The first round of the Richmond Open took place on Tuesday evening at the Country Club of Virginia, with six matches all going to seeding, but it was not all plain sailing, with Egypt’s Rana Ismail and Pakistan’s Amna Fayyaz having to go to five to get through.
The Challenger 20 level tournament saw Fayyaz come up against Japan’s Erisa Sano Herring in the opening round, and the Pakistani had to fight back from being two games down, and on the brink of suffering a surprise defeat. She managed to do so, though, winning the next two games to the loss of just nine points, before scraping through a deciding game tie-break 12-10 to win in five.
The other match to go to five on the opening day saw Egypt’s Rana Ismail get the better of Malaysia’s Vanessa Raj. It was the unseeded Malaysian that took the early advantage, but a second game tie-break went the way of Ismail, and appeared to swing the momentum in her favour, as she then went 2-1 up. However, after losing the fourth, the Egyptian had to battle to win in five, doing so in just under an hour, to advance to the last 16.
Elsewhere on day one in Virginia, fellow Egyptian Malak Kamal won in straight games against Singapore’s Au Yeong Wai Yhann, while Japanese No.1 Satomi Watanabe downed American wildcard Caroline Fouts. India’s Akanksha Salunkhe and Englishwoman Katie Malliff were the other two to make it through.
The second round of the Challenger 20 level Richmond Open will take place at the Country Club of Virginia on Wednesday, April 27, with the seeded players starting their campaigns.
First Round Results: Richmond Open
Rana Ismail (EGY) bt Vanessa Raj (MAS) 3-2: 8-11, 13-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7 (55m)
Malak Kamal (EGY) bt Au Yeong Wai Yhann (SGP) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 13-11 (35m)
Satomi Watanabe (JPN) bt [WC] Caroline Fouts (USA) 3-0: 11-3, 11-7, 11-9 (38m)
Akanksha Salunkhe (IND) bt [WC] Sachika Balvani (IND) 3-0: 11-5 rtd (10m)
Amna Fayyaz (PAK) bt Erisa Sano Herring (JPN) 3-2: 5-11, 11-13, 11-6, 11-3, 12-10 (60m)
Katie Malliff (ENG) bt Maria Moya (ECU) 3-1: 11-2, 12-10, 6-11, 11-4 (41m)
Second Round Draw: To be Played Wednesday, April 27
 Zeina Mickawy (EGY) v Wen Li Lai (MAS)
Sarah Cardwell (AUS) v  Kaitlyn Watts (NZL)
 Grace Gear (ENG) v Rana Ismail (EGY)
Malak Kamal (EGY</…….