Sunday, May 26, 2024

Kippax conquers Grinham in Chicago shock

English trio upset the rankings to qualify for Windy City main draw

Sarah Kippax led the way to boost English representation in the Windy City Open main draw
Sarah Kippax led the way to boost English representation in the Windy City Open main draw

World number 24 Sarah Kippax produced a dominant display to shock former world number one Rachael Grinham in straight games and advance into the main draw of the Windy City Open for the first time in six attempts.

Kippax, who will meet world number three Raneem El Weleily for a place in the quarter-finals, outclassed the 37-year-old Australian to prevail 11-4, 11-6, 12-10 and record her first ever victory over the world number 15.

The 30-year-old from Halifax was also joined in the first round by fellow English duo Emily Whitlock and Emma Beddoes, who scraped into the main draw of the WSA Gold 50 event at the University Club of Chicago with narrow five game victories.

Whitlock, who celebrated her 20th birthday earlier this month, was forced to recover from a 2-1 deficit before edging past new world number 19 Nicolette Fernandes to become the youngest and lowest ranked player to qualify for the main draw.

Despite taking the opening game, the world number 26 saw her advantage overturned by the 30-year-old from Guyana, who looked set to inflict Whitlock’s third successive qualifying defeat on the WSA Tour. 

However, the British National quarter-finalist fought back and edged a fifth game tie-break to triumph 11-4, 9-11, 5-11, 11-8, 12-10 and setup a last 16 meeting with top seed Laura Massaro.

World number 23 Beddoes was forced to fightback from two games before overcoming higher-ranked compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry 7-11, 3-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-6 to boost her chances of selection for England’s Commonwealth Games team.

Beddoes failed to trouble the world number 16 in the opening two games but returned reinvigorated in the third and continued in the ascendancy to inflict Perry’s first defeat on the WSA Tour before the last eight stage since the British Open in May.

Perry, though, will rue several missed opportunities during a tense fourth game tie-break, as Beddoes booked a first round encounter with Irish number one and sixth seed Madeline Perry. 

Hong Kong’s Joey Chan became the fourth and final qualifier after recovering from a game down to defeat Japan’s Misaki Kobayashi 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 14-12.

Qualifying Finals Results:

Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-2 Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 11-4, 9-11, 5-11, 11-8, 12-10
Emma Beddoes (ENG) 3-2 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 7-11, 3-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-6
Joey Chan (HKG) 3-1 Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 14-12 (44m)
Sarah Kippax (ENG) 3-0 Rachael Grinham (AUS) 11-4, 11-6, 12-10

First Round Draw:

[1] Laura Massaro (ENG) v [Q] Emily Whitlock (ENG)
[8] Kasey Brown (AUS) v Annie Au (HKG)
[3] Alison Waters (ENG) v [Q] Joey Chan (HKG)
[7] Camille Serme (FRA) v Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)
[6] Madeline Perry (IRL) v [Q] Emma Beddoes (ENG)
[4] Joelle King (NZL) v [WC] Aisling Blake (IRL)
[5] Low Wee Wern (MAS) v Dipika Pallikal (IND)
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) v [Q] Sarah Kippax (ENG)


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