New South Wales’s Tamika Saxby downed former Australian junior team-mate Christine Nunn in straight games in today’s (Tuesday) qualifying finals of the Women’s Australian Open to make the main draw of the $56,000 WISPA World Tour squash event – the sixth WISPA Gold championship of the year – in Canberra.
Saxby reached the main draw with an 11-3, 11-3, 11-4 win over Nunn to qualify for the Open for the second year in a row.
The 17-year-old was bundled out by eventual champion Joelle King last year but she is a much improved player this time around.
However she will have to lift several notches again after drawing Australia’s second seed and world number four Rachael Grinham in the first round.
“It was good to go on court and feel so comfortable – I was striking the ball pretty well right from the beginning,” Saxby said. “I’ve known Christine since we first started playing juniors so it was good to catch up with her for a hit.
“My goal was to make the main draw and anything from now is a bonus.”
Saxby was joined in the first round by fellow Australians Samantha Davies and Sarah Cardwell, New Zealand duoAmanda Cranston and Amanda Landers-Murphy, and Austria’s Birgit Coufal.
Davies beat Melbourne’s Selena Shaikh 11-7, 11-4, 11-5 and said she was delighted to make the first round, where she takes on Malaysia’s Low Wee Wern.
“I played really well today and it is a great thing for me to make the main draw,” said the 21-year-old Queenslander. “I’ve played a fair few of the tournaments on the Australian tour and I’ve been pretty consistent.
“But my goal this week was just to make the main draw so I’m really happy.”
Cardwell beat fellow Victorian Grazia Guida 11-7, 11-1, 11-4 and has been drawn to play New South Wales’s Donna Urquhart, the 11th seed.
“I wasn’t focusing on who I had to play if I qualified as all the girls in the main draw are top quality players,” Cardwell said. “I will just go out and give it my best.”
Cranston beat local 17-year-old Laura McCredie 11-1, 11-5, 11-5 and Landers-Murphy downed Hobart’s Maggy Marshall 11-3, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7.
Cranston faces Frenchwoman Isabelle Stoehr while Landers-Murphy is up against Malaysia’s Delia Arnold.
Coufal, who beat Brisbane’s Bethany Brazier 11-2, 11-7, 11-2, has been drawn to play third seeded Englishwoman Alison Waters.
Birgit Coufal (AUT) bt Bethany Brazier (AUS) 11-2, 11-7, 11-2
Amanda Cranston (NZL) bt Laura McCredie (AUS) 11-1, 11-5, 11-5
Samantha Davies (AUS) bt Selena Shaikh (AUS) 11-7, 11-4, 11-5
Tamika Saxby (AUS) bt Christine Nunn (AUS) 11-3, 11-3, 11-4
Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL) bt Maggy Marshall (AUS) 11-3, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7
Sarah Cardwell (AUS) bt Grazia Guida (AUS) 11-7, 11-1, 11-4
Updated 1st round draw:
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Delia Arnold (MAS) v [Q] Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL)
 Kasey Brown (AUS) v Amelia Pittock (AUS)
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) v [Q] Samantha Davies (AUS)
 Madeline Perry (IRL) v Zoe Petrovansky (AUS)
 Annie Au (HKG) v Dipika Pallikal (IND)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v Melody Francis (AUS)
 Line Hansen (DEN) v Sharon Wee (MAS)
 Aisling Blake (IRL) v Lisa Camilleri (AUS)
 Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) v Song Sun-Mi (KOR)
 Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) v [Q] Amanda Cranston (NZL)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v [Q] Birgit Coufal (AUT)
 Donna Urquhart (AUS) v [Q] Sarah Cardwell (AUS)
 Engy Kheirallah (EGY) v Kylie Lindsay (NZL)
 Joelle King (NZL) v Tania Bailey (ENG)
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) v [Q] Tamika Saxby (AUS)