Danish wildcard Klara Møller gave the home fans a treat as the Challenger 10 level Odense Open got underway on Tuesday, as she got the better of France’s Taba Taghavi to reach the second round at the Odense Squash Club.
The tournament is the first of four qualifying events for the 2021-2021 PSA World Championships, scheduled to be held in Cairo in May, with the winners of this week’s competition being guaranteed a place at the sport’s premiere event.
Møller was one of seven Danes in action on the opening day, and she featured on the glass court against Taba Taghavi. The first two games were very tight, with both players finding their lines well. The Dane took the first on a tie-break, but was immediately pegged back, with the match level at 1-1 after two.
She then took the third quite comfortably, but once again found herself level in the match, as Taghavi refused to be beaten. It would eventually be success for the home hope, as she claimed the fifth game 11-5, to book her spot in the second round of the Challenger 10 level competition, and Møller will now face Egypt’s No.7 seed Malak Khafagy in the last 16.
“I am just super happy to win. It was a tough match, and we both played really well. I am just so happy to pull through and win the match,” Møller said.
“It [the home crowd] gives me extra energy but I also put more pressure on myself, because I want to perform well, but it is always nice. I think it gets a bit tougher because people know you are playing, and you have to perform. When you also get offered a wildcard, there’s so much pressure.
“I didn’t know who I was playing because I didn’t want to look further in the draw. I am just excited to play again and to see what happens!”
The other major surprise of the day saw England’s Katie Malliff overcome Egypt’s Kenzy Ayman on the traditional courts, with the World No.110 winning in straight games over her opponent, ranked 27 places higher than her in the World Rankings.
Katie Malliff (right) on court with Kenzy Ayman in the first round
The Englishwoman, who has been in front of the SQUASHTV cameras before, at the British National Squash Championships in 2021, won all three games in a tight manner, taking the victory 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 to advance to the last 16 of the competition, where she will face No.5 seed Nour Aboulmakarim.
“I am really pleased with it. I had never played her before so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I went in there with a good gameplan and I stuck to it, so yeah, I am really pleased with the win!” Malliff said.
“I did see a small clip on YouTube, but that was it, only about four minutes, so I didn’t get to see much. I tried to watch her a little bit in her solo hit today, so I could see what her game was like.
“I am used to it now, so I know how it plays, whereas I don’t think she has, so that is one advantage for me. I played her three years ago at the British Open. I’m not sure if her game has changed, I will probably take a look on YouTube or SQUASHTV to check that!”
New Zealand’s Temwa Chileshe survived a tough five-gamer to end the evening’s glass court action, coming through in the deciding game to get the better of Danish wildcard Magnus Nørtoft Laursen. Older brother Lwamba also made his way through to the second round, beating another wildcard, in Tobias Fritz Weel.
The Odense Open continues on Wednesday, March 2, with second round action starting at 14:00 (GMT+1). The glass court action will be shown live on SQUASHTV.
Men’s First Round Results: Odense Open
Temwa Chileshe (NZL) bt [WC] Magnus Nørtoft Laursen (DEN) 3-2: 8-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 11-7 (55m)
Emyr Evans (WAL) bt [WC] Theis Houlberg (DEN) 3-1: 11-6, 8-11, 11-3, 11-4 (41m)
Lwamba Chileshe (NZL) bt [WC] Tobias Fritz Weel (DEN) 3-1: 11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 11-3 (35m)
Aqeel Rehman (AUT) bt Roshan Bharos (NED) 3-0: 11-9, 15-13, 13-11 (53m)
Leandro Romiglio (ARG) bt Valentin Rapp (GER) 3-1: 11-7, 8-11, 13-11, 11-3 (71m)
Balazs Farkas (HUN) bt Ben Smith (ENG) 3-1: 9-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-4 (41m)
Yannik Omlor (GER) bt Marcus Søby Jepsen (DEN) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-4 (25m)
Yuri Farneti (ITA) bt Lennard Hinrichs (GER) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 11-3 (18m)
Men’s Second Round Draw: Odense Open (To Be Played Wednesday, March 2)
 Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) v Temwa Chileshe (NZL)
Emyr Evans (WAL) v  Juan Camilo Vargas (COL)
 Sam Todd (ENG) v Lwamba Chileshe (NZL)
Aqeel Rehman (AUT) v  Yahya Elnawasany (EGY)
 Rui Soares (POR) v Leandro Romiglio (ARG)
Balazs Farkas (HUN) v  Ben Coleman (ENG)
 Robert Downer (ENG) v Yannik Omlor (GER)
Yuri Farneti (ITA) v  Faraz Khan (USA)
Women’s First Round Results: Odense Open
Saran Nghiem (ENG) bt Lea Barbeau (FRA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (22m)
Marta Dominguez Fernandez (ESP) bt [WC] Caroline Lyng (DEN) 3-1: 11-5, 12-14, 11-7, 11-1 (30m)
[WC] Klara Møller (DEN) bt Taba Taghavi (FRA) 3-2: 12-10, 9-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-5 (51m)
Anna Kimberley (ENG) bt Katie Wells (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 (34m)
Kaitlyn Watts (NZL) bt [WC] Sarah Lauridsen (DEN) 3-0: 11-9, 11-3, 11-7 (24m)
Katie Malliff (ENG) bt Kenzy Ayman (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 (29m)
Katerina Tycova (GER) bt Sofia Aveiro Pita (POR) 3-0: 13-11, 11-3, 11-6 (25m)
Saskia Beinhard (GER) bt Andrea Fjellgaard (NOR) 3-0: 11-1, 11-1, 11-2 (15m)
Women’s Second Round Draw: Odense Open (To Be Played Wednesday, March 2)
 Alexandra Fuller (RSA) v Saran Nghiem (ENG)
Marta Dominguez Fernandez (ESP) v  Nadeen Kotb (EGY)
 Malak Khafagy (EGY) v [WC] Klara Møller (DEN)
Anna Kimberley (ENG) v  Nadia Pfister (SUI)
 Menna Hamed (EGY) v Kaitlyn Watts (NZL)
Katie Malliff (ENG) v  Nour Aboulmakarim (EGY)
 Salma Eltayeb (EGY) v Katerina Tycova (GER)
Saskia Beinhard (GER) v  Julianne Courtice (ENG)