The Girls Step It Up A Notch

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Women’s Qualifying Round Two
Aisling Blake (Irl) bt Stephanie Edmison (Can) 11/8, 11/6, 11/3 (30m)
Lisa Aitken (Sco) bt Alexandra Norman (Can) 11/6, 11/5, 4/11, 11/5 (44m) 
Gaby Huber (Sui) bt Imelda Salazar (Mex) 11/0, 11/2, 11/6 (22m)
Olga Ertlova (Cze) bt Zephanie Curgenven (Eng) 11/4, 11/4, 11/4 (25m)
Maud Duplomb (Fra) bt Manuela Manetta (Ita) 12/10, 11/7, 4/11, 11/7 (45m)
Lauren Selby (Eng) bt Lucie Fialova (Cze) 11/12, 11/13, 9/11, 11/9, 11/9 (91m)
Nour El Sherbini (Egy) bt Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)  11/7, 11/5, 10/12, 7/11, 12/10 (59m)
Kylie Lindsay (Nzl) bt Leonie Holt (Eng) 11/6, 11/6, 11/9 (27m)

Yathreb Adel (Egy) bt Samantha Cornett (Can) 11/6, 8/11, 12/10, 11/8 (46m)
Victoria Lust (Eng) bt Salma Hany (Egy)  11/1, 11/5, 12/10 (30m)
Tesni Evans (Wal) bt Sina Wall (Ger) 9/11, 11/4, 9/11, 11/4, 11/7 (54m)
Heba El Torky (Egy) bt Thaisa Serafini (Bra) 11/9, 11/6, 11/9 (18m)
Siyoli Waters (Rsa) bt Milou Van Der Heijden (Ned)  4/11, 11/4, 12/10, 11/8 (42m)
Kanzy El Dafrawy (Egy) bt Birgit Coufal (Aut) 11/8, 11/9, 0/11, 13/11 (42m)
Lauren Briggs (Eng) bt Sally Skaarenborg (Den) 11/7, 11/4, 11/2 (20m)
Latasha Khan (Usa) bt Coline Aumard (Fra) 9/11, 11/4, 11/6, 11/4 (38m)

REPORT BY STEVE CUBS | After a first day of three-nil victories all round, the women’s qualifying competition was anything but dull today…

The men’s matches started with disappointment for the Scots, but there was better news in the women’s qualifying as Lisa Aitken beat seeded Canadian Alexandra Norman 3/0 to progress to a final against Ireland’s Aisling Blake. Gaby Huber and Olga Ertlova also progressed in straight games, but then the drama started in the women’s matches.

England’s Lauren Selby also upset the seedings, coming from 2-1 down in a bruising encounter to beat Lucie Fialova 11/9 in the fifth after 91 minutes, the Czech finishing the match sprawled on the floor after hitting the ball back into the middle for an obvious stroke with Selby moving in to prove she could play the ball.

“It’s just down to focus and determination when you get stuck in a match like that,” said a relieved Lauren. “I can’t say I enjoyed it, but I managed to keep my head at the crucial stages at the end.”

Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini also finished her match on two strokes, and how she needed them after England’s Sarah Jane-Perry recovered from 2-0 down to reach 10-9 match ball in the fifth only to have her string break at that crucial moment.

“I gave her too much respect in the first two,” admitted Perry, “and I hit too many tins too! After that it was much better, but match ball wasn’t a good time for my strings to go, and after that I hit the corner of the front wall twice in a row for strokes. Next time, next time…”

Maud Duplomb, who lost a nailbiting qualifying final in Qatar last week, added to the upsets as she beat Italy’s Manuela Manetta in four, while Kylie Lindsay‘s straight-game win over Leonie Holt was tough, but thankfully lacking the drama of the preceding matches.

There was mixed success for the all-conquering Egyptians as the evening session got under way, with a comfortable wen for Heba El Torky, a less straightforward one for 15-year-old Yathreb Adel over Canada’s PanAm Games heroine Sam Cornett, and a straight-games defeat for Salma Hany at the hands of England’s Vicky Lust.

Germany’s Sina Wall and Welsh tigress Tesni Evans had never met before, despite “seeing each other at countless junior events”. Wall twice took the lead, but Evans fought back, established a lead in the decider and took the match against a tiring German number one in just under an hour.

“Too long,” said Tesni, not exactly a picture of freshness herself, “I knew it was going to be tough and it’s never easy when you’re always behind, but I’m really pleased to be able to come back and win that.”

The last Dutch interest in the qualifying competitions came to an end when Siyoli Waters came from a game down to beat Milou Van Der Heijden before a partisan home crowd.

“Milou made it hard for me, but I also made it difficult for myself,” admitted the South African, “I made a few errors trying to create something out of nothing and lost some good leads.

“You put more pressure on yourself to win when it’s a big event like this, so I’m just aiming to play good squash in my next match and not worry about the score, the opponent or the crowd.”

That next opponent will be Kanzy El Dafrawy who boosted the already impressive Egyptian tally with a 3/1 win over yesterday’s quickest winner Birgit Coufal, although Kanzy needed to refocus after dropping the third game 11/0, which she did to take the fourth 13/11.

The final pair of matches saw two of the more experienced World Open campaigners set up a meeting in the qualifying final. Latasha Khan, making her 12th appearance in the event, came from a game down to beat Coline Aumard while Lauren Briggs, in her seventh World Open, ended the hopes of Sally Skaarenburg. They’ve both been as high as 18 in the world, but one of them will miss out tomorrow…

Monday sees the conclusion of the men’s first round, bottom half, and the women’s qualifying finals.

Full reports with quotes and photos available on TODAY on the World Open site here!

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