Having broken into the world top 20 for the first time in her career, there could not be a better time for Emma Beddoes to tackle in-form Egyptian Nour El Sherbini than in the first round of the Allam British Open next week.
Backed by a home crowd, the Leeds-based 28-year-old will have nothing to lose when she steps onto the court at the University of Hull on May 13.
“But I’ve had a good couple of months and feel like I’m playing well.”
Indeed, she is, having reached the quarter-finals of the Texas Open as a qualifier, finished as runner-up in the Mayfair Open in Canada and made the semi-finals of the Calgary Squash Week.
Beddoes has never progressed beyond the first round of the Open before, but that doesn’t worry her.
“I haven’t really thought about my past record in the tournament,” she said. “You take every year and every opponent as they come. It will be tough, but I will give it my all.
“The Open is a very prestigious event in the squash world and after the World Championships it is the title everyone wants to win. Plus with it being held in Yorkshire, where I’m now based, I would love to play well in front of a home crowd.
“It should be an interesting tournament, as the Tour is pretty competitive at the moment, especially with Nicol [David] having lost her world title for the first time in seven years. Hopefully, it will make for a great tournament.”
The women’s championship switches to Hull’s Sports Arena from round two and Beddoes is backing the change, following the experiment of staging last year’s Open at Hull’s professional football and rugby league stadium.
“It was great to create a bit of history, with holding the event on the pitch at Hull City, but I think the new venue will also be impressive,” she said.