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: Semi Finals

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RESULTS: Commonwealth Games Squash Championships, Delhi, India

Men’s semi-finals:
[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [3] Peter Barker (ENG)
11-9, 11-2, 11-9 (60m)

[2] James Willstrop (ENG)bt [6] Azlan Iskandar (MAS)
11-4, 11-7, 11-5 (43m)

Women’s semi-finals:
[2] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [3] Alison Waters [ENG]
6/11, 12/10, 11/9, 11/4 (56:30 mins)

[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [6] Kasey Brown (AUS)
11/6, 11/3, 11/3 (37:20 mins)

Going for Gold

We arrived on time for the first match of the day… the all-England semi finals; Jenny Duncalf versus Alison Waters, second seed versus third seed. The first set started off with some really long rallies… great to watch but it was a straight game with Alison dominating throughout with strong volleys and nicks, winning it 11/6 in 13 minutes.

The second set started off in Jenny’s favour… Alison seemed a little out of sorts, but she was still moving well and astounded the crowd with her signature cracking volleys. There was a little Indian girl sitting next to me who was rooting for Ali or rather the “white one” as in reference to Alison’s outfit however Jenny’s shots started coming in at 4-4 and looked completely dangerous from then onwards. It was some of the most impressive squash displayed and it was obvious the crowd was enjoying the show. It was point-for-point until 10-10 when Jenny pushed through to take it to 12-10 with a nice lob to the back for the win.

The third set saw Jenny picking up some momentum in her pace. Alison played some great deceptive shots and beautiful volleys; out positioning Jenny on numerous occasions, but it was clear that Jenny was in charge throughout. At the end of the third, Jenny was just playing winners after winners and Alison tinned the last point. It was obvious in the fourth and final set, which English lass would be the one to take a place in the finals of the Commonwealth Games. Although Alison set the pace from the start of the set, Jenny picked up 5 points in a row from 3-3 onwards. The girls were mixing the shots all up, to the delight of the crowd; our eyes found it hard to keep track of the moving all over court following the ball as it was pushed through deep lengths and high lobs to low drops and the sudden quick volley only to be lobbed back again to the back. At the end of the exhausting rallies, Alison started making some unforced errors, tinning crosscourt drives twice in a row. Having said that, this game was delightful to watch.

“Obviously it’s great to be in the Commonwealth Games final – tomorrow will be one of the highlights of my career,” said Jenny after the game.

“It was a bit of a funny game as Ali got a twinge in her Achilles – was a bit of a tough match trying not to think of her. It was a bit unsettling, but getting the second game was really important.”

“We’re extremely competitive – but best mates off court,” she added.

However on her chances in the finals, “I’m just looking forward to it – whoever I’ve got.  I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. I’ve felt good this tournament – I really like the court and the arena’s great, and I don’t think I’ve had too many hard matches.”

When asked if she was playing as well as when she beat Nicol David twice in 2009, “I’m never totally sure how I’m playing.  But I definitely had to play well to beat Ali – she’s a great player technically and physically.  She really dominated me in the first game.”

Winning gold would be unbelievable. It would be the highlight of my career. We’re all desperate to win gold …”

Alison Waters who will be playing Kasey Brown for the bronze commented,

“I felt a twinge in my Achilles in the second game – and this really hampered my movement.

If I’d won the second game, it would have made a big difference. I still felt I was in it – the third game was close, I felt I was playing really well.

I’m now concentrating on bronze.”

When asked if team mate Jenny would be able to win it in the finals, “I hope so – she’s playing well.”

Nicol David on the other hand delivered another straight sets win against the surprise semi finalist, Kasey Brown.

[Click to view the last few points of the game]

“I was playing really well to stay with her, moving well and hitting the ball well. I felt good and I had a really good run today.”

She had more than a good run. The overall scoreline definitely did not reflect the way Nicol was pushed by the young Australian. Kasey was working the court and made the best of what she could with Nicol’s tight rallies but was out-manouvered by the world champion at the end of the day.

Mentally Nicol is very strong – and physically too.  She’s also very quick and consistent.  You feel you have to win five points before you get one.

All this experience is going to help me in the future, maybe next time I can win gold.”

On winning the gold, Nicol humbly replied, “I’m glad to be in the final – but it’s going to be a battle. Just one more push!”

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