Steven Liu will be the one to beat when the Shepparton International Squash Tournament begins today.GREGOR MACTAGGART August 21, 2014 3:10am
Macau star Steven Liu stands out as the man to beat when the Shepparton International Squash Tournament starts today.
The emerging star, 20, was promoted to the top seed for the four-day event when renowned South Australian Mike Corren had to withdraw.
Liu, who is ranked 167 in the world, opens his campaign against Pakistani veteran Chaudhary Nasir Anwar.
The tournament certainly lives up to its international moniker with players from 10 different countries converging on the Goulburn Valley.
That list includes fifth seed Piedro Schweertman from the Netherlands and a triumvirate of Frenchmen, all of who are rated as players capable of leaving with the title.
Jerome Dadot is the seventh seed and like countryman Damien Volland, the eighth seed, open their campaign against a qualifier that came through last night’s heats.
But expect a quality collection of talented Australian youngsters looking to score a major victory on the PSA Tour.
Canberra-based Josh Larkin is the second seed and coming off strong performances at the South Australian and Golden opens, where he made the semi-finals.
Larkin starts his campaign with an Ashes battle against England’s Lewis Doughty.
Darwin export Rhys Dowling, 19, stands out as another player to watch.
Dowling has made some significant strides in the senior ranks after winning six consecutive junior age championships, equalling an Australian record set nearly 50 years earlier.
Goulburn Valley squash identity Damian Maidment said the international was a major fixture on the calendar.
‘‘It’s a fantastic opportunity for squash itself to have high-quality players here in Shepparton,’’ Maidment said.
‘‘We’re not a high-profile sport like football, cricket and golf, but having these calibre of players in town is great exposure.’’
There will also be a Women’s Open running on Saturday and Sunday, while graded events open to local players will attract more than 70 competitors.
The open starts from 5.30
Entry is free for the general public.
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