Qualifying Complete in Macau
By Alex Wan – Squash Mad Asian Bureau Editor
All the top four seeds in the men’s qualifying justified their seeding by beating their Asian opponents to make it to the main draw, However, Joshana Chinappa and Donna Urquhart upset the books to earn their ticket for tomorrow.
Top seed Karim Ali Fathi beat a second successive Malaysian in as many days when he ousted Ivan Yuen, the world number 95. After going down 4-11 and 5-11 in the first two games, Yuen conceded the match. When contacted later, the Malaysian explained he wasn’t feeling well due to food poisoning.
The win sets the world number 42 up against fellow Egyptian and top seed Omar Mosaad. The pair last met at the 2014 World Championships which Mosaad won comfortably.
After yesterday’s upset, Hong Kong’s Wong Chi Him continued to impress. Scotland’s Greg Lobban won their encounter in straight games, but was kept on court for 53 minutes with the third game stretching to 18-16. Lobban plays Spain’s former world number 5 and third seed Borja Golan tomorrow.
Australia’s Rex Hedrick next took to court against James Huang, the first player from Taiwan to join the PSA Tour. Hedrick took the lead with a close-ish 11-8 first game, before dominating the second. Huang managed to pull one back but ran out of steam and conceded the fourth game, winning only two points. Hedrick drew second seed Tarek Momen, and both have never played each other in the last two years.
The last match of the men’s proved to be a cracker in an all-Asian match-up. Pakistan’s top men Nasir Iqbal eventually coming out victorious against Hong Kong’s Yip Tsz Fung after a 66-minute battle. The first two games both went to tie-break and shared between them. Iqbal seem to have ran out of steam in the third, losing for just two points, but came back to take the next two. Nasir Iqbal will play yet another Hong Kong player Max Lee.
Joshana Chinappa celebrated her 29th birthday by crashing into main draw after beating Egypt’s qualifying top seed Salma Hany Ibrahim in three closely contested games. While it may be an upset on paper, only four ranking places separated the pair, who both have a highest world ranking of 19. The reward for the Indian will be a clash against England’s Alison Waters, the third seed.
Joey Chan ensured there will be additional home representation in the main draw (joining team mate Annie Au) as she beat Welsh number one Tesni Evans in 35 minutes. The left hander will next play New Zealand’s Joelle King, who will be competing in her fourth event since coming back from a ten-month injury layoff.
It was third time unlucky for Misaki Kobayashi as she was forced to retire with a leg injury while trailing 1-2 games against Egypt’s Heba El Torky, who also beat her at the China Open qualifying finals two weeks ago. The loss marks the third successive time the Japanese has lost in the qualifying finals of a $50k and above event. El Torky will be playing Nouran Gouhar, her compatriot who is currently in stunning form, having won the world junior crown and following it up with a win over Nicol David in China.
Like the men’s final match of the evening, the ladies one too went the distance. Donna Urquhart, the left-handed former world number 13, took out England’s Victoria Lust, having to come back from 1-2 down and will next play Jenny Duncalf in the main draw.
Results (Qualifying Finals) :
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) beat Ivan Yuen (MAS) 11-4, 11-5, rtd (30m)
Greg Lobban beat Wong Chi Him (HKG) 11-5, 11-4, 18-16 (53m)
Rex Hedrick beat James Huang (TPE) 11-8, 11-4, 5-11, 11-2 (55m)
Nasir Iqbal (PAK) beat Yip Tsz Fung (HKG) 12-10, 13-15, 2-11, 11-7, 11-6 (66m)
Joshana Chinappa (IND) beat Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) 11-9, 15-13, 11-9 (30m)
Joey Chan (HKG) beat Tesni Evans (WAL) 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 (35m)
Heba El Torky (EGY) beat Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) 5-11, 11-2, 11-8, rtd (17m)
Donna Urquhart (AUS) beat Victoria Lust (ENG) 9-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9 (55m)
Picture by Macau Squash Association