Canberra Open Preview: Baillargeon Excited For Oceania Run

The Jansher Khan Canberra Open will be the first of four tournaments taking place on the Challenger Tour this week. 

The Challenger 20 level competition will see 24 men take to the Woden Squash Centre, and it will take place from Tuesday, October 18 to Saturday, October 22.

England’s Adrian Waller will be the top seed for the competition, with the World No.32 being the favourite to take the title home. Canada’s David Baillargeon will be the No.2 seed, and we spoke to him prior to the event starting.

“I’m feeling very confident about my game at the moment. I’m coming back from a week of training with Rodney Martin where we made a few technical and tactical changes and I’m looking forward to testing it out in tournaments,” the Canadian said.

“I’m definitely looking forward to being a seeded player for this tournament. The last two tournaments, I played guys seeded ahead of me and ended up losing a couple of close matches where I didn’t have much pressure but this time around it will be the opposite and I’m hoping to string together a series of victories there to get my season going properly.”

This will be the first of a four-event stint for the Canadian, who is making the trip to Australia and New Zealand worthwhile. He will also feature at the Australian Open and the Robertson Lodges New Zealand Open, along with playing for his country at the Nations Cup.

“It [Australia] is the furthest place you can go from Canada and I haven’t been anywhere near this part of the world so far so I thought it was a great opportunity to go somewhere new while there is a series of four big events in a row,” he explained.

“You obviously need a series of tournaments to make the trip worthwhile as it will take me more than 24 hours to get there and will cost me a fair amount, so I’m glad the PSA and the tournament organisers were able to make such a series of events. I’m sure it will be hard physically and mentally but I’m prepared as just put in a good training stint for that reason.”

The Nations Cup will be a brand new event on the Tour, and will see eight nations pit two of their best players against each other in a new format, one never seen before on Tour. Baillargeon will play alongside Hollie Naughton for Canada in the event.

“I’m always proud to represent my country and I’m looking forward to this new event where there will be a few different rules trying to make our sport even more engaging,” Baillargeon said.

“It will be a good way to get some great matches while having a break from a PSA event for a week so the pressure will be different. I’m glad I’ll play alongside Hollie Naughton who’s been on fire recently and I’m confident we can have a strong result there. 

“I’m hoping to get my ranking up close to top 50 before the end of the year so I can enter the bigger tournaments without being in the reserve list and having to travel at the last minute. This trip to Australia and New Zealand is surely a good opportunity to do so if I perform well.”

England’s Charlie Lee and Tom Walsh, New Zealand’s Lwamba Chileshe, Malaysia’s Mohammad Syafiq Kamal, American Andrew Douglas and Czechian Martin Svec will make up the rest of the top eight seeds for the tournament.

World No.134 Joseph White will be the leading Australian on home soil in Canberra, with compatriots Rhys Dowling, Nicholas Calvert and James Lloyd all in action.

The event takes place from Tuesday, October 18 to Saturday, October 22 at the Woden Squash Centre in Canberra. Follow the PSA Challenger Tour on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates from the event.

First Round Draw: Jansher Khan Canberra Open
[1] Adrian Waller (ENG) – [Bye]Nicholas Calvert (AUS) v [9/16] Valentin Rapp (GER)
[9/16] Temwa Chileshe (NZL) v Owain Taylor (WAL)
[7] Lwamba Chileshe (NZL) – [Bye][5] Martin Svec (CZE) – [Bye][WC] Uzair Shoukat (PAK) v [9/16] Simon Herbert (ENG)
[9/16] Joseph White (AUS) v Wee Ming Hock (MAS)
[4] Andrew Douglas (USA) – [Bye][3] Charlie Lee (ENG) – [Bye]Zahir Shah (PAK) v [9/16] Daniel Poleshchuk (ISR)
[9/16] Ryunosuke Tsukue (JPN) v Bryan Lim Tze Kang (MAS)
[8] Tom Walsh (ENG) – [Bye][6] Mohammad Syafiq Kamal (MAS) – [Bye][WC] James Lloyd (AUS) v [9/16] Rhys Dowling (AUS)
[9/16] Sandeep Ramachandran (IND) v Amaad Fareed (PAK)
[2] David Baillargeon (CAN) – [Bye]

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