Houston, USA, Apr 11, 2014: There were upsets aplenty in the opening round of the Women’s Champion Fiberglass Texas Open, the Women’s Squash Association Gold 50 event at The Downtown Club at the Met in Houston, USA.
The championship, which has alternated between Dallas and Houston since its launch in Houston in 2002, has attracted 13 of the world’s top 20 women squash players – led by Malaysia’s world No7 Low Wee Wern.
The 23-year-old top seed from Penang survived a tricky opener, avenging her shock defeat by Sarah-Jane Perry in last year’s British Open by beating the world No18 from England 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 in 64 minutes.
“The first three games could have gone either way for both players with some stroke calls hurting both,” reported a spokesman for the event. “In the third they collided and both went down with Perry getting the worst of it.
“After consultation with the on-site physio, and the referee checking on her, Perry was able to win the third. But Wern came out in the fourth with a determined look and went up 7-6 and never looked back.”
Wee Wern summed up the match for her Twitter followers later: “Tough 1st round against Sarah Jane Perry. Glad to come through with a close 3-1 win in 64 mins. Quarters against Nour el Sherbini tomorrow.”
Egyptian teenager Nour El Sherbini produced one of the day’s three upsets: The 18-year-old from Alexandria was a qualifier – but endorsed the quality of the form which earned her a place in last month’s WSA World Championship final by despatching higher-ranked compatriot Omneya Abdel Kawy, the No7 seed from Cairo, 11-4, 11-4, 12-10 in just 29 minutes.
The opening match of the day saw the demise of fifth seed Annie Au. Guyana’s unseeded Nicolette Fernandes led after the first and third games – but the left-hander from Hong Kong, ranked nine in the world, drew level on both occasions.
But the feisty Fernandes, ranked 10 places below, stuck to her guns and closed out the match 12-10, 10-12, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 after 65 minutes to earn a place in the quarter-finals for the first time.
England’s Emma Beddoes became the second qualifier to make the last eight after upsetting sixth seed Kasey Brown, the WSA President from Australia (Featured image, extreme right, with fellow WSA members at the event’s Welcome Reception), 11-4, 11-5, 4-11, 11-8 in 42 minutes.
Beddoes, the world No23 from Leeds, will now face No2 seed Madeline Perry, the defending champion from Ireland. Perry recovered from a game down to beat Hong Kong qualifier Joey Chan 7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 12-10.
France’s world No6 Camille Serme, the highest-ranked player in the draw, ended domestic interest in the event when she beat New York’s Amanda Sobhy 10-12, 11-6, 11-4, 11-8. The No3 seed, winner of the title in 2012 when last in Houston, progresses to face eighth seed Rachael Grinham.
The 37-year-old twice champion from Australia, who made her Texas Open debut in the inaugural championship in 2002, defeated India’s Joshana Chinappa 11-7, 11-5, 11-5.
But there was Indian success earlier when fourth seed Dipika Pallikal saved five game-balls in the opening game en-route to a 12-10, 11-8, 11-5 victory over Australian qualifier Donna Urquhart. The world No12 from Chennai, making her Texas Open debut, now faces Fernandes for a place in the semi-finals.
RESULTS: Women’s Champion Fiberglass Texas Open, Houston, USA
 Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [Q] Joey Chan (HKG) 7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 12-10 (38m)
[Q] Emma Beddoes (ENG) bt  Kasey Brown (AUS) 11-4, 11-5, 4-11, 11-8 (42m)
 Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt [Q] Donna Urquhart (AUS) 12-10, 11-8, 11-5 (36m)
Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) bt  Annie Au (HKG) 12-10, 10-12, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 (65m)
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Joshana Chinappa (IND) 11-7, 11-5, 11-5 (24m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Amanda Sobhy (USA) 10-12, 11-6, 11-4, 11-8 (40m)
[Q] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 11-4, 11-4, 12-10 (29m)
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 (64m)
 Madeline Perry (IRL) v [Q] Emma Beddoes (ENG)
 Dipika Pallikal (IND) v Nicolette Fernandes (GUY)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v  Rachael Grinham (AUS)
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) v [Q] Nour El Sherbini (EGY). —- WSF