Mexican Open First Round

Saffers upsets the seedings

The opening round of the Mexico Open saw all the locals exit, and one seeding upset as Deon Saffery ousted fifth seed Olivia Blatchford.

Arthur Curran reports …

[4] Samantha Cornett (CAN) beat Maria Fernanda Rivera (MEX) 11/5, 11/5, 11/4. 19 mins.

Today’s play of the first round started with a really enjoyable match between #4 seed Samantha Cornett from Canada and the Mexican junior Maria Fernanda Rivera.

Both girls played tremendous squash throughout but Samantha’s experience told as she proved stronger at the end of each game to take a 3 – 0 win.

Samantha Cornett ;- I thought I played really well with few mistakes, Maria made quite a few mistakes, I managed to find my length really well and am very happy going into the next round.

[7] Thaisa Serafini (BRA) beat [Q] Diana Garcia (MEX) 11/4, 11/6, 11/4. 24 mins.

In the second match Brazilian Thaisa Serafini faced Mexican qualifier Diana Garcia, and Thaisa took the first game fairly comfortably. In the second game Diana kept the score fairly even up to 6/6 but then the extra experience of Thaisa came to the fore and she finished the game in one hand 11/6.

With Thaisa now having much of the controlshe finished the match of by taking the third game comfortably 11/4 for a 3 – 0 win.

[6] Kylie Lindsay (NZL) beat Nayelly Hernandez (MEX) 4/11, 11/4, 9/11, 11/9, 11/5. 55mins.

The third match up between #5 seed Kylie Lindsay from New Zealand and one of Mexico’s best players over the last few years Nayelly Hernandez, started out fairly quiet with each player taking a game each 11/4, but at this stage there was not a sign of the fireworks to come. With a very vociferous and partisan crowd cheering on Nayelly, the score was very tight up to 7/7, Kylie took the lead 9/7, but Nayelly held tight and took the game 11/9 to the delight of the crowd.

When Nayelly held a small lead at 9/7 in the fourth the crowd was all expectant of the first Mexican success, but unfortunately that was not to be as Kylie fought back to take the game 11/9. Unfortunately again for the local crowd, Nayelly appeared to have used up all her stamina and Kylie took the last game 11/5and the match 3 games to 2 in 55 minutes of wonderful squash.

Kylie:-  That was some battle. Nayelly is a very good player and I had to work really hard, especially in the fourth at 2 – 1 down and Nayelly leading 9/7 I could feel the crowd expected her to win, but I dug very deep and managed to take that game, then I felt much better in the fifth and was very pleased to win the match.

[1] Aisling Blake (IRL) beat [Q] Karla Urrutia (MEX) 11/7, 11/2,11/6. 22 mins.

No 1 seed and firm favourite for the tournament Aisling Blake from Ireland came up next to face Mexico’s girl of the moment, young Karla Urrutia who last week won the Mexican National Championships. Although Karla put up a tremendous performance, especially in the first game with the huge crowd behind her, but the huge gap in experience showed in Aisling’s favour as she took the match 3 – 0 in 22 minutes.

Although seeming a large defeat, Karla can take great comfort in the way she played against the most experienced player in the tournament, and I am sure she has an excellent future in the game, already at just 19 the #2 in Mexico behind Samantha Teran.

After this match there was a short interval for an official tournament opening, where all the players were introduced to the fairly large audience.

[3] Yathreb Adel (EGY) beat [Q] Graciela Lopez (MEX) 11/6, 11/3, 11/4. 20 mins.

Again another young Mexican, qualifier Graciela Lopez, came up against a young lady from Egypt called Yathreb Adel, although still only 16 is well experienced in the WSA Tour, being #3 seed for this tournament, and despite once again the crowd being much in favour of her opponent Yathreb took the match quite comfortably 3 games to 0 in just 20 minutes.

[8] Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) beat Yvonne Diaz (MEX) 11/6, 11/13, 11/8, 11/8. 39 mins.

The next match was the last chance for a Mexican player to get into the quarter finals, as Yvonne Diaz faced #8 seed Nicollette Fernandes of Guyana, a player that the writer was looking forward to seeing again, as the last time he saw her was in Belfast in 2006 where she had a very bad foot injury and was out of the game for some considerable time. The first game proved that she is now showing the promise that she was showing back in 2006 by taking the game 11/6.

However Graciela, again well supported by the partisan crowd, fought back in the second from 6/9 and 7/10 to take the game to extra points and win the game 13/11. In the next two well fought and very tight games Nicollette held firm and won them both 11/8 to win the match 3 games to 1.

That unfortunately means all the Mexican players are now out of the tournament, but today’s very partisan and very vociferous crowd gave them all massive support. And a huge part of them stayed on to see the last two matches, where there was no Mexican participant.

[Q] Deon Saffery (WAL) beat [5] Olivia Blatchford (USA) 9/11, 11/2, 11/5, 11/4. 32 mins.

Although the #5 seed for the tournament, young Olivia Blatchford from the USA faced a very experienced opponent in Deon Saffery, the qualifier from Wales. Deon took an early lead of 7/2 but Olivia forced her way back into the game to lead 9/7 and even though Deon levelled at 9/9 Olivia took the game 11/9. However from there on Deon used all her experience to take control of the match and took the next three games fairly comfortably to win 3 – 1.

[2] Emily Whitlock (ENG) beat Kristen Lange (USA) 11/9, 11/3, 11/7. 22 mins.

Last match of the night brought us Britain’s Junior Champion Emily Whitlock against Kristen Lange from the USA. Although Kristen proved a strong opponent for young Emily, Emily came out on top in a very close first game at 11/9. She then took control in the second to win 11/3. Again Emily forced the pace leaving Kristen well behind in the scoring, and despite Kristen saving three match balls from 10/4 down, Emily finally won that game 11/7 and the match 3 – 0.

That was the proceedings over for the night here in Mexico City, and we look forward to seeing some great matches in the quarter finals tomorrow Saturday starting at 1700 hours local time.

Arthur Curran


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