As the Grand Opening Festival of Squash marks the formal inauguration of the $12.4 million McArthur Squash Center in Charlottesville, Virginia, American Julian Illingworth leads the field of the Professional Squash Association ilex Construction Charlottesville Challenger, which will be the first professional tournament played on the facility’s all-glass show court.
World No. 35 Illingworth leads home interest as the top seed in the first iteration of the $10,000 US Pro Series event with former Dartmouth player Mike Lewis as the Wild Card and only other American in the draw of sixteen.
Also entered in next weekend’s Netsuite Open in San Francisco, Illingworth will be making his first PSA appearance since May’s Hong Kong Football Club PSA 25 in which he defeated world No. 29 Marwan Elshorbagy in the first round before falling to world No. 18 Laurens Jan Anjema in the quarterfinals.
New Zealand international and world No. 51 Martin Knight is seeded meet Illingworth in the final as the two seed. The 29-year-old is coming off two consecutive PSA final appearances including a final loss to Scottish world No. 33 Alan Clyne on home soil in the New Zealand International Squash Classic PSA 10, and most recently last weekend’s Copa Maxxis Constucoes Galeria Shopping Open PSA 10, which saw the top seed fall to Brazilian Rafael Alarcon.
English world No. 68 Charles Sharpes slots in as the three seed, and Canadian Dane Sharp is seeded fourth. Sharp competed on the Canadian Pan American Championships team last month, and reached a career-high world ranking of 80 this month.
The first round of play will take place Thursday, September 19.