10:46 am
21 Apr 2024

Qualifiers Excel In British Open Openers

12 May 2015

Qualifiers excelled on the opening day of women's action in the Allam British Open Squash Championships as five seeds bit the dust in a series of major upsets in the WSA World Series event in Hull.

Born just a month before 12th seed Rachael Grinham made her debut in the event in 1996, Egyptian qualifier Yathreb Adel caused one of the biggest shocks when she despatched the four-time former champion from Australia in four games.

Grinham was celebrating a remarkable 18th successive appearance in the world-renowned championships. Despite losing in the first round in 1996, the 38-year-old former world number one from Queensland went on to reach the final five times and win the title in 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2009. Only last year, the former world champion won a Commonwealth Games gold medal in Glasgow - and two months ago in Canada notched up her 70th WSA World Tour final appearance.

But the day belonged to Adel, the 19-year-old world No.35 from Cairo who is a first-year student at Roehampton University in London. Defying a 3/0 defeat in their previous meeting, Adel put in a commanding performance to defeat Grinham 11-9, 11-5, 12-14, 11-8 in 39 minutes to claim an unexpected place in the second round in her maiden appearance in the event.

"Great match against Rach today," tweeted Adel to her loyal followers. "Pleased to get through and really looking forward to my next match tomorrow!"

The teenager's breakthrough win was followed by four further stunning triumphs by qualifiers, together with a shock victory by English wild card Victoria Lust. The 26-year-old from Cheltenham's career has taken a notable leap forward since relocating to British Columbia in Canada.

In her maiden appearance in the event, it took Lust just 35 minutes to dismiss Omneya Abdel Kawy, the No.8 seed from Egypt who has made the quarter-finals on three occasions, 11-4, 11-8, 13-11.

In her first meeting with the former world No.2 from England, South African qualifier Siyoli Waters beat 15th seed Jenny Duncalf - runner-up in 2008 - 11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 0-11, 16-14 in 56 minutes.

The day's biggest scalp was taken by Malaysian qualifier Delia Arnold, who ousted England's fifth seed Alison Waters - a semi-finalist for the past two years - 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 in just 35 minutes.

"There was no pressure on me, especially after coming from two-nil down yesterday, so I'm delighted," said the jubilant 29-year-old from Selangor who is now in the second round for the first time in four appearances.

Much was expected of rising Egyptian star Nour El Tayeb, the 22-year-old from Cairo who has leapt to No.5 from outside the world top 20 in less than a year. But the seventh seed tumbled 5-11, 11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5 to qualifier Donna Urquhart, the Australian left-hander who is fighting back to top form after undergoing foot surgery late last year.

But Malaysian super star Nicol David eased her way into the second round despite dropping a game to Welsh qualifier Tesni Evans on the all-glass court at the Airco Arena. The world No.1 from Penang is seeded to reach the 100th WSA World Tour final of her career in Hull - and win her sixth British Open title since 2005.

After winning the first two games comfortably, David allowed Evans back into the game in the third as the Welsh champion reduced the deficit. But the top seed kept her focus in the fourth to close out the match 11-2, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9.

David will now meet England's Emma Beddoes after the 14th seed was handed a walkover when 2005 runner-up Natalie Grinham, the former world No.2 from the Netherlands, was forced to withdraw due to illness.

England's third seed Laura Massaro made a welcome return to competitive action by securing her place in the second round. Champion in 2013 and runner-up last year, the world No.4 from Preston was playing her first Tour event since taking a two-month break from the sport.

Massaro faced India's world No.24 Joshana Chinappa - and after honours were shared in two tie-break games, Massaro dug deep to clinch the match 13-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-7 after 50 minutes.

"Obviously I was a little bit nervous coming in because of the lack of competitive squash I've played," said the 31-year-old former World Champion. "Maybe more so because I don't really know exactly how I'm playing and what to expect. I know that I feel hungry again to be on court and that's exciting.

"Before my break I didn't feel like the normal me but now I feel back to my usual self which was what the break was designed to do. I don't think as a professional athlete you can ever go in and think I'm so lucky to be here because you want to win all the time - that does bring nerves and expectation by other people.

"Although I want to enjoy it more there's still a bit of pressure to achieve," added Massaro.

2nd round line-up:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) v [14] Emma Beddoes (ENG)
[Q] Donna Urquhart (AUS) v [13] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
[3] Laura Massaro (ENG) v [16] Nouran Gohar (EGY)
[WC] Victoria Lust (ENG) v [10] Joelle King (NZL)
[6] Camille Serme (FRA) v [9] Dipika Pallikal (IND)
[4] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [Q] Siyoli Waters (RSA)
[Q] Delia Arnold (MAS) v [11] Annie Au (HKG)
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) v [Q] Yathreb Adel (EGY)

British Open image courtesy of www.squashpics.com

Women's 1st round:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Tesni Evans (WAL) 11-2, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9 (56m)
[14] Emma Beddoes (ENG) bt Natalie Grinham (NED) w/o
[13] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) 5-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (48m)
[Q] Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt [7] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 5-11, 11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5 (54m)
[3] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Joshana Chinappa (IND) 13-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-7 (50m)
[16] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [Q] Samantha Cornett (CAN) 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 (43m)
[10] Joelle King (NZL) bt [Q] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 (30m)
[WC] Victoria Lust (ENG) bt [8] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 11-4, 11-8, 13-11 (35m)
[6] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 11-4, 11-5, 4-11, 11-5 (46m)
[9] Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt Emily Whitlock (ENG) 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 11-4 (57m)
[Q] Siyoli Waters (RSA) bt [15] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 0-11, 16-14 (56m)
[4] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Heba El Torky (EGY) 11-2, 7-11, 11-2, 9-11, 11-4 (50m)
[Q] Delia Arnold (MAS) bt [5] Alison Waters (ENG) 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 (35m)
[11] Annie Au (HKG) bt Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 8-11, 11-6, 11-3, 12-10 (50m)
[Q] Yathreb Adel (EGY) bt [12] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 11-9, 11-5, 12-14, 11-8 (39m)
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [Q] Line Hansen (DEN) 11-6, 11-5, 7-11, 13-11 (37m)