Channel NewsAsia

Squash: Sherbini shocked in British Open first round

Nour El Sherbini, the 18-year-old Egyptian squash prodigy who last month was within a couple of points of becoming world champion, was sent crashing out in a controversial first round of the British Open on Tuesday.

KINGSTON UPON HULL, United Kingdom: Nour El Sherbini, the 18-year-old Egyptian squash prodigy who last month was within a couple of points of becoming world champion, was sent crashing out in a controversial first round of the British Open on Tuesday.

Sherbini was beaten 11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9 by Emma Beddoes, an English player who reached the world's top 20 for the first time only last month at the age of 28, and again suggested she is in the best form of her life.

Beddoes' career-best win may perhaps have aided by the conditions and by debatable "no let" decisions at important moments which upset Sherbini, triggering uncharacteristic outbursts from the Alexandrian teenager towards the English referee.

However she took her chance with a clear head and good judgement, mixing the short and the long games well, especially in a see-saw fourth game .

"I'm really really surprised, but all the pressure was on her and I played really well," Beddoes said. "Last time we played I was just chasing all match so this time I tried to not give her time in the middle and I managed to keep her behind me more."

It was Sherbini's first match since flirting with world championship glory in Penang, and she may perhaps have been inhibited by having to compete on a conventional plaster-walled court, on which all the first round women's matches are being played instead of the all-glass show court.

Sherbini nevertheless led 5-3 in the third game and led 7-4 in the fourth game, and each time appeared to be on the way to recovery, with the help of the support of her father.

However each time in the following few rallies there were two "no let" decisions imposed on her, either for failing to play the ball or for failing to show she could have played the ball.

Referees appear to be adopting new, tougher interpretations, based on the needs of TV to avoid interruptions in the play and designed to make players to continue the rally where reasonably possible.

"There were probably a couple which were slightly harsh in the fourth," Beddoes admitted. "I know referees are trying to clamp down and it will take some adapting.

"You have to make sure you give a hundred percent effort (to get to the ball). With me it's more obvious I am making a hundred percent effort. But she certainly seemed surprised - and it can be tough if that's the way the game is going."

Beddoes had not even looked to see who she might play in the second round, but has clearly improved enough to be a threat to many players. She will next play Low Wee Wern, the seventh-seeded Malaysian on the all-glass show court.

Women's first round:
Camille Serme (FRA) bt Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 13-11, 11-3, 11-2
Omney Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt Deon Saffrey (WAL) 12-10, 11-4, 11-9
Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Dipika Pallikal (IND) 6-11, 12-10, 11-7, 4-11, 13-11
Alison Waters (ENG) bt Samantha Cornett (CAN) 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 11-7
Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Line Hansen (DEN) 11-6, 13-11, 10-12, 11-8
Nicol David (MAS) bt Heba El Torky (EGY) 11-8, 12-10, 11-8
Joelle King (NZL) bt Siyoli Waters (RSA) 11-2, 11-5, 11-5
Joshana Chinappa (IND) bt Rachael Grinham (AUS) 7-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-2, 11-6
Emma Beddoes (ENG) bt Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9
Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt Delia Arnold (MAS) 11-6, 7-11, 11-1, 11-13, 11-7
Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt Nouran Gohar (EGY) 11-4, 11-6, 8-11, 9-11, 11-4
Kasey Brown (AUS) bt Emily Whitlock (ENG) 11-8, 11-4, 7-11, 11-4
Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 11-3, 11-4, 11-7
Annie Au (HKG) bt Donna Urquhart (AUS) 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-3

Men's first round:
Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Max Lee (HKG) 11-6, 11-5, 7-11, 11-8
Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 11-4, 11-3, 11-2
Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) 12-10, 11-4, 11-8
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt Peter Barker (ENG) 11-5, 11-5 retired
James Willstrop (ENG) bt Simon Rosner (GER) 5-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 11-8, 12-10, 11-6 

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna