Former national number one squash player Mohd Azlan Iskandar will take part in the qualifiers for the Malaysian Open beginning Monday. - Filepic
PETALING JAYA: A string of withdrawals have hit the CIMB Malaysian Open squash championships.
In the women’s event, England’s world No. 20 Emma Beddoes and Australia’s world No. 22 Donna Urquhart who both competed in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games last month, have pulled out.
The 27-year-old Urquhart, who won the Victorian Open in Melbourne last month, was reported to have suffered an injury.
In their absence, England’s Victoria Lust and Ireland’s Aisling Blake were included into the main draw.
Lust will take on Hong Kong’s Annie Au while Blake will meet compatriot Madeline Perry in the first round.
The qualifiers which start on Monday will also see 16-year-old Zoe Foo handed a rare chance to impress as she takes on Hong Kong’s Tong Tsz Wing.
Five others – Vanessa Raj, Rachel Arnold, Teh Min Jie, S. Sivasangari and Zulhijjah Azan will also be aiming for a spot in the main draw of the US$70,000 (RM221,000) tournament.
Vanessa and Rachel, who face American Latasha Khan and Hong Kong’s Liu Tsz Ling respectively, stand the best chance of progressing.
In the men’s event, national No. 2 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan will heave a sigh of relief as he has avoided top seed and world No. 3 Mohamed El Shorbagy of Egypt in the first round.
The withdrawal of South Africa’s world No. 21 Stephen Coppinger, means Nafiizwan will now face a qualifier in the first round.
In the qualifiers, the inability of Pakistan’s Nasir Iqbal, Danish Atlas Khan and Farhan Zaman to obtain a visa means Malaysia will have seven players in the draw, with former world No. 10 Mohd Azlan Iskandar leading the way.
The others include Mohd Addeen Idrakie, Sanjay Singh Chal, Valentino Bon Jovi Bong, Mohd Amir Farhan, Gurshan Singh and Elvinn Keo.
“It’s still very tough but I have followed my training programme closely and I want to show that I can catch up with the likes of Nafiizwan and Ivan (Yuen),” said the 20-year-old Addeen who takes on Elvinn in the first qualifying round.
The tournament will be played at the National Squash Centre at Bukit Jalil and will be moved to Nu Sentral from the quarter-final stage.