Two highly competitive rounds of qualifying at the Pontefract Squash Club in Yorkshire, England has confirmed first round draw of the WSA World Series Allam British Open.
The most memorable match of the qualifiers was certainly Latasha Khan’s marathon match against young Misaki Kobayashi of Japan, lasting a brutal 73-minutes. The experienced American led by two games, one of which a 15-13 tiebreak, when the 23-year-old launched her comeback, stealing a narrow third game 11-9, before gaining momentum to draw level after the fourth. The pair, still deadlocked at 10-all, commenced the second tiebreak of the contest and the veteran Khan had to draw on all her experience to put down the world No.42 and claim the final game 17-15.
The 40-year-old American will now face home hopeful Jenny Duncalf in the first round of the British Open following her wins over Kobayashi and earlier, Maud Duplomb of France.
Joshna Chinappa faces arguably the most difficult prospect of all of the successful qualifiers, having been drawn to face top seed and four-time British Open champion Nicol David in tomorrow’s opening round.
The Indian had to stem the two-game comeback of Gaby Huber of Switzerland in the first qualifying round, before coming from a game down to defeat Welsh hopeful Deon Saffrey in four games to reach the World Series main draw.
Not fatigued after a gruelling year of studying at Harvard College, American Amanda Sobhy qualified for round one after dispatching local Claire Walker, followed by Scottish national Lisa Aitken. Sobhy will face prodigal teenager and last year’s finalist Nour El Sherbini of Egypt in her opening round clash.
English pair Emma Beddoes and Lauren Briggs confirmed their main round appearance on home soil following straight games wins over Nada El Kalaawy and Melody Francis respectively. Beddoes, who dropped a game in her first qualifying match against Amina Helal, will face in-form Irishwoman Madeline Perry who won the Texas Open earlier this month. Briggs will face Australian twelfth seed Kasey Brown.
Samantha Cornett of Canada will face Kiwi Joelle King in tomorrow’s opening round following strong 3-0 wins against Sarah Cardwell and Olga Ertlova.
Last month’s Irish Open runner-up Nicolette Fernandes will face former British Open champion Rachael Grinham after beating Victoria Temple-Murray and Lucie Fialova in straight games, whilst Malaysian Delia Arnold’s victories over Laura Pomportes and Birgit Coufal see her drawn to face No.3 seed Raneem El Weleily of Egypt.
The WSA Allam British Open first round will be played at the Pontefract Squash Club, before moving to the KC Stadium in Hull on Wednesday to join the PSA event, streamed live on www.psasquashtv.com.
Qualifying final results:
Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt Deon Saffery (WAL) 11-13, 11-9, 11-9, 11-5
Emma Beddoes (ENG) bt Nada Elkalaawy (ENG) 11-4, 11-5, 11-6
Lauren Briggs (ENG) bt Melody Francis (AUS) 11-3, 11-5, 11-7 (40m)
Samantha Cornett (CAN) bt Olga Ertlova (CZE) 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (29m)
Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) bt Lucie Fialova (CZE) 11-8, 11-2, 11-9 (30m)
Latasha Khan (USA) bt Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) 11-8, 15-13, 9-11, 7-11, 17-15 (73m)
Delia Arnold (MAS) bt Birgit Coufal (AUT) 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 (15m)
Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 13-11, 11-4, 5-11, 11-3