Monday, July 15, 2024

Tough battles in Cleveland qualifiers

Yathreb Adel (right) in action against Coline Aumard
Yathreb Adel (right) in action against Coline Aumard

Nicolette Fernandes and Yathreb Adel win five-game battles in Cleveland qualifying
By JERMAINE XABA – Squash Mad Correspondent in Cleveland


Yathreb Adel (Egypt) and Nicolette Fernandez (Guyana) were both forced to battle through five-game encounters on the opening day of qualifying at the Tub O’Towels WSA Cleveland Classic. With a strong field waiting in the main draw, led by Nicol David and Laura Massaro, competition is understandably fierce.  

EMILY WHITLOCK (Eng) beat COLETTE SULTANA (Malta) 3-0 (11-0; 11-3; 11-3)

Whitlock dispatched the young sophomore from Columbia University in just under 21 minutes. Good depth and merciless volleying from Whitlock took the pace too high for Sultana to find her rhythm. Very aggressive and measured in the front of the court – Whitlock was able to force errors out of Sultana. Sultana admitted that she was “intimidated by the big stage and Whitlock’s mastery of basics”

Whitlock: “Good first match, happy to play solid and stick to the basics…”

Sultana: “Although I lost, I really enjoyed the experience. Now I just have to get back to NYC tomorrow for an interview with Goldman Sachs. “Such a privilege to play someone of Whitlock’s ability.”

VICTORIA LUST (Eng) beat MEENA NASSER (Egy) 3-0 (11-3; 11-3; 11-4)

Lust made quick work of Nasser – the deal was sealed in just under 21 minutes. Lust looked like she was having fun out on the court, very aggressive and physical all around the court. The Englishman’s attacking play with hard low shots forced many errors out of Nasser who seemed to catch the ball very late and only had boasts as a response which mostly went into the tin.

Lust said: “it was work as usual, played quick and kept to the plan.”


YATHREB ADEL (Egy) beat COLINE AUMARD (Fr) 3-2 (6-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-8, 11-6 11-6) 75 mins

It took 75 minutes, which included a 10-minute recovery time for a contributed injury to Adel to separate these two great athletes.

Every point was hotly contested, at times very physically and verbally as well. Adel (right) managed to hang on and come back from a bad collision with Aumard to take the game.

EMMA BEDDOES (Eng) beat LAUREN LEIZMAN (USA) 3-0 (11-1; 11-2; 11-0)

Lauren Leizman will have quite the story to tell her new team-mates when she starts her college career as a freshman at Cornell next year. Leizman lasted 22 minutes on court against world number 18, Emma Beddoes. The young high school student showed moments of great maturity and discipline to stay on court for that long.

Beddoes did get knocked down to the maple wood at one point, but hopped up and put the game away in solid fashion playing deep and not giving Leizman anything to attack.

NICOLETTE FERNANDEZ (Guy) beat LATASHA KHAN (USA) 3-2 (10-12; 11-5; 11-4; 7-11, 11-2) 46 mins

Khan played a solid game, great variation of pace, playing attacking winners into the open space. Fernandez was not quite as settled as Khan, but a combination of true grit, determination, helped by incredible athleticism allowed Fernandez to cover the court very well and scrap the win in 46 minutes.

Fernandez: “I enjoy squash so much that I’m always happy to go to five games. I’m looking forward to playing Emily tomorrow.”

Sarah Kippax stretches for a shot against Anna Kimberley
Sarah Kippax stretches for a shot against Anna Kimberley

SARAH KIPPAX (Eng) beat ANNA KIMBERLEY (Eng) 3-1 (11-7; 11-6; 6-11; 11-6) 40 minutes.

Kippax: “I felt pretty comfortable throughout the match- stayed away from the short game early on and gave very few attacking options to my opponent. Anna did surprise me in the third when I got a bit too comfortable and went short too early and lost that game. I went to back to basics and I feel good about the result. Ready to move onto the next stage.”

Kimberley: “Kippax totally dominated the court, she stuck to basics more than I did and it paid off. I needed to do more of what I did in the third game, step up and take the short ball early and apply some pressure.”

LINE HANSEN (Den) beat BELEN ETCHECHOURY (Arg) 3-0 (11-6; 11-4; 11-0, 17 mins)

Hansen was in total control of the game from the start. Etchechoury did not apply enough pressure on Hansen allowing her too much time on the T. Hansen dominated the front court, pushing the Argentine all over court with immense pace that never allowed Etchechoury time to settle.

Hansen: “I had a good game plan, I executed it well, controlled the T. I knew I was going to win. She’s very new on the tour and it takes time to adapt. I played quick, like to play quick – I’m not a marathon runner. I gave her very little time on the ball and it worked.”

SALMA IBRAHIM (Egy) beat SABRINA SOBHY (USA) 3 – 0: (11-7; 11-9; 11-6)

From the onset Ibrahim attacked Sobhy in the front court, stretching the young American from corner to corner. Sobhy held up well, battling hard in the second game, lo2g out by just two points. Sobhy admitted that she could not really cope with Ibrahim, who played some breathtaking squash.

Sobhy: “I just tried to hang in there. I was ill midweek, just could not cope with Salma today.”


Pictures by MICHAEL WEIL

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