Joelle King, Raneem El Weleily score Cleveland Upsets
Feb 1, 2010, by Nathan Dugan © 2010 SquashTalk.com , Independent News; SquashTalk LLC
(updated 1-feb-10 12:09 )
King Conquers and Brown survives [Draw and Results]
On a day where seeds struggled in Cleveland., over eight hours of squash for eight matches was required in the first round of the 2010 PNC Burning River Classic to determine the quarter final places. Joelle King produced the shock of the event thus far with a 5 game victory over world number 13 Engy Kheirallah.
|Raneem El Weleily gets win over Laura Masarro. photo © 2010 Ham Biggar.|
The match was a physical affair with the referee having to play a significant role in the process. After splitting the first two games, Joelle raced to an early advantage in the third. During a rally at 8-3 Joelle was completely knocked off her feet after playing her shot and found herself seated on the floor, she was still able to get up and scramble the next shot back somehow and went on to take the game 11-6. An upset looked on the cards when Joelle extended a game four lead to 6-3, but Engy had other ideas. She battled her way back with persistent lengths and the occasional block to level at 2-2. The 5th game showed just how far Joelle has improved her physical conditioning and speed. She was bouncing in between shots like a boxer about to deliver the next punch, and she delivered the final blow with a tight backhand drop that was too tight for the Egyptian to return, giving her a well earned victory. In the quarter finals Joelle will face Alison Waters, who although started off slow by dropping the first game to Emma Beddoes, never really looked in any trouble from there on out. Emma was noticeably a step slower than she had been the night before in her thrilling win in qualifiers over American Amanda Sobhy.
In the second quarter both seeds prevailed, but not without drama. Samantha Teran overcame Lauren Briggs with a display of power squash and gutsy retrieving. For large periods of the match Lauren looked to be in control, but she was unable to find the finishing shot and too frequently the relentless pressure Samantha applied resulted in an error from Laurens racquet. At 2-1 in games down Lauren held a 10-8 lead, but she was unable to convert to force a decider. Instead an error at 10-10 gave match ball away and Samantha only needed the one chance to progress.
PERRY WINS IRISH BATTLE
Madeline Perry joined Samantha in the quarters with the narrowest of victories over Aisling Blake, also from Ireland. The third seed struggled to find her length and control of the game in the early stages of the match and Aisling took full advantage. At 2-1 down in games Madeline needed to step up her level of play and she did so with great effect, winning 15 of the next 16 points. Aisling was not to be thwarted easily though and she rallied back into contention nearly leveling at 10-9. It was a huge sigh of relief for Madeline as she saw her last forehand drop not returned giving her a quarter finals birth.
In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Omneya Abdel Kawy and eigth seed Isabelle Stoehr, both notched up straight game wins over Latasha Khan and Dominique LLoyd-Water respectively. Omneya looked very relaxed in her victory and Dominique put on a better show than she may have expected, after suffering a foot injury prior to the match.
RANEEM STARTS SLOW BUT WINS IN UPSET
Both of the other bottom half matches went the distance with 4th seed Laura massaro being the first major casualty of the event. Her opponent, Raneem El Weleily, looked to be completely off the boil in the first two games, making a string of unforced errors including serving out and boasting the ball in to the tin on the return of serves. In the 3rd game though she came alive, giving the crowed a hint of what there may be to come from the young Egyptian later in the draw. In the fourth Raneem was on the end of a number of court-sprints due to the accuracy of Laura’s shots but a crucial tin at 8-9 gave Raneem a game ball and a chance to level the match. She took it with the first attempt and then ran away with the fifth.
Kasey Brown joined Raneem in the last eight with the most unlikely of comebacks; she trailed 2 games to 1 and 9-3 in the third game to qualifier Sarah Kippax, before saving two match balls. Kasey’s movement was the polar opposite to that of the Egyptian on before her, and despite chasing down ball after ball she was not able to apply much pressure to Sarah’s game. Sarah was little more creative with the ball and played herself into a two game lead. Kasey stayed resilient in the third and held on to extend the match, but when she hit a cross court nick attempt into the tin off return of serve to go 9-3 down in the 4th it looked to be game, set and match.
Sarah didn’t make any errors to give the game away at this point, but she also stopped attacking the front of the court. Kasey meanwhile had relaxed and with nothing to lose started attacking with a free abandon. This was very effective as shot after shot vanished into the nick un-returnable. Sarah did get two match ball opportunities at 10-8 but was unable to convert as Kasey played another two winners. A winning drop shot presented Sarah with her third match ball but once again Kasey leveled after one of the longest rallies of the match. A perfect lob gave Kasey a 12-11 lead and she was able to extent the match to a fifth game at the first attempt. Sarah looked a little deflated at the start of the fifth game and Kasey took full advantage racing to a 6-2 lead. Sarah attempted to close the gap but once Kasey smelt victory her tail was up as she surged for the finishing line. It was a great escape and as the final point ended a huge smile spread across Kasey’s face as she realized what she had done.
RESULTS: PNG Cleveland Squash Open, Cleveland Racquet Club, Cleveland Ohio, USA
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt [Q] Emma Beddoes (ENG) 9-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-3
[Q] Joelle King (NZL) bt  Engy Kheirallah (EGY) 9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5
 Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [Q] Aisling Blake (IRL) 8-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-1, 11-9
 Samantha Teran (MEX) bt Lauren Briggs (ENG) 11-7, 5-11, 11-2, 12-10
 Kasey Brown (AUS) bt [Q] Sarah Kippax (ENG) 8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-6
Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt  Laura Massaro (ENG) 10-12, 4-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-5
 Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) bt Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG) 11-9, 11-4, 11-9
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt Latasha Khan (USA) 11-6, 11-9, 11-6