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)

CWG 2010: Round 3, English domination continues!

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RESULTS: Commonwealth Games, Delhi, India

Men’s 3rd round:
[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [10] Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) 10-12, 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 (50m)
[7] Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [14] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (46m)
[3] Peter Barker (ENG) bt [11] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 11-5, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5 (76m)
[8] Stewart Boswell (AUS) bt [13] Farhan Mehboob (PAK) 11-9, 11-6, 11-8 (47m)
[6] Azlan Iskandar (MAS) bt [16] Campbell Grayson (NZL) 11-8, 11-1, 11-3
[4] Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Chris Simpson (GCY) 11-9, 11-5, 11-5
More to follow ….

Women’s 3rd round:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [15] Joshna Chinappa (IND) 11-5, 12-10, 11-7 (29m)
[5] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [16] Alana Miller (CAN) 11-7, 11-4, 11-3 (26m)
[4] Madeline Perry (NIR) bt [13] Lisa Camilleri (AUS) 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 (25m)
[6] Kasey Brown (AUS) bt [11] Delia Arnold (MAS) 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5
[12] Joelle King (NZL) bt [8] Donna Urquhart (AUS) 11-6, 9-11, 11-8, 11-4 (37m)
[3] Alison Waters (ENG) bt Stephanie Edmison (CAN) 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 (17m)
[7] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) bt [9] Low Wee Wern (MAS) 11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 11-4 (62m)
[2] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [10] Sarah Kippax (ENG) 4-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-2 (43m)

England Quartet Through To Commonwealth Games Quarters In Delhi

Team England

It was a good day for England on the all-glass showcourt at the Siri Fort Complex in Delhi today (Tuesday) when four of the country’s top players eased into the quarter-finals of the Commonwealth Games Squash Championships after the first session of third round action in the Indian capital.

There was heartbreak however for the exuberant crowd willing on top-ranked Indian Saurav Ghosal. The 24-year-old from Kolkata, looking for his first career win over England’s Peter Barker, saved two match balls against the third seed before taking the third game.

It was nip and tuck up to four-all in the fourth before Londoner Barker, the world No8, forged ahead to win 11-5, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5 in 76 minutes.

“It was very close in the fourth – but in the end he defended really well and just ended up winning more points,” India’s highest-ranked player of all-time told a crowd of waiting media afterwards.

“I tried to change things in the second game and open up the court a bit. That game was crucial – winning it would have been a massive help – after winning the third I would have been 2/1 up.

“Even though the crowd was shouting for me, Pete kept his head and stayed focussed in the fourth – he was really solid – he played well rather than me playing badly,” explained the world No26.

When asked if this was perhaps the most important match of his life, Ghosal admitted: “It’s right up there, alongside my British Junior Open and Asian Junior Open successes.

“I never like to let go until the final point – I don’t like losing.

“I want to do well in the Mixed Doubles now and hope that Dipika (Pallikal) will be recovered in time. I hope we do well so that it will make a few more people happy,” Ghosal concluded.

Barker had no illusions about the toughness of the game. “He’s had some good results lately – I knew it would be tough,” said the 27-year-old left-hander. “His best points are his touch and his speed.”

England team-mate Nick Matthew followed Barker into the last eight after a victory over Aamir Atlas Khan – but, for the second day running, it took the event favourite four games to get past his opponent.

“He’s a very difficult player – I’ve always found him hard,” said the world No2 from Sheffield after his 10-12, 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 win in 50 minutes over the tenth-seeded Pakistani. Matthew is competing in his first event after an illness forced his withdrawal from a major Tour event in England last month.

“I’ve lost to him before – he plays a lot of winners and it’s hard to get into a rhythm – which is what you’re searching for in these early games.

“Maybe I was a little too passive in the first game,” admitted the 30-year-old who is bidding to win his first Games medal.

“I’m pleased to get through, though I’m not into my top stride yet. But there’s a long way to go.”

When asked how important the Commonwealth Games was to him, Matthew said: “It’s our biggest thing. The highlight of my non-playing career was sitting at home watching Peter Nicol win his first gold medal in 1998.”

Matthew will now faces Cameron Pilley after the No7 seed beat fellow Australian Ryan Cuskelly 11-6, 11-7, 11-8.

“Cameron is another player I’ve lost to a couple of times – he’s one of the hardest hitters of the ball. I’ll definitely need to take it up a level to beat him,” added Matthew.


Alison and Jenny, first through!

Second seed Jenny Duncalf and third seed Alison Waters claimed the first two England wins on the all-glass court. Duncalf, the world No2 from Harrogate, recovered from a game down to beat English compatriot Sarah Kippax, the tenth seed, 4-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-2, while Londoner Waters defeated Stephanie Edmison 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 in her second successive straightforward win over an unseeded Canadian.

“I don’t really know what happened in the first game – I remember that the first rally was pretty long,” Duncalf recalled later. “But I tried to impose myself on the match from the second game and managed to turn things round.

“I’m seeded two so I’m certainly hoping to reach my seeding,” responded the 27-year-old when asked about her chances in the event. “But I’m here to win – I don’t want to be second best.”

On the issue of playing a team-mate, Duncalf explained: “It’s unfortunate we had to play each other. All of us in the team are genuinely good friends. You’d like everyone to do well, but these things happen.

“Being in the Games is really different – it’s great, I love it. There’s a great team spirit – we travelled in this morning with the badminton team, and we were each interested in what the others were doing. It’s a really happy feeling.”

Both English players will play New Zealanders for places in the semi-finals. Duncalf takes on Jaclyn Hawkes after the seventh seed from Auckland beat Malaysia’s Low Wee Wern 11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 11-4, and Waters faces Joelle King, the 12th seed from Cambridge who caused the day’s first upset by defeating Australia’s No8 Donna Urquhart 11-6, 9-11, 11-8, 11-4.

“We’ve had some tough battles over the years – but I was confident,” explained the jubilant 22-year-old afterwards. “This is my first Commonwealth Games and it’s just awesome. It’s fantastic just taking it all in – everything is better than we expected.”

On her forthcoming clash with Waters, Joelle said: “I’ll have to step up my game – she’s not number four in the world for nothing. But I’ll take positives form my game today and give it my best shot.”

For more info, visit the WSF’s dedicated Commonwealth Games site www.cwgsquash.com

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