8:00 pm
28 Nov 2023

Satomi Sinks Salma In Major NZ Open Upset

9 Nov 2022

Japan's world No.48 Satomi Watanabe claimed the biggest win of her career in Tauranga where she sent No.3 seed and world No.10 Salma Hany crashing out of the Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Open in the second round stage.

In her post-match interview 24 hours earlier, Watanabe said she had fallen just short of beating the top 20 players recently, but the 23-year-old claimed a statement win over Hany today, completing an 11-4, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9 victory to beat her first top 10 player.

"I still can't believe that I've just done that," said Watanabe afterwards.

"I'm just really happy with my performance today. At the end, I was just trying to play the longest rally I could ever play because when I tried to win the points, I usually made mistakes. Next, I need the consistency of winning at this level.

"I'm really happy with my result today, but I don't want to be overly happy about it. I want to keep training and focus on the next match."

Watanabe, the only unseeded player to reach the last eight of the women's draw, will now appear in the quarter-finals of a PSA World Tour Silver event for the first time and will take on No.5 seed Tinne Gilis after the Belgian dispatched USA's Olivia Clyne in straight games.

Top seed and world No.5 Joelle King got her tournament off to a winning start as she overcame Australia's Jessica Turnbull, winning 11-3, 11-9, 11-6 in 28 minutes to set up a last eight meeting with USA's Sabrina Sobhy. Sobhy came back from two games down to avoid an upset against Hong Kong's Ka Yi Lee.

"There are so many people in here that follow myself and Paul [Coll] very closely," said King, discussing the home support at Trustpower Baypark Arena.

"We're a very proud nation, and to see faces that only get to see us online, you don't get a true sense of how fast and athletic the players are until you see it in real life. I've been really impressed, I've seen lots of juniors and schools here too, when they see it they can hopefully aspire to be like the players here."

In the men's Robertson Lodges New Zealand Open, Canada's world No.69 David Baillargeon claimed the biggest win of his career when he overcame world No.13 and No.4 seed Miguel Rodriguez.

It was a sublime performance from Baillargeon, who was able to showcase his fighting spirit as well as his skills with the racket, overturning four games balls in the first and third games to complete the win in straight games, winning 16-14, 12-10, 16-14.

"I trained super hard for that over the years," said Baillargeon.

"Especially this year, it hasn't gone my way at at the beginning of this season, but I'm so happy I got a huge win like this. The win was 3/0, but I think it was close to 65 minutes, it was a super long with a few tie-breaks."

Over at the Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre, which hosted some of the fixtures today and yesterday, Argentina's Leandro Romiglio caused a big upset against No.5 seed Saurav Ghosal, winning 11-7, 11-4, 8-11, 7-11, 11-7 to set up a last eight fixture against No.2 seed Mohamed ElShorbagy.

"I knew from that the beginning it would be tough, Saurav is so talented, a legend of the game," Romiglio said.

"It is going be tough with 'The Beast' [ElShorbagy]. We have been training in Prague a bit since he has been training with Greg [Gaultier]. We have been hitting a lot and we all know that Mohamed is Mohamed, so I look forward to spending time with him on court and I am going to go for the win, why not?"

ElShorbagy got the better of fellow Englishman Charlie Lee, while top seed Paul Coll overcame USA's Timothy Brownell, also in straight games.