It was a day of contrasts for the seeded players as the Victorian Open reached the last sixteen stage in Melbourne, with all of the men’s seeds progressing but some significant upsets in the women’s event.
Top seeds Nafiizwan Adnan and Campbell Grayson led the way in the men’s draw, with all eight seeds reaching the quarter-finals, Kiwi Kashif Shuja the only one extended to five games.
It was a different story in the women’s draw with only four of the seeds making it to the last eight.
The biggest upset was another Kiwi success as Megan Craig outlasted top seed Delia Arnold in a marathon four games, finally winning 12/10 in the fourth after 72 minutes.
She’ll meet another unseeded player, Korea’s Song Sun-Mi, for a place in the semis.
Path opens for Francis title defence
Andrew Dent reports
Home town favourite Melody Francis had her defence of her Victorian Open crown made slightly easier on Thursday when Megan Craig of New Zealand upset top seeded Malaysian Delia Arnold in four games.
The 11th seeded Kiwi battled past Arnold in four tight games 11-9, 10-12, 12-10, 14-12 to set up a quarter-final against unseeded Korean Song Sun-Mi, who earlier stunned Melbourne’s Sarah Cardwell 11-5, 11-6, 11-0.
Second seeded Francis reached the last eight by beating Hong Kong’s Carmen Lee in five games.
The defending champion was cruising at two games to love before having to survive a fight back from Lee, eventually winning 11-7, 11-6, 3-11, 4-11, 11-4.
She now plays New Zealand’s Amanda Landers-Murphy, who she beat to win last month’s Barossa Valley Open in South Australia.
In contrast to the women, where four of the top seeds fell, the top eight men all progressed to the quarter-finals.
There will be two Trans-Tasman clashes in the bottom half of the draw, with third seeded New South Welshman Matthew Karwalski taking on Kashif Shuja and Melbourne’s Rex Hedrick to face second seed Campbell Grayson.
Karwalski beat Queensland’s Nathan Stevenson 12-10, 11-5, 11-5, while Hedrick downed his coach Cameron White 11-8, 11-3, 11-7.
Meanwhile, top seed Nafiizwan Adnan recovered from almost bowing out in the first round by beating young Kiwi Evan Williams 13-11, 11-3, 11-7 to set up a quarter-final against Argentina’s Gonzalo Miranda.