Fernandes carries Caribbean hopes at South Sound
Day one of qualifying for the Cayman World Open presented by BDO – delayed by a few minutes as the players, referees and spectators at South Sound Squash Club watched the end of the Men’s World Open final from Qatar – saw some quick matches but some tough battles too, with Caribbean champion Nicolette Fernandes giving the South Sound most to cheer about as she overcame France’s Coline Aumard in straight games.
“I lost 3/0 last time we played,” explained Fernandes, “but I’m used to the courts here and used to the hot conditions, so maybe that was an advantage for me today. It’s just the first match though, everyone is here with the aim of winning the world title, so there’s a long way to go yet.”
The cheers were almost as loud for local wildcard Eilidh Bridgeman, even is she was one of five players to lose in 20 minutes or less, in this case to Misaki Kobayashi.
“I’ve been here since Monday, really enjoying it,” said Japanese champion Kobayashi. “It’s great to get on court, I finally feel like a squash player!”
Wales’ Tesni Evans was the first player through to tomorrow’s finals with a quick win over Ivonne Diaz, and English pair Sarah-Jane Perry and Lauren Selby were equally efficient, as was Egypt’s Heba El Torky.
Colombian Catalina Pelaez provided the biggest upset of the round as she beat Kiwi Kylie Lindsay in straight games. “I was injured at the World Teams and hadn’t played much, so I was a bit worried,” said the South American, “But I played pretty well and I’m very pleased to win in my first world open.”
Scotland’s Lisa Aitken and Mexico’s Nayelly Hernandez were both made to work hard for their wins, Aitken squandering a two-game lead before reasserting to beat Leoine Holt in the fifth, Hernandez coming from 2/1 down to upset Holland’s Milou Van Der Heijden.
“I lost my concentration after the first two,” explained Aitken. “It’s so hot on these courts and I lost confidence in being able to take the ball in short, I stopped attacking.
“Fortunately she made a few errors at the start of the fifth and I picked it up from there.”
The final match was a hotly contested affair between Yathreb Adel and Maria Toor Pakay, two highly-competitive characters. It was Egyptian Adel who won through in three close games, to set up a meeting with veteran American Latasha Khan in tomorrow’s qualifying finals.
WSA Cayman World Open presented by BDO, 14 Dec, Qualifying Round One:
Delia Arnold (Mas) v bye
Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-0 Ivonne Diaz (Mex) 11/3, 11/8, 11/3 (20m)
Lisa Aitken (Sco) 3/2 Leonie Holt (Eng) 11/9, 11/9, 7/11, 9/11, 11/4 (57m)
Samantha Cornett (Can) bye
Catalina Pelaez (Col) 3-0 Kylie Lindsay (Nzl) 11/7, 11/8, 11/6 (27m)
Lauren Selby (Eng) 3-0 Karina Heredia (Mex) 11/2, 11/1, 11/3 (18m)
Mary Fung-a-Fat (Guy) w/o Kanzy El Dafrawy (Egy)
Lauren Briggs (Eng) v bye
Emma Beddoes (Eng) v bye
Nayelly Hernandez (Mex) 3-2 Milou VD Heijden (Ned) 8/11, 11/8, 3/11, 11/3, 11/5 (55m)
Nicolette Fernandes (Guy) 3-0 Coline Aumard (Fra) 11/6, 11/1, 11/4 (30m)
Misaki Kobayashi (Jpn) 3-0 Eilidh Bridgeman (Cay) 11/4, 11/2, 11/4 (18m)
Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) 3-0 Ashley DeGroot (Guy) 11/3, 11/7, 11/3 (18m)
Heba El Torky (Egy) 3-0 Katja Amir (Ger) 11/5, 11/1, 11/5 (14m)
Yathreb Adel (Egy) 3-0 Maria Toor Pakay (Pak) 13/11, 11/8, 11/9 (37m)
Latasha Khan (Usa) v bye
Qualifying Finals from 12,00 on 15th, from the top.
Full coverage on the official site: www.worldopensquash by SquashSite