Marshall returns to the Open: Squash

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The Independent Online
England's Peter Marshall, making a comeback after a two-year lay-off, has been drawn to face Australia's Brett Martin in the first round of the Leekes British Open Championships starting on 31 March in Cardiff.

Martin was the last player beaten by Marshall in the British Open, going out in the 1995 semi-finals before Marshall lost to Jansher Khan in the final and was later diagnosed as suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.

After a complete rest, Marshall resumed training three months ago and has already beaten several top British players, including Simon Parke and Paul Johnson. He has been granted a wild-card entry to the British Open as he has no current world ranking.

Pakistan's eight times world champion and British Open title holder, Jansher Khan, will seek his sixth Open title as top seed. For the second successive year, he is drawn to meet Derek Ryan, the Irish champion, in the first round, and another first round repeat sees Peter Nicol facing Paul Johnson.

Domestic hopes will be pinned on the new world No 4, Simon Parke, who missed the 1996 event recovering from surgery and chemotherapy treatment for testicular cancer. His projected semi-final opponent is Jansher.

Australia's world champion, Sarah Fitz-Gerald, is the top seed and favourite to win the women's title for the first time. Another Australian, Michelle Martin, winner for the past three years, is second seed.

The first round takes place at the Welsh Institute of Sport in Cardiff, after which the rest of the tournament take place at the Welsh National Ice Rink.

LEEKES BRITISH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP (Cardiff, 31 March): Seedings: Men: 1 Jansher Khan (Pak), 2 R Eyles (Aus), 3 P Nicol (Sco), 4 S Parke (Eng), 5 C Walker (Eng), 6 J Power (Can), 7 A Barada (Egypt), 8 B Martin (Aus). Women: 1 S Fitz-Gerald (Aus), 2 M Martin (Aus), 3 C Jackman (Eng), 4 S Wright (Eng), 5 L Irving (Aus), 6 S Horner (Eng), 7 C Owens (Aus), 8 S Shone (Ger).