England’s World No.14 Alison Waters came back from a sluggish start to complete a 3-1 victory over compatriot Julianne Courtice as she opened up her 2020 Manchester Open campaign.
The opening game would have worried Waters as Courtice put in an accomplished performance to overturn a 3-0 deficit. The World No.30 got her boast working to great effect as she moved Waters around the court, winning the first game 11-7.
The second game was a straightforward affair as Waters recovered from that nervy start, dropping just three points to level the scores. Games three and four were much closer but Waters has the superior experience and she played the big points well to come out on top in both.
Waters will take on either 2019 runner-up Tesni Evans or Egypt’s Zeina Mickawy in round two.
“It’s my first match for seven months, I was injured at the Nationals in February and was injured for a few months,” said Waters.
“It’s been a long wait because I’ve been at the hotel since Monday night, so you’re just dying to get on court. This morning I was all ready to go at like 8am for my match, so it’s really nice to get on and Jules played really well. She’s such a skilful player, she was taking the ball in short well, and it was different to when we’d practiced on Tuesday.
“It was a lot deader on there it felt, so I had to make sure I pushed her high up the court, which I managed to do. I thought it would be so bouncy that the ball would come back to me and I realised that it was actually a metre ahead of me, so at the start of the second game I pushed up the court higher.
“I managed to keep the pressure on her and that was good. I was basically trying to switch off from the game and be in a relaxed, controlled state. When I can play like that, I can play my best squash.”
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt Julianne Courtice (ENG) 3-1: 7-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-9 (46m)