Mexican Open Quarter Finals

Back here today for the quarter final matches, some good matches to look forward to.

[3]Yathreb Adel (EGY) beat  [Q] Deon Saffery (WAL) 11/7, 11/4, 11/6. 22 mins.

First match saw #3 seed, 16 year old Egyptian Yathreb Adel against the experienced Deon Saffrey from Wales. Deon had a slight lead of 7/5 half way through the first game, but from then found it difficult to score many points against the youngster, as she took the first game 11/7, and the next two 11/4 and 11/6 for a comfortable 3 – 0 win in just 22 minutes.

Yathreb :- Concentrated from the beginning on trying to play at the back and volleying to keep Deon moving. All my shots were working well and I felt very good today, yesterday I think I was suffering a little from the altitude. Hope to play even better tomorrow and go on to win the tournament.

[8] Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) beat [1] Emily Whitlock (ENG) 11/9, 12/10, 11/6. 42 mins.

First major upset of the tournament with #8 seed Nicolette Fernandez of Guyana winning against the #2 seed Emily Whitlock of England after a wonderful exhibition of squash from both girls. First game started off very tight, with both girls finding there way on the court, but Nicolette was easing in front up to 9/5, and despite Emily levelling at 9/9 Nicolette held out strongest to win 11/9. Emily started well in the second taking the first two points, but then Nicolette stormed into a 6/2 lead, Emily fought back to 6/6 and 7/7, Nicolette got to game ball at 10/7, Emily fought back to level at 10/10 but then gave a stroke away and finished the next rally by putting the ball into the tin – 12/10 to Nicolette.

With both girls really breathing heavily, presumably because of the altitude, but still playing great squash, Nicolette stayed stronger to get to match ball at 10/5, and despite one amazing rally which finished with a beautiful volley from Emily for 6/10, Nicolette finished the next rally with a beautiful drop shot to take the game 11/6 and the match 3 – 0. A great win for a lovely young lady on the comeback trail after horrendous injury lay offs, against another young lady who at just 19 years old promises to be a champion in the near future.

[4] Samantha Cornett (CAN) beat [6] Kylie Lindsay (NZL) 9/11, 15/13, 11/6, 8/11, 12/10. 59 mins.

Where do I start to describe this match, except to say it turned out to be the best match so far of the tournament!  Two ladies from different sides of the world, but close together in the rankings, #4 seed Samantha Cornett from Canada against #6 seed Kylie Lindsay from New Zealand. Sam took the initiative from the start to take a 7/4 lead, but the more experienced Kylie came back to lead 8/7. Sam came back to level at 8/8 and at 9/9, but Kylie finished the stronger to take the game 11/9. Sam again started the stronger in the second,  taking a lead 8/4, but Kylie was not accepting this and roared into a game ball lead at 10/8.

Sam levelled at 10/10 and again at 11/11, and got game ball herself at 12/11, but Kylie levelled again at 12/12 and 13/13, yet Sam seized the chance and took the game 15/13, to roars of applause from the very appreciative crowd. In the third scores were close up to 6/6, but then Kylie appeared to tire and Sam took advantage to take the game 11/6. In the fourth Kylie started the stronger to lead 7/3, Sam levelled at 7/7 but was unable to stop Kylie taking the game, putting the ball into the tin at game ball giving Kylie the game 11/8.

At this stage it was still anybody’s match, Sam started off well taking a 4/2 lead then an 8/4 lead, with the audience now expecting a win for Samantha, but there were still twists to come in this match as Kylie fought back to lead 9/8, Sam levelled at 9/9 but with a tin she gave Kylie match ball at 10/9. Sam levelled at 10/10, and with the aid of a tin from Kylie she forced out a win at 12/10, to rapturous applause from the audience. What a great match, and a great win for the 21year old from Canada. Watch out for good things from this youngster.

Samantha:- I am very relieved that is over, and very excited to be in the semi finals. It was an absolute grind, and the ball was flying everywhere. At 8/10 down in the second, there was no way I was going 2 – 0 down so I fought very hard and managed to take the game in the end, much to my relief. I felt much more comfortable in the third and when I won that I thought I was going to win the match in four, but after fighting back from 7/3 down to level at 7/7, my chances seemed to have slipped away as Kylie took the game 11/8. I knew I had a great chance of winning when I went 8/4 up in the fifth, but Kylie was not giving up and got to match ball at 10/9 because I put one in the tin, silly me, but I accepted my position and just carried on playing squash, and I was so happy when I took the game 12/10, to complete one of the best wins of my career. So all things are looking good for tomorrow.

[1] Aisling Blake (IRL) beat [7] Thaisa Serafina (BRA) 11/2, 11/5, 11/2. 26 mins.

Unfortunately for the players involved, #1 seed Aisling Blake from Ireland, and the #7 seed Thaisa Serafina from Brazil, after the previous match this was a great anti climax, as the much more experienced Aisling, despite some defiant opposition from Thaisa, especially in the second game, took control to win comfortably in three.

Well, that was it for tonight here in Mexico, and we have two great semi finals to look forward to tomorrow, starting at 1700 local time.

Arthur Curran

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