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Qualifiers Heba El Torky and Victoria Lust on the charge in Chicago

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Olivia Blatchford moves forward against Nicol David
Olivia Blatchford moves forward against Nicol David

El of a day for India as Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa lose in first round
By HOWAD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent

Qualifiers Heba El Torky and Victoria Lust advanced in the Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company in the USA after impressive upsets on the opening day of main draw action in the first WSA World Series squash event of the year at the University Club of Chicago.

Lust, the world No.31 from England who is based in Canada, recovered from a game down to beat rising Egyptian star Nouran Gohar, the 17-year-old from Cairo who is the event’s 15th seed.

After the 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 win was credited on social media to ‘Victory Lust’, the 25-year-old from Luton tweeted “loving my new name!”

Egypt was the beneficiary of the second upset when Alexandria-based El Torky toppled Dipika Pallikal, the 12th seed from India, 11-9, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6.

Nour El Tayeb lunges for the ball against Joshua Chinappa
Nour El Tayeb lunges for the ball against Joshua Chinappa

It was a disappointing day for India when Pallikal’s Commonwealth Games Women’s Doubles gold medallist partner Joshna Chinappa, the 2011 champion, also exited after losing 11-8, 11-3, 12-10 to Egypt’s 8th seed Nour El Tayeb (pictured above, right, with Chinappa).

There was much anticipation for the comeback appearance of Natalie Grinham, the former world No.2 from the Netherlands making her return to the WSA World Tour just seven months after the birth of her second child.

The 36-year-old boasted a 9/2 career head-to-head over opponent Alison Waters going into the match – and forced two games into tie-breaks in her first professional match for more than a year.

Natalie Grinham at full stretch against Alison Waters
Natalie Grinham at full stretch against Alison Waters

But it was Londoner Waters, the world No.5 from England (pictured above with Grinham, foreground), who ultimately prevailed – winning 12-10, 11-3, 12-10 to earn her anticipated place in the last 16 round.

Top seed Nicol David also had a comfortable first round victory, extinguishing home interest in the championship after beating US wildcard Olivia Blatchford 11-3, 11-6, 12-10 in her first Tour meeting with the 22-year-old from New York.

David, the world No.1 from Malaysia expected to notch up her 99th WSA Tour final appearance in Chicago, will now face El Torky for a place in the quarter-finals. 

Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, Chicago, USA

Women’s 1st round (top half of draw):
[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [WC] Olivia Blatchford (USA) 11-3, 11-6, 12-10 (30m)
[Q] Heba El Torky (EGY) bt [12] Dipika Pallikal (IND) 11-9, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6 (43m)
[Q] Victoria Lust (ENG) bt [15] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 (55m)
[5] Alison Waters (ENG) bt Natalie Grinham (NED) 12-10, 11-3, 12-10 (27m)
[4] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [Q] Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL) 11-1, 11-4, 11-7 (22m)
[10] Annie Au (HKG) bt Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 12-10, 11-4, 8-11, 11-8 (42m)
[13] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [Q] Samantha Teran (MEX) w/o
[8] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Joshana Chinappa (IND) 11-8, 11-3, 12-10 (35m) 

Pictures courtesy of WSA 

 

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