Squash: Shangai is a world-class date for the calendar

James Willstrop
James Willstrop
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Shanghai was last week’s stop for the China Open, an upgraded event, and a new destination for world squash tour.

The women have had big events there before but this was new territory for the boys; as soon as I saw it on to the calendar I was keen to play it. China isn’t a big mover in squash, and so everyone is thrilled to see more extensive activity in Shanghai. Hopefully this can give the game a boost.

If the setting was anything to go by then future inspiration shouldn’t be hard to summon. Franco Amadei was in charge of the event. His vision, which first came to him a year or so ago, was to place the spectacular glass court on the 11th floor of the Peninsula Hotel, overlooking the vibrant Bund in the city.

This staggering hotel was our home for the week and honestly all the players couldn’t believe their luck. The Peninsula is gorgeous, and the hotel’s sponsorship of this event has been greatly appreciated. The backdrop around the court was as good as it gets in squash; the view over Shanghai quite something and it stands in the same bracket as the great iconic venues the world over.

Happily for me I write this column having won the event, my first tournament win for a while. I played the final against my England compatriot Peter Barker and won 3-2 in nearly 100 minutes of tough play. The women’s event was won in another five set final by Low Wee Wern from Malaysia, who beat Camille Serme from France.

A superb event in Shanghai, and here’s to one or two more...

Lee Beachill. Picture: SquashPics.com

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