Top seeds Joelle King and Campbell Grayson are the hot favourites to take out the titles at the North Island Squash Championships in Cambridge this weekend, reports Gary Denvir.
King has been in superb form on the women’s world tour this year, reaching two finals and pushing world number one Nicol David to five games in January. The 23-year-old is expected to dominate the women’s draw despite some of her rivals also coming into the tournament in good form.
Second seed Kylie Lindsay claimed her fourth tour title in March while third seeded Amanda Landers-Murphy landed the South Australian Open title just a week ago. Fourth seed Megan Craig is another to watch, climbing 70 places in the last nine months to number 82 on the world rankings list.
Also in King’s favour is the absence of world number 18 Jaclyn Hawkes, who is yet to resurface on the squash court after marrying Englishman Jonathan Kemp in Hawaii two weeks ago.
Like King, Grayson also benefits from the absence of his main rival. New Zealand number one Martin Knight is still recovering from a calf injury sustained during the South Island Championship final two weeks ago.
Grayson’s main opposition is now expected to come from second seed Evan Williams. The 22-year-old has started to make a name for himself on the PSA world tour, making the quarterfinals and semifinals in his latest two events in South America. He lost to the Czech Republic’s Jan Koukal on both occasions, but pushed the world number 50 to four games in the second encounter.
Third seed Paul Coll is also a young player on the improve while fourth seed Oliver Johnston has the experience to give his younger rivals a run for their money.
The North Island Championships get underway on Friday at 7pm.
Women’s First round:
 Joelle King vs Tracey Kimble
Lisa Cowlard vs Abbie Palmer
Emma Millar vs Sacha Pou-Tito
 Megan Craig vs Georgina Shelton-Agar
 Amanda Landers-Murphy vs Kathryn McKay
Alana Sincock vs Ellie Epke
Joanna Shanks vs Jutta Tuunanen
 Kylie Lindsay vs Jorja Tarrant
Men’s First Round:
 Campbell Grayson vs Harry Tapsell
Eugene Black vs Jonathan Gallacher
Jonny Barnett vs Mark Millar
Aaron Kopittke vs Joseph Watts
Lance Beddoes vs Sion Wiggin
Brent Lewis vs Gary Duberly
Todd Redman vs James Cooper
 Oliver Johnston vs Stephen O’Toole
 Paul Coll vs Alan Menzies
David Dela Rue vs Michael Sunderland
Matiu Te Kani-McQueen vs Dylan Tasker
Mark Waldin vs Christopher Lloyd
Alex Grayson vs Ben Calvert
Richard van Rynbach vs Zac Millar
Steve Martin vs Ben Grindrod
 Evan William vs Alex Oakley
Tournament site… http://crc.org.nz/squash/north-island-champs-2012/