Warm courts and hot squash as Weymuller bounces back in style
By LINDA ELRIANI in Brooklyn
The weather in NY is particularly humid and sticky at the moment and consequently the courts are very hot and bouncy making it difficult to finish the rallies.
The opening match was between world # 23 Nicolette Fernandes from Guyana and Kiwi Amanda Landers-Murphy the world #40. Nicolette played a very consistent and controlled game keeping Amanda under constant pressure for the first game. Amanda gave a big push in the second, making a vested effort to volley and take the T and get a 9-5 lead. Nicolette regained her composure and came through to take the second 12/10. The climb back from 2-0 down proved too big for Amanda and Nicolette eventually won the match in three…11/3, 12/10, 11/6.
Nicolette said after her win…”It was nice to get back on court after San Fran. I love being back here, I think I play good squash here. I don’t think the heat has anything to do with it!!! I was happy with a 3-0 win against Amanda as she is playing well.”
The second 5.30pm match was French # 2 and world # 43 Coline Aumard against India’s Joshana Chinappa who is currently ranked #24 in the world. This was a very tense and physical match with lots of lets and interference, but Joshana managed to hold the T and keep the balls away in the corners from Coline’s volleys. Joshana eventually won in a tense four game match 5/11, 11/7, 11/7, 11/4.
Joshana and Nicolette play tomorrow at 1.30pm after the [email protected] luncheon.
Joshana said after her match “I’m glad I got through, I didn’t get the best start and with Coline being an aggressive and accurate player you can’t do that. She played really well. I’m glad I got through 3-1”.
There was a very enthusiastic crowd at 6.15pm on the championship court when home grown Olivia Blatchford, world # 37, played Denmark’s Line Hansen who is ranked world #26. Line recently married another world ranked squash player, Cameron Pilley, and who is here this week at court side to coach her.
This match was definitely the game of the night with the marathon match going back and forth until it was eventually even at 2-2. The fifth game was a nail bitter and the points were evenly won until it eventually went right down to the wire at 10-10. Olivia was playing a more attacking game with some wonderful short winning shots, but it was the impatient short shots that lost Olivia points at very vital times. Line kept plugging away and trying to keep her length as consistent and tight as she could to stop Olivia’s aggressive game. A backhand boast error and then a stroke on the forehand finally gave Line her ticket to the qualifying finals. It was heart breaking for Olivia as she also lost last year in an equally close five setter. Next year Olivia.
A red faced Line said “To be honest I think that Olivia played better and deserved to win! I think that she’s really talented and when she gets the last parts of her game right she’ll be very dangerous! I hope that I can step it up tomorrow as I was struggling to find the right pace on there, but I’ll take the win!”
The second 6.15pm match was two budding young Egyptian players Heba El Torky and Kanzy Emad El Defrawy ranked #22 and # 36 in the world respectively. Kanzy played a very aggressive attacking game and kept Heba from finding any kind of rhythum. Kanzy came through in three…11/4, 11/7, 11/7.
A smiling Kanzy said “I trained really hard over the last months and it was really frustrating to lose 1st round in San Fran. I was 2-0 up and then lost there! I felt l had a lot of pressure going there and my body was tired and wasn’t feeling good on court. Since that I have decided to change my thinking, so today I went out and enjoyed every moment. I knew it was going to be a tough match but I felt zero pressure and stress. I want to make people happy as I’ve had a lot of support so I hate to let them down. I feel happy but not satisfied and I’m really looking forward to tomorrows match. It’s great to know I’ll be playing tomorrow’s match with fresh legs. It’s the first time that I have made it through the first round here, so I’m really looking forward to it!”
Line and Kanzy play at 6.15pm tomorrow.
The 7.00pm match on the east court was between Joey Chan who is the world #29 from Hong Kong and Australian’s Donna Urquhart who is world # 30. Joey seemed to like the hot conditions better than Donna and won 11/4, 11/3, 11/8 to go through and play tomorrow in the qualifying finals.
Joey said “I feel good about my match because I didn’t think I could win in three. Donna plays at a fast pace so I tried not to get into her pace and keep being patient. Donna and I are both left handers and have very strong forehands so I tried to keep it to her back hand. I am happy to get through and hope to win tomorrow against Sam as it’s such a great place here.”
The second 7.00pm match was between Samantha Teran the world # 32 from Mexico and England’s Victoria Lust who is currently world #21. This match was a tense but consistent play from Samantha and too many errors from Victoria helped Samantha to get through to play tomorrow against Joey at 7.00pm.
A very happy Samantha said “It’s hot!!! Actually, I’m very happy, just because this is my first win since my injury. I was thinking point by point and game by game…..now I can book my practice court for tomorrow! I really enjoy playing, especially here. The Weymuller is the first professional tournament I ever played outside Mexico, so it means a lot to me and I try to come back every year. The only years that I don’t come back is what I’ve been injured.”
The 7.45pm match on the west court was between world # 27 Yathreb Adel from Egypt and Maria Toorpakai Wazir from Pakistan who is world #51. It was a relatively one sided game with Yathreb varying the pace well and keeping a great length into the back, preventing Mariaf from using her array of winners at the front. Yahreb came through to win 11/8, 11/6, 11/4 and when I asked her how she was feeling she said “Good, really good now! It was a good match to start with, a fair match. Maria is really good with her racket so I was just trying to move her around and not go too short from the beginning. It’s the first match at the beginning of a new season so I’ll just give it my best and hopefully it’ll be a good start”.
Egyptian’s Salma Hany Ibrahim, world #20 got a bye this evening through to the qualifying finals, due to the a main draw player withdrawing and previously qualifying Dipika Pallikal from India, moving into the main draw.
It was a truly fantastic evening of squash to start off the 2015 Weymuller. Congratulations to all the winners and we look forward to the final round of the qualifying tomorrow.
We have our [email protected] luncheon at noon followed by the first qualifying match at 1.30pm. The rest of the qualifying matches run from 5.30pm in the evening, with the player ‘Meet and Greet’ after the first match. Good luck to all the players.
2015 Carol Weymuller Open, Heights Casino, Brooklyn, New York, USA.
5.30pm Nicolette Fernandes beat Amanda Landers-Murphy 11/3, 12/10, 11/6.
5.30pm Joshana Chinappa beat Coline Aumard 5/11, 11/7, 11/7, 11/4.
6.15pm Kanzy Emad El Defrawy beat Heba El Torky
6.15pm Line Hansen beat Olivia Blatchford 11/7, 7/11, 11.6, 8/11, 14/12.
7.00pm Joey Chan beat Donna Urquhart 11/4, 11/3, 11/8.
7.00pm Samantha Teran beat Victoria Lust 11/8, 11/7, 11/8.
7.45pm Yathreb Adel V Maria Toorpakai Wazir 11/8, 11/6, 11/4.
7.45pm Salma Hany Ibrahim received a walkover through to final qualifying round
Tomorrow’s matches are:
1.30pm Nicolette Fernandes V Joshana Chinappa
5.30pm Line Hansen V Kanzy Emad El Defrawy
(6.15pm ‘Meet and Greet’ with the players)
7.00pm Joey Chan V Samantha Teran
7.45pm Salma Hany Ibrahim V Yathreb Adel
Picture by JEAN ERVASTI