Stars fall at the Australian Open
It was a dark day for the former champions and international raiders looking to secure a slice of the sizeable prize purse on offer in the blue-ribbon men’s singles event of the 2017 Australian Open. It was a dark day for the former champions and international raiders looking to secure a slice of the sizeable prize purse on offer in the blue-ribbon men’s singles event of the 2017 Australian Open.
Reigning men’s singles champion Aron Sherriff was among a litany of stars who fell from the $250,000 prize money competition during the three knockout rounds staged today, alongside the man he beat for the title last year, 2009 winner Brett Wilkie, and 2013 victor Aaron Wilson.
All three players advanced as far as the round of 64 before coming unstuck, but it wasn’t a case for the other heavyweights of the competition, who were grounded even earlier.
Scottish Commonwealth Games gold medallist trio Alex Marshall, Paul Foster and Darren Burnett headline the list of the international athletes sent packing on the first day of discipline’s knockout rounds.
Marshall, who is widely regarded as the world’s best player, was upstaged by St Johns Park’s Brett Norman, 21-20, in the first knockout round of 256 players, while his usual partner in crime and fellow world champion, Paul Foster, was handed a similar fate, by Inverloch’s Wayne Parks, 21-19.
Their country-mate, reigning Commonwealth Games singles gold medallist Burnett progressed one round further in the field, but came unstuck to 18 year-old rising star of the sport, Jayden Christie 21-20.
Christie’s stocks rose more than a few points today, with the young Club Helensvale spearhead also claiming the biggest scalp of the competition in the next round of 64; that of four-time International Bowler of the Year, Sherriff.
Sherriff found himself on the back-foot throughout the encounter, with Christie pencilling in a 21-16 win and cementing himself as one of the event’s most exciting prospects.
Sherriff’s fellow past event winners, Wilkie and Wilson, were gunned down in the same round, with Wilkie losing to Musgrave Hill’s Nic Gosley 19-21 and Wilson stunned by Coolum Beach’s Troy Summerville 17-21.
The Scotsmen weren’t the only highly-fancied international competitors who found themselves on the wrong side of the result’s board today, with 2015 runner-up Ryan Bester and reigning world singles champion Shannon McIlroy also upstaged.
Both fell victim in the round of 128 this afternoon, with Canadian veteran Bester, a Broadbeach local, toppled by New Zealand’s Stephen Ditford by a slender shot, while McIlroy, who is arguably the most in-form singles player in the world, was eliminated by Scotland’s Kevin Anderson, himself a Broadbeach product, 21-15.
Current and former New Zealand Blackjacks, Blake Signal and Richard Girvan were also among the international exodus, in the round of 256 this morning.
Also bundled out on moving day was South Tweed Heads’ Commonwealth Games gold medallist Kelvin Kerkow, in the round of 128, and Australia’s current number one ranked male bowler, Barrie Lester, in the round of 64.
Just one former singles champion remains in the draw, in 2015 winner Aaron Teys, and one notable international, world fours champion Mike Nagy, from New Zealand.
The competition continues tomorrow, with the men’s singles rounds of 32 and 16, while the women play through the quarter-final.
Click here to view the full results
Caption: Former singles winner Aron Sherriff and international Blake Signal both fell victims at the Australian Open today.