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)

New Irish Open Champion – Nour El Tayeb

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And so we come to Finals day here at Fitzwilliam, certainly not the games we were expecting but I
am sure they will still be very entertaining.

Finals Result from Cannon Kirk Homes Irish Open 2011:
[4] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) beat [3] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) 13/15, 5/11, 11/8, 13/11, 16/14. 110 mins.

The women’s final today was between no 3 seed Jaclyn Hawkes, 28, and ranked #15, and No4 seed Nour El Tayeb, the 18 year old Egyptian just moved up to 20 in the rankings.

From the start Jaclyn showed her experience and maturity, easing in to a 5/1 lead then 7/4, but with some excellent shots
from both players and Nour using her youthful energy she pulled back to 7/7. With the large crowd getting excited with every rally, the score moved up to 8/8, 9/9 then 10/9 game ball to Jaclyn. Nour saved that one, Jaclyn got another, Nour saved again, 12/12. Same again to 13/13, but then with Nour putting the last rally out of court Jaclyn finally took the game 15/13.

In the second game Nour started making a few mistakes with several shots into the tin, and Jaclyn moved to 5/2, then to 9/4,
Nour took the next point but gave the serve back to Jaclyn with another tin, and Jaclyn served out to win 11/5.

Third game and Jaclyn again showed her experience, easing in to a 5/1 lead, Nour levelled to 5/5 then Jaclyn took the next three points to lead 8/5, only three points required for victory. For some unknown reason the whole match seemed to change at this point, Nour started making her shots count and with the aid of two tins from Jaclyn and a stroke call she went on to take the game

The fourth game was fairly even up to 6/5 in Nour’s favour then she eased out to lead 9/5, Jaclyn pulled back to 8/9 before Nour got her first game ball at 10/8. Jaclyn held out to level 10/10 aided by a stroke call, then took match ball with a tin from Nour, but then Nour got two stroke calls in her favour and finished off the game to win 13/11. Nobody expected the fireworks that we were entertained with in the final game. Nour eased to a 7/4 lead despite giving Jaclyn two points with tins, but then she was visibly struck with a very bad attack of cramp in her left leg and with a couple of tinned shots from Nour, Jaclyn moved in to an 8/7 lead.

With Nour struggling valiantly with her cramp she still managed to drag back to lead 9/8, aided again by one tin from Jaclyn, but then Jaclyn went on the attack again with a lovely long drop shot and a stroke call she got the first match ball at 10/9. I wish I could describe the remainder of this match in detail, but there is far too much. Suffice to say that with some great squash from both players, both of them visibly tiring and Nour virtually playing on one leg, the lead changed hands several times before Nour managed two points together to take the game 16/14, and the match 3 games to 2, in 1 hour and 50 minutes, by far the longest women’s match I have ever seen.

The crowd gave both players a standing ovation as they came off court, richly deserved, and Jaclyn showed abundant grace in accepting defeat. What a fantastic match with a very worthy winner. Both players after the match were congratulated by Irish Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Ms Frances Fitzgerald, who had attended the match.

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