Panmure Technifibre Squash Open Pulls In Strong Field
Professional squash heads to Auckland this week with the Panmure Technifibre Open PSA Challenger tournament, a key event for New Zealand players.
The good news for the tournament is that two Australians will take part in the men’s draw as internationally ranked Benjamin Ratcliffe and Damon Macmillan are in the country for several weeks.
Ratcliffe ranked at 323 faces talented West Auckland left-hander, Mason Smales while MacMillan ranked 342 plays the sometimes unorthodox Zac Millar who won the Satellite title in Tauranga last week.
Another 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games team member in the draw like Millar is Lance Beddoes who takes on fifth seed Sion Wiggin.
A key first round clash is top seed Evan Williams ranked 84 in the world up against Chris van der Salm who finished fourth at the national champs last year and is one of the tougher players to face in any round, let alone the first.
Second seed, Lwamba Chileshe at 143rd plays Bay of Plenty’s Glenn Templeton in his opening match.
The women’s draw has a wide spread of players from around New Zealand with top seed Emma Millar from the Waikato ranked at 97 facing a real threat to her early domestic dominance.
Kaitlyn Watts has beaten Millar in their last two PSA Challenger finals, Royal Oak and Waikato Open and also just won the Bay of Plenty Satellite last weekend.
Other key players in the draw include second seed, Abbie Palmer, ranked at 114 who is drawn to play Watts in the semis as well as teenagers, Ella Lash (Auckland) and Sophie Hodges (Waikato) in the same half of the draw as Millar.
Play starts from 4pm Friday 14 May with play all day and into the evening on Saturday 15 May while the finals are from 1.15pm on Sunday 16 May. Main court matches will be steamed live on Panmure Squash Club facebook.
The next tournament around New Zealand is a Satellite event at Browns Bay the following weekend with the big PSA Challenger, the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Open in two weeks where a large number of Australian professionals are taking part.