The Hong Kong Squash Open 2012 is currently underway.
Featuring the world’s top 30 players, including the reigning men’s and women’s world champions, the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Squash Open 2012 boasts a winning purse of HK$1.6 million.
Top seed James Willstrop returns to Hong Kong after last year’s triumph in the Men’s category. The World No. 1 is joined by the world’s next best seven ranked players to fill the other seed positions in the Open: Nick Matthew (England), Gregory Gauliter (France), Karim Darwish (Egypt), Ramy Ashour (Egypt), Peter Barker (England), Amr Shabana (Egypt) and Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egypt).
Two Hong Kong players have made it to the main draw. Max Lee came through the qualifiers by beating Henrik Mustonen of Finland in three straight games and Alex Au was given a Wild Card entry to the main competition.
Meanwhile, Nicol David from Malaysia will be aiming to win her seventh consecutive Open title. The event’s top seed and World No. 1 will be joined by seven of the world’s next best eleven players: Laura Massaro (England), Jenny Duncalf (England), Annie Au (Hong Kong), Madeline Perry (Ireland), Alison Waters (England), Low Wee Wern (Malaysia) and Natalie Grinham (Netherlands).
The annual Hong Kong Squash open has been held since 1985—except when Hong Kong hosted the 2005 World Open Squash Championships—and is one of the few tournaments that brings the world’s best men and women together in two top-tier tournaments.
As an equivalent of one of tennis’s Grand Slam events, winning the prestigious tournament is one of the aspirations on many professional players’ lists.
Peter Nicol from Scotland won the Open on four occasions in the Men’s category; as has Amr Shabana from Egypt, who has won four consecutive titles at this event.
Meanwhile, Nicol David of Malaysia has a more impressive record having won the last six consecutive titles (2006-11) in the Women’s category. She also won the 2005 Women’s World Open Squash Championships held in Hong Kong.
This year, David will be defending her 2011 title, as will last year’s Men’s winner James Willstrop from England.
Also this year, the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Squash Open 2012 has the honour of having the International Olympic Committee present to complete an “inspection” to determine if squash will be on the programme for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
In addition to Au, Hong Kong has two other players in the main draw: Joey Chan progressed to today’s second round and will meet Nicol David; however, Liu Tsz-ling was knocked out in the first round.
Au has a good draw on paper, with tough, but beatable opponents in her quarter of the draw and has a good chance of progressing into the final stages of the tournament.
Hong Kong Squash Open 2012 opening stages are currently being held at the Squash Centre in Admiralty. The tournament will cross the harbour for the Semi-finals and Finals at the piazza of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui.
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