UPDATE:
Women’s Round One at St George’s

Women’s Round One at St George’s

It’s the last day at St George’s Hill with 16 women’s matches as the players compete for as place at the O2 …

[note]
Women’s First Round:

Alison Waters (Eng) bt [13] Low Wee Wern (Mas)  9/11, 12/10, 11/7, 8/11, 11/7 (70m)
[7] Annie Au (Hkg) bt [Q] Gaby Huber (Sui)  6/11, 11/6, 11/1, 14/12 (54m)
[16] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) bt Joey Chan (Hkg)      11/8, 11/7, 8/11, 5/11, 11/3 (54m)
[4] Madeline Perry (Irl) bt [Q] Sam Cornett (Can)   11/7, 11/8, 11/6 (27m)

[14] Dipika Pallikal (Ind) bt Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)   8/11, 9/11, 11/9, 11/5, 11/5 (70m)
[5] Raneem El Weleily (Egy) bt Amanda Sobhy (Usa)   11/6, 19/17, 11/8 (32m)
[15] Donna Urquhart (Aus) bt [Q] Heba El Torky (Egy)  11/6, 11/8, 11/2 (30m)
[2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) bt Delia Arnold (Mas)   11/6, 10/12, 11/8, 11/6 (57m)

Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl) bt [8] Kasey Brown (Aus) 11/7, 2/11, 11/4, 11/6, 13/11 (82m)
[10] Camille Serme (Fra) bt Sarah Kippax (Eng)       11/8, 11/9, 8/11, 11/5 (51m)
[3] Laura Massaro (Eng) bt [Q] Latasha Khan (Usa)   11/5, 8/11, 8/11, 11/6, 11/3
[9] Natalie Grinham (Ned) bt [Q] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) 11/9, 11/5, 11/7 (30m)

[6] Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt Emma Beddoes (Eng)   11/13, 11/7, 11/5, 15/13 (58m)
[12] Joelle King (Nzl) bt [Q] Coline Aumard (Fra)    11/6, 11/7, 11/4 (28m)
[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt [Q] Maria Toor Pakay (Pak)   11/2, 11/3, 11/6 (20m)
[11] Samantha Teran (Mex) bt [Q] Lauren Briggs (Eng)    11/9, 11/6, 11/7 (30m)

[/note]

LOTS OF POWER IN THAT RACQUET

[7] Annie Au (Hkg) 3-1 [Q] Gaby Huber (Sui)  6/11, 11/6, 11/1, 14/12 (54m)

Swiss Gaby Huber – formerly know as Schmohl – is one of the girls on the circuit I always appreciate the company of, but I never really got a chance to watch playing. And today, I truly enjoyed her game.

She hits the ball very hard indeed, when it’s needed, and it’s backed by an excellent length and width, a very accurate style, and her movement well, there is nothing wrong with those great legs of hers…

Annie was surprised by Gaby’s power in the first game. Pressure was on her shoulders, and it felt like she was really not at her ease on there at all. Lots of unforced errors, a few questioning of decisions – not in her normal way for what I’ve seen. Comfortable, she was not.

Still, she didn’t get to top 8 in the world for nothing, and in the second, she calmed down, mixed perfectly her backhand volley drop shots trademark with accurate crosscourt lobs that prevent Gaby to have the same impact on the rallies that she did on the 3rd.

After a terrible no show third – she was led 9/0 – the Swiss came back with a vengeance, and I truly thought she was going to get a decider out of it. Up 7/3, she saw Annie claw back to 7/7. Nothing between the girls, 8/8, 9/9. Game ball Swiss, tin. 11/10 game ball Swiss, tin. 12/11, game ball HK, tin. And finally, yet another perfect crosscourt deep in the back corner that Gaby cannot retrieve. Annie is obviously relieved…..

[quote] “In the first game, I just couldn’t get used to her speed and power, and I seem to lose my game plan, I was far too passive and didn’t attack enough.

In the second, I slowed down the pace, I tried and not gave her too much space, which then allowed me to play my drop shots. But in the last one, I was not tight enough, nerves crept in, and it was all a bit scrappy in the end….”

Annie Au

In the first I had a good length, and I put a lot of pressure on her backhand, where she is not as accurate as on the forehand I find. But she game back strong in the 2nd and 3rd. The third was terrible, I was never in that game.

In the 4th, I found the belief I could win that game, I’m disappointed as I tinned my two game balls, would have been nice to get a 5th, you never know what might have happened…

Still, last time I played her in HK, she chopped me 3/0 in like 20m! So it’s nice to see I can keep up with those girls….

Gaby Huber
[/quote]

Philippe on Alison Waters v Low Wee Wern

Alison Waters (Eng) 3-2 [13] Low Wee Wern (Mas)  9/11, 12/10, 11/7, 8/11, 11/7 (70m)

It was a very good match indeed, played at a very high pace. A lack of accuracy from Alison, especially on her backhand cost her a few strokes. It was close all the way, and at 8/7 in the 5th for Alison, WW got terrible cramps. She was obviously in a lot of pain. She tried to keep on playing, but obviously couldn’t move. And that make the difference in the end.

“It’s the first time I play Alison, obviously, she is one of the top players, and I knew I had to be at my 100% just to match her, not even talking about beating her!

I’m happy with the way I played, every game was very close, including the 5th. I think I gave her a bit too much in the centre, and gave her too much time on the ball. Still, a very high quality match.

I’m still disappointed that I lose in the first round of the British Open though. Just my luck. I never ever played a wild card, and I’ve got to draw Alison.”

Low Wee Wern

“I’m relieved to have won that match really.  It was a bit of an ugly contest and I sort of scraped through at the end.  Wern played really well.  She moved well and kept up the pressure all the way through.  It’s good to get the first match out of the way and I’m looking forward to playing at the O2.”

Alison Waters 

[quote] [hr]

Sherbini survives Chan challenge

[16] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-2 Joey Chan (Hkg)      11/8, 11/7, 8/11, 5/11, 11/3 (54m)

“I was controlling everything for the first two games, shooting my drop shots with no trouble, it was all perfect really. And suddenly, I have no idea why, I froze. I just couldn’t move, I couldn’t run, and I just wasn’t able to think about my game plan or anything. I just kept hitting the ball, with no purpose.

I don’t know, it was the first time I played her, I was suddenly lost. And at the end of the 4th, my coach and my dad told me to imagine that I was starting from scratch, that this was the beginning of the match. And that’s what I did. Suddenly, my shots came back, and I again played attacks from everywhere.

At 7/1 up, my confidence came back, the belief I could win, and I won the decider 11/3. I was so relieved, I thought I was going to lose….”

Nour El Sherbini 

[hr]

CONTENTIOUS….

[14] Dipika Pallikal (Ind) 3-2 Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)   8/11, 9/11, 11/9, 11/5, 11/5 (70m)

I saw bits and pieces of the match between Omneya, back after 6 months away, recovering from injury, and Dipika, just crowned with her India Team Asian Champion, and the 5th completely. There was a lot and a lot of discussions with the central ref, and as I haven’t seen the whole thing I can only comment on what I saw, conduct strokes were given to Omneya, Dipika was warned…. Very explosive indeed.

Let me put it this way. I disagreed with most the decisions I saw, and I really couldn’t to save my life see the line they chose. But once again, I didn’t see the whole match, so, difficult to assess what was going on from the start. One thing is sure, both camps were very unhappy with the refs, which is always a good sign, as in, not directed about one player! And as Dipika said, it’s part of the game, you have to accept it. It’s never easy to referee at such a high level of game when maybe, you don’t have the opportunity to referee big events often. Not easy to referee, I know…

We had a lot of bumping each other, there were a lot of traffic problems, lots of stop and starts. I don’t think it was intentional from either of the girls, just two style of game that collided. And I was impressed how Omneya has trimmed down, she looks very fit indeed, and she kept running an awful lot even in the 5th for somebody who is just back after a long period of rest. And although Dipika led comfortably in the 5th, you could feel how weary she was, that she never relaxed, as Omneya’s hands are amazing.

Dipika will be delighted to take that match, it shows how mature she is becoming, and Omneya so disappointed, as it would have been a perfect way for her to come back on the world’s spotlight. So close…

“I didn’t know what to expect, as Omneya hasn’t been on the tour for a few months. And to be honest, when I saw the draw I went, mmmmm. But then again, it’s the British Open, so there is not going to be any easy round.

I just spent three four weeks in Australia to train with Sarah [Fitzgerald] and just before this match, I called her, and said that I just didn’t know what to expect.

Sarah told me very logically that Omneya still would be the same talent, she would still have the same wonderful hands, and that I had to make sure I didn’t give her any angles.In the first two, I sat back a bit too much, and relaxed a bit too much. I probably thought, oh, I’ll come back in the 2nd, but you can’t do that with a player of that calibre!…

After that, I used the four corners, varied my angles. And I felt she was getting a bit tired, and stepped back a bit. I was lucky in the 3rd though, I was down and in the 4th too, but at a crucial time, she got a conduct stroke, and that was very important in the match.

The refereeing was bad, but that’s the game, you’ve got to accept it and get on with it. And now, going to play Raneem tomorrow, really looking forward to it….”

Dipika Pallikal

 [hr]

Raneem wins World Champ challenge

[5] Raneem El Weleily (Egy) 3-0 Amanda Sobhy (Usa)   11/6, 19/17, 11/8 (32m)
”We’ve played once, 2 or 3 years ago in a WISPA event, and it was a 3/2 close match. At the time, she just got World Junior Champion, and I was very nervous I remember, and being very confused by the fact she was left-handed.Today, I was not nervous..
Still, not the greatest match for me. No offence to Amanda, nowadays, I don’t think about who I’m playing, who they are, I just try and get settled in my head, to keep calm, and trying to do my best.
But today, I didn’t do my best, and I’ll have to play better soon, otherwise I’m not going anywhere…”
Raneem El Weleily 
“Nominating myself as the queen of shank city after my match today #somanytins.”Amanda Sobhy
[hr] [15] Donna Urquhart (Aus) 3-0 [Q] Heba El Torky (Egy)  11/6, 11/8, 11/2 (30m)

“I’m happy with that. I had a game plan, and I’m really happy with executing it and sticking to it really. Well, apart from the start of the second that is, where I went 6/0 down, a lap of concentration….”

Donna Urquhart

“I don’t know… the tin looked pretty nice today, so I decided to keep on hitting it. Bad tactical choice. Very disappointing.”

Heba El Torky

[hr]
[2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) 3-1 Delia Arnold (Mas)   11/6, 10/12, 11/8, 11/6 (57m)
“The British Open is such a big tournament, there is such a build up…. The first game of any tournament is never easy, this one is probably even more nerve-wracking. Like I said recently, before, you had to play pretty badly to lose a first round, especially in a 16 draw. But nowadays, with the quality of the young players coming up, you’ve got to be careful from the start.
It’s good for the game, but not for us!!!!I had to take some time off court, nothing bad, just a few niggles here and there, after the Nationals. But for the past few weeks, I managed to get proper training and thanks to the European Teams, I got a good run of matches. So this tournament is a good timing for me, and it’s good to have a big tournament just before the summer….”
Jenny Duncalf  
[hr]

A BATTLE

Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl) 3-2 [8] Kasey Brown (Aus) 11/7, 2/11, 11/4, 11/6, 13/11 (82m)

This was the first time I ever saw those two gorgeous ladies battle on court. And when at 1/1, we already had 7 decisions, I knew we were going to be there for a loooooong time.

Jacklyn started like a rocket, and took the Australian to the throat, playing attacking shots that I never realised she had to be honest. What precision at the front, clever timing and beautiful touch, what a start. And I guess that Kasey was stunned too, as the next game, she just didn’t show up, 11/2 for the New Zealander.

But body language says a lot, and as Kasey stepped back on court, I told Donna sitting next to me that there was a five setter written all over that one. And it was. Patiently, point by point, Kasey clawed back, despite the many, many, many, many stop and start, keeping her cool at all times. Nobody’s fault I guess, but just a major traffic problem between those two, they just didn’t seem to find a way round each other and kept banging into each other.

And we arrive, as we would, in a decider. There is nothing between the players, neither girls are making any errors, each rally is fought for, it’s great squash.5/5. 6/6. 8/8. Two strokes for the Australian, 10/8 match ball Kasey. A stroke for Jacklyn, 9/10 match ball.

And then, the biiiiiiig moment. Jacklyn has played a drop shot that unfortunately drops very close to her legs. Kasey goes for it, can’t play it, asks for a let. She was won the match really.

“No let” says the ref. MON DIEU.

You could argue it was not a stroke, you could give a let, maybe. But a no let????? The crowd – all players/aficionados – are stunned. We all look at each other. What just happened???

Kasey, still composed, puts her head down and keeps fighting, so does Jacklyn. 11/10, match ball NZ, it’s no let as Kasey’s ball is just too good. 11/11. Kasey tins her first ball of the game. Match ball, Jacklyn. And a no let to finish at 27m last game, for a 82m match.

What a shame, as the refs did pretty good on that one, that a poor decision in my opinion come and change the course of a match that was intense enough. And you can rightly argue that with so many decisions (I counted 26 just in the last game) you are bound to have a few errors. True. Shame is was on such a crucial point…

[hr]

EMMA IN GREAT SHAPE

[6] Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt Emma Beddoes (Eng)   11/13, 11/7, 11/5, 15/13 (58m)

Every time I see Emma Beddoes on a court, I’m amazed at how great she moved, and how clever she plays. There is nothing wrong with her brain, I tell you. She places the ball so brilliantly in the front corner when the opportunity presents itself, not too much, she counterattacks beautifully, and she runs for England really.

In other words, Rachael Grinham, former World Number 1, World Champion and numerous British Open winner had a lot of work to do to shake off the English girl…

It was a great match, between two determined players, and the four corners were regularly visited by both, no stone unturned there. And nowhere more than at the end of the 4th did we see Emma’s talent and guts.

Led 10/7 match ball, she run and outplayed Rachael to claw back to 10/10, got 2 game points of her own at 12/10 and 13/12, but she suddenly made two unforced errors, she only did two others at the start of that very long one, to offer Rachael a seat in the second round.

What a great match that was, respectful, few decisions, athletic, excellent squash, perfect really.

“Those young players, they have absolutely no respect for their elders!!! They should know how to stop, shouldn’t they??!!!!

“Really, she surprised me, at the end of the 4th, I thought I was controlling the rallies, I would play what I thought would be a winner, but she kept diving in them. She really showed some tremendous determination there. I thought at the start of the 4th that she was getting tired, that I just had to make her work hard and that she would start making errors, but she must have had a second wind or something!!!

“Oh well, it certainly tested me to the limit, getting straight in the tournament, that’s always good….”

Rachael Grinham

[hr] [1] Nicol David (Mas) bt [Q] Maria Toor Pakay (Pak)   11/2, 11/3, 11/6 (20m)
[11] Samantha Teran (Mex) bt [Q] Lauren Briggs (Eng)    11/9, 11/6, 11/7 (30m)

“We used to play a lot against each other but for the past two years, we have met. All our matches have always been 5 setters, very tough. I think it’s because we have similar style.

“Today, the first one that was very close, I was lucky enough to win it, and it gave me a lot of confidence. I really wanted to finish it in three, I didn’t want to give her a chance to come back in the match, you never know….

“Now, I’ve got to play Nicol, which is a shame because we are such good friends. But I’m so happy I came to play nice girls, Lauren today, Nicol tomorrow, and also, to have the chance to be here, in England, where Squash was born, and in this event, with all those great players, and that history…”

Samantha Teran

“It’s the first time we play each other in a WSA event, she came on court full of confidence and played those great low hard shots, which surprised me, because I didn’t expect them. In the 3rd, I gave her too many angles, and she just went for her shots, but maybe got a bit too confident and started to make errors.

“So happy to get to play on the glass court in the O2, that was my aim this week, I’m so happy now!!!!”

Nicol David

[hr]

Waters continues winning ways … WSA report

Fresh from three consecutive WSA title wins, local wild card Alison Waters maintained her winning ways in the first round of the WSA Allam British Open Squash Championships, as she took out 13th seed Low Wee Wern in a scrappy 70-minute five-setter.  It was a contest could have gone either way, as neither player maintained a faultless game.

Waters spoke afterwards at her relief to have put the match to rest.  She said: “I’m relieved to have won that match really.  It was a bit of an ugly contest and I sort of scraped through at the end.  Wern played really well.  She moved well and kept up the pressure all the way through.  It’s good to get the first match out of the way and I’m looking forward to playing at the O2.”

When play moves to the O2 Arena in London for round two and the rest of the competition, Waters will face No7 seed Annie Au.  The Hong Kong international saw out a 3-1 win against Swiss qualifier Gaby Huberat St Georges Hill Tennis Club, Weybridge to book her second round spot.  An upset had seemed possible early on, as Huber started quickly and took the first game, but Au closed the game out in under an hour 6/11, 11/6, 11/1, 14/12.

Despite the slow start, Au was pleased with her win.  She said: “I seemed to start quite slow today, and it took me a while to get used to her speed.  In the second and third games I just tried to slow the game down and be more assertive than before.  I think I tried to win the fourth too quickly and started rushing again, but Gaby made some errors which helped me to get back on track.”The highlight of playing at the O2 Arena from round two is something that is on the minds a lot of the players, says No4 seed Madeline Perry having dispatched Canadian qualifier Samantha Cornett in straight games.  “Everyone’s keen to make it that far,” said the Irish international.  “It’s always nice to play well in round one, especially against a qualifier who has already had a match or two to warm up.  It’ll be great to get across there tomorrow.”

Perry will face Egyptian teenager Nour El Sherbini, who was forced five-games in her first round match by Joey Chan.  A lapse in concentration by the 16-year-old teenager, allowed the Hong Kong international to claw back level from a two-game deficit.  Refocused however, Sherbini settled back into a rhythm to finish the contest 11/3 in the fifth.

Sherbini’s Egyptian counterpart Raneem El Weleily also saw success in round one, but not before being pushed to the longest game of the day as she claimed a 19/17 second game, on her way to a 3-0 victory against Amanda Sobhy of America.

Weleily will face Dipika Pallikal in the second round, an opponent against whom she has never lost.  The Indian star nearly crashed out of the event in round one after going two games down to Omenya Abdel Kaway of Egypt, in a fractious and gritty tie.  Pallikal turned it around however, as the Egyptian’s fitness waned and Kaway began to rely more and more on her front-court prowess. 

“I just had to go into that third game and keep on pushing,” explained the world No14.  “I knew fitness might work in my favour as she’s been out with injury recently.  But she’s very crafty at the front, very deceptive, so I tried to keep the ball at the back of the court for long spells.“I’m really glad to get through though.  The squash at the O2 has sounded incredible so far and it’s great for squash that we can be seen at these incredible venues.”

Eighth seed Kasey Brown’s hopes of a British Open run were ended by unseeded Jaclyn Hawkes of New Zealand.  The Australian went two games down to Hawkes, before a change of tactics saw her back in contention at 2-all.  In a thrilling final game encounter lasting 27-minutes, Hawkes scraped back two-match balls to force a tiebreak, which she claimed 13-11.

Buoyed by her first round win, Hawkes confessed that the O2 was not her sole focus this week.  “This is the last competition before I get married,” explains the WSA President.  “I really wanted a good run in this competition, not only for the O2 spectacle but I also want one last good tournament as a Hawkes!

“It was a very close match and although I played well in the first two games, she mixed it up more from then, taking the ball short and making things much harder for me.”

Joelle King joined her New Zealand compatriot in the second round after dismissing the hopes of French qualifier Coline Aumard in 28-minutes.

On the glass showcourt, No2 seed Jenny Duncalf saw off the Malaysian threat of Delia Arnold 11/6, 10/12, 11/8, 11/6 in just under an hour.  This was followed by tenth seed Camille Serme of France beating England’s Sarah Kippax in a similarly close four-game encounter.

Third seed Laura Massaro faced a tough first round match against an in-form Latasha Khan, who had made short work of her qualifying opponents.  Despite taking the first game, the Englishwoman found herself 2-1 down and admitted to using the prospect of playing at the O2 as an incentive to coming back and winning the game.  She said: “At 2-1 down I thought about missing out on playing at the O2 tomorrow and it definitely fired me up.

“You never want a 3-2 battle in the first round of any tournament, but a win is a win.  Latasha has played really well recently, so I knew it would be tough from the start.   I’m glad and relieved to have come through though.”

Fellow Brit Emma Beddoes looked to be springing a surprise of her own as she took the first game against Australian and current British Open champion Rachael Grinham.  Experienced paid dividends throughout the next two games however, as Grinham worked her way back into the match and extended a 2-1 lead.  Ever resilient, Beddoes refused to be walked over and held her own for much of the fourth game.  Forcing the tiebreak at 10-all, she had opportunities to finish the game and push for a fifth, following some remarkable retrieval but the Australian proved too much in the end, taking it 15/13.
 
Rachael’s sister Natalie Grinham gave birthday-girl Sarah-Jane Perry a lesson to remember in her British Open debut, as the experienced Dutch international put in an a consummate performance to progress to the next round, 11/9, 11/5, 11/7 in 30-minutes.

World No1 Nicol David began her British Open title bid with a straight forward win over qualifier Maria Toor Pakay in straight games.  The Malaysian star was among the last matches of the day, and will face Samantha Teran of Mexico, who progresses after beating Lauren Briggs of England 11/9, 11/6, 11/3.