The sport's biggest ever women's event will be staged adjacent to the Royal Palace (the Palacio Real) in the Spanish capital, from 23-27 October, following qualifying at the city's Pallestra Squash Club from 21-22 October.
Nicol David has dominated the sport for the past two years: The 24-year-old from Penang started a run of eight title wins in 2005 which culminated in her clinching her maiden World Open title in Hong Kong in December.
Since then, the Malaysian superstar has enjoyed a remarkable run which included more than 50 matches without defeat - and this month she celebrated her 17th month at the top of the world rankings, thus becoming the fourth longest standing women's world number one of all-time!
This week, David reached her 17th successive WISPA World Tour final at the British Open in England. But the overwhelming favourite suffered a shock defeat to Rachael Grinham: Unable to exploit a two-game advantage, David went down to her Australian rival in five games in the longest British Open final on record.
Nicol David will begin her 2007 World Open campaign against Isabelle Stoehr, the world No18 from France. Her anticipated opponent in the quarter-finals would be fifth seed Natalie Grainger, the Pan American Games gold medallist from the USA who took the Malaysian to five games at the same stage in the British Open.
The draw suggests that the top seed would clash with Rachael Grinham in the semi-finals, before an expected meeting with the British Open champion's younger sister Natalie Grinham, the No2 seed, in the final.
The star-studded Madrid World Open draw features all of the top twenty players in the world - with players from all five continents amongst the top eight seeds. The main draw also includes three former world number ones - Australia's Rachael Grinham, the third seed; USA's Natalie Grainger, the fifth seed; and Vanessa Atkinson, the No9 seed from the Netherlands.
Atkinson, the 31-year-old world No9 from The Hague, is also a former world champion, having won the 2004 World Open in Malaysia, where she beat Natalie Grinham in the final.
The host nation will be represented in the main draw by wild card player Alicia Alvarez Riaza. The Spanish international from Madrid, who celebrates her 21st birthday on the eve of the event, competed in the European Team Championships in 2006 and 2007 - and will face Ireland's No8 seed Madeline Perry in the first round.
In addition to the 12 nations represented by the automatic entries into the main draw, players from a further nine countries will compete in the qualifying competition for the eight further places in the first round.
Issued by Howard Harding on behalf of WSF
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WSQ 4094 26 September 2007
Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
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