The Dunlop National Squash Championships will play host to a series of mouth-watering encounters, with Nick Matthew and James Willstrop seeded to meet in a blockbuster final showdown, after the draws were released today.
In the top half of the Men’s draw, defending champion and top seed Matthew will begin his title defence against a qualifier and is seeded to meet Declan James in the quarters before a potential final clash with long-term rival and former World No.1, Willstrop.
The Yorkshiremen have locked horns in five previous Nationals finals with three-time World Champion Matthew triumphing each time.
Willstrop, the two-time National champion, will first have to navigate a potential semi-final clash with 2011 champion Daryl Selby – the only player ever to have toppled nine-time champion Matthew in a Nationals final.
Selby, who commences his campaign against a qualifier, will be wary however of a potential quarter-final challenge from Scot Greg Lobban, who last week dispatched the World No.15 in three at the Edinburgh Open final.
Looking to upset the proceedings will be a trio of rising young stars – George Parker, Richie Fallows and Josh Masters.
The Welshwoman, seeded 3/4 memorably got the better of the four-time National champion and former World No.1 in Round two of the AJ Bell PSA World Championships back in December.
Meanwhile, the bottom half of the women’s draw sees a blistering first round clash between former title holders Jenny Duncalf, the former World No.2, and Sarah-Jane Perry, the current World No.8. Perry, who lifted the NetSuite Open title last year, is seeded to go on to meet four-time National champion and World No.10 Alison Waters in the semi-finals.
With six former title holders seeded to meet in the Men’s and Women’s semi-finals, the 2018 Championships promises to be one of the most hotly contested to date.
The qualifying stages will be held on 13th and 14th February, with the main draw taking place between 15th and 18th February. Action from the quarter-finals onwards will be shown live and free on SQUASHTV to digital subscribers around the world.