International players to do battle on Tour
International squash returns to Bermuda next month with the Men’s and Women’s Bermuda Open — an official stop on the PSA Pro World Tour.
The Bermuda Squash Racquets Association announced yesterday that 35 professional players will compete in Bermuda from February 26 to March 2 for $10,000 in prize money.
Patrick Foster, the BSRA director of squash, said: “It started off as a simple idea to host a small men’s event to support our two touring Bermudian pro squash players Micah Franklin and Noah Browne.
“However, the idea just took off. The financial support kept coming in and the next thing you know we are able to host a larger men’s event than expected and a women’s event too.
“The standard of play will be amazing. We have never had a pro women’s event in Bermuda, so we are really excited by that. The whole week is just going to be phenomenal for squash.”
The top seed for the 16-player women’s draw is Nikki Todd, the Canadian world No 53, who will face strong competition from a field of players, including Alex Fuller of South Africa, Catalina Peláez, of Columbia, Emilia Soini, of Finland, and Scotland’s Alison Thompson, as well as players from Brazil, Holland, Guyana and Egypt.
Bermuda’s sole representative in the women’s draw is Rachel Barnes, who has a world ranking of 208. She has been drawn against world No 95 Anna Kimberley, of England, in the opening round on February 27 at 7pm.
“I’m nervous but excited,” Thompson said. “It didn’t really matter who I was drawn against as they are all great players.
“I’m just working hard and hoping to put up a good performance and see if I can pick off a couple of higher ranked players.”
The men’s draw starts on February 26 with a 16-man qualifying draw, including eight local players such as Foster and Courthouse pro Kristen Johnson. They will compete against eight PSA world-ranked players from countries such as England, United States, Nigeria, Malaysia and Mexico.
The winners of the initial matches will play again in the second round of qualifying to earn one of four spaces in the main draw, which already includes Bermuda’s Micah Franklin, the world No 188, and Noah Browne, the world No 234.
Browne takes on Kale Wilson, the world No 179, from Trinidad, for a place in the last eight, while Franklin must wait to find out which of the qualifiers he must face in the first round.
The Bermuda Open will be held at the BSRA in Devonshire.
For a full list visit www.bermudasquash.com. Tickets are available from $20.
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