Mexico is one of my favourite countries—so you can imagine my excitement when I was told a big WISPA tournament was to be held there this year. I was thrilled to be able to compete in this tournament. Samantha Teran, Mexico’s most successful squash player and our Squash Stars Ambassador, played a major role in increasing the interest of squash in Mexico.
The Torneo Bicentenario Mexico Open was held in Toluca, Mexico. The glass court was beautifully placed in the middle of a square at the Plaza Civica de Toluca. All of us stayed at the Del Rey Inn Hotel where everything was catered to the squash players. A very nice bonus for us!
There were many events lined up for the squash tournament including a lovely welcome cocktail at a landmark in Toluca at the Cosmovitral building on the day of the first round and a private concert by a Mexican artist—Reyli, after the quarter finals. The Mexicans certainly made an impression for their first major tournament in Mexico.
Round 1 with Ivonne
Played a Mexican player, Ivonne Diaz and I was expecting the crowd to go wild—they sure did! Everyone did mention that the altitude could be a factor during the matches. I had to be ready for a seasoned Mexican player on home turf so it helped being in Mexico a few days earlier to get used to the altitude. There were some nice shot plays from Ivonne but my game came together better being on the glass court. I won it 3-0 but the crowd still gave a good cheer at the end.
Quarter finals with Jaclyn
After Jaclyn Hawkes won the Gold Medal in the Women’s Doubles at the Commonwealth Games, I was expecting her to come out strong. I made sure I stepped up my game and kept her from gaining confidence in her game. I had a good feeling with the ball and was moving it well around the court. She made a few mistakes at times and I got a few points lead each game to get the win 3-0.
Semi finals with Raneem
Raneem El Weleily is always someone to watch out for on court. I definitely had to fight hard to gain some control in the first game. She was on the ball each time and I knew this game would take a while. I managed to come back to win that game and I went into the next one, looking out for more shots that she was going to pull out from her bag. My lengths got a bit tighter and a couple of errors from her gave me a slight head start in the second and the third games. Even with those errors, there were some high-paced rallies because both of us were taking everything as early as possible. I was glad to close the match in 3 games.
Finals with Rachael
An enthusiastic crowd filled the stands, all ready to cheer as loudly as they could. The five-setter that Rachael Grinham had with Kasey Brown the night before didn’t stop her from what she had to do in the finals. The first game was close and Rachael was placing the ball to the front really well. However, I played consistently and found myself leading at game ball in the first. She gained some winners and it was deuce all of a sudden. I didn’t want to let it slip and fought back to win that game 12-10. Much better games in the second and third as many shots went my way. The rallies were long; some ending with Rachael’s mistakes. I kept going for it and finally won 3-0.
This tournament has been a true Mexican experience with warm welcomes from the moment we got to Mexico. I could go on raving about their friendliness, hospitality, happy nature and not forgetting the amazing food! A beautiful country to explore and wonderful people to meet. I completely enjoyed my stay in Mexico and I can’t wait to be back for the next one!
On to Doha next week for the Qatar Classic!