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)

Monte Carlo: Semi Finals Results

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RESULTS: Monte Carlo Classic, Monte Carlo, Monaco

[1] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt Annelize Naude (NED) 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (27m)
[3] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt [2] Camille Serme (FRA) 9-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9 (48m)

Camille gives Vanessa a run for her money, in Monte Carlo!

Serme Surprise Takes Atkinson Into Fourth Monte Carlo Final

A rejuvenated 34-year-old Vanessa Atkinson pulled off a notable upset over France’s second seed Camille Serme in the Women’s Monte Carlo Classic to earn a fourth appearance in the final of the $25,300 WISPA World Tour squash event in its 15th year at Stade Louis II in Monaco.

The third-seeded Dutch star, taking time away from her English Literature studies at Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK, recovered from a game down to beat 21-year-old Serme, the world No7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9 – and reach the 40th World Tour final of her career!

Atkinson made the Monte Carlo final in her first appearance in the event in 1999 as a qualifier, then won the title in 2005 before finishing as runner-up the following year.

The former world number one and world champion from The Hague, who currently sits in 11th place in the WISPA world list, now faces Egyptian favourite Omneya Abdel Kawy.

Squash Stars Annelize on a Roll!

The 25-year-old from Cairo ended giant-killer Annelize Naude‘s run, beating the unseeded 33-year-old from Amsterdam 11-7, 11-8, 11-8.

Abdel Kawy, currently boasting a career-high world No4 ranking, is aiming to become the first Egyptian to win the established Monte Carlo title – but it is Atkinson who has the edge on their head-to-head record, after winning seven of the eight Tour meetings since 2002.

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