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Irish Open RD1: Ismail and Lai Cause First Round Upsets

The Cannon Kirk Irish Squash Open got underway at the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club on Tuesday, with 16 matches taking place across two courts. There were plenty of matches that went to five, with Egypt’s Rana Ismail and Malaysia’s Wen Li Lai causing seeding upsets to make the second round of the competition.

The pair both fought back from being behind in their opening matches of the Challenger 30 level tournament in Dublin, with the Malaysian finding herself two games down in her match with England’s Alicia Mead on Tuesday.

They had met once before on Tour, with Lai winning in five at the GWC Squash House Challenger 5 in September 2021, and this contest would eventually go the same way. After finding herself two games down, the 21-year-old fought back to win the third game, and crucially, she kept that momentum throughout the rest of the contest. Lai won the fifth 11-8 to secure her spot in the second round of the competition, where she will face England’s Lucy Turmel, the No.3 seed.

The other surprise victor on the opening day of the tournament was Egypt’s Rana Ismail, as she defeated England’s Torrie Malik in a fifth game decider. The Egyptian found herself being after three games, after the young Englishwoman won a third game tie-break. However, she was able to fight back, to come through and win in five, setting up a meeting with South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller.

There was another five-gamer in the women’s draw, with Australia’s Jessica Turnbull also having to come from behind to get the better of English junior Saran Nghiem. The Aussie lost a third game tie-break 14-12, but fought back to win the next two games, both by an 11-8 scoreline, to win inside an hour, booking her place in the last 16.

There were also a couple of five-gamers in the men’s event, with Hong Kong’s Max Lee and Henry Leung both coming through to reach the second round of the competition. Leung had a battle with Irish wildcard Sam Buckley, fighting back from 2-1 down to win 3-2, while Max Lee came back from the brink to get the better of Spain’s Ivan Perez in the opening match of the day.

The second round of the Cannon Kirk Irish Squash Open will see the seeds come into the draw. Those matches will take place on Wednesday, April 20, with action from Court 1 live on SQUASHTV.

Men’s First Round Results: Cannon Kirk Irish Squash Open
Max Lee (HKG) bt Ivan Perez (ESP) 3-2: 4-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-1, 11-6 (60m)
Faraz Khan (USA) bt Chi Him Wong (HKG) 3-0: 13-11, 11-6, 11-6 (42m)
Henry Leung (HKG) bt [WC] Sam Buckley (IRL) 3-2: 9-11, 16-14, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7 (61m)
Rui Soares (POR) bt Addeen Idrakie (MAS) 3-1: 11-5, 8-11, 11-5, 11-4 (42m)
Mohammad Syafiq Kamal (MAS) bt [WC] Sean Conroy (IRL) 3-1: 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5 (52m)
Ivan Yuen (MAS) bt Robert Downer (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (28m)
Rory Stewart (SCO) bt Juan Camilo Vargas (COL) 3-1: 8-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-3 (48m)
Tsz Kwan Lau (HKG) bt Jakub Solnicky (CZE) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 (24m)

Men’s Second Round Draw: To Be Played Wednesday, April 20th
[1] Patrick Rooney (ENG) v Max Lee (HKG)
Faraz Khan (USA) v [7] Alan Clyne (SCO)
[5] Auguste Dussourd (FRA) v Henry Leung (HKG)
Rui Soares (POR) v [3] Lucas Serme (FRA)
[4] Greg Lobban (SCO) v Mohammad Syafiq Kamal (MAS)
Ivan Yuen (MAS) v [6] Declan James (ENG)
[8] Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) v Rory Stewart (SCO)
Tsz Kwan Lau (HKG) v [2] George Parker (ENG)

Women’s First Round Results: Cannon Kirk Irish Squash Open
Chan Yiwen (MAS) bt [WC] Breanne Flynn (IRL) 3-1: 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 12-10 (34m)
Kaitlyn Watts (NZL) bt [WC] Hannah McGugan (IRL) 3-0: 11-2, 11-2, 11-5 (16m)
Grace Gear (ENG) bt Emilia Korhonen (FIN) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-8 (23m)
Anna Kimberley (ENG) bt Lea Barbeau (FRA) 3-1: 11-8, 5-11, 11-6, 11-7 (31m)
Wen Li Lai (MAS) bt Alicia Mead (ENG) 3-2: 9-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (55m)
Rana Ismail (EGY) bt Torrie Malik (ENG) 3-2: 6-11, 11-3, 10-12, 11-7, 11-4 (44m)
Jessica Turnbull (AUS) bt Saran Nghiem (ENG) 3-2: 14-12, 6-11, 12-14, 11-8, 11-8 (59m)
Ali Loke (WAL) bt Sofía Mateos (ESP) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 (25m)

Women’s Second Round Draw: To Be Played Wednesday, April 20th
[1] Emily Whitlock (WAL) v Chan Yiwen (MAS)
Kaitlyn Watts (NZL) v [8] Julianne Courtice (ENG)
[5] Anna Serme (CZE) v Grace Gear (ENG)
Anna Kimberley (ENG) v [4] Rachel Arnold (MAS)
[3] Lucy Turmel (ENG) v Wen Li Lai (MAS)
Rana Ismail (EGY) v [6] Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
[7] Sarah Cardwell (AUS) v Jessica Turnbull (AUS)
Ali Loke (WAL) v [2] Tinne Gilis (BEL)

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