Sunday, July 14, 2024

Emily Whitlock sets up Cleveland clash with Nicol David

Emily Whitlock meets Nicol David in the first round
Emily Whitlock meets Nicol David in the first round

Three English girls battle through qualifying to make main draw in Cleveland
By BOB BOTTI – Squash Mad Reporter in Cleveland

Emily Whitlock overcame the higher-ranked Nicolette Fernandes of Guyana to set up a first round clash with world champion Nicol David, top seed in the Tub O’Towels Cleveland Classic.

The English ace will be joined in the main draw by Victoria Lust, Yathreb Adel and Sarah Kippax after some entertaining qualifying finals.

Nicolette Fernandes #21 vs Emily Whitlock #29

Game 1. Many nice exchanges. Feeling each other’s game out. Fernandes didn’t take many opportunities at the front. Nice drop winners on both sides of the court from behind by Whitlock. Aggressive backhand attack with good change of pace by the young Brit. Mostly error free. Very clean game. Game to Whitlock 11-5
Game 2. Fernandes comes out determined. Good attacking boasts caught Whitlock off guard. Forges ahead 6-3. Game to Fernandes 11-7.
Game 3. Critical game. Fernandes struggled finding her rhythm. At times when she attacked balls in the air she had her most success but at the end several errors by Fernandes and nice kills by Whitlock proved too much for the lady from Guyana. Game to Whitlock 12-10.
Game 4. Three errors in first five points by Fernandes and Whitlock races to an 8-0 lead. Cruised to the game 11-2, taking Fernandes on a tour of every inch of the court. Match to Whitlock 3-1.

Victoria Lust vs Emma Beddoes

Game 1. Scrappy game. High tempo from both players. Back and forth for the lead. Errors by both players. 12-10 Lust
Game 2. Much of the same. Beddoes changing pace. Much more comfortable took 3-7 lead. Confidence building. Game to Beddoes 11-7
Game 3. Beddoes still hunting the ball. Lobbing well. Attacking the front left corner short. Could have used a bit more length to close it out. Left the door open for an aggressive Lust to get from 6-9 to 11-9 scoring the last 5 points.
Game 4. Lust has the wind in her sails. Came out strong. Ferocious pace a bit too much for a recovering Beddoes to deal with on this day. 8-1 lead. Beddoes literally left everything on the court. 10-6 retired. Match to lust 3-1.

Yathreb Adel vs Salma Hany Ibrahim

Game 1. Ibrahim comes out firing 7-3. Adel searching for more length. Ibrahim won’t let her settle in. Breaking Adel’s rhythm, going short and ending the points quickly. Very entertaining squash by two young Egyptians. 11-7 to Ibrahim.
Game 2. Adel responds in kind. Shooting to a 5-1 lead. Dominated game closing it out 11-3.
Game 3. Both players struggling for more length and the lead. Things going Adel’s way 4-1. Utilizing her reach and height to control the left hand wall. Cranking up the tempo with volleys to the front court and found the knick more than once. Ibrahim fights back but Adel is too good. 11-8.
Game 4. Early collision injury results in Ibrahim withdrawal. Second one of the day! Match Adel 3-1.

Line Hansen vs Sarah Kippax

Game 1 Kippax dictates the pace with very basic squash moving Hansen with great depth and uncompromising width. Hanson has no answer 8-1. Kippax pressure too much 11-4.
Game 2 A stroke brings Hanson into the game. Deeper play and firmer strokes to the backhand Quick 6-0 lead playing the ball into the empty spaces. Kippax surprised by the turn around. Change in momentum with Hansen firmly in control of game 2. Game to Hansen 11-6.
Game 3 Kippax focused. Reading game well. Hansen very exposed playing loose and Kippax capitalizing to a 6-2 lead. Reverse of last game Hansen tries to come back but deficit too great and Kippax keeps her head. Kippax had more back wall boasts in that match than in the history of squash. 11-8 to Kippax.
Game 4. Both players locked in but Hansen regained composure and made difference going short on the right wall at the right moments. Game to Hansen 11-4.
Game 5 First one today. Hansen still dropping with great effect on the left wall and defending lobs well. Both players well dug in. Longer points. Higher tempo. Hansen moving on to the ball a lot quicker and finding better placement. Kippax responding to being down 2-5 with excellent anticipation and reading the game well. Felt like Kippax was almost done at 3-7 but played several critical points with no errors and moved back to 7-7. In the end it was a menacing backcourt game. Precise and Entertaining. A classic game of attrition that Kippax won as Hansen hit the tin. Game to Kippax 14-12. Match to Kippax 3-2
WSA $50,000 Tub O’Towels Cleveland Classic:

Qualifying finals:
Victoria Lust (ENG) bt Emma Beddoes (ENG) 12-10, 7-11, 11-9, 10-6 ret.
Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 11-5, 7-11, 12-10, 11-2
Yathreb Adel (EGY) bt Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) 7-11, 11-3, 11-8, 3-1 ret.
Sarah Kippax (ENG) bt Line Hansen (DEN) 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 4-11, 14-12

Here are the qualifier main draw match-ups:

Nicol David Vs. Emily Whitlock (3:15pm, Ct.1)

Nour El Tayeb Vs. Victoria Lust (3:15pm, Ct.2)

Low Wee Wern Vs. Yathreb Adel (1:45pm, Ct.1)

Laura Massaro Vs. Sarah Kippax (1:14pm, Ct.2)

Picture from Squash Mad archive 


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