South Africa’s Tenille Swartz pulled off the biggest upset in the second qualifying round of The Soho Square Women’s World Open Squash Championship to stake an unexpected place in the qualifying finals of the premier WISPA World Tour squash event in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Soho Square at Sharm El Sheikh.
Swartz, playing in her second World Open but her first since 2006 due to a series of injuries, took a two-game lead over the event’s third seed Emma Beddoes, but the English player fought back to level the match before the 23-year-old underdog from Cape Town asserted herself in the decider to win 11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 7-11, 11-6 in 63 minutes.
“Emma changed the pace in the third and the match became much tougher,” Swartz told the official website www.sohosquareworldopen.com/2010 later.
“I’ve played her before so I knew what to expect – we’re both runners and never give anything up. We had a good match, I really enjoyed it!”
“I’m happy enough with that, it was a good opening match,” said the 27-year-old world No29 from Odense. “We played in March and I won 3/0 then, but she’s improving all the time.”
“She played well in the first, and I was a little nervous,” admitted the 33-year-old from Amsterdam. “I don’t know why – it’s not exactly my first World Open, in fact I’ve stopped counting!”
World junior champion Amanda Sobhy was up next, and the 17-year-old American star was upstaged in the first game by Egyptian Sara El Noamany, who admitted earlier that she’d never seen Sobhy – a frequent visitor to Egypt – play.
Once Sobhy got into her stride, though, the teenager cruised through the next three games to claim a 7-11, 11-1, 11-4, 11-2 victory.
“She took me a little by surprise in the first,” admitted Sobhy. “She’s strong and powerful and she caught me off my guard, but once I started to play my game I felt well in control.
“Last year I was the last player to make it into the draw, so there was no pressure on me at all – but this year I’m seeded in qualifying so it makes you a bit more nervous, but I hope I can do well tomorrow.”
“I thought I played well there,” said a delighted Meguid after her 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 win. “It’s my first World Open – I wanted to make a good start so I had to make sure I won the first two games.
“She came back well in the third, I could have lost that but I’m pleased to make it through in straight games.”
“We’ve been playing each other since we were nine, and she’s never beaten me,” admitted Heba. “But the first match of a tournament, especially WISPA, especially World Open, is always hard, and in the first game especially I wasn’t focused.”
The final two matches of the first session both went the distance, as Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb came from two games down to thwart France’s Maud Duplomb 9-11, 6-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-7, while England’s Lauren Selby held off of typically feisty challenge from Nouran El Torky, Heba’s younger sister.
The day was rounded off with victories for two experienced players, both trying to regain their former form and rankings, both up against yet more young Egyptians. Guyana’s Nicolette Fernandes beat Salma Hatem Youssef 11-7, 11-5, 11-9, and England’s Tania Bailey, an unusual face in qualifying, beat Haidi Lala 11-7, 11-5, 11-2.
“I haven’t had to qualify since I was 19, in 1998 in Stuttgart,” said 30-year-old Bailey. It was when Fitz [Sarah Fitz-Gerald] beat Michelle [Martin] 3-2 in the final. I remember it because I qualified and played Fitz in the first round!”
The Soho Square World Open, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
1st qualifying round:
Sara El Noamany (EGY) bt Mayar Aly Ezzo (EGY) 11-2, 11-8, 11-3 (20m)
Salma Nassar (EGY) bt Nada Elkalaawy (EGY) 12-10, 11-4, 11-7 (22m)
Salma Hany (EGY) bt Merhan Amr Mahmoud (EGY) 5-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-9 (42m)
Mennat Nasser (EGY) bt Yathreb Adel (EGY) 13-11, 5-11, 6-11, 11-3, 11-8 (55m)
Salma Hatem Youssef (EGY) bt Nihal Alaa Bayoumi (EGY) 11-9, 11-4, 11-7 (21m)
Haidi Lala (EGY) bt Karina Heredia Gonzalez (MEX) 11-4, 11-2, 11-6 (14m)
2nd qualifying round:
Line Hansen (DEN) bt Siyoli Waters (RSA) 11-2, 11-9, 11-5 (29m)
Annelize Naude (NED) bt Sina Wall (GER) 9-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-4 (35m)
Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Sara El Noamany (EGY) 7-11, 11-1, 11-4, 11-2 (39m)
Farah Abdel Meguid (EGY) bt Lucie Fialova (CZE) 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 (29m)
Tenille Swartz (RSA) bt Emma Beddoes (ENG) 11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 7-11, 11-6 (63m)
Heba El Torky (EGY) bt Salma Nassar (EGY) 14-12, 11-2, 12-10 (20m)
Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Maud Duplomb (FRA) 9-11, 6-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-7 (45m)
Lauren Selby (ENG) bt Nouran El Torky (EGY) 7-11, 13-11, 12-10, 5-11, 11-9 (61m)
Manuela Manetta (ITA) bt Laura Pomportes (FRA) 11-8, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5 (41m)
Sharon Wee (MAS) bt Salma Hany (EGY) 9-11, 11-8, 13-11, 4-11, 11-4 (67m)
Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Coline Aumard (FRA) 11-4, 11-3, 11-3 (23m)
Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt Celia Allamargot (FRA) 11-4, 13-11, 11-9 (26m)
Kanzy Emad El-Defrawy (EGY) bt Mennat Nasser (EGY) 6-11, 11-2, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9 (56m)
Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt Faustine Gilles (FRA) 2-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9 (31m)
Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) bt Salma Hatem Youssef (EGY) 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (27m)
Tania Bailey (ENG) bt Haidi Lala (EGY) 11-7, 11-5, 11-2 (24m)
Official Site: www.sohosquareworldopen.com/2010