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)

Nicol Delights in Mexico

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RESULTS: Torneo International Bicentenario Mexico, Toluca, Mexico

[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [3] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 12-10, 11-4, 11-5 (35m)

Nicol David Celebrates Maiden Triumph In Mexico

Malaysia’s Nicol David moved ahead of her Tour title tally in 2009 when she picked up her eighth WISPA World Tour squash trophy of the year by beating Australian rival Rachael Grinham in the final of the inaugural Women’s Torneo International Bicentenario Mexico at the Plaza Civica de Toluca in Toluca.

Unbeaten in any event so far in 2010, the world number one from Penang arrived in Mexico fresh from her maiden gold medal success in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

And in the first WISPA Gold event ever to be staged in Mexico, David notched up her 34th successive match win with a 12-10, 11-4, 11-5 victory over world No5 Grinham in 35 minutes.

“As with the semi-final, it was important to win the first game as I know how dangerous Rachael can be and I just had to keep getting her shots back,” explained David after recording the 49th Tour title success of her career.

“It has been great to have so many Mexican fans here, and I want to thank everyone that has been involved in the event as it is fantastic – the setting, the crowds and everything,” continued the 27-year-old.

“I had been talking to Samantha (Teran) about getting an event here and now she has made it happen. I played an exhibition with her here two years ago and I could see the enthusiasm then, so I knew it would be a fun event for all the girls.”

Grinham, the former world number one from Queensland who has now faced the Malaysian 31 times over the past ten years, was upbeat after the match: “It’s nice to get to a final again, and I am motivated at the moment and want to keep enjoying my squash so hopefully there will be some more.”

“Nicol has proved she is the best in the world, so all you can do is to try and make her work as hard as possible to beat you.”