Auckland/Oceania Open 2023

Auckland/Oceania Open 2023 : FINALS

Lana Harrison (Nzl) 3-2 [1] Alex Haydon (Aus)   4-11, 4-11, 11-8, 15-13, 14-12

[3] Joseph White (Aus) 3-1 [2] Temwa Chileshe (Nzl)   11-9, 11-7, 3-11, 11-8

Trans-Tasman finals shared in Auckland

The trans-Tasman finals at the Barfoot & Thomson Auckland/Oceania Open were shared after two tightly contested title deciders.

In the women’s final top seed and 88th ranked Alex Haydon from Australia faced unseeded, but defending champion Lana Harrison from Auckland. For 21-year-old Australian Commonwealth Games player, Haydon it was the chance to win her first Challenger title. However Harrison who now devotes her time between working and being a mother along with domestic squash had other ideas.

Haydon won the first two games 11-4, 11-4, but then Harrison refocussed her game and edged back into the contest with 11-8 in the third. The top seed then came back to have a match ball at 10-8 only for Harrison to against show fight and cling to a 15-13 win to take the game to five.

In the fifth and final game the pair traded points as Harrison managed to take the lead, however it was Haydon who had a match point at 12-10 only for Harrison to take the match 14-12 in the final in just on an hours play.

In the men’s match Joseph White the third seed from Australia beat second Chileshe brother within 24 hours for the title.

He defeated top seed Lwamba Chilshe in the semifinals then second seed and younger brother Temwa Chileshe for the title. It was White’s second title in New Zealand after a win over Lwamba at the Howick Open in 2021.  For Temwa it was his third runners-up finish at the tournament in a row. In 2021 he lost to Kiwi Evan Williams in five games and to brother Lwamba in four games last year.

On this occasion White was too tight and compact winning the first two game after some long rallies before Chileshe came back in the third with a dominant effort and then eventually White proved too strong in the fourth.

Round Two :

As expected a few seeded players were knocked out in the second round and the quarters of the Barfoot & Thomson Auckland Open/Oceania Open PSA Challenger in Auckland at the North Shore Squash Club.

The second, third and seventh seeds were all beaten in the women’s quarters, although the results weren’t completely unexpected.

Lana Harrison the defending women’s champion was always going to be tough for second ranked Winona-Jo Joyce and the match lived up to expectations with the power of Harrison eventually telling over the controlled angles from the younger Joyce.

Ella Lash, the third seed was defeated by her close junior rival Sophie Hodges in five games . The 18-year-old Hodges now faces top 100-ranked Australia Alex Haydon in a semifinal. Meanwhile Abbie Palmer who has her name at the club champion numerous times beat teenager Maiden Lee Coe in straight games to set up a semifinal against Harrison.

In the men’s draw there were second round losses for fourth seed Darren Rahul Pragasam and Andes Ling in among some tight contests which eventually saw top ranked Lwamba Chileshe set himself up for a semifinal clash with third seed and very competitive Joseph White from Australia.

White had a thriller over Auckland’s Elijah Thomas in his quarterfinal with the last two games being shared 14-16 and 13-11.

The other men’s semifinal will see Temwa Chileshe up against Tomotaka Endo from Japan.

Endo has been ranked inside the top 80 in the world, but currently sits at 140, while Chileshe is 114th and has won his matches in relatively straightforward fashion so far.

Round One :

The first round of the Barfoot & Thomson Auckland Open/Oceania Open PSA Challenger in Auckland went to plan with only two seeded players falling by the wayside.

Teenager Anabel Romero Gemmell lost to masters player Holly Shuja in straight games and fifth seeded teen Anne Leakey lost to defending champ, but unranked Lana Harrison also in three games, but otherwise top seed Alex Haydon from Australia who is ranked inside the world’s top 90 progressed with ease as did fellow Commonwealth Games player, Abbie Palmer from the North Shore Club. Two of New Zealand’s best juniors in third seeded left-hander Ell Lash and sixth seed Sophie Hodges will now play in the next round while second seed Winona-Jo Joyce dropped a game to Charlotte Galloway but came through in the end in four to reach the quarters of the PSA Challenger 3 draw.

In the men’s first round their was the strange scoreline between Willz Donnelly and Allan Baily of 11-3, 10-12, 12-10, 12-10 but otherwise results were as expected.

Top men’s seed and Commonwealth Games rep Lwamba Chileshe will play Korea’s Jaejin Yoo in the second round of the event the New Zealander won last year. Younger brother and second seed Temwa Chelsea is also in action in the second round of the men’s PSA Challenger 5 draw along with third seed Joseph White from Australia who faces lanky New Zealand left-hander Mason Smales.