12:53 pm
30 May 2024

Australian Open Lift Off For Lobbans

27 Oct 2022

Husband and wife Greg Lobban and Donna Lobban both came through tough opening matches in the 2022 Australian Open to reach the quarter-finals of the long-established PSA World Tour event in Sydney.

Fifth seed Donna, one of two home players to prevail, needed four games to beat 18-year-old Malaysian Yasshmita Jadishkumar en-route to setting up an exciting quarter-final against Sabrina Sobhy, the No.2 seed from the USA. Lobban and Jadishkumar split the first two games, both decided by the tightest of margins, before the Australian got in control of the match and won 3/1.

"I am really glad I got through that, actually," she said after the match. "Yasshmita is a very talented young player and she's going to be one of the stars of the future. So really happy for the win, no matter the score."

Lobban's next opponent Sobhy confidently disposed of Katerina Tycova 3/0 in just 25 mimutes.

"Sabrina is playing very well at the moment and she had an amazing result in the USA last week, so it doesn't get any tougher than that. I am probably the underdog in this one, but I'm going to give everything I've got for sure," Lobban said.

Scot Greg Lobban will face England's Charlie Lee after the pair claimed straight-game victories over their second-round opponents Daniel Poleshchuk of Israel and German Valentin Raap, respectively.

Rex Hedrick is the only other Australian player still in the draw after he emerged victorious from the all-Aussie match of the day against Joseph White. Hedrick won 3/0 and will have a tough quarter-final against seed England's second seed Adrian Weller who defeated fellow countryman Simon Herbert.

Sarah Cardwell, the other Australian seeded in the top eight, had to bow out of the Australian Open after losing her second-round match against Kaitlyn Watts. The Kiwi was quick to secure the first two games in a close match that could have gone either way, and Cardwell could only force a fourth game before conceding the match 1/3. Watts will face seed USA's third seed Oliva Clyne tomorrow, after the current world No.20 eliminated veteran Australian Rachael Grinham in straight games.

The big result of the day came courtesy of Japan's Ryunosuke Tsukue who eliminated fourth-seeded Canadian David Baillargeon in four games.

Showing the form that took him all the way to the final at the recent Canberra Open, Tsukue bounced off the blocks first and built a solid 2/0 lead against his rival. Baillargeon managed to secure the third game and came within one point of forcing a decider, leading 10-5 in the fourth. Tsukue denied the Canadian five game points and went on to close 13-11 on his first match point, for a 3/1 win and a spot in the quarter-finals against Andrew Douglas.

The American seeded at No.6 was dangerously close to becoming the third upset of the day when he fell 2/0 down to Tom Walsh of England in his second-round match. Douglas didn't lose composure and mounted an epic comeback to claim a spot in the next round, closing off the decider 11-8 after over an hour on court.

Earlier in the day, top women's seed Belgian Nele Gilis had a good opening match against Jacqueline Peychar, taking a solid 3/0 win without conceding more than four points in any of the games.

"It's very warm here in Sydney so it took a bit of getting used to the hot court, but I thought I played really well and I am already looking forward to the next round," said the world No.13 after the match. "To have such a big prestigious event like the Australian Open back on is amazing. It's my first time playing, so I am really excited about it."

Gilis will face German Saskia Beinhard in the quarter-finals, after the German defeated young Australian Alex Haydon in four games.

Elsewhere in the women's draw England's Jasmine Hutton proved too strong for home hope Jess Turnbull, winning her opening match 3/0 and setting up another interesting quarter-final against Japanese Satomi Watanabe, who defeated Egypt's Salma El Tayeb in straight games.

In the men's draw, Colombian Miguel Rodriguez cemented his status as tournament's favourite with a clinical performance against 2020 Australian Open champion Rhys Dowling. "It's my second time in Sydney, but the first time playing at a PSA event so I was really looking forward to coming back," Rodriguez said after his match, which he won 3/0.

"My opponent is very talented, I saw his match yesterday and he was very smooth on the court. It was a bit physical in the first game today, but I tried not to give him any chances and I wasn't making any unforced errors. It worked and I felt pretty much in control. The crowd was amazing and I almost felt like I was already playing in a final," Rodriguez said.

The Colombian will face No.7 seed Martin Svec in the next round after the Czech won his match in four games. Svec lost the first game to Sandeep Ramachandran 10-12, but steered the ship to claim the next three games for a 3-1 win in 42 minutes.