Australian Open men’s singles champion Nathan Pedersen has been sensationally eliminated from the Australian Indoor Championships at Tweed Heads this evening in a quick fire encounter.
The second-seeded Pedersen won just two ends, for a total of three shots, in his opening round encounter at the nation’s most coveted indoor event tonight, with Tasmania’s Robert McMullen mercilessly putting him to the sword 10-0, 7-3.
Pedersen failed to acclimatise to his wide-arching bowls chosen specifically for the carpet conditions, with McMullen securing a premature victory an astonishing five ends early in the 9-end, two-set format, after Pedersen conceded after the fifth end in the first set and the eighth end in the second.
He joins a long list of highly credentialed combatants bundled out of the competition in the opening day, with the field cut from 32 in each of the men’s and women’s events to just 14 now, leading into the second of the four-day event.
Joining Pedersen at the top of the casualty list is defending champion Natasha Scott, who succumbed in the opening session at 8am this morning, and 2004 winner Claire Turley, who fell victim in this evening’s second round.
Fortunes were kinder for the Australian Open’s women’s singles winner Ellen Ryan, who won her the tie-break of her evening match to keep her hopes of an illustrious Indoor-Outdoor double alive and well.
Reigning men’s champion Jeremy Henry has continued his stranglehold on the competition, having secured two victories across the day, as one of eight players to contest a second round match.
Henry, a three-time winner of the event, remained unscathed with two straight-sets wins to advance to the quarter-finals stages of the competition, and is just three wins over three days away from a fourth title.
Standing in his immediate way is Tasmania’s Taelyn Male, who eliminated rising star of the sport Jesse Noronha in straight sets this evening.
Should Henry fall, the coveted trophy will end up in the hands of a first-time winner, while a couple of past titleholders, in 2014 winner Jamie-Lee Worsnop and six-time champion Karen Murphy, remain in the hunt in the women’s competition.
The Australian Indoor Championships continues at Tweed Heads tomorrow, with second round matches scheduled across two sessions, from 8am and 10am, and all six remaining quarter-finals staged at 12pm and 2pm local time.
Session 6 results:
Round of 32:
Robert McMullen (East Launceston) def Nathan Pedersen (Modbury) 10-0, 7-3
Ellen Ryan (Cabramatta) vs Sarah Boddington (Tuncurry Beach) 4-9, 8-1, 5-0
Round of 16:
Jeremy Henry (Warilla) def Blake Nairn (Bassendean) 9-7, 7-6
Taelyn Male (Kingborough) def Jesse Noronha (Warilla) 11-5, 10-7
Jo Worsley (St Johns Park) def Tara Ferrier (Middle Park) 2-12, 8-6, 3-1
Diana Davis (Cabramatta) def Claire Turley (Cabramatta) 11-3, 11-2