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14 Apr 2024

Nicol David Bids To Join Sport's Elite At 2009 British Open

24 Aug 2009

World number one Nicol David is expected to reach her fifth successive women's final in next month's internationalSPORTgroup British Open - and is seeded to join a distinguished cast of players who have won the title four times in the historic squash event which was first played at Queen's Club in London in 1922.

The $53,500 Women's International Squash Players' Association World Tour Gold event will take place at the National Squash Centre and The Northern Club in Manchester, from 11-14 September, following two days of qualifying.

Nicol David is drawn to meet former world number one Vanessa Atkinson, of the Netherlands, in the first round. The Malaysian, who began her fourth year as world number one this month, is one of two three-time British Open champions in the high quality field in Manchester.

Third seed Rachael Grinham, the former world champion from Australia who claimed the British Open trophy in 2003, 2004 and 2007, faces a qualifier in the opening round.

Like Grinham, US star Natalie Grainger will be making her 13th successive appearance in the championship since 1997. The No2 seed is expected to reach the final for the first time since 2004, and begins her 2009 campaign against a qualifier.

British interest in the event will be led by Alison Waters, the in-form 25-year-old from London who reached the final of the Malaysian Open earlier this month. Seeded four, Waters faces New Zealander Jaclyn Hawkes in the first round.

But England team-mate Jenny Duncalf will be hoping to repeat her British Open success of last year: the 26-year-old from Harrogate reached the final for the first time - as fifth seed - and has the same seeding this year.

But the world No6 has a tough early encounter - against fellow countrywoman Tania Bailey, the former world No4 and 2002 runner-up who will be making her WISPA Tour comeback in Manchester after undergoing knee surgery in April.

"Nicol David's quest to reach her fifth successive final will hopefully provide additional interest in this year's women's championship," said Event Director Paul Walters of internationalSPORTgroup. "However, what is equally significant is that no fewer than thirteen countries will be represented in the women's main draw and qualification.

"Not only does this demonstrate the increasing popularity of squash around the globe, but it is a major boost for the event's diverse range of partners and sponsors, which include Manchester City Council, England Squash & Racketball, HEAD Sport, Michael Spiers Jewellers, Imperial Consultants, ASB Squash Courts and ROWE Motor Oil."

Tickets for the internationalSPORTgroup British Open - Manchester 2009 can be booked online at www.isportgroup.com/ticketing by telephone on 0870 220 0735 - or, for further information, visit the championships' official website www.isportgroup.com/BritishOpenSquash