The CIMB Malaysian Open Squash Championships 2011 is back in town! Bigger and better this time around, it boasts a prize money of US$ 60,000 as the Malaysian Open joins the prestigious WISPA World Series along with other top tier tournaments including Cayman Islands Open, Australian Open, Qatar International, Hong Kong Open, World Open and US Open.
The tournament which kicks off today has attracted most big names on the WISPA Tour and has an interesting draw to say the least. Five young Malaysians, fresh from their warm-up at the Malaysian Nationals last week will be vying for spots in the main draw provided they get past their more experienced opponents. In the top half of the qualifying draw, Joelle King, Samantha Teran, Sarah Kippax and Joey Chan are expected to clear their Round 1 hurdles with ease. The bottom half should see the seeds moving on as well.
In the main draw, some interesting clashes are foreseen. Nicol David, hot favourite to win her seventh Malaysian Open title will face Donna Urquhart in Round 1. Donna put up a feisty challenge against Nicol at the Cayman Islands Open and an interesting match can be expected as Donna is known to go all out in her matches. Laura Massaro will be put to test right from Round 1 as she may face a stern challenge in either Joelle or Samantha.
Rachael Grinham vs Annie Au is always interesting as both players love to lob and play deceiving drop shots. Rachael has a narrow 2-1 head-to-head over this young rising star with Annie having won their last match in Cleveland in January 2011. Omneya Abdel Kawy who has been out of action for a while will face wild card entrant and recently crowned Malaysian Nationals runner-up Delia Arnold who put up a good display in Bukit Jalil last week.
Another epic match to be witnessed is Camille Serme vs Raneem El Weleily, currently ranked No. 10 and No. 12 respectively on the WISPA Tour. Expect some crafty racquet skills and numerous splits. While Madeline Perry, Kasey Brown and Jenny Duncalf are to meet qualifiers in Round 1, by no means do we expect it to be easy. Madeline may face good friend Sarah, while Kasey may have to battle neighbour Jaclyn Hawkes. Jenny is expected to meet upcoming Malaysian talent, Low Wee Wern.
The competition gets much stiffer as we ease into the quarters. While the top four seeds are expected to make it to the semis, we’re not dismissing any potential surprises. It’s just the beginning of the second half of the season. Most players have had two full months of training building up to this period so we are anticipating some new tricks and skills at play. Come on over to the National Squash Centre at Bukit Jalil and The Curve this week to catch some thrilling squash action!