Young players surprise seeds in KL Open first round

Three seeds are on their way home, but a teenage qualifier claims the biggest scalp in round one of the CIMB Nicol David KL Open 2012.

In the best win of her WSA career to date, 16-year-old Egyptian qualifier Nour El Sherbini got the better of world No2 Jenny Duncalf in five games.  The 48-minute match went back and forth between the pair, but the Englishwoman was always playing catch-up after losing the first game on the tiebreak.  Sherbini’s first round win guarantees the teenager a new highest ranking place in the forthcoming April WSA World Rankings.

Experienced No6 seed Rachael Grinham then faced qualifier Heba El Torky, also of Egypt.  Despite going 2-games down, the Australian fought back in a mammoth 88-minute game, winning a tie-break fifth game and booking her quarter-final place against the giant killer Sherbini.

The younger Grinham sister, Natalie fell foul to unseeded Annie Au of Hong Kong in a four-game battle lasting just under an hour.  Au will go on to face No3 seed Laura Massaro, following the Englishwoman’s comfortable 3-0 win over Samantha Teran of Mexico.

Young Egyptian Raneem El Weleily took half an hour to dispatch home-hope Low Wee Wern in three games, to set up the most exciting of tomorrow’s quarter-final matches.  The No5 seed will go head-to-head with fourth seed and last year’s runner-up Madeline Perry, following the Irishwoman’s 3-1 win over Camille Serme of France.

The last qualifier to make it through to the quarters was Dipika Pallikal of India.  Pallikal got the better of No8 seed Kasey Brown of Australia in three games, making it the Indian international’s biggest WSA World Tour win to date.

Pallikal will progress to face the top seed and six-time World Champion Nicol David, as the Malaysian looks set to defend her previous KL Open win.  The home favourite will also be hoping to be the first to claim the title since the competition’s upgrade to World Series Gold classification in February, when David’s name was also incorporated into the event. The top seeded Malaysian beat Australian qualifier Donna Urquhart to three games in 35-minutes.

Women’s Round one:

[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Donna Urquhart (AUS) 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 (35m)
[Q] Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt [8] Kasey Brown (AUS) 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 (40m)
[4] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt Camille Serme (FRA) 11-9, 11-1, 1-11, 12-10 (53m)
[5] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt Low Wee Wern (MAS) 11-9, 11-6, 11-5 (30m)
Annie Au (HKG) bt [7] Natalie Grinham (NED) 11-9, 12-14, 11-6, 11-6 (55m)
[3] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Samantha Teran (MEX) 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 (31m)
[6] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [Q] Heba El Torky (EGY) 8-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-5, 12-10 (88m)
[Q] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [2] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 12-10, 9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9 (48m)

Unseeded Malaysian Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan produced the biggest upset in today’s first round of the men’s CIMB Nicol David KL Open when he twice came from behind to overcome local hero and twice former champion Mohd Azlan Iskandar to claim a place in the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

Champion in 2003 and 2006, and a semi-finalist the past two years, Iskandar was seeded to reach the event’s final for the fourth time. And the Sarawak-born 29-year-old twice led his younger compatriot, known as ‘Wan’, seemingly en-route to his eighth KL quarter-final.

But Adnan, who had never before beaten his country’s leading player, raised his game after the third game to take the next two for the loss of just five points to clinch a remarkable 8-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-3, 11-2 victory after 66 minutes.

The London-based world No34 now meets another distinguished former champion from his own country. But Penang-bornOng Beng Hee, who made his first appearance in the event in 1999 and won the title nine years later, overcame his opponent after just a few minutes when Australian qualifier Matthew Karwalski retired injured midway through the first game with the score at 8-0.

But Hong Kong’s Leo Au, also a qualifier, did go on to make the last eight round after upsetting Australia’s world No37 Ryan Cuskelly 11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-3 in 67 minutes.

Au will now face Karim Darwish, the top-seeded Egypt who defeated France’s Gregoire Marche 11-2, 11-5, 11-9.

It was an all-Egyptian clash that produced the day’s longest encounter when third seed Omar Mosaad held off rising starTarek Momen 8-11, 12-10, 10-12, 11-1, 11-6 in a 112-minute marathon.

CIMB Nicol David KL Open, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Men’s 1st round:
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 11-2, 11-5, 11-9 (40m)
[Q] Leo Au (HKG) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-3 (67m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG) 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 (40m)
[4] Adrian Grant (ENG) bt Ivan Yuen (MAS) 6-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-8 (73m)
[3] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Tarek Momen (EGY) 8-11, 12-10, 10-12, 11-1, 11-6 (112m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [Q] Abdullah Al Muzayen (KUW) 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 (45m)
Ong Beng Hee (MAS) bt [Q] Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 8-0 ret.
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt [2] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) 8-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-3, 11-2 (66m)

Mosaad next meets top-ranked Indian Saurav Ghosal, who defeated Kuwait qualifier Abdullah Al Muzayen 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6.