Local hero Hedrick takes out top seed
By BEN ROWLES in Kooyong, Australia
The Australian international squash season began with a bang on the weekend with the successful staging of the 2016 Kooyong International.
The tournament, which has established itself as a key warm-up event ahead of the Victorian and Australian Opens, featured eight top-ranked players across the Men’s and Women’s competitions in a round-robin style format.
In the Men’s event, popular Melbourne local and tournament second seed Rex Hedrick upset top seed and world number 52 Joe Lee in the play off to take out the Kooyong title.
In a gruelling encounter, both players were made to work hard for their points, with each point averaging 78-80 shots per rally in the match’s early stages.
After losing the first to the world number 57, Lee clawed himself back into the contest and looked to be gaining the momentum.
But in the end, it was Hedrick who was able to assume control of the match to take out the last two games and defeat the Englishman 11-6, 3-11, 11-4, 11-3.
In the play off for third, Indian national champion and world number 84 Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu edged out Swiss player Reiko Peter 11-7, 7-11,11-9, 11-5.
In the Women’s event, Kooyong’s own Sarah Cardwell had an impressive run throughout the tournament, getting the better of higher ranked seeds Christine Nunn and Belgium’s Nele Gillis.
Cardwell’s victory over the third seed Gillis was particularly impressive, considering she had to come from two games down to win in five – 6-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-6.
In the process, Cardwell finished second in the round-robin tournament behind India’s Dipika Pallikal, who went through all her matches without losing a game.
The Kooyong victory was a perfect lead in for the world number 19, who now heads into both the Victorian and Australian Opens in the next fortnight as the top seed.
Picture courtesy of Squash and Racketball Victoria