Britons led a widespread cull of seeds on the opening day of main draw action in the Women’s Allam British Open Squash Championship, the Women’s Squash Association (WSA) World Series Platinum event at the University of Hull Sports and Fitness Centre in Hull.
England’s unseeded Emma Beddoes kicked off the upsets, taking out Egypt’s thirteenth seed Nour El Sherbini 11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9 in fifty minutes to claim a first appearance in the second round of the historic championship at her seventh attempt.
It was teenager El Sherbini who made headlines at this year’s WSA World Championship after ousting seven-time champion and world No. 1 Nicol David en-route to the final – a run which led the eighteen-year-old from Alexandria to leap to No. 7 in the latest world rankings.
“I’m a bit shocked to be honest – in a good way though, of course,” said Beddoes, the twenty-eight-year-old world No. 20 from Leeds. “I knew it’d been playing well – getting to the quarter finals in Texas gave me lots of confidence – so I guess the pressure was on her coming into the match. I just played my game and I’m delighted to win!
“The Worlds and the British Open are the two major events that everyone wants to win, so I obviously wanted to do well but I hadn’t put any expectations on myself as I knew I had a tough draw.”
A short time later Beddoes was joined in the last sixteen by compatriot Sarah Kippax, the world No. 22 from Halifax who fought back from 2-1 down to see off tenth seed Jenny Duncalf, also from Yorkshire, 11-6, 2-11, 6-11, 13-11, 11-8 in fifty-seven minutes.
At the end of the day, qualifier Tesni Evans ensured Welsh interest in the second round for the first time in more than two decades when she upset India’s No. 12 seed Dipika Pallikal, the world No. 10, 6-11, 12-10, 11-7, 4-11, 13-11 in sixty-five minutes.
The twenty-one-year-old from Rhyl, ranked thirty-two in the world, now faces British champion Alison Waters, the No. 5 seed from London, ranked twenty-six places higher.
Nicolette Fernandes will also be celebrating an unexpected maiden appearance in the second round after dismissing former finalist Madeline Perry, the No. 8 seed from Ireland, 11-8, 11-4, 11-4.
“It was clear Madeline wasn’t quite right,” conceded the Guyana star, who will now line up against Kippax. “It’s hard to keep your focus but I thought I did that well. She has been one of the most consistent players for so long so she’s always dangerous even when she isn’t 100%.
“Sarah and I practice all the time so I’m just going to go on and enjoy it,” added the thirty-year-old world No. 19. “I’m enjoying my squash at the moment and that’s helping me play well.”
One of the event’s greatest stars also bowed out unexpectedly. Four-time champion Rachael Grinham, the fifteenth seed from Australia, twice led unseeded Joshana Chinappa. But the world No. 21 from India held her nerve to win 7-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-2, 11-6 to secure a first time in the last sixteen.
The event’s top two seeds comfortably overcame their initial hurdles as they began their bid to meet in Sunday’s final. Top seed Nicol David defeated Egyptian qualifier Heba El Torky 11-8, 12-10, 11-8, while England’s defending champion Laura Massaro, the No. 2 seed, dispatched Joey Chan of Hong Kong 11-3, 11-4, 11-7 in just twenty-six minutes.
 Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Heba El Torky (EGY) 11-8, 12-10, 11-8 (36m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Line Hansen (DEN) 11-6, 13-11, 10-12, 11-8 (50m)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt [Q] Deon Saffery (WAL) 12-10, 11-4, 11-9 (30m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 13-11, 11-3, 11-2 (31m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt [Q] Samantha Cornett (CAN) 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6 (62m)
[Q] Tesni Evans (WAL) bt  Dipika Pallikal (IND) 6-11, 12-10, 11-7, 4-11, 13-11 (65m)
Joshana Chinappa (IND) bt  Rachael Grinham (AUS) 7-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-2, 11-6 (44m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt [Q] Siyoli Waters (RSA) 11-2, 11-5, 11-5 (33m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [Q] Nouran Ahmed Gohar (EGY) 11-4, 11-6, 8-11, 9-11, 11-4 (42m)
 Kasey Brown (AUS) bt [WC] Emily Whitlock (ENG) 11-8, 11-4, 7-11, 11-4 (47m)
Emma Beddoes (ENG) bt  Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9 (50m)
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt [Q] Delia Arnold (MAS) 11-6, 7-11, 11-1, 11-13, 11-7 (64m)
Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) bt  Madeline Perry (IRL) 11-8, 11-4, 11-4 (33m)
Sarah Kippax (ENG) bt  Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 11-6, 2-11, 6-11, 13-11, 11-8 (57m)
 Annie Au (HKG) bt [Q] Donna Urquhart (AUS) 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-3 (41m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 11-3, 11-4, 11-7 (26m)
Second round line-up:
 Nicol David (MAS) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v [Q] Tesni Evans (WAL)
 Joelle King (NZL) v Joshana Chinappa (IND)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v  Kasey Brown (AUS)
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) v Emma Beddoes (ENG)
Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) v Sarah Kippax (ENG)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v  Annie Au (HKG)