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)

Carol Weymuller: Round 1 Results

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RESULTS: Carol Weymuller Open, Brooklyn, NY, USA

1st round:
[1] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt Line Hansen (DEN) 11-8, 11-5, 11-4
[8] Rebecca Chiu (HKG) bt [Q] Suzie Pierrepont (ENG) 11-5, 11-3, 12-10
[4] Kasey Brown (AUS) bt [Q] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 11-8, 11-4, 11-8
[7] Samantha Teran (MEX) bt Latasha Khan (USA) 5-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-7
[5] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt [Q] Olivia Blatchford (USA) 11-5, 11-5, 11-8
[3] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Emma Beddoes (ENG) 11-4, 11-6, 14-12
[Q] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [6] Engy Kheirallah (EGY) 11-7, 11-9, 11-8
[2] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Tania Bailey (ENG) 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 5-3 ret.

El Tayeb Takes Out Kheirallah In New York Upset

Egyptian teenager Nour El Tayeb celebrated one of her best ever wins by upsetting senior compatriot Engy Kheirallah in the opening round of the Women’s Carol Weymuller Open, the $42,450 WISPA World Tour squash event atHeights Casino in Brooklyn, New York.

In her maiden appearance in the established event which was launched in 1993, the 17-year-old qualifier from Cairo despatched sixth seed Kheirallah, ranked 12 in the world, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8.

“I don’t know what to say – I’ve never beaten Engy before,” said the excited Egyptian youngster who will now play Cairo-based Australian Rachael Grinham for a place in the semi-finals.

“She wasn’t at her best today and hit the tin a couple of times. I think that I played well, it was important to play a good length because she cuts it off so well.

“I have to play Rachael tomorrow,” added El Tayeb. “She is my favourite player! I hope that it is a good match!”

Old rivalry...

Second seed Grinham came through at the expense of England’s Tania Bailey after the unseeded former world No4 had to concede the match midway through the fourth game after experiencing breathing difficulties.

“It’s a shame the match had to end like that,” said Grinham, the 2006 champion. “She’s such an experienced player and fights so hard – so even if you are ahead you can’t let her in at all.

“I haven’t played Nour in a while, but I’m just happy to be back in court. Last week was my first WISPA event back after pulling my calf and being out for six weeks!”

Local interest in the event was represented by 17-year-old qualifiers Amanda Sobhy and Olivia Blatchford, and experienced former US national champion Latasha Khan.

Sobhy, the world junior champion from New York, put up a brave fight against Kasey Brown but went down 11-8, 11-4, 11-8 to the fast-improving fourth seed from Australia – while Egypt’s fifth seed Raneem El Weleily was too strong for Blatchford, winning 11-5, 11-5, 11-8.

But 37-year-old Khan gave seventh seed Samantha Teran a scare by taking the opening two games – before the Mexican upped her game to battle to a 5-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 win to earn her place in the quarter-finals.

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v [8] Rebecca Chiu (HKG)
[4] Kasey Brown (AUS) v [7] Samantha Teran (MEX)
[3] Laura Massaro (ENG) v [5] Raneem El Weleily (EGY)
[2] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v [Q] Nour El Tayeb (EGY)

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