Cayman World Open 2012 presented by BDO
15-Dec, Qualifying Finals:
Delia Arnold (Mas) 3-0 Tesni Evans (Wal) 11/9, 13/11, 11/8 (51m)
Sam Cornett (Can) 3-0 Lisa Aitken (Sco) 11/5, 11/7, 11/9 (30m)
Catalina Palaez (Col) 3-0 Lauren Selby (Eng) 11/5,11/6, 11/9 (23m)
Lauren Briggs (Eng) 3-0 Mary Fung-a-Fat (Guy) 11/1, 11/1, 11/4 (19m)
Emma Beddoes (Eng) 3-0 Nayelly Hernandez (Mex) 11/4, 11/4, 11/6 (24m)
Nicolette Fernandes (Guy) 3-2 Misaki Kobayashi (Jpn) 6/11, 12/10, 9/11, 13/11, 11/9 (83m)
Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng ) 3-1 Heba El Torky (Egy) 11/4, 8/11, 11/4, 11/9 (39m)
Latasha Khan (Usa) 3-1 Yathreb Adel (Egy) 11/6, 8/11, 11/9, 11/9 (47m)
Fernandes keeps Caribbean bandwagon rolling in Grand Cayman
The first qualifier for the Cayman Women’s World Open presented by BDO was qualifying top seed Delia Arnold, the Malaysian coming through in three close games against Tesni Evans.
It was the Welsh youngster who made the better start, taking leads of 5/1 in the first and 6/2 in the second, but in both games Arnold, after some early errors, worked her way back into it, levelling at 9-all in the first and 8-all in the second, taking them 11/9 and 13/11.
By the end of the second Evans was definitely working the harder of the two, and was beginning to lose out in some scrambling rallies, but the third was still just as competitive, nothing to split them up to 8-all. Again though it was Delia who finished the game better, taking three points in a row to move into the main draw.
The scond qualifier also won in three tough games. Samantha Cornett came out firing, taking Lisa Aitken a little by surprise as the Canadian blasted through the first game 11/5, aided by some Scottish errors.
Aitken picked up the pace though, and the next two games were fast and furious, much harder hitting than the previous match, but still it was Cornett who continued to get the better of things, just, as she took the second and third games 11/7, 11/9 with Aitken frustrated at not quite being able to close the gap.
“I knew it would be a hard, fast game,” said Cornett, “we both play that way but I play better when it’s fast like that so I was quite happy to play her at that game. I’m really pleased to qualify in my second World Open, I’ve been getting a lot of snorkelling in but I need to do some serious practice now!”
Colombian Catalina Pelaez has been out for a few weeks with injury, and it looked as though she was enjoying being able to run again as she ran for everything in the first two games of her match against Lauren Briggs, catching her opponent off guard with some lovely running winners too.
Having lost the first two 11/5, 11/6, the Englishwoman looked to be getting more and more control of her opponent as the third game went on, but a 9/7 lead disappeared courtesy of a trio of unforced errors, and Catalina seized on the opportunity to win the final rally with a running volley boast.
“I was enjoying being able to run, but I think I relaxed a bit in the third,” admitted Catalina, “and she was putting me under a lot of pressure with her dropshots. I was getting a little tired, so I was happy to be able to win that third!”
There was better news for England’s Lauren Briggs, who eased through to the main draw with an 11/1, 11/1, 11/4 win over Guyana’s Caribbean Junior Champion Mary Fung-a-Fat, who thoroughly enjoyed the experience:
“It’s completely different playing at this level compared to what I’m used to,” explained Mary, “it’s very serious and very accurate. I see now what I have to do, and how much training I have to put in to get to that level, challenge accepted!
“It’s just been great being here, meeting, seeing and playing the people I normally just read about online, that’s the win for me.”
More English success followed as Emma Beddoes beat Mexican Nayelly Hernandez 11/4, 11/4, 11/6.
“I’m just glad to be here really,” said Beddoes, who is not long back into action after injury, “two and a half months ago it wasn’t looking good. This is the big one though, so I’m glad to be here and playing quite well, qualifying is always a horrible thing to go through so now the pressure’s off and I just hope I can perform against whoever I get tomorrow.
Next up was what promised to be a cracking match, and so it proved. There wasn’t much to choose between Misaki Kobayashi and Nicolette Fernandes in terms of ranking, style of play, determination .. even their outfits were a good match, and it was more than a good match that they delivered to the South Sound crowd, who were supporting their Caribbean favourite Fernandes, of course.
Long story short, virtually every rally was hotly contested, both players were on the floor several times, and there were 53 lets or strokes, but it wasn’t that type of match, it was a fast-paced, no-quarter-given or asked for, allm or nothing slugfest and the crowd and ultimately both players enjoyed it immensely.
After Kobayashi took the first 11/6, there was hardly a point between them for the next four games. Kobayashi had 10/9 in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th games but Fernandes refused to yield and we were into a decider.
The Japanese led again in the fifth, only 9/7 but it made the crowd very nervous. Two nervous tins from Misaki levelled it at 9-all, two forceful drives from Nicoletter were too tight and after 83 minutes the Caribbean had itself a main draw player. The crowd had probably seen the match of the tournament too, and we’re only on day two!
“You guys have no idea how much pressure you put me under, bloody hell!” said a delighted and relieved Fernandes. “It’s great to be playing in front of a home crowd like this, but I’m a nervous wreck. I had a shoulder injury after the last CASA championships here last year, it’s been a long road back but it’s all coming together now and I’m really excited to make the main draw of the World Open, right here in the Caribbean!”
Sarah-Jane Perry made it a hat-trick of English qualifiers as she came through a feisty encounter with Heba El Torky – they’re both determined characters but it was Perry who was more determined on the day, fighting back from 1/5 down in the fourth to win 11/4, 8/11, 11/4, 11/9.
“Last year I was match ball up in the qualifying finals against El Sherbini, so it feels pretty good to get past another tough Egyptian this time,” said Perry.
The final main draw spot was claimed by USA veteran Latasha Khan, who ensured that for once there would be no young Egyptian winners with a four game win over Yathreb Adel. It wasn’t the prettiest match, with 43 decisions , but Latasha was delighted to be through to another World Open main draw.
“It was a difficult match but it wasn’t physically tough, as we never really got any rallies going,” explained Khan.
Main draw matchups: Sherbini v Cornett, Teran v Briggs, Duncalf v Perry, Serme v Beddoes, Brown v Khan, R Grinham v Fernandes, Massaro v Pelaez, Pallikal v Arnold, LL1 Hernandez, LL2 Kobayashi
The main draw kicks off at noon on Sunday with Cayman’s own Marlene West first on court.
Full coverage on the official site: www.worldopensquash.com by SquashSite