All eight of the local qualifiers in the Naza PSA Women’s World Championship went out of the prestigious tournament at the first qualifying stage, with World No.63 Rachel Arnold coming the closest of her compatriots to making it through to the next round after surrendering five match balls in her clash with Milou van der Heijden.
20-year-old Arnold went 2-0 down to her opponent and looked to be heading for an early exit, before a virtuoso display in games three and four saw her dig in and fight for every ball as she brought the match level. Her upturn in form continued into the decider, as she went 10-5 ahead, but she wasn’t able to capitalise on her five-point lead as van der Heijden battled her way back into contention and she took seven points without reply to record a hard-fought 11-6, 11-8, 10-12, 8-11, 12-10 victory to put her within one more win of reaching a maiden World Championship main draw.
“I just kept trying and I just told myself not to give up,” said van der Heijden.
“It was tough because after two sets I was struggling to get to her shots. Maybe it was experience on my part but I’m just very happy to go through. Tomorrow is a new day and I’ll be trying my best again.”
She will go up against experienced Mexican Samantha Teran in the final qualifying round after the 34-year-old dispatched Malaysia’s Vanessa Raj with a 3-1 triumph.
The day’s biggest shock saw Egyptian teenager Amina Yousry claim the greatest scalp of her burgeoning career with a stunning upset of top qualifying seed Nicolette Fernandes. Cairo-born Yousry, who turned 16 birthday last month, was in cruise control against World No.24 Fernandes and she stormed to the win in straight games to book her next round berth. Yousry will line up against compatriot Mariam Metwally for a place in the main draw after she saw off Norway’s Lotte Eriksen in just 16 minutes.
Amina Yousry during her win against Nicolette Fernandes
Fernandes was the only seed to miss out on a place in the final round of qualifying after the majority of the other matches were more straightforward affairs, with four-time runner-up Natalie Grinham coming through unscathed against Nazihah Hanis to set up a next round meeting with Olivia Blatchford, who defeated Catalina Pelaez in three.
There were also wins for Line Hansen, Joey Chan and Colina Aumard after they rose to respective wins over Aika Azman, Teh Min Jie and Lisa Camilleri.
Results – First Qualifying Round: Naza PSA Women’s World Championship
Amina Yousry (EGY) bt  Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 13-11 (34m)
 Mariam Metwally (EGY) bt [L] Lotte Eriksen (NOR) 3-0: 11-1, 11-3, 11-1 (16m)
 Milou van der Heijden (NED) bt [L] Rachel Arnold (MAS) 3-2: 11-6, 11-8, 10-12, 8-11, 12-10 (47m)
 Samantha Teran (MEX) bt [L] Vanessa Raj (MAS) 3-1: 11-6, 11-4, 5-11, 11-5 (40m)
 Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) bt Christine Nunn (AUS) 3-2: 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 9-11, 11-9 (60m)
 Deon Saffery (WAL) bt [L] Zoe Foo Yuk Han (MAS) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 13-11 (23m)
 Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL) bt Vanessa Chu (HKG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (26m)
 Joey Chan (HKG) bt [L] Teh Min Jie (MAS) 3-0: 11-2, 12-10, 11-4 (25m)
 Olivia Blatchford (USA) bt [L] Catalina Pelaez (COL) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 11-8 (17m)
 Natalie Grinham (NED) bt [L] Nazihah Hanis (MAS) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-3 (17m)
 Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) bt [L] Andrea Lee (MAS) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 (26m)
 Coline Aumard (FRA) bt [L] Lisa Camilleri (AUS) 3-1: 11-7, 11-7, 5-11, 11-9 (43m)
 Fiona Moverley (ENG) bt Nouran El Torky (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-2, 11-5 (29m)
 Megan Craig (NZL) bt [L] Yura Choi (KOR) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 (20m)
 Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt [L] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) 3-1: 11-8, 11-6, 10-12, 11-7 (38m)
 Line Hansen (DEN) bt [L] Aika Azman (MAS) 3-0: 11-6, 11-3, 11-2 (23m)
Draw – Final Qualifying Round
Amina Yousry (EGY) v  Mariam Metwally (EGY)
 Milou van der Heijden (NED) v  Samantha Teran (MEX)
 Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) v  Deon Saffery (WAL)
 Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL) v  Joey Chan (HKG)
 Olivia Blatchford (USA) v  Natalie Grinham (NED)
 Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) v  Coline Aumard (FRA)
 Fiona Moverley (ENG) v  Megan Craig (NZL)
 Nadine Shahin (EGY) v  Line Hansen (DEN)
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