11:29 pm
24 May 2024

Chan Chases Down Naude In World Open Qualifiers

22 Sep 2009

Joey Chan, a 21-year-old from Hong Kong, disappointed Dutch fans in tonight's last match in the qualifying finals of the Forexx Women's World Open Squash 2009 when she beat Annelize Naude to deny the local hope a place in the main draw of the $118,000 WISPA World Tour event at Frans Otten Stadion in the Netherlands capital Amsterdam.

"I'm disappointed it's all over now - I so wanted to play tomorrow," said the 32-year-old world No34 from Amsterdam. "She changed her game, and I didn't respond. All credit to her."

Chan, ranked three places lower, was delighted to have beaten Naude for the first time. "I really didn't see the ball well in the first game - but by the second game I had got used to her game," said the left-hander.

When asked if she found it difficult to play against not only the opponent, but the partisan crowd, Chan said: "I ignored the crowd - I needed to concentrate on the match."

Egyptian schoolgirl Nour El Tayeb became the first player to earn a place in the main draw as a qualifier after a convincing 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 win over higher-ranked Malaysian Sharon Wee, a former world No18.

The 16-year-old from Cairo, ranked 64 in the world, built up commanding leads in the first two games, then battled back from 6/8 down in the third to overcome the world No29 in 27 minutes.

"I'm so happy, I don't know what to say," said the excited youngster on the eve of making her maiden appearance in the sport's premier event.

"Beating Sharon is great - I'd never played her before, but I know how good she is, she plays with so much touch. All my training for this has paid off."

When asked if she had any preference on her opponent in the main draw, El Tayeb replied: "Anyone would be fine. I'm in the World Open - it's a dream!

Donna Urquhart boosted Australian interest in the main draw by 50% when she beat 19-year-old Malaysian Low Wee Wern 11-5, 11-8, 11-3.

The 22-year-old from New South Wales was continuing the good form she showed in last week's British Open in Manchester where she reached the quarter-finals as a qualifier.

"My length was good for at the start, but it dropped off - it's hard to play at that intensity," said the left-hander, ranked 31 in the world.

"I didn't expect to win in three, so that's a real bonus - especially after having such a good week last week. I was hoping it wasn't going to be a one-off!

"Yes, life is good at the moment," admitted Urquhart.

In one of the standout matches of the day on the three-sided-glass-walled show court at the Frans Otten Stadion, Joshna Chinappa beat Egypt's world junior champion Nour El Sherbini to become the first Indian to reach the main draw in the 30-year history of the World Open.

The 23-year-old from Chennai took on the event's most-talked-about star - El Sherbini, the 13-year-old giant-killer who was one step away from becoming the youngest ever player to make the first round.

Belying her tender age, the Egyptian twice led in the match - and saved two match-balls in the fifth game decider before Chinappa's supremacy shone through as the world No35 claimed her historic 8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8 victory after 44 minutes.

"I wanted to end it quickly as I tend to get a little shaky when I'm at match ball like I was, at 10-6," said Chinappa afterwards.

"It's a good feeling to be India's first player in the World Open - especially as I got so close last year and missed out.

"Nour was one of the really good qualifiers in my section - she's a good player and I was on my guard: I had to play well.

"To make the main draw is really great - but I don't want to rest here, I want to go further. I'm not really fully satisfied."

Amanda Sobhy became the second 16-year-old to qualify - and the lowest-ranked player to survive - when she beat New Zealander Kylie Lindsay 11-9, 12-10, 5-11, 11-9.

The New York schoolgirl was relieved to notch up her notable win: "It could have gone either way - luckily I pulled it off.

"I'm glad I had my fitness. I've been working on speed and agility with my new trainer Jeff Telvi for the past two weeks - and it paid off!"

Asked how qualifying for the World Open rated amongst her life-time achievements, Sobhy replied: "It's up there at the top!"

The youngster becomes one of only a handful of Americans who have competed in the event: "You'll see lots of me and my sister Sabrina (aged 12) in the years to come. We'll be the next Grinham sisters."

Sobhy, a pupil at North Shore High School, has had to take time off from her studies to compete in the event: "I try and manage my schedule so I don't miss out my studies. I've brought all my books with me!"

The longest route into the main draw was negotiated by Aisling Blake, the world No27 from Ireland who fought back from two games down to overcome English outsider Victoria Lust in 82 minutes - the longest match of the tournament so far.

Lust, the 20-year-old world No53 from Cheltenham, saved two games balls to take the first game, then led throughout the next to move 2/0 ahead. Just two points away from a sensational upset in the third game, Lust began to lose her momentum as the experienced Blake came back, eventually winning 16-18, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8.

"We've played each other before and it was much more comfortable then - but she's really improved a lot since," said Blake, from Sligo, but based in Amsterdam. "I knew she'd had some good results and that it would be tough - I didn't underestimate her.

"And it's nice to win a five-setter - I haven't done that for a long time," added Blake, now in her third World Open.

"That's one back for the oldies, for sure," said the 28-year-old, reacting to a comment about the earlier wins by two 16-year-olds.

Sarah Kippax, the world No24 and highest-ranked player in the qualifiers, was taken the full distance by India's rising star Dipika Pallikal, the world No54 from Chennai who celebrated her 18th birthday 24 hours earlier. Kippax twice led, but the teenager battled back both times - in the second game dropping just two points.

Pallikal led 7-3 in the decider, but a collection of wayward shots helped Kippax to climb ahead. The youngster saved two match-balls before Kippax eventually clinched her 11-5, 2-11, 11-8, 10-12, 12-10 win in 51 minutes.

"I just couldn't seem to settle, the whole match," admitted the victorious 26-year-old from Halifax in Yorkshire. "To be honest, I'm not sure I deserved to win - but you've got to take your luck.

"I've never played her before, and found her quite hard to play against.

"But it's excellent to be in the main draw again. And I think it's good to have had a five-setter - now there's no pressure on me in the first round," concluded Kippax.

A second American player joined the group of players earning places in the main draw as qualifiers when experienced seven-time US champion Latasha Khan beat England's Emma Beddoes 8-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8. Kahn, ranked 28 in the world, led 9-2 in the fourth game when the 24-year-old world No36 fought back to reduce the deficit to two points.

But Kahn clinched victory after 50 minutes to earn her tenth appearance in the World Open since 1999.

"I'm so pleased to get through, particularly because promoter Tommy Berden and his wife Natalie Grinham are really good friends and have put so much effort into this tournament. I'm really pleased to be part of it," said the 36-year-old from Seattle.

"I never think I'm going to win, so it was good to get past Emma - it's always a battle."

Qualifying finals:
Sarah Kippax (ENG) bt Dipika Pallikal (IND) 11-5, 2-11, 11-8, 10-12, 12-10 (51m)
Aisling Blake (IRL) bt Victoria Lust (ENG) 16-18, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8 (82m)
Latasha Khan (USA) bt Emma Beddoes (ENG) 8-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 (50m)
Joey Chan (HKG) bt Annelize Naude (NED) 6-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (33m)
Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8 (44m)
Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Kylie Lindsay (NZL) 11-9, 12-10, 5-11, 11-9 (34m)
Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt Low Wee Wern (MAS) 11-5, 11-8, 11-3 (26m)
Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Sharon Wee (MAS) 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (27m)