Early Exit for Egypt

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Last match was played at 10:30pm to a full house. Great crowd. 

We begin our live coverage today!
Live scores will be posted on www.facebook.com/SquashStars

It begins downunder!

Kasey Brown (AUS) [7] bt Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL)
11-3, 12-14, 11-6, 11-7 (55m)

The first match in Round 1 of the main draw went according to seeding with Kasey Brown’s win over her  trans-Tasman neighbour—Jaclyn Hawkes. It was not an easy win with Jaclyn stretching Kasey in the second game in a close battle with some long rallies. Kasey now moves on to the quarter finals to meet current world champion, Nicol David.

Annie Au (HKG) [Q] bt Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) [4]
7-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-9, 11-9 (46m)

Annie Au provided the first and only upset of the day by beating Omneya. The young Hong Kong star played some good shots at the front of the court while Omneya kept moving the ball behind. Annie had some fantastic dead shots aimed at the back of the court causing the veteran Egyptian to fall prey to it, numerous times. Kawy still looked a little tired from her matches last week but credit is due to Annie who showed maturity and calmness in steering her way through to the quarter final. “I was nervous in the first game and could not catch Omneya’s shots. But I told myself not to give up and just concentrate and play a good game.” Well done, Annie!

Madeline Perry (IRL) [6] bt Low Wee Wern (MAS) [Q]
12-10, 5-11, 11-1, 11-5 (36m)

Wee Wern started out strong pushing the sixth seed into extra points in the first game and came back from one set down to win the second. Madeline stepped up her game in the third and fourth games, leaving Wee Wern a little misplaced. The lack of depth from some of Wee Wern’s shots and some errors from her in the last two games allowed the Irishwoman to win the match without having to go for a decider. Madeline will meet Hong Kong’s sole survivor and wonder kid—Annie Au in tomorrow’s line up.

Alison through to the quarters.

Alison Waters (ENG) [3] bt Rebecca Chiu (HKG) [Q]
11-2, 11-6, 11-9 (26m)
The game started off with Alison taking charge, not allowing Rebecca to do much—it went very quickly to the Englishwoman at 11-2 in the first set. The second game was more evened out with Rebecca taking the lead at some points of the game but Alison proved too strong and did well to overcome her opponent. The third game was very entertaining as both players tried to constantly outdo each other. Both were taking the balls early and Alison seemed to be doing some ballet moves on court, reaching out for the ball from afar with her racquet outstretched. Rebecca had a much better performance in the third game but it wasn’t enough to stave off the Englishwoman as Alison took the third game 11-9.

Camille Serme (FRA) [8] bt Donna Urquhart (AUS)
11/7, 11/3, 6/11, 10/12, 11/8 (48m)
In the first game, it was all about Camille. As always, there were lots of stretches and some splits from the French star (who I suspect will make a good gymnast too!). First two games went Camille’s way but in the third game, the leftie from Australia stepped up the pace to take the game 11-6. The fourth game was entertaining with the ball being placed at all four corners of the court by both girls with Donna prevailing in extra points. Camille went the extra mile in the fifth game with a very determined stance. Donna tinned a few shots and clawed her way back but lost out 11-8 in the end. Strong play by both girls! Camille faces Alison Waters in the quarter final.

Natalie Grainger (USA) [5] bt Delia Arnold (MAS) [Q]
8-11, 7-11, 11-2, 11-7, 11-2 (45m)
Delia took the first two games off WISPA’s principal and seemed to be the stronger contender, likely to win in three games. But in the third game, Natalie avenged with some forceful shots and took a quick 5-0 lead—whitewashing Delia 11-2! There were numerous strokes given to Natalie in the last two games as Delia seemed to be making more errors, hitting the ball towards herself. She seemed a little out of focus, losing quickly in the fifth game to a more experienced Grainger. “I haven’t played much lately, so it was a matter of finding the right shots and getting the fluidity back, and even adjusting to seeing the ball early. I’m really pleased to be able to come back into the game with a change of tactics, and simply hitting the ball a little deeper.”

Both Delia and Wee Wern were probably experiencing fatigue from their long games yesterday. They have done well to make it to Round 1 and we will definitely be seeing more of these young Malaysians in tournaments to come.

Rachael Grinham (AUS) [2] bt Pamela Chua (SIN)
11-3, 11-2, 11-3 (18m)
This match seemed like a formality to Rachael, rounding up the game in merely 18 minutes! Pamela had an uphill task against the former world number one who was moving well around the court and seemed at ease all through the match. Pamela, the wild card entrant to this tournament, put up a fight in the first two games but by the third, she seemed to have taken a back seat with Rachael taking full control of the match. Rachael kindly commented, “There were no easy points, Pamela was in the rallies and I couldn’t let up for a minute. She moves and hits well but she’s got to play more of these matches to get used to the intensity.”

The home crowd was also very supportive with “oohs” and “aahs” each time Pamela played a good shot. Kudos to the crowd for their encouragement!

Raneem steals a set of top seed, Nicol David. Photo with thanks to www.chroniclepeople.com

Nicol David (MAS) [1] bt Raneem El Weleily (EGY)
8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (42m)
This match was expected to be exciting as Raneem stunned some top seeds just last week at the Malaysian Open. In the first game, Raneem raced to a quick start over the World Champion with a 6-1 lead. Nicol caught up but was still scrambling around the court and lost the first game 8-11. The Egyptian youngster seemed to be on track to create another upset. Perhaps it was the Katong Laksa she had earlier, Nicol’s movement became more fluid and she began to read Raneem’s game better. Raneem, who is known for her perseverance on court, did a fantastic job retrieving most of Nicol’s killer shots but went down fighting to the world number one.

Nicol commented, “She played really well—she was literally firing for all the shots in the first game. It took me awhile to actually get into it. When it came to the second game, I just got a bit more feel of the ball and was hitting the ball better; she slowly made some errors and gave me a better edge to start off each set.”

Live scores will be posted on www.facebook.com/SquashStars

Quarter final line up. (Matches to start at  6:30PM SGT)

Nicol David (MAS) (1) vs Kasey Brown (AUS) (7)

Annie Au (HKG) (Q) vs Madeline Perry (IRL) (6)

Camille Serme (FRA) vs Alison Waters (ENG) (3)

Natalie Grainger (USA) (5) vs Rachael Grinham (AUS) (2)

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