It’s early in the year but competitive squash is getting underway in New Zealand with a PSA (Professional Squash Association) at the Henderson Squash Club in Auckland this weekend.
The tournament is able to proceed under Level 2 guidelines and creates an opportunity for professional and semi-professional domestic squash players around the country to earn world ranking points and prizemoney.
The Henderson Rochelle Hobbs Open is a Challenger 5 for men and a Satellite for women meaning players can earn valuable PSA world ranking points without having the expense of needing to travel overseas, while also generating interest in the sport in New Zealand.
Main court matches will be shown live on the Henderson Squash Club facebook site https://www.facebook.com/hendersonsquash which will assist with Level 2 crowd requirements. There will also be live commentary for the semifinals and finals.
The strength of the players entered is testimony to their enthusiasm to get back on court again and compete .
Top players include Commonwealth Games rep and world No.87 Evan Williams the current New Zealand champion as men’s top seed while Lwamba Chileshe the man Williams beat in the national final is second seed and ranked 149 in the world.
Two other Gold Coast Commonwealth Games team members are also included in Lance Beddoes and Zac Millar along with the majority of other PSA ranked players.
The women’s draw features national champion Emma Millar who is ranked 98th along with second seed, Lauren Clarke from the Bay of Plenty, Lana Harrison from Auckland and Sophie Hodges (Waikato) as some of the challengers for the title.
The tournament runs from Friday 19 February until the finals from 2pm on Sunday 21 February.
The Henderson tournament is part of the Barfoot & Thompson PSA Summer Series with tournaments also being held in successive weeks at Eden Epsom Tennis & Squash Club, North Shore Squash Club (Auckland Open), Whakatane Squash Club and Royal Oak Racquets Club.
The Auckland Open will be held at the North Shore Squash Club and is elevated to Challenger 10 status for the men and to a Challenger 5 for the women, with a total of US$9000 prize money up for grabs.
Barfoot & Thompson PSA Summer Series Schedule:
February 19-21: Henderson Rochelle Hobbs Open (Challenger 5 Men’s and Satellite Women’s)
February 26-28: Eden Epsom Doug Flint Memorial Open and PSA Satellite
March 4-7: Auckland Open at North Shore (Challenger 10 Men’s and Challenger 5 Women’s)
March 12-14: Eastern BOP Open and PSA Satellite at Whakatane
March 19-21: Royal Oak Open (Challenger 3 Women’s and Satellite Men’s)