India's Dipika Pallikal in a file photo. She put up quite a challenge before being beaten by Malaysia's Low Wee Wern 5-11, 11-8, 7-11, 14-12, 6-11 in the Windy City Open first round.
KUALA LUMPUR: National No. 2 Low Wee Wern had to dig deep into her reserves before getting the better of India’s Dipika Pallikal in the first round of the Windy City Open squash championships in Chicago.
The Penangite, ranked sixth in the world, had to battle for 80 minutes before securing a 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 12-14, 11-6 win on Friday (Saturday morning Malaysian time).
The sixth-seeded Wee Wern has less than 24 hours to recover before she faces another tough opponent in world No. 3 and second seed Raneem El Weleily in the quarter-finals.
The Egyptian came back from the brink of defeat to beat qualifier Sarah Kippax of England 12-14, 9-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-7 in 52 minutes.
Wee Wern played Raneem twice last year and the Malaysian pulled off an upset by beating her 3-2 in the quarter-finals of the US Open last October.
Just a week later, the Egyptian exacted revenge, defeating Wee Wern 3-1 in the China Open, also at the quarter-final stage.
Commenting on her win over Dipika, Wee Wern, who won the China Open in 2012, said that it was one of the toughest matches of her career.
“Dipika really pushed me to the limit. However, I managed to get my act together to survive the five gruelling sets,” said Wee Wern, who just recovered in time to play in the Chicago meet after suffering a thigh injury in the first round of the Cleveland Classic last month.
The 23-year-old said that she hopes to get complete rest before facing Raneem on Saturday (early Sunday morning Malaysian time).
“It’s going to be another torrid match against Raneem but I hope to rise to the occasion to beat her again,” said Wee Wern in a telephone interview.
Qualifier Emma Beddoes of England created the biggest upset of her career by defeating world No. 7 and sixth seed Madeline Perry of Ireland 11-9, 5-11, 11-4, 11-8.
The 28-year-old Beddoes, ranked 23rd in the world, will face Joelle King of New Zealand, who won the Greenwich Open in January, for a place in the quarter-finals.
Asian reigning champion and world No. 11 Annie Au of Hong Kong created the second upset of the day, beating eight seed Kasey Brown of Australia 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 to set up a date with top seed and world No. 2 Laura Massaro of England for a place in the semi-finals.
In the men’s category, Germany’s Simon Rosner upset seventh seed Borja Golan of Spain 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 in the second round.
World No. 11 Rosner, who defeated qualifier Chris Simpson of England in the first round, will be up against French world No. 1 Gregory Gaultier in the quarter-finals.