RESULTS: Commonwealth Games Squash Championships, Delhi, India
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt  Peter Barker (ENG)
11-9, 11-2, 11-9 (60m)
 James Willstrop (ENG)bt  Azlan Iskandar (MAS)
11-4, 11-7, 11-5 (43m)
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt  Alison Waters [ENG]
6/11, 12/10, 11/9, 11/4 (56:30 mins)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  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!”