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)

Dutch Open: Quarters Report

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RESULTS: Dutch Open, Rotterdam, Netherlands

[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [8] Manuela Manetta (ITA) 11-7, 11-1, 11-7 (29m)
[4] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt [5] Sarah Kippax (ENG) 11-3, 6-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5 (51m)
[3] Natalie Grinham (NED) bt Orla Noom (NED) 11-8, 11-6, 11-5 (31m)
[2] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [6] Aisling Blake (IRL) 11-3, 11-9, 11-7 (39m)

Vanessa Tested In Dutch Open Quarters

Dutch champion Vanessa Atkinson was taken the full distance in the Women’s Dutch Open before securing her anticipated place in the semi-finals of the $25,300 WISPA World Tour squash event at Victoria Squash in the city of Rotterdam.

The crowd were out in force to see Atkinson set out on the next leg of her quest to claim a second Dutch Open title in her final outing in the event. Winner of the title 2002, the former world champion and world number one from The Hague has gone on to compete in the event every year since then, reaching the final again in 2003.

It started off well for the third seed against Sarah Kippax, well in control in a first game in which the fifth seed from England was struggling to get a foothold. That foothold was all but given to her as Atkinson made a series of unforced errors at the start off the second, and soon Kippax led 7-1.

The world No24 from Halifax, went on to open up a 2/1 lead – but the Dutch star came out in the fourth showing every sign of a fight back, leading 7-1, then 10-4. The crowd, and Vanessa herself, were getting nervous as Sarah pulled back point by point. Two delicate drops from midcourt brought her to within a point, but a third attempt was picked up and despatched by Vanessa.

There was less anxiety about the fifth – Atkinson raced to 10-4 and finished on the second attempt after 51 minutes.

“I felt quite tired at the start of the match,” admitted Atkinson after her 11-3, 6-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5 victory. “I was setting a high pace and the nervous energy from the support got to me a bit I think. But it was working, I stepped back a bit in the second, I should have kept going, that gave her some confidence and made a bit of a momentum shift.

“The third was close all the way, but I played a good fourth and knew the fifth would be tough as I was starting to feel it physically then. Fortunately I got a few quick points at the start. It’s great having everyone here, and a relief too as I normally lose when my parents come to watch,” added the UK-based world No8.

Atkinson will face favourite Rachael Grinham for a place in her third final after the Australian despatched Manuela Manetta, the No8 seed from Italy, 11-7, 11-1, 11-7 in 29 minutes.

Rachael’s younger sister Natalie Grinham, playing under the Dutch flag, showed her six-month-old son Kieran that her comeback is gathering strength as she won the all-Dutch battle with Orla Noom.

The unseeded 25-year-old from Hoofddorp was unable to repeat her heroics of the previous day – when she upset seventh seed Latasha Khan – but still gave former world number two Grinham a good workout.

After her 11-8, 11-6, 11-5 win, Grinham junior will face second seed Madeline Perry – who survived another all-Irish battle with Aisling Blake, beating the sixth seed 11-3, 11-9, 11-7.

Semi-final line-up:
[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v [4] Vanessa Atkinson (NED)
[2] Madeline Perry (IRL) v [3] Natalie Grinham (NED)

For all the latest news, visit the official event site: www.dutchopensquash.nl

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