The evening started off with a very exciting women’s match on the glass court at the Bull Ring Open. Local player Kacey-Leigh Dodd pulled out all of the stops against number 1 seed Laura Gamblin from France taking the first game to a tie break and reaching game ball in the third. But Gamblin’s experience saw her dig deep saving 5 games balls in the third to eventually take the match 12/10, 11/7, 12/10 in 29 minutes.
The remaining women’s matches went to seeding with South Africans Nono Sekhoto, Alexa Pienaar and Jacqui Ryder taking the remaining 3 qualifying spots in the Main Draw.
In the Men’s qualifying finals, the crowd were treated to an epic battle between Andrew Martin (RSA) and Gareth Naidoo (RSA). The first game started out as a close affair but errors from Naidoo saw Martin pull ahead to a 10-6 lead. It was then Martin’s turn to make unforced errors which saw Naidoo work his way back to a tie-break, eventually taking the game 12/10.
The second game was just as tight with the players exchanging points early on in the game and a second tie-break ensued, this time in Martin’s favour, 14/12. Martin had the upper hand in the third game taking it 11/5. The tables turned in the fourth as Naidoo played more disciplined squash than earlier in the match and took it 11/9. And so to the fifth. The match was anyone’s to take but Martin’s determination to defeat his fellow countryman was the difference in the end, taking the match 11/8.
PSA Player of the Month, Mohammed El Shebini (EGY), showed no mercy to top South African seed Gary Wheadon and won comfortably 3-0 in 31 minutes. Speaking to El Sherbini after the match, he said: “I was well prepared for Gary and accelerating the pace at times was the reason for my victory.”
Christo Potgieter (RSA) had a comfortable 3-0 victory over Joong Chan-Hwang (KOR) and the last match of the day saw Nyeon-Ho Lee (KOR) defeat promising youngster Blessing Muhwati from Zimbabwe 3-1.
Wednesday sees the start of the PSA Main Draws, with some exciting first round matches on the cards. Play starts at 4pm at The Wanderers Club, Illovo, Johannesburg where players from 14 countries will be competing for the Bull Ring Open Squash Championship title!