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Squash - 04. June 2009.

Seeds Survive Seoul Scene-Setter

RESULTS:         BBQ Women's Seoul Squash Open, Seoul, South Korea


1st round (lower half of draw):

[6] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) 12-10, 11-5, 11-7 (29m)

[4] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [Q] Joey Chan (HKG) 11-6, 11-2, 11-9 (26m)

[7] Shelley Kitchen (NZL) bt Rebecca Chiu (HKG) 11-3, 11-3, 11-5 (25m)

[2] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [Q] Donna Urquhart (AUS) 12-10, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6 (29m)



The four seeds in action in today's (Wednesday) opening day of the BBQ Women's Seoul Open survived in straightforward fashion in the first round of the $60,000 WISPA World Tour Gold squash event being staged on an all-glass court sited in front of the Hyundai I-Park Mall in Yongsan Plaza in the South Korean capital Seoul.


This is the third year of the WISPA event in Korea, but the first in Yongsan Plaza after the previous central square location - Seoul Plaza – was deemed unsuitable as demonstrations were expected there following the recent death of former South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyum.  With little over a week’s notice, the Seoul Squash Federation relocated their ASB All Glass Court to a position in front of the I-Park Mall – a busy central area boasting shoppers in their thousands.


The location was succinctly described by Irish number one Madeline Perry:  "I really like the setting.  It is very different to last year but still pretty impressive."


The sixth seed from Belfast had good reason to be in expansive mood as she had just beaten New Zealander Jaclyn Hawkes in the first match of the evening.  She had squeezed through against the Kiwi in last year's World Open, and took her again in the Irish Open in April. 


But the Seoul success was the most convincing of the trio – despite Hawkes showing a rich vein of form over recent months.  


"I didn’t play well in Texas, so wanted to make up for that performance," said Perry after her 12-10, 11-5, 11-7 victory in 29 minutes.


Awaiting her in the quarters will be fourth seed Jenny Duncalf, who comfortably extinguished the challenge of qualifier Joey Chan.  The 21-year-old from Hong Kong found it difficult to cope with the vagaries of the all glass court as England's world No6 Duncalf romped to an 11-6, 11-2, 11-9 win in 26 minutes.


Indeed, the Hong Kong number one Rebecca Chiu fared little better against an on-song Shelley Kitchen.  The New Zealander was not only hitting hard and low, but holding well too.  It was all too much for Chiu who found herself floundering, going down 11-3, 11-3, 11-5.


This may not be such good news for second seed Rachael Grinham, who had lost to Kitchen in their last encounter at the Carol Weymuller Open last November.


Here, Grinham was pitted against fellow Aussie Donna Urquhart, whose legs and arms seem to elongate on court as the left-hander flails.  Not only does Grinham give away a number of inches to her opponent, but nearly gave away the first two games of their match too.  


Former world number one Grinham had to save game-balls in both games - then seemed to switch off as she lost the third, before coming back to take the match 12-10, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6.


"With a swing like hers, you are never sure where the ball is going so I was just glad to have got through," said Grinham.


Outstanding 1st round matches (top half of draw):

[1] Nicol David (MAS) v [Q] Annie Au (HKG)

[5] Alison Waters (ENG) v Song Sun-Mi (KOR)

[3] Natalie Grinham (NED) v [Q] Latasha Khan (USA)

[8] Kasey Brown (AUS) v Samantha Teran (MEX)

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