26 February 2014
By Howard Harding
After an unprecedented 25-match unbeaten run in the event since 2007, world number one Nicol David is set to begin her bid for a record eighth title in the Penang Women’s World Squash Championship when she faces England’s Emma Beddoes in the first round of the premier WSA World Tour event which is being staged in Penang, Malaysia, from 15-23 March.
Boasting a $120,000 prize-fund, the joint Women’s Squash Association (WSA) and World Squash Federation (WSF) championship opens at the Nicol David International Squash Centre before moving onto an all-glass showcourt at the 10,000-seater Penang International Sports Arena.
Success in the event will fulfil a lifelong dream for the Malaysian squash queen to win a senior world title in front of a home crowd in Penang.
Today’s draw in Penang lined home favourite David up against world No23 Beddoes for their first meeting for more than three years. A likely second round meeting with Asian rival Annie Au, the No11 seed from Hong Kong, could lead to the predicted quarter-final clash with eighth seed Camille Serme, the world No8 from France whom David has faced five times in the past seven months!
David is drawn in the same half as England’s world No4 Alison Waters – and is expected to face world No2 Laura Massaro, also from England, in a repeat of the 2012 final.
David will be supported in the event by fellow Penangite Low Wee Wern, the sixth seed who begins her campaign against Australia’s Donna Urquhart.
Tour veteran Rachael Grinham will be celebrating a notable milestone in Penang after making her World Championship debut 20 years ago in the 1994 championship in Guernsey. The 37-year-old 14th seed and former world number one from Australia – winner of the title in 2007 – takes on Guyana’s world No19 Nicolette Fernandes in the first round.
1st round draw:
 Nicol David (MAS) v Emma Beddoes (ENG)
 Annie Au (HKG) v Qualifier
 Camille Serme (FRA) v Qualifier
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Nicolette Fernandes (GUY)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v Joshana Chinappa (IND)
 Kasey Brown (AUS) v Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
 Joelle King (NZL) v Qualifier
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Qualifier
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v Joey Chan (HKG)
 Madeline Perry (IRL) v Sarah Kippax (ENG)
 Dipika Pallikal (IND) v Qualifier
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v Qualifier
 Line Hansen (DEN) v Qualifier
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) v Donna Urquhart (AUS)
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v Qualifier
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v [WC] Vanessa Raj (MAS)
For all the latest WSA Tour news: wsaworldtour.com