National squash player Vanessa Raj will face Wales’ world No. 27 Tesni Evans for a place in the main draw of the China Open. - Filepic
PETALING JAYA: Youngsters Rachel Arnold and Vanessa Raj stole the show in the qualifying rounds of the US$50,000 (RM157,800) China Open in Shanghai.
The two 18-year-olds bounced back from underwhelming performances at the Malaysian Open two weeks ago to take a huge step towards qualifying for the main draw.
World No. 68 Rachel claimed a significant scalp as she came from the brink of defeat to beat world No. 51 Milou van der Heijden of Holland 8-11, 3-11, 11-8, 11-7, 12-10.
She will face world junior championship runner-up and world No. 26 Nouran Gohar of Egypt in the qualifying finals.
Penangite Vanessa also came through a physically draining match – outlasting home player and world No. 85 Li Dongjin 11-5, 7-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-2.
World No. 65 Vanessa will face Wales’ world No. 27 Tesni Evans for a place in the main draw.
It was also a good day for the Arnold family when national No. 3 Delia breezed past China’s Xiu Chen 11-3, 11-1, 11-3 in 19 minutes.
Delia will meet world No. 28 Heba El Torky for a place in the main draw.
In the men’s category, which is a US$88,000 (RM280,000) event, national No. 1 Ong Beng Hee put his poor run of form behind him as he won his first qualifying match with ease.
The 34-year-old Beng Hee, who lost in the first round of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Malaysian Open, romped past France’s Fabrice Simon 11-5, 11-9, 11-7.