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WILLSTROP TOP SEED FOR CHINA OPEN

Posted: 11.07.14

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James Willstrop, the world no.6 from Yorkshire, will top the draw at the $88,000 China Open in September, the most prestigious squash tournament ever to be held in China.

The PSA International 70 event, which takes place in the spectacular setting of the Peninsula in Shanghai from September 4 to 7, has also attracted two of Willstrop’s England team-mates in Essex duo Peter Barker and Daryl Selby, who are seeded third and fourth behind Spain’s 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.

“The venue looks amazing and everything around the tournament looks like it will be top class and for a new event at such a high level to come on to 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 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 kick-start 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.”

Barker takes on Hong Kong’s Max Lee in the first round, while Selby faces Australian Cameron Pilley.