No major surprises on day one of the National Championships at the North Shore Squash Club in Auckland with the top eight seeds in the women’s draw all through to the quarters while in the men’s draw only the seventh and eighth seeds are missing out of the quarter-finals.
With no defending champs in the form of either Paul Coll or Joelle King the intensity to win the national title is strong through both draws and that showed in the a number of contests in the initial round of the tournament.
Two of the more mature players in the men’s draw, Chris Lloyd and Matt Taylor won through to the second round with victories over Justin Sayes and Glenn Templeton, but were then stopped in turn by Chris van der Salm and Zac Millar in straight games.
Former top-200 ranked Van der Salm as the third seed now faces sixth seed, Lance Beddoes a 2018 Commonwealth Games team member in the last eight after Beddoes won a huge contest over North Shore club champion Sion Wiggin 14-12 in the fifth in just under an hour of play.
Another Commonwealth Games player, top seed Evan Williams had a bye in the first round and then promptly put away Remuera’s Michael Shelton-Agar in straight games after the former had already played out a five game match in the first round.
For Williams ranked 87th in the world the tournament is an ideal opportunity to better his two runners-up finishes and take the title he is so keenly after. Williams will plays ninth seed Joel Arscott in his quarter-final. Arscott scored a straight game win over Elijah Thomas in his second round match.
In the same side of the draw fifth seed Temwa Chileshe will play fourth ranked Commonwealth Games player, Millar.
In the bottom half of the draw the quarters-finals will see second seed Lwamba Chileshe play 11th seed Willz Donnelly who staged a comeback from two match balls down in the fourth against Anthony Lepper to comeback and win 11-7 in the fifth.
In the women’s draw the last eight matches have top seed Emma Millar playing the energetic Juee Bhide while Masters player Debbie Dunbar from Wellington will take on 15-year-old fourth seed Sophie Hodges from the Waikato.
In the bottom half of the draw, second seed and North Shore club member, Abbie Palmer plays Bay of Plenty’s Lauren Clarke the seventh seed while third seed Lana Harrison from Auckland faces 16-year-old sixth Natalie Sayes in her quarter-final.