Top seed stands in way of Fiona Moverley and glory

Fiona Moverley: Last-four aim.
Fiona Moverley: Last-four aim.
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Hull’s Fiona Moverley is looking to break a four-year spell of quarter-final exits as she gears up for the British National Squash Championships in Nottingham.

With the qualifying stage beginning on the 12th February, World No. 26 Moverley goes in as a 5/8 seed.

However, with three former champions in the draw for the women’s tournament - Laura Massaro, Alison Waters and Tesni Evans - Moverley is expecting a real battle for the title.

“There are three players in it that have won the Nationals before, so that’s three people who know what it’s like to hold the title,” Moverley said.

“And I’d say all three of those are the people that you’d bet on.

“It’s an interesting one, I think it’ll be a pretty closely contended competition.”

A fourth former champion, top seed Sarah-Jane Perry, had been due to meet Moverley in the second round if she qualified, but she has withdrawn due to a long-standing injury.

Moverley was looking forward to the clash against a top-bracket opponent she had beaten before, but she has now been re-drawn against unseeded 19-year-old Jasmine Hutton.

2019 represents a new era for the Nationals. Having been held in Manchester since 1997, the tournament has relocated to Nottingham and Moverley is looking forward to a fresh start.

“It’s going to be different playing at the new Nottingham venue, so that’s exciting, especially on the glass court that they’ve got there,” she said.

“I’m hoping to try and get out of the cycle of just making the quarters, so I’d really like to push on and try and get to the semis this year.

“I’m feeling pretty good. I don’t know how many I’ve played in now, but it’s always great to play the Nationals.”

Moverley played junior squash and immediately set her sights on playing professionally, but retired at 22 after struggling to fund her career.

Ten years on, she is back competing with the best after rediscovering her love of the game.

“When I was 27, I got a wildcard into the British Open, the first year it came to Hull,” she said.

“It sparked that love of competing again, and I made the decision to quit my job and have another go at it professionally.

“I just got inspired and fell in love with it again.

“I started at the bottom again and I’ve risen about 200 places in the rankings in four years.

“It’s gone pretty well, I couldn’t really ask for more.”