Tania Takes Out Australian Open Title-Holder King

England’s unseeded Tania Bailey caused the biggest upset on the opening day of women’s action in the CSR ViridianAustralian Open when she upset New Zealand title-holder Joelle King to reach the last sixteen of the $56,000 WISPA World Tour squash event – the sixth WISPA Gold championship of the year – in Canberra.

Bailey, the former world No4 making her latest comeback after both knee and hip surgery over the past two years, recovered from a game down – then from a whitewash drubbing in the fourth game – to beat 12th seed King 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 0-11, 11-8.

“It was a tough match,” explained Bailey later.  “I started a bit slowly as Joelle came out so fast and I took a while to get used to the pace.  I lost the first but then settled in and won the next two.

“The third was really tight all the way and I managed to scrape it 12-10, but put in a lot of effort to win that game.  I then went down a few points really quickly in the fourth and thought it was best for me to save my energy and go flat out in the fifth!

“I played well in the fifth and managed to stay ahead all the way through the game.  I am really pleased to have come through as I lost to Joelle 3/0 last time we played and she is a really strong player.  I look forward to getting on the glass court tomorrow.”

The 30-year-old from Lincolnshire, recently named captain of England’s Commonwealth Games squad for Delhi in October, will now face Rachael Grinham, the No2 seed from Queensland who is leading home interest in the championship.

The 2006 Australian Open champion saw off the challenge of 17-year-old qualifier Tamika Saxby to move into the second round. Grinham recovered from a lapse in the third game to win 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 11-2.

“It didn’t feel that comfortable,” the Amsterdam-based Grinham said later. “I think she gifted me quite a few points, but I always feel a bit shaky because I’ve never seen these young girls play before.

“You get on the court and the points can get away from you. I was really having trouble feeling settled and I was quite lucky she made a few errors.

“In the fourth game I tried to be confident and attack and pick the pace up a bit.”

Top seed and world number two Jenny Duncalf of England also progressed with an impressive 11-2, 11-4, 11-6 win over reigning world junior champion Amanda Sobhy of the USA and will next play Malaysian Delia Arnold, an 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 winner over New Zealand qualifier Amanda Landers-Murphy.

Duncalf never looked in any danger against Sobhy, who later conceded there was a huge difference between the junior and senior ranks.

“In juniors if you play a good shot you win the point, but that’s not the case against someone like Jenny,” said the 17-year-old from New York.

Australia’s Kasey Brown, also a former champion, looked in good touch as she downed training partner andCommonwealth Games teammate Amelia Pittock 11-7, 11-5, 11-5.

Brown, who is seeded to meet Duncalf in the quarter-finals, said she was feeling confident after some solid training in the off-season.

“I did a lot of work over the last couple of months and I’m feeling pretty good physically,” she said.

“I’ve got a tough draw, I play Low Wee Wern next then probably Jenny so I will have to be on top of my game.”

Hong Kong’s Annie Au was another former champion to get through when she beat India’s Dipika Pallikal 11-8, 11-5, 11-7, and she was joined in the second round by third-seeded Englishwoman Alison Waters, who beat Austrian qualifierBirgit Coufal 11-3, 11-3, 11-2.

Experienced Malaysian Sharon Wee also pulled off a significant upset to claim a place in the second round. The 32-year-old from Malacca ousted Denmark’s 15th seed Line Hansen 11-8, 11-5, 6-11, 11-3, and will now face England’s No5 seedLaura Massaro for a place in the quarter-finals.

1st round:
[1] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt Amanda Sobhy (USA) 11-2, 11-4, 11-6
[13] Delia Arnold (MAS) bt [Q] Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL) 11-5, 11-3, 11-8
[6] Kasey Brown (AUS) bt Amelia Pittock (AUS) 11-7, 11-5, 11-5
[16] Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt [Q] Samantha Davies (AUS) 11-9, 11-6, 11-4
[4] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt Zoe Petrovansky (AUS) 11-2, 11-2, 11-3
[9] Annie Au (HKG) bt Dipika Pallikal (IND) 11-8, 11-5, 11-7
[5] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Melody Francis (AUS) 11-7, 11-7, 11-4
Sharon Wee (MAS) bt [15] Line Hansen (DEN) 11-8, 11-5, 6-11, 11-3
[14] Aisling Blake (IRL) bt Lisa Camilleri (AUS) 11-9, 11-9, 11-1
[8] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) bt Song Sun-Mi (KOR) 11-5, 11-6, 11-1
[10] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) bt [Q] Amanda Cranston (NZL) 11-7, 11-8, 11-5
[3] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [Q] Birgit Coufal (AUT) 11-3, 11-3, 11-2
[11] Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt [Q] Sarah Cardwell (AUS) 11-6, 11-3, 11-5
[7] Engy Kheirallah (EGY) bt Kylie Lindsay (NZL) 11-8, 11-9, 11-13, 11-6
Tania Bailey (ENG) bt [12] Joelle King (NZL) 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 0-11, 11-8
[2] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [Q] Tamika Saxby (AUS) 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 11-2