Duncalf upsets Elaraby on Day One to keep retirement at bay
England’s former World No.2 Jenny Duncalf claimed her first victory at the prestigious Allam British Open since 2013 as she upset World Junior Champion Rowan Elaraby at the Allam Sport Centre in Hull to keep retirement at bay for another day at least.
Duncalf, a 2008 runner-up at the sport’s longest-running tournament, announced earlier this month that she will retire after the British Open and the World No.62 came into her match with World No.29 Elaraby having lost to the 18-year-old at the El Gouna International last month.
However, 36-year-old Duncalf rolled back the years as she put in a highly-composed display and limited Elaraby’s attacking abilities to claim an 11-6, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10 victory which will pit her against World No.1 Raneem El Welily in tomorrow’s second round, in what will potentially be her final match as a professional squash player.
“I didn’t expect to be stood here as the winner, which probably helped because I just wanted to put in a decent performance in my last tournament,” said Duncalf afterwards.
“I thought it was going to be my last match, Rowan is such a good little player and I have been on the end of defeats to her a couple of times. I love playing in England, but to be honest I actually have a shocking record in Hull, so I was a bit apprehensive that this was my last tournament.
“To be able to play another match is all I’ve ever wanted, and these past few years I’ve just wanted to play as many matches as I can. It’s so nice to be able to play in front of my family.”
Duncalf’s conqueror in the 2008 final – five-time winner Nicol David – is also due to retire at the end of this tournament, and she booked her place in round two of the PSA World Tour Platinum tournament after beating Hong Kong’s Ho Tze-Lok 11-7, 11-5, 13-11 in 32 minutes.
David, 35, will take on World No.3 Nour El Tayeb in the last 32. The Malaysian is 9-1 up on their head-to-head record, but El Tayeb won their last match at the 2018 Saudi Masters.
“I just had to do what I do best and keep digging in and I’m really please to win 3-0,” David said.
“I was happy to just get on court and play in front of a crowd. It’s my last tournament and it’s really special for it to be at the British Open, I’m just going to try and absorb everything that comes my way and savour the moments.”
Elsewhere, local favourite Fiona Moverley did call time on her professional career after falling to Malaysia’s Low Wee Wern in straight games.
The 32-year-old from Hull – who is currently in the midst of training to join the fire service – made her PSA debut in 2005 and won eight titles on the tour, but was unable to prevent Low from claiming her first win at the tournament since 2014.
Moverley said: “Being here every year has been great, the tournament has been held in Hull every year since I came back so that has been special being the local player.
“Playing for England has been exciting and one I wont forget. The whole experience has been something special, travelling the world and doing something I love.”
Wildcard Jasmine Hutton – the World No.77 from Brighton – claimed the biggest win of her career as she scalped World No.30 Hollie Naughton on the traditional plaster courts located at the same venue.
In the men’s draw, both of the wildcards earned their spots in the second round as Manchester-based Patrick Rooney and Birmingham’s Joshua Masters upset Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng and Hong Kong’s Tsz Fung Yip, respectively.
World No.95 Rooney bridged a 59-place gap in the PSA World Rankings to overcome Ng 11-8, 12-10, 11-7 and claim his first ever win at the British Open.
“I didn’t expect to win, but I just tried to take all the pressure off myself and just play the best I could against Yow, who I’ve known for ages,” Rooney said.
“I’ve never beaten him before, and I knew it was going to be tough because he has loads of skill and is so quick.”
Meanwhile, World No.55 Masters will appear in the second round here for the first time after beating World No.28 Yip by an 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 margin.
The 24-year-old will take on Egypt’s Fares Dessouky in round two.
“I’ve beaten him before and so that gave me a lot of confidence,” said Masters.
“I knew exactly how to beat him and although at times I sometimes went away from that game plan, I was pleased to get over the line.”
Former World No.1 James Willstrop also earned his second round spot courtesy of a 3-0 win over India’s Ramit Tandon, while England No.3 Daryl Selby beat close friend and compatriot Ben Coleman in four games to earn his place in the last 32.
Second round action continues tomorrow, when England’s former World Champion Laura Massaro begins her final PSA tournament, while reigning champions Nour El Sherbini and Miguel Rodriguez kickstart their title defences.