10:35 pm
19 Jun 2024

Watanabe Wipes Out Hutton To Advance To Sydney Semis

28 Oct 2022

With home interest extinguished on day three of the City Tattersalls Club Australian Open following the exits of Donna Lobban and Rex Hedrick, it was Satomi Watanabe of Japan who provided the upset of the day, overcoming England's fourth seed Jasmine Hutton to reach the semi-finals of the women's PSA World Tour event in Sydney.

Watanabe and Hutton staged an epic five-game battle that lasted over an hour. Hutton led twice, after the first game and then again at 2/1, but could not find momentum as the 23-year-old from Yokohama managed to pull back each time. Watanabe eventually took the fifth game 11-5 to claim a tough and physical contest after 64 minutes.

"Honestly I wasn't feeling great until almost the last game," said sixth seed Watanabe. "I just tried to stay in the match and I finally started to find my rhythm at the end."

Watanabe will face top seed Gilis in the semis, after the Belgian took an emphatic 3/0 win against Germany's Saskia Beinhard. "We've never been on court together, but I am definitely the underdog in this one," commented Watanabe.

The second women's semi-final will see an all-American clash after No.2 Sabrina Sobhy and No.3 seed Olivia Clyne both won their quarter-finals in straight games against Lobban and Kiwi Kaitlyn Watts.

After Lobban's defeat, Hedrick was the last Australian left in the tournament. Despite a valiant effort in the first game, which he lost 10-12, the No.8 seed could not delight the home crowd with a win against world No.34 Adrian Waller, the second-seeded Englishman who took the second 11-8 and wrapped up the quarter-final 11-9 in the third.

Donna Lobban's husband Greg Lobban had to come from behind to win his quarter-final against fellow Briton Charlie Lee. The Scot was down 1/2 before mounting his comeback and taking the match to the decider. The two players traded blow for blow in front of a delighted Sydney crowd until Lobban found the decisive shots against the Englishman to make it 11-9 in the longest match of the tournament so far (75 minutes). Lobban will face Waller in what promises to be another exciting semi.

Top men's seed Miguel Rodriguez also qualified for the last four. The Colombian defeated Martin Svec 3/0 with another convincing performance.

Rodriguez's next adversary will be No.6 seed Andrew Douglas. Just like yesterday, the American had to go the distance to overcome the resistance of his opponent, with Japan's Ryunosuke Tsukue eager to make another illustrious victim after knocking No.4 seed David Baillargeon out of the tournament in the previous round. Douglas needed three match balls to close off the match, but he finally clinched the fifth game 11-9 in 68 minutes.