There was a palpable buzz in the air last night at Jericho Tennis Club as the main draw of the Nicola Wealth Open 2016 got underway. The quality of squash certainly made a jump as all of the top seeds got their tournament campaigns underway. The crowd swelled in size from the qualifying rounds with Patrons, Billets and VIPs enjoying the hospitality of our VIP Players Lounge.

A special thank you to Goose Island for providing the FREE beer! Fitting that we have a Chicago based brew on the same night the Cubs win the World Series.

The top three seeds, Hollie Naughton, Sam Cornett and Nouran El Torky, all cruised through their first round matches. Top BC Junior Grace Thomas made her PSA 10k debut and played valiantly in defeat to the third seeded Egyptian.

Chloe Mesic and Giselle Delgado captivated the crowd with an engaging encounter. They were deadlocked at 1-1 before Chloe pulled away and took the match in four games.

Perhaps the match of the night was between Alison Thomson and Maria Toorpakay Wazir. The match was physical and contentious at times, and as indicated by the score line VERY close. It could easily have been 3-0 the other way. In the end Alison was just that little bit more, Maria struggling with her movement and couldn’t quite beat her opponent to the finish line.

In an all Canadian battle Nicole Bunyan upset forth seeded Nikki Todd in a great display of squash. Both girls with smiles on their faces for the majority of the match this was certainly not a tough one to referee! After the match it was discovered that Nikki had suffered a quad injury in the first game, you wouldn’t have noticed by her continued effort and commitment to the match. But hats off to Bunyan, she is looking strong, moving well and will try to keep her tournament going through the quarterfinals.

The other key match of the evening was Egyptian qualifier Zeina Mickawy against seventh seeded Danielle Letourneau. Match report below by our very own Mitchell Kahnert!

Day 3 – Main Draw Round of 16 Results

Hollie Naughton [1] bt. Reyna Pacheco 11-9, 11-4, 11-1
Chloe Mesic [5] bt. Giselle Delgado [Q] 11-6, 5-11, 11-4, 11-4
Alison Thomson bt. Maria Toorpakay Wazir [6] 12-10, 11-9, 11-9
Nicole Bunyan [Q] bt. Nikki Todd [4] 7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6
Nouran El Torky [3] bt. Grace Thomas [WC] 11-8, 11-6, 11-3
Nada Abbas [8] bt. Diana Garcia 11-7, 11-9, 11-6
Zeina Farid Mickawy [Q] vs. Danielle Letourneau [7] 11-3, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6
Samantha Cornett [2] bt. Melina Turk [Q] 11-7, 11-0, 11-4

Match Reports by Mitchell Kahnert

Zeina Farid Mickawy vs. Danielle Letourneau

Zeina started out with a very fast pace, putting Danielle under a lot of pressure. She looked for a lot of strokes early on which frustrated Danielle. Danielle seemed unsettled on the court and Zeina opened up a six-point lead. Zeina took the first game 11-3, completely controlling Danielle.

Zeina started the second hitting some great attacking drives. Danielle made a number of errors and got angry at herself. Zeina was on fire and seemed to never miss a shot. Later on in the game, Danielle started to play better and strung together some points. The rallies got very tense at the end of the game, and Zeina hit a great backhand drop to win the game, 11-8.

Danielle came out roaring in the third, volleying the ball a lot more. Zeina started to shoot too much and Danielle picked her off. The third game had a lot of scrappy rallies with both players going short very early in the rallies. Danielle closed out the game when she hit a cross-court nick off of Zeina’s serve.

Both players started out the fourth with several errors. They managed to find better length by using more height on the front wall. Danielle could not catch up to Zeina because she kept making errors and got frustrated as the game went on. Zeina started to get very tired but it seemed like she would do anything to win. She closed out the match with Danielle hitting the ball out of court.

Samantha Cornett vs Melina Turk

Samantha controlled the first couple of rallies and made Melina run corner to corner. Melina struggled to get the ball to the back and made the rallies very easy for Samantha. Samantha hit some great dying length and opened up a big lead in the first game. Samantha lost her focus late in the first but Melina served out to give her game ball.

Samantha dominated the first couple of rallies for the second game, volleying most of Melina’s shots. Melina was constantly scrambling around the court. Samantha extended the rallies very well, making Melina do constant work to retrieve the ball. Melina played a poor second game and Samantha won it easily.

Samantha stayed on a roll in the third and didn’t let Melina into the match. She mixed in some lobs which threw Melina off. Melina struggled to move Samantha around and Samantha put away all of her loose shots. Samantha never lost focus in the third and steamrolled to match ball, 11-2.

Day 4 – Quarterfinals Night Preview

If Wednesday night was good Thursday will be even better. Looking forward to some great matches tonight, it’s hard to pick which one will be the best.

Naughton is surely favored to beat Mesic but Chloe really battled well in the first round and I think she is up for the challenge. Thomson and Bunyan, I would perhaps give the slight edge to Thomson but am certainly rooting for our Canadian player, I think she is playing well enough to win.

El Torky and Abbas should be something special. Whenever two Egyptians face off it is always competitive and there could be some fireworks here! In the night cap we have another Egyptian with nothing to lose. Zeina will try to take down the number two seed Canadian Sam Cornett who looked in great form yesterday.

I hope you can make it down to see some of the action live. If not check out the stream online:

6:00PM – [1] Hollie Naughton vs. [5] Chloe Mesic
6:45PM – Alison Thomson vs. Nicole Bunyan
7:30PM – [3] Nouran El Torky vs. [8] Nada Abbas
8:15PM – [Q] Zeina Mickawy vs. [2] Samantha Cornett

Richard Yendell