CIMB Malaysian Open 2010: Round 1 Highlights
The junior faces of women’s squash are definitely rising up to the challenge this Malaysian Open. If you have participated in our Online Contest—predicting the outcome of this tournament, you would be kicking yourself now due to some shocking defeats witnessed here this afternoon at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil. Click here for a full view of the draw.
Shock #1: Low Wee Wern bt Natalie Grainger 9/11, 11/8, 11/7, 12/14, 11/7 (52 mins)
Round 1 started off with an upset by local talent Low Wee Wern who tamed former World No.1, Natalie Grainger in 5 games to progress to the quarter final of the tournament. Kudos to Wee Wern for a match well played—a little unfortunate for Natalie who is trying to make a comeback after a long hiatus plagued with injuries. A very ecstatic Wee Wern, spoke to SquashStars.com after her match, “Just really happy with the result because I didn’t really expect to win. I knew I had a chance, but didn’t really expect myself to win it. I will be playing Jenny Duncalf tomorrow—lost to her in the HK Open last year 3-0, but I’m playing well now so I will give my best and see what happens!”
Shock #2: Raneem El Weleily bt. Rachael Grinham 12/10, 14/16, 11/9, 12/10 (49 mins)
Raneem created the second major upset in the women’s draw as she sent squash veteran, Rachael Grinham packing. The Egyptian had to endure three games with extra points against a more seasoned Rachael but did well to progress with a 3-1 win. “I’ve never beaten Rachael before. Played her six to seven times. We always have close matches. She has great technique. Usually I get frustrated after the first few games. This time round, I tried to change that and tried not to get stuck in her pace. Glad it worked out and happy to win it!” Raneem meets Laura Massaro in the next round—let’s hope she has a strategy to work Laura too!
Shock #3: Camille Serme bt Madeline Perry 11/2, 5/11, 11/6, 11/5 (44 mins)
The third and final upset of the day was pulled off by Frenchwoman Camille Serme as she eliminated higher seed Madeline Perry with a 3-1 victory. The first game was fully controlled by Camille with Madeline struggling to get her footing right. However, Madeline came back strong to take the second game. Camille’s long-reaching stretches proved too good as she took the 3rd and 4th games.
And then, there were some close calls:
Laura Massaro bt Dipika Pallikal 9/11, 11/9, 9/11, 11/8, 11/9 (61 mins)
Laura was challenged by the upcoming Indian junior with a close scoreline in all 5 games—making this the longest match for Round 1. Laura’s calm demeanor served as a stark contrast against young Dipika’s mounting frustration on court. India’s rising star played well to make it this far and is definitely the player to watch in future professional circuits. Ironically, this is Laura’s first tournament after her ankle injury earlier this year against Jenny Duncalf in the KL Open quarter final round. She is now scheduled to meet another up and coming squash talent, Raneem El Weleily in the next round.
Omneya Abdel Kawy bt Kasey Brown 8/11, 11/8, 7/11, 11/9, 11/3 (55 mins)
This game was a close battle between the world number 6 and 9—the match was pretty even over 5 games with Omneya finishing on top. Sweet victory indeed for Omneya as she lost in the same round, at the same tournament last year to Kasey Brown with a 3-0 scoreline!
Alison Waters bt Tania Bailey 10/12, 11/5, 12/10, 11/6 (50 mins)
Alison took the lead in this great English battle against the Captain of the English Women’s Team with a 3-1 victory. “The last time I played Tania… has been a while now, probably 2 years ago here in Malaysia and it was a 3-2 and Tania won it. It (This) was a tight match. Two of the games were 12-10, she got tired at the end which was good for me. Been having a good couple of months off… has been good. Glad to be back on court, really.”
Business as usual:
Jenny Duncalf bt Jaclyn Hawkes 11/6, 11/3, 11/6 (30 mins)
This match went according to seeding with Jenny having a seemingly good match over Jaclyn with a 3-0 win. Jenny is looking very dangerous and in good shape—and is predicted to make her way to the final showdown. But first, she has to overcome a very confident, Low Wee Wern tomorrow.
Nicol David bt Joelle King 11/7, 11/5, 11/4 (31 mins)
Nicol’s speed was definitely put to test today as Joelle moved the ball well all around the court, making Nicol work hard for her points. The first game started off pretty evenly with Nicol doing most of the running but by midway, Nicol was hitting well and pulled away.
The next two matches saw many tins from the Kiwi. Shortly into the second game, Joelle’s left ankle seemed to have given way as she dropped to the ground briefly. She was up on her feet soon enough and continued play but Nicol upped her level to make quick work of Joelle in 31 minutes. Satisfied with her own performance, Nicol commented, “Was well eager to play today especially not playing tournaments the last 2 months. Playing Joelle for the first time was new to me. First game, we had some close, hard rallies—the other two games, I worked hard to keep the ball moving and felt better on the ball. Very happy with this first round match.”