Cayman Islands Go Gold For WISPA

An increase in the prize fund has led to the 2010 Women’s Cayman Islands Squash Open going Gold, according to an announcement today by the Women’s International Squash Players’ Association.

The $55,300 WISPA World Tour event – the third Gold event of the year, from 11-17 April – will be staged for the first time on an all-glass court erected at Camana Bay, a 500-acre shopping, entertainment, office and residential complex stretching from the Caribbean sea to the North Sound in Grand Cayman.

Launched in 2009, the Cayman Islands Open has again attracted the world’s top players, led by Malaysia’s world number one Nicol David, with Natalie Grainger, in-form Jenny Duncalf, and contenders Rachael Grinham and Alison Waters all in the mix. Grainger will be making her return to the WISPA Tour in Grand Cayman after a seven-month layoff with a foot injury.

Indeed, the draw predicts a quarter-final meeting between David and Grainger – a repeat of last year’s final, won by the Malaysian!

Meanwhile, Cayman number one Marlene West, the main draw wild card, faces the daunting prospect of meeting 2007 world champion Rachael Grinham in the opening round.

Tournament Director Dan Kneipp is delighted to be welcoming back the sport’s top women: “The Cayman Islands National Squash Association is extremely excited to host the world’s best players to our Caribbean Island.

“We are very pleased to be able to increase our WISPA World Tour championship to the Gold level. Cayman has never seen a pro tournament played on a glass show court, so we know that there will be a lot of enthusiasm and public interest as this is set up on the waterfront at Camana Bay.

“Having eight of the world’s top 10 squash players is creating an enormous buzz in Cayman as we prepare to watch the world’s best competing for our international title.

“The WISPA pros were a huge asset to our junior squash last year, helping hundreds of kids experience the sport for the first time,” Kneipp added. “We again have 14 schools that will be doing workshops and watching the pro matches and we expect this to be an invaluable tool in helping us get more Caymanian juniors into squash.

“The Cayman Islands National Squash Association also sees this as an incredible experience for our Commonwealth Games team as we prepare for Delhi 2010. For a young, amateur team to be playing alongside the world’s best professional will only add to our team’s experience and ability to compete at an international level.

“We welcome the world’s best players and the international squash media to the Cayman Islands in April.”

WISPA CEO Andrew Shelley added: “It is always very satisfying to see an event build, and that is certainly the case with the Cayman Islands Open. The debut last year was memorable for being awash with local school children trying squash at the South Sound Squash Club every day.

“This year juniors will doubtless be a major feature again, but bringing in a glass show court too in the superb outside setting of Camana Bay will be yet another great step forward in raising the profile of squash on the Island and pushing the delights of the Cayman Islands to squash enthusiasts worldwide.”

An all-glass court to be erected at Camana Bay

1st round draw:

[1] Nicol David (MAS) v Qualifier

[6] Natalie Grainger (USA) v Qualifier

[3] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Marlene West (CAY)

[5] Madeline Perry (IRL) v Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL)

[8] Kasey Brown (AUS) v Samantha Teran (MEX)

[4] Alison Waters (ENG) v Qualifier

[7] Laura Massaro (ENG) v Qualifier

[2] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v Camille Serme (FRA)

The Biggest Women’s Tournament of the Year

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Nicol David Aiming To Be In ‘Seventh Heaven’ In Sharm El Sheikh

Undefeated throughout this year, Malaysia’s world number one Nicol David hopes to be in ‘seventh heaven’ next week in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh where she is seeded to win her seventh WISPA World Tour squash title of the year at The Soho Square World Open.

The 2010 Women’s World Open, the premier championship on the women’s tour and first in the event’s 31-year history to be held in Egypt, boasts a record prize fund of $147,000.

The tournament, from 18-22 September, will be staged on an all-glass show court at Soho Square Sharm El Sheikh, part of the premier resort in Sharm El Sheikh’s shopping and entertainment complex where a successful Soho Square WISPA Tour event was held in 2009.

Nicol David, Malaysia’s most successful sportswoman of all-time, is back at the top of her game after contrasting fortunes over the two previous years:  In 2008, the 27-year-old from Penang secured ten titles in a row without defeat, yet the following year suffered four shock defeats while ‘only’ picking up seven Tour titles.

David is delighted to be competing in Sharm El Sheikh for the first time:  “I’ve been to Sharm for a day trip, but this is my first time playing there – so I’m even more excited about it.”

“I’ve heard all good things of how the event has been run in the previous squash tournaments held there – and to be at a beach resort is an added bonus!”

Young Egyptians such as the pictured Raneem El Weleily is slated to give the top seeds a tough time.

“As Egypt is a big power house for squash overall, this is a great chance to showcase the sport while giving us players a chance to play in a brand new location with perks.”

2010 has proved to be a great year already for the Malaysian Squash Princess:  In July, David reached her eighth Malaysian Open final in a row, then celebrated her sixth successive success – and in last month’s Hong Kong Open clocked up her 47th Tour title in the 62nd Tour final appearance of her career.

“I’m enjoying everything about the tour and it’s been great so far with the tournaments,” admitted the modest Penangite. “No doubt it’s always hard work keeping up with things but I love the game so much that it keeps me going.”

The Legendary Sarah Fitzgerald

Success in Sharm El Sheikh would give Nicol David a record fifth World Open title – an achievement she would share with close friend and mentor Sarah Fitz-Gerald, the distinguished Australian who retired with 62 WISPA Tour titles to her credit.

“Equalling her record would certainly be an amazing accomplishment for me, especially knowing that Sarah has done it all in the squash world and she really is a true champion,” said David.

“But at the moment, my main focus is working on a performance base and the results will follow accordingly.”

Nicol David begins her 2010 world title campaign against a qualifier – and is scheduled to face Jenny Duncalf, the world No2 and second seed from England, in the final.

1st round draw:

[1] Nicol David (MAS) v Qualifier

[12] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) v Qualifier

[8] Natalie Grinham (NED) v Low Wee Wern (MAS)

[14] Samantha Teran (MEX) v Isabelle Stoehr (FRA)

[4] Alison Waters (ENG) v Qualifier

[9] Laura Massaro (ENG) v Qualifier

[7] Natalie Grainger (USA) v Sarah Kippax (ENG)

[15] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) v Qualifier

[11] Kasey Brown (AUS) v Qualifier

[6] Madeline Perry (IRL) v Delia Arnold (MAS)

[16] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) v Donna Urquhart (AUS)

[3] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Qualifier

[10] Camille Serme (FRA) v Qualifier

[5] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Aisling Blake (IRL)

[13] Engy Kheirallah (EGY) v Joelle King (NZL)

[2] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v Annie Au (HKG)

For all the latest information, check out the official website: www.sohosquareworldopen.com/2010

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