Marathon All-Malaysia Tie Sets Pace in Final Qualifying

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CIMB Singapore Women’s Squash Masters 2011
Qualifying Rounds Day 2 | 26th July Kallang Squash Centre

Qualifying Final Results
Delia Arnold (MAS) bt Low Wee Wern (MAS) 12-10, 11-13, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8 (102 m)
Natalie Grinham (NED) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 11-2, 9-11, 11-1, 11-6 (39 m)
Sarah Kippax (ENG) bt Dipika Pallikal (IND) 11-6, 4-11, 11-9, 11-8 (40 m)
Jaclyn Hawke (NZL) bt Samantha Teran (MEX) 11-7, 11-8, 11-2 (48 m)

Eight quality contenders, four final slots in the main draw, four exciting match-ups. That summed up the action in the final round of qualifying on the second day of action at Kallang Squash Centre in Singapore.

In the end,  Natalie Grinham, Delia Arnold, Sarah Kippax and Jaclyn Hawkes completed qualifying lineup for the maindraw.

The opening match tonight was an all-Malaysian affair between Delia Arnold and Low Wee Wern; and it had all the elements of an exciting encounter.

They did not disappoint as they served up a titanic contest in their bid to join top-ranked compatriot Nicol David in the top 16.

Exchanges were sharp and furious,  neither wanting to give a quarter in all five sets, but it was Arnold who eventually prevailed after winning the final three points without reply in a 102-minute contest that left the packed Kallang audience enthralled.

Arnold admitted the contest was delicately balanced that it took all her might to triumph in the fifth game. “It could have gone either way as both of us are trying very hard to hang in there,” said the Malaysian in the post-match interview.

“My mind wanted me to win so badly and all I could think about was getting the final result on court. I am glad I am able to win and progress.”

She now hopes her body can recuperate before her first round clash as she aims to improve on her best showing in this tournament. She reached the main draw last year before she was eliminated in the round of 16.

“Whoever my opponent is, it will be tough tomorrow. I hope my body can recover from tonight’s match, play my best and hopefully progress into the next stage,” she added. She meets the feisty French, Camille Serme, tomorrow.

The second tie was a contrast of the first as former world no. 2, Natalie Grinham made light work of Hong Kong challenger Joey Chan in four sets.

Her masterclass was evident in the opening set, but carelessness early and late in the second set allowed her opponent to level.

That pushed the stunned Dutch to up her game as she blazed her way in the next two games to seal the match in 39-minutes and joined her sister Rachael in the main draw.

Next to progress into the main draw is Hawkes. As was the case in the previous round, she won in straight sets but not before a strong challenge by our Squash Stars Mexican Ambassador, Samantha Teran.

Kippax took 40 minutes to complete the quartet of successful qualifiers in the main draw after she overcame the stubborn resistance of Dipika Pallikal of India in four sets.

In the main draw on Wednesday evening at Kallang, Singaporean wildcard entry Pamela Chua will commence proceedings in the first round as she takes on fourth seed Squash Stars Australian Ambassador, Kasey Brown.

The winner of that tie will face either English fifth seed Laura Massaro or Australian Donna Urquhart in the quarter-finals.

The younger Grinham faces the prospect of a potential quarter-final clash with David after she is drawn against another Hong Kong opponent Annie Au. Meanwhile the Malaysian top seed will begin her title defence with a first round encounter with Egyptian Raneem El Weleily.

Sixth seed Onmeya Abdel Kawy, will take on Hawkes, with potential last eight opponent be either Irish third seed Madeline Perry or Kippax.

Arnold will need to recover quickly to be at her best again against French seventh seed Camille Serme. The winner faces the prospect of facing Natalie Grinham or New Zealand’s Joelle King to complete the quarter-final line-up.

Tomorrow in Round 1:
(1) Nicol David (MAS) v Raneem El Weleily (EGY)
(2) Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Joelle King (NZL)
(3) Madeline Perry (IRL) v Sarah Kippax (ENG)
(4) Kasey Brown (AUS) v Pamela Chua (SIN)
(5) Laura Massaro (ENG) v Donna Urqhart (AUS)
(6) Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Jaclyn Hawke (NZL)
(7) Camille Serme (FRA) v Delia Arnold (MAS)
(8) Annie Au (HKG) v Natalie Grinham (NED)

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