Joelle King is the red hot favourite to defend her title at the New Zealand National Squash Championships in Auckland this weekend.

Ranked number five in the world, it is no surprise that King is the top seed in the women’s draw, as she bids to win the title for the fourth year in a row. However, victory is by no means a certainty, with three other players in the world’s top 50 also in the mix.

Second seed Kylie Lindsay, ranked number 38, Amanda Landers-Murphy (39) and Megan Craig (46) are all capable of giving King a run for her money on their day.

Meanwhile, Campbell Grayson has top billing in the men’s draw, but he too will have to be wary of his opposition.  Grayson is expected to resume his rivalry with second seed Martin Knight in the final, although rising star Paul Coll may have something to say about that.

Third seeded Coll will be brimming with confidence after making the semifinals of the Tasmanian Open recently.  Fourth seed Kashif Shuja is also lurking in the wings, ready to pounce if anyone is foolish enough to take him lightly on the court.

The New Zealand National Squash Championships get underway at the Royal Oak Squash Club on Friday.

Women’s Draw:

1. Joelle King vs Jacqui Kingi
Vicki Becker vs Alana Sincock
Danielle Fourie vs Michelle Heron
Alison Whyte vs Kerry Wickett

Ellie Epke vs Sophie O’Connell
Kate Cadigan vs Lisa Cowlard
Trina Moore vs Sacha Pou-Tito
4. Megan Craig vs Ellen Verry

3. Amanda Landers-Murphy vs Tracey Kimble
Trudy Englebretsen vs Becky Clarke
Abbie Palmer vs Sue (Suk Hee) Kim
Emma Sim vs Joanna Shanks

Emma Millar vs Gemma Gee
Georgina Shelton-Agar vs Eliza Sim
Hayley Hughes vs Nadine Cull
2. Kylie Lindsay vs Juee Bhide

Men’s Draw

1. Martin Knight vs Mark Millar
William Bicknell vs Matty Nation
Michael Pittams vs Mike Weston
Todd Redman vs Chris van der Salm

Lance Beddoes vs Scott Galloway
Shane Johnston vs Michael Sunderland
Ben Grindrod vs Jonathan Gallacher
4. Kashif Shuja vs Sion Wiggin

3. Paul Coll vs Michael Martin
Eugene Black vs Joseph Watts
Jonny Barnett vs Andrew Ellis
Steve Martin vs Christopher Lloyd

Zac Millar vs Thomas Nash
Grant Craig vs Mariu Te Kani-McQueen
Sam Atkins vs Cameron Jamieson
2. Martin Knight vs Bryce Redman