Mexican takes out Latasha Khan and meets top seed Nicol David
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent
Determined Mexican Samantha Teran denied Latasha Khan a tenth appearance in the main draw of her country’s major squash championship when she beat the US veteran in the qualifying finals of the Women’s Delaware Investments US Open, the WSA World Series Platinum event at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
World No38 Teran, Mexico’s most successful player of all-time (pictured above in action with Khan), defeated 41-year-old Khan – a seven-time US national champion ranked just two places lower – 17-15, 11-6, 6-11, 11-5.
Teran – who made her US Open debut in 2002 – will now take on top seed Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia who is bidding to become the first player in the championship’s 60-year history to win three titles in a row.
US qualifying bids from Olivia Blatchford, Cecelia Cortes and Maria Elena Ubina also failed – but North American interest in the championship was boosted by Canadian number one Samantha Cornett when the 23-year-old from Ottawa beat Deon Saffery of Wales 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-9 in 53 minutes.
It was the second time in a week that the Canadian had recovered from the brink of elimination by overcoming a sizable deficit to win a match in five games. “Without even knowing, I think I like going in from behind,” said Cornett. “I think there’s some kind of trigger at nine or ten that just says, ‘Stick…In’ and don’t give up.”
A trio of Egyptians came through the qualifying competition to make their debuts in the championship. At 15 years old, Habiba Mohamed Ahmed became the youngest player in the draw when she survived a five-game battle with local star Olivia Blatchford, winning 10-12, 11-6, 11-9, 12-14, 11-7 in 65 minutes.
The Alexandria teenager now faces 12th seed Rachael Grinham, the 37-year-old 2006 champion from Australia, in the first round.
RESULTS: Women’s Delaware Investments US Open, Philadelphia, USA.
Habiba Mohamed Ahmed (EGY) bt Olivia Blatchford (USA) 10-12, 11-6, 11-9, 12-14, 11-7 (65m)
Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) bt Milou van der Heijden (NED) 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 (29m)
Samantha Teran (MEX) bt Latasha Khan (USA) 17-15, 11-6, 6-11, 11-5 (60m)
Victoria Lust (ENG) bt Georgina Stoker (ENG) 11-9, 11-8, 11-9 (30m)
Siyoli Waters (RSA) bt Sarah Cardwell (AUS) 7-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 (41m)
Aisling Blake (IRL) bt Cecelia Cortes (USA) 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 (34m)
Yathreb Adel (EGY) bt Maria Elena Ubina (USA) 11-6, 11-1, 11-2 (12m)
Samantha Cornett (CAN) bt Deon Saffery (WAL) 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-9 (53m)
Updated 1st round draw:
 Nicol David (MAS) v [Q] Samantha Teran (MEX)
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) v [Q] Habiba Mohamed Ahmed (EGY)
 Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) v [Q] Aisling Blake (IRL)
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) v Joey Chan (HKG)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v [Q] Samantha Cornett (CAN)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Emily Whitlock (ENG)
 Madeline Perry (IRL) v Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v [Q] Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY)
 Annie Au (HKG) v [Q] Victoria Lust (ENG)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v [Q] Yathreb Adel (EGY)
 Kasey Brown (AUS) v Tesni Evans (WAL)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v [WC] Sabrina Sobhy (USA)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Emma Beddoes (ENG)
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v Heba El Torky (EGY)
 Sarah Kippax (ENG) v Line Hansen (DEN)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v [Q] Siyoli Waters (RSA)
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Pictures courtesy of WSA