This year, WISPA joined the previously successful men’s Punj Lloyd Masters held in Delhi. Although the women’s prize money was considerably less than the men’s, it drew a strong field and I was seeded 2 for the event.
The first round saw me drawn against Siti Munirah of Malaysia. Unfortunately, I had fallen ill the day before the event with fevers and stomach cramps but I decided to continue to play. I believe there are no excuses when you walk onto a squash court and if you do, you deem yourself 100% fit. I wanted to conserve as much energy as possible but Siti played well pushing me to win 11/6, 12/10, 11/8. That night was a bit of a struggle as I was up most of the night sick and woke with little left in my system.
I decided to keep playing and in the quarters I was drawn against the local favourite, Dipika Palikal. My stomach would only allow me to eat a couple of pieces of bread with jam so I knew I had to play well to get through. I started off well and I sensed Dipika felt uncomfortable moving to the glass court as she made some unforced errors. However in the 3rd and 4th, she began playing more confidently and levelled the match at 2-2. Although feeling a bit flat, I wanted to get a good start in the 5th and got to a 7-0 lead which got me over the line winning 11/5, 11/5, 7/11, 7/11, 11/5.
In the semi final, I was drawn to play a very smart and talented Annie Au who defeated Jaclyn Hawkes in the quarters. I was able to eat more that day (which I was very excited about) but knew I would have to play tight to beat Au. I have never beaten Au and knew I had to get to a good start which I was able to do, going up 2-0. However, I knew that as the ball died down, it would suit Annie’s lobs and drop game and she played some great rallies winning the next 2-2. Again I saw myself at this score line and wanted to get a good start. I tried to get back on court quickly and warm up the ball to stop Annie’s effective game plan. I helped but I was down 5-8 in the 5th but clawed back to win the match 11/6, 11/9, 4/11, 2/11, 11/8.
In the final, I came up against World Number 2, Jenny Duncalf. She had been playing very well in the lead up to this event and I knew I had to be on top of my game to win. Unfortunately, the previous games had taken it out of me a bit and I was not able to get on to the ball as quickly as I would have liked. Jenny is a very talented player and this meant she had time to move the ball around, which kept me chasing and didn’t allow me to set up winning rallies. Duncalf was moving well and despite my attempts to come back in each game, I lost 5/11, 5/11, 4/11. Jenny played well and deserved the win.
I was very pleased to make the final of the event and I would like to thank Punj Lloyd for their support for the women’s tour. I hope that this tournament continues to be bigger and better each year.
Kasey Brown xx