NATIONALS SEEDED FOR FINALISTS HAT-TRICK
A repeat line-up of the last two National Championships’ men’s and women’s finals could be on the cards following the draws for next month’s tournament in Manchester.
Nick Matthew and James Willstrop are once more the top two seeds for the men’s event from February 10 to 16, while Laura Massaro and Alison Waters again occupy the number one and two slots for the women’s competition.
Five-time winner Matthew (pictured) will be bidding to become the first man to win the championship three years in a row after beating Willstrop in the 2012 and 2013 finals, but Massaro will be attempting to avenge her loss to Waters in last year’s final and repeat her 2012 success.
However, all four face major hurdles to reach their respective finals, with England boasting four of the leading 10 male players in the world and three of the top 10 women.
Essex duo Peter Barker and Daryl Selby are joint third seeds, with world number 10 and 2011 champion Selby in Matthew’s half of the draw and the eighth-ranked Barker, in fine form after his calf injury, in Willstrop’s.
Meanwhile in the women’s event, world number nine and joint third seed Jenny Duncalf will be seeking her third national title.
Also seeded 3/4 is multiple Irish champion Madeline Perry, the evergreen world number seven who is set to celebrate her 37th birthday during the tournament.
It all points towards two highly competitive championships, so make sure you get your tickets now from nationalsquashchamps.net.
Manchester also boasts the country’s largest legacy programme, with over 2,000 local children expected to attend during the week.