Dirty day for former titleholders
The Australian Open has claimed its toll for former titleholders today, with few escaping its far-reaching grasp. It turned out to be a dirty day for former champions at the $225,000 Australian Open today, particularly in the women’s singles field.
2012 singles champion Lynsey Clarke reversed the fortunes in her opening rubber rematch of last year’s final, downing reigning champion Anne Johns, only to come unstuck in her next contest.
Both finalists found themselves out of the mix within the first two knockout rounds, with Clarke upstaged by former Victorian representative Brooke Edwards 15-21.
Two-time winner Lisa Phillips, who became the first women to claim the blue-ribbon singles titles twice in the event’s history when she won as a 17 year-old in 2011 and 19 year-old in 2013, was also bundled out of the tournament, suffering defeat at the hands of Australian Jackaroo Carla Odgers, a day after she helped steer her quartet to the women’s fours title.
Sunshine Coast’s 2006 champion Julie Keegan made it further than the others, as far as the third round, but still couldn’t avoid the massacre, succumbing to Australian golden girl Karen Murphy.
Only one former singles winner remained wary of the carnage caused in the knockout rounds so far, with Malaysia’s 2007 winner Siti Zalina Ahmad ensuring her record was kept unblemished at the 2015 event, downing 19 year-old capped Australian singles representative Chloe Stewart in the last round tonight.
The bloodbath of former titleholders wasn’t confined to the women’s field, with 2013 men’s champion Aaron Wilson also finishing his campaign in the second round this afternoon.
It was significantly lessened in the men’s competition though, with Aaron’s brother, defending champion Nathan Wilson, 2012 winner Mark Casey, 2010 title-winner Aron Sherriff and 2009 gold medallist Brett Wilkie steering clear of becoming early round fatalities.
In the last session of the night, the men’s pairs quarter-finals, Wilkie and Rice ended the run of Barrie Lester and Scottish world champion Alex Marshall, 17-10, to advance to tomorrow’s semi-finals, staged at 6.00pm at Helensvale.
It wasn’t a golden day for Marshall in his other discipline either, with Sherriff laying down the law in their blockbuster round one singles knockout rubber, leading from start to finish to gun down Marshall’s hopes of pillaging the tournaments $225,000 prize-purse and silverware.
Wilkie and Rice will encounter Braiden Leese and Samuel White, who defeated and NSW gun Ben Twist and former English International David Holt 13-6.
The other semi-final will feature Michael Harvey and Matthew McIntyre, who defeated half of last night’s men’s fours champions, Steven Dennis and Nathan Pedersen 13-12, and Queensland’s Robbie Wild and former Australian representative Sean Baker.
Tomorrow will commence with the men’s and remaining women’s singles third round, as well as the start of the bowlers with a disability event.