English Open Preview by Team Kneipp
[Complete English Open Draw] and [Qualifying final]
Joe and Dan Kneipp provide their usual insiders' view of the form of the English Open contestants. Daily play will be covered live and onsite by SquashTalk's Martin Bronstein.
MATCHUPS MARK 1ST ROUND
Beachill made the final of the last Super Series event he played (the Bermuda Masters), but opted to bypass last month’s Pakistan Open.
Bradley Ball is currently at a career high ranking of 23. He recently won the Dutch Open – a tournament about a third of the size of the English Open. He has yet to win a main round match in a Super Series event but has begun to get league victories over top players. Although the English Open isn’t a Super Series event it has top players competing and it’s these players Ball needs to begin beating in PSA events to get his ranking from the low 20s to the crucial top 16.
The only previous encounter that Beachill and Ball have had was at the Bermuda Masters earlier in the year. Beachill won comfortably. The bookies will have Beachill as the roaring favourite for this match with Ball having to do well to hand Beachill his first first round loss since November 2003.
Nick Matthew (Eng) versus [Q] Stewart Boswell (AUS).
James Willstrop (Eng) versus Ben Garner (Eng)
Ben Garner’s wild card at Sheffield comes courtesy of his brother Tim who co-organises the event. We’ve previously been fervent supporters of wild cards and still don’t understand why John Nimick doesn’t use one at the Tournament of Champions or US Open to get more local interest. We’ve even supported Bermuda and Qatar having local wildcards, but in this situation it is absurd. Although England doesn’t hold either World Team Titles (that could change very soon) they are easily the strongest squash nation at the moment. With SIX English players already in this tournament’s main draw I can’t see how it is justifiable that they can include a wild card to increase local interest. (The situation is made more absurd with the expectation of more English players via the qualifying draw).
The strong English presence in the first round is diluted by an unfortunate draw that has pitted them all against each other, but provides a guarantee of at least three local quarter finalists, but if it wasn’t at the expense of other English players it could have been more.
Garner is currently ranked 40 – his highest ranking yet. He received the same wild card last year and did wonders with it, pushing the then reigning champion White to the limit in the first round, losing 15-11 in the 5th.
Willstrop and Garner have never played before in a PSA event. Willstrop will understandably go in as hot favourite for this match but will have his work cut out for him.
 Shahid Zaman (Pak) versus [Q] Peter Barker (ENG)
Parke (Eng) Verus  Peter Nicol (Eng)
At the moment it seems his only limitation is his motivation, which at thirty-three years old is understandably waning.
Nicol hasn’t had a great track record at the tournaments he helps organize. He recently won the World Games playing exceptional squash, but hasn’t won a Super Series event for nearly 18 months, although he won a smaller tournament earlier in the year.
Nicol is leading the head-to-head encounters against Parke by a considerable margin, including victory in their last match in January, but Parke beat him at this tournament last year. Neither of them will be happy with this first round draw. Nicol will go into the match as favourite with Parke being a good outsider to bet on.
 John White (Sco) verus [Q] Mansoor Zaman (PAK)
Tuominen (Fin) Versus\  David Palmer (Aus)
the 2003 English Open Olli lost to Nicol in the first round, and at
Palmer made the final of last month’s Super Series event in Pakistan and is closing in on Beachill’s number two ranking, although both of them are still a long way from Thierry.
Palmer played in the inaugural English Open in 2003, losing to Power in the semis, but didn’t play last year.
player would be happy with this draw. Olli would probably have a better
chance of winning against most of the other seeds, and it’s a
tough first round for Palmer, but he’ll be confident. Of their
previous 10 PSA
The English Open will be covered live on SquashTalk by Martin Brostein, with topical reports from Dan Kneipp.
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