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)

WISPA December Rankings

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El Tayeb Tumbles Into World Top 20

A massive leap of 16 places sees Egyptian teenager Nour El Tayeb soar into the top 20 of the Women’s World Squash Rankings, according to the new December list published by the Women’s International Squash Players’ Association (WISPA).

Indomitable Malaysian Nicol David heads the list for the 53rd consecutive month, ahead of English pair Jenny Duncalf and Alison Waters, at two and three, respectively, and Egypt’s Omneya Abdel Kawy in fourth place.

But it is 17-year-old El Tayeb who steals the headlines in the final women’s rankings of the year by jumping from 35 last month to 16. Ranked outside the top 100 in early 2008 and outside the top 40 at the beginning of this year, the Cairo youngster grabbed a succession of notable scalps on the Tour over the last two months – including higher-ranked compatriot Engy Kheirallah in October’s Carol Weymuller Open in New York, and Egyptian number one Omneya Abdel Kawy and top twenty-ranked New Zealander Joelle King last month en-route to the semi-finals of the WISPA Gold Qatar Classic.

Runner-up in the World Junior Championship in Germany in June, unseeded El Tayeb scored her maiden WISPA World Tour title at the Creteil International Open in France in February, beating the top seed Camille Serme in the final.

El Tayeb’s ranking breakthrough puts four Egyptians in the world top 20 for the first time.

New Zealanders also have much to celebrate in the new list – with Auckland’s Jaclyn Hawkes rising to a best-ever No12 and Commonwealth Games heroine Joelle King up three places to a career-high 17th place.

And 20-year-old Malaysian Low Wee Wern also rises to a career-best 15th place.

December top 20 (inc. points average):

1 [1] Nicol David MAS 3340
2 [2] Jenny Duncalf ENG 1621
3 [3] Alison Waters ENG 1480
4 [4] Omneya Abdel Kawy EGY 1292
5 [5] Rachael Grinham AUS 1166
6 [6] Madeline Perry IRL 1005
7 [7] Kasey Brown AUS 882
8 [8] Vanessa Atkinson NED 790
9 [9] Laura Massaro ENG 770
10 [10] Camille Serme FRA 769
11 [11] Raneem El Weleily EGY 702
12 [13] Jaclyn Hawkes NZL 530
13 [12] Samantha Teran MEX 512
14 [14] Annie Au HKG 506
15 [16] Low Wee Wern MAS 490
16 [17] Donna Urquhart AUS 467
17 [20] Joelle King NZL 433
18 [18] Isabelle Stoehr FRA 405
19 [35] Nour El Tayeb EGY 400
20 [15] Engy Kheirallah EGY 382
For the complete WISPA ranking list, see www.wispa.net