Aisling & Madeline at British Open Round One
The first day of the Allam British Open main draw held a number of surprise results as the world’s elite battle for supremacy in squash’s oldest event.
Ireland has 2 players playing in this most prestigious of competitions. Aisling Blake played Hong Kong’s Annie Au in Round 1 but unfortunately Aisling lost in 4 games in 56 mins – 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6. A close game that could have gone either way.
Our other representative Madeline Perry, who has had a great last 4 weeks, with 2 WSA titles in succession either side of a team silver medal for Ireland in the European Championships in Amsterdam. Madeline dispatched the young up and coming English qualifier Emma Beddoes in straight games, 12-10, 11-8, 11-9 in 44mins. She now plays the number 3 seed Raneem El Weleily (EGY), which will be a tough challange for Madeline but one which she will not shirk!
Unseeded English duo Sarah-Jane Perry and Sarah Kippax caused big upsets in front of a home crowd at the Pontefract Club in West Yorkshire, England, whilst Egyptian Nour El Tayeb also claimed an unfancied win.
Having risen 42 places in the WSA World Tour rankings since this event last year, Sarah-Jane Perry has taken giant leaps in improving her game. This has been reflected in three WSA titles claimed so far in 2013, and the 23-year-old put in a performance of the highest quality to defeat No.7 seed Low Wee Wern.
The powerful Englishwoman took a strong lead early on, whilst her Malaysian opponent was slow in rising to the occasion. A tiebreak second game showed signs of a struggle from Wee Wern and despite narrowly losing out 13-11, she returned to court to take the third game. Still acclimatising to the Tour as a Top20 player, the world No18 adjusted her game to combat the Malaysian’s fight-back, and held firm to deny Wee Wern a fourth game victory and record the best result of her career to date.
Her first World Series second round appearance will be against No.12 seed Kasey Brown, following the Australian’s straight games dismissal of qualifier Lauren Briggs.
Following Nour El Tayeb’s four-game defeat of No.9 seed Camille Serme, the Egyptian will have her eye on another scalp in round two as she faces eighth seed Jenny Duncalf. Duncalf will have other ideas however, after defeating Latasha Khan of the USA, and looking for her second career appearance in the British Open final, having finished runner-up in 2008.
Qualifier Sarah Kippax also impressed home audiences with a marathon win against No.10 seed Natalie Grinham. Kippax lost out in a narrow opening game to the experienced Dutch international, but scrapped to an even closer 13-11 tiebreak win in the second. Back level, she set about taking the lead from the former world No.3 but after claiming a quicker third game, was pegged back in the fourth. Another determined effort from the 30-year-old Englishwoman however, saw the unseeded player progressing in 68-minutes to face world champion Nicol David in round two.
David’s British Open title defence got off to the best of starts as the Malaysian beat Indian qualifier Joshana Chinappa in straight games. Her main threats to the title, second and third seeds Laura Massaro and Raneem El Weleily were also showing promising early form, with local Yorkshire-born Massaro defeating Joey Chan in straight games, whilst El Weleily of Egypt overcame qualifier Delia Arnold 3-1.
Massaro will face Dipika Pallikal in round two, following the Indian international’s 75-minute marathon win over Line Hansen of Denmark, and El Weleily will play in-form Irishwoman Madeline Perry.
Fourth and fifth seeds Alison Waters and Nour El Sherbini saw successes against their respective opponents in round one. Waters of England came from a game down to defeat promising teenager and compatriot Emily Whitlock, while 17-year-old Sherbini took two tiebreak games to defeat Harvard student Amanda Sobhy 3-1.
Waters will now face four-time British Open champion Rachael Grinham in round two, though the Australian won’t have too long to recover from her five-game battle with Nicolette Fernandes. Sherbini will face Egyptian compatriot Omneya Abdel Kawy following the No14 seed’s three-game win over Donna Urquhart. Sixth seed Joelle King was also comfortable on route through to the next round after beating qualifier Samantha Cornett of Canada. The Kiwi will play Annie Au of Hong Kong, following the No.13 seed’s 3-1 win over Aisling Blake.
Winners of today’s round one matches will move to the KC Stadium in Hull for a televised schedule on SquashTV for the rest of the week. The $90,000 World Series event will hold round two split over Wednesday and Thursday with the quarter-finals on Friday, and the semis and final taking place on Saturday and Sunday.
Photographs available courtesy of SquashSite: here
Tuesday’s Second Round Fixtures:
12:00 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) vs  Kasey Brown (AUS)
14:00  Rachael Grinham (AUS) vs  Alison Waters (ENG)
18:00  Joelle King (NZL) vs  Annie Au (HKG)
20:00  Nicol David (MAS) vs Sarah Kippax (ENG)
Wednesday’s Second Round Fixtures:
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
 Raneem El Weleily (EGY) v  Madeline Perry (IRL)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v  Dipika Pallikal (IND)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Joshana Chinappa (IND) 11-4, 11-5, 11-4 (30m)
Sarah Kippax (ENG) bt  Natalie Grinham (NED) 9-11, 13-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 (68m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt [Q] Samantha Cornett (CAN) 11-8, 11-7, 11-8
 Annie Au (HKG) bt Aisling Blake (IRL) 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6 (56m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt Emily Whitlock (ENG) 11-13, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 (56m)
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [Q] Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 10-12, 1-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 (58m)
Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt  Low Wee Wern (MAS) 11-7, 13-11, 7-11, 11-9
 Kasey Brown (AUS) bt [Q] Lauren Briggs (ENG) 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 (39m)
Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 10-12, 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 (49m)
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [Q] Latasha Khan (USA) 11-4, 11-4, 11-2 (24m)
 Madeline Perry (IRL) v [Q] Emma Beddoes (ENG) 12-10, 11-8, 11-9 (44m)
 Raneem El Weleily (EGY) v [Q] Delia Arnold (MAS) 8-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 (39m)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Donna Urquhart (AUS) 11-9, 11-4, 11-4 (22m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [Q] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 12-10, 9-11, 14-12, 11-7 (47m)
 Dipika Pallikal (IND) v Line Hansen (DEN) 14-16, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4 (76m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v Joey Chan (HKG) 14-