World finalist Nour falls in four as Emma delivers first round upset
By STEVE BOBBINS – Squash Mad Chief Reporter
Nour El Sherbini, the 18-year-old Egyptian squash prodigy who last month was within a couple of points of becoming world champion, was sent crashing out in a controversial first round of the British Open today.
She was one of five seeds ousted on a day of shocks which saw Dipika Pallikal, Jenny Duncalf, Madeline Perry and Rachael Grinham all bite the dust.
Sherbini was beaten 11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9 by Emma Beddoes, an English player who reached the world’s top 20 for the first time only last month at the age of 28, and again suggested she is in the best form of her life.
Beddoes’ career-best win may perhaps have aided by the conditions and by debatable “no let” decisions at important moments which upset Sherbini, triggering uncharacteristic outbursts from the Alexandrian teenager towards the English referee.
However she took her chance with a clear head and good judgement, mixing the short and the long games well, especially in a see-saw fourth game .
“I’m really really surprised, but all the pressure was on her and I played really well,” Beddoes said. “Last time we played I was just chasing all match so this time I tried to not give her time in the middle and I managed to keep her behind me more.”
It was Sherbini’s first match since flirting with world championship glory in Penang, and she may perhaps have been inhibited by having to compete on a conventional plaster-walled court, on which all the first round women’s matches are being played instead of the all-glass show court.
Sherbini nevertheless led 5-3 in the third game and led 7-4 in the fourth game, and each time appeared to be on the way to recovery, with the help of the support of her father.
However each time in the following few rallies there were two “no let” decisions imposed on her, either for failing to play the ball or for failing to show she could have played the ball.
Referees appear to be adopting new, tougher interpretations, based on the needs of TV to avoid interruptions in the play and designed to make players to continue the rally where reasonably possible.
“There were probably a couple which were slightly harsh in the fourth,” Beddoes admitted. “I know referees are trying to clamp down and it will take some adapting.
“You have to make sure you give a hundred percent effort (to get to the ball). With me it’s more obvious I am making a hundred percent effort. But she certainly seemed surprised – and it can be tough if that’s the way the game is going.”
Beddoes had not even looked to see who she might play in the second round, but has clearly improved enough to be a threat to many players. She will next play Low Wee Wern, the seventh-seeded Malaysian on the all-glass show court.
A short time later Beddoes was joined in the last 16 by compatriot Sarah Kippax, the world No22 from Halifax who fought back from 2/1 down to see off 10th seed Jenny Duncalf, also from Yorkshire, 11-6, 2-11, 6-11, 13-11, 11-8 in 57 minutes.
At the end of the day, qualifier Tesni Evans ensured Welsh interest in the second round for the first time in more than two decades when she upset India’s No12 seed Dipika Pallikal, the world No10, 6-11, 12-10, 11-7, 4-11, 13-11 in 65 minutes.
The 21-year-old from Rhyl, ranked 32 in the world, now faces British champion Alison Waters, the No5 seed from London, ranked 26 places higher.
Nicolette Fernandes will also be celebrating an unexpected maiden appearance in the second round after dismissing former finalist Madeline Perry, the No8 seed from Ireland, 11-8, 11-4, 11-4.
“It was clear Madeline wasn’t quite right,” conceded the Guyana star, who will now line up against Kippax. “It’s hard to keep your focus but I thought I did that well. She has been one of the most consistent players for so long so she’s always dangerous even when she isn’t 100%.
“Sarah and I practice all the time so I’m just going to go on and enjoy it,” added the 30-year-old world No19. “I’m enjoying my squash at the moment and that’s helping me play well.”
One of the event’s greatest stars also bowed out unexpectedly. Four-time champion Rachael Grinham, the 15th seed from Australia, twice led unseeded Joshana Chinappa. But the world No21 from India held her nerve to win 7-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-2, 11-6 to secure a first time in the last 16.
The event’s top two seeds comfortably overcame their initial hurdles as they began their bid to meet in Sunday’s final. Top seed Nicol David defeated Egyptian qualifier Heba El Torky 11-8, 12-10, 11-8, while England’s defending champion Laura Massaro, the No2 seed, despatched Joey Chan of Hong Kong 11-3, 11-4, 11-7 in just 26 minutes.
Women’s Round One:
Emma Beddoes (Eng) 3-1  Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9 (50m)
 Low Wee Wern (Mas) 3-2 [Q] Delia Arnold (Mas) 11-6, 7-11 , 11-1, 11-13, 11-7 (64m)
 Raneem El Welily (Egy) 3-2 [Q] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 11-4, 11-6, 8-11, 9-11, 11-4 (42m)
 Kasey Brown (Aus) 3-1 [WC] Emily Whitlock (Eng) 11-8, 11-4, 7-11, 11-4 (47m)
Nicolette Fernandes (Guy) 3-0  Madeline Perry (Irl) 11-8, 11-4, 11-4 (33m)
Sarah Kippax (Eng) 3-2  Jenny Duncalf (Eng) 11-6, 2-11, 6-11, 13-11, 11-8 (57m)
 Annie Au (Hkg) 3-1 [Q] Donna Urquhart (Aus) 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-3 (41m)
 Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-0 Joey Chan (Hkg) 11-3, 11-4, 11-7 (26m)
Joshana Chinappa (Ind) 3-2  Rachael Grinham (Aus) 7-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-2, 11-6 (44m)
 Joelle King (Nzl) 3-0 [Q] Siyoli Waters (Rsa) 11-2, 11-5, 11-5 (26m)
 Alison Waters (Eng) 3-2 [Q] Samantha Cornett (Can) 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6 (62m)
[Q] Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-2  Dipika Pallikal (Ind) 6-11, 12-10, 11-7, 4-11, 13-11 (65m)
 Nicol David (Mas) 3-0 [Q] Heba El Torky (Egy) 11-8, 12-10, 11-8 (36m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) 3-1 Line Hansen (Den) 11-6, 13-11, 10-12, 11-8 (50m)
11] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy) 3-0 [Q] Deon Saffery (Wal) 12-10, 11-4, 11-9 (30m)
 Camille Serme (Fra) 3-0 Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 13-11, 11-3, 11-2 (36m)