club of St Louis and Missouri Athletic Club.
Englishmen Michael Ferreira and Jonny Smith are seeded to win the men’s title for the first time – yet keep the trophy in English hands, after the 2015 success by Clive Leach & John Russell. The pair is expected to line up against sixth-seeded Canadians Viktor Berg and Justin Todd in the quarter-finals, en-route to a final clash with Indians Manek Mathur & Parth Sharma, the second seeds.
Meanwhile, No.5 seeds Leach and Russell – finalists in 2009, 2011 and 2013 before winning the title for the first time in 2015 – are expected to do battle with home pair Christopher Callis and Greg Park, the fourth seeds, for a place in the semi-finals.
Natarsha McElhinny is expected to provide Australian success in both the Women’s and Mixed championships. The former Natarsha Tippett pairs up with her younger sister Narelle Krizek in the women’s event where the 2011 runners-up are predicted to face England’s Suzie Pierrepont and Tina Rix in the final. Pierrepont won the 2015 title with compatriot Carrie Hastings (pictured below during the 2015 final).
Natarsha partners Scott Arnold in the mixed event where the Australians are expected to emulate the success of compatriots Narelle Krizek and Paul Price in the 2013 championships.
But it is Narelle’s sister Narelle who is expected to be on the other side of the court in the mixed final where she and Matt Jenson are the No.2 seeds. The reigning champions from Canada, Stephanie Hewitt and Viktor Berg, are third seeds in St Louis.
World Hardball Doubles Squash Championships, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
Predicted quarter-final line-ups, according to the draws and seedings:
 Michael Ferreira & Jonny Smith (ENG) v  Viktor Berg & Justin Todd (CAN)
 Scott Arnold & Matt Jenson (AUS) v  Will Mariani & Freddie Reid (CAN)
 Christopher Callis & Greg Park (USA) v  Clive Leach & John Russell (ENG)
 Manek Mathur & Parth Sharma (IND) v  Imran Khan & Aaron Luque (USA)
 Natarsha McElhinny & Scott Arnold (AUS) v  Tina Rix & John Russell (ENG)
 Victoria Simmonds & Michael Ferreira (ENG) v  Natalie Grainger & Christopher Callis (USA)
 Stephanie Hewitt & Viktor Berg (CAN) v  Seanna Keating & Thomas Brinkman (CAN)
 Narelle Krizek & Matt Jenson (AUS) v  Suzie Pierrepont & James Stout (ENG)
Women’s 1st round draw:
 Narelle Krizek & Natarsha McElhinny (AUS) bye
 Stephanie Hewitt & Seanna Keating (CAN) v  Alexia Echeverria & Andrea Echeverria (ESA)
 Tina Rix & Victoria Simmonds (ENG) v  Elani Landman & Lume Landman (RSA)
 Suzie Pierrepont & Tina Rix (ENG) v  Natalie Grainger & Kayley Leonard (USA)
Full draws are available at www.worlddoubles.com/draws
The prize fund is more than $70,000 – with parity offered in the men’s and women’s draws.
The matches will be streamed live on the tournament website worlddoubles.com
Hardball is a variation of squash developed in North America and played on a larger court with a harder ball.
Picture courtesy of WSF and SDA