The main draw of the Women’s 2012 Delaware Investments U.S. Open at Drexel University in Philadelphia got under way with a big upset, and two more followed as Joelle King, Kasey Brown and Alison Waters all gatecrashed the quarterfinals.
Kiwi qualifier King turned the seedings on their head in the first match as she beat seventh seed Nour El Sherbini in straight games. “I’ve always lost to Nour before, when I was the one seeded to win, so it feels pretty to to beat her now when she’s the seeded player,” said a delighted King.
That was followed by another straight-game win as top seed Nicol David took three close games against French qualifier Camille Serme. “It’s strange to think Camille had to qualify,” said David, “she’s such a good player and she was hitting some really good backhand volley drops. I knew I would have to be focused and try to play my game, so I’m pleased I managed to win in three.”
Third seed Jenny Duncalf eased home against Rachael Grinham, jumping out to leads of 4-0, 4-1 and 7-1 in games which she finished off 11-5, 11-8, 11-4 to move through to a meeting with King.
Alison Waters made it an English double as she came through a second successive five-game match, this time getting the better of Natalie Grinham. “I think I was a bit lucky to win that,” admitted Waters, who now plays Nicol David who she beat last week in New York. “It was a bit up and down and at the start of the fifth I just told myself to give it one more push, and thankfully it worked. ”
The second upset came when Brown overcame sixth seed Annie Au 12-10, 11-8, 11-9. “It was kind of a blessing in disguise not being the seeded player for once,” admitted the Australian, who reached the final here last year.
“She beat me in Malaysia, but Rod [Martin, coach] and I came up with a new game plan against her and it worked, but all three games were close.
“This tournament means a lot to me, with Delaware Investments sponsoring me this year, so I’m keen to do well for them, it’s great to see them backing squash in Philly.”
Madeline Perry wasn’t in the mood for an upset though, as she beat qualifier Donna Urquhart 11-5,11-4, 7-11, 11-2. “I went back home after the Weymuller for a few days for my sister’s wedding,” shared Perry, “and I’ve come back feeling like a new woman!”
Neither was defending champion and new world number two Laura Massaro in the mood to mess about in her match against wildcard entry Kristen Lange. Massaro won 11-0, 11-3, 11-4 in 19 minutes and Lange was impressed:
“Wow, she was just awesome! At first I just didn’t have any idea what to do, but after the butterflies had settled down I told myself that this was just squash, so play it. I managed to settle down and it was much better after that, but she was still just too good for me.
“It was a great experience though, and it should serve me well in the buildup to the world teams over the next four months.”
“When I was playing well it was good, but I wasn’t doing that often enough. My head just wasn’t in the game in the second, and I had to really push myself to get my good form back.”
Women’s Round One:
[Q] Joelle King (Nzl) bt  Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 12-10, 11-6, 11-5 (39m)
 Nicol David (Mas) bt [Q] Camille Serme (Fra) 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (42m)
 Jenny Duncalf (Eng) bt Rachael Grinham (Aus) 11-5, 11-8, 11-4 (33m)
[Q] Alison Waters (Eng) bt  Natalie Grinham (Ned) 10-12, 11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7 (53m)
Kasey Brown (Aus) bt  Annie Au (Hkg) 12-10, 11-8, 11-9 (46m)
 Madeline Perry (Irl) bt [Q] Donna Urquhart (Aus) 11-5,11-4, 7-11, 11-2 (39m)
 Laura Massaro (Eng) bt Kristen Lange (Usa) 11-0, 11-3, 11-4 (19m)
 Raneem El Weleily (Egy) bt Low Wee Wern (Mas) 11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 11-5 (38m)