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)

Punj Lloyd: Quarter Finals Report

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RESULTS: Punj Lloyd WISPA Masters, New Delhi, India

[1] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [7] Joey Chan (HKG) 4-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-2 (47m)
[3] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [6] Low Wee Wern (MAS) 11-7, 11-8, 11-3 (29m)
[5] Annie Au (HKG) bt [4] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) 9-11, 11-7, 15-13, 11-9 (59m)
[2] Kasey Brown (AUS) bt [8] Dipika Pallikal (IND) 11-5, 11-5, 7-11, 7-11, 11-5 (61m)

Au Ousts Hawkes In Masters Upset

Hong Kong’s Annie Au claimed an unexpected place in the semi-finals of the Women’s Punj Lloyd WISPA Masters after upsetting New Zealand’s fourth seed Jaclyn Hawkes in the inaugural $36,500 WISPA World Tour squash championship at the Sirifort CWG Block in New Delhi.

Reproducing the form which saw her win the Seoul Open last week in South Korea, fifth seed Au recovered from a game down to beat Hawkes, the world No12, 9-11, 11-7, 15-13, 11-9 in 59 minutes.

The 21-year-old Asian Games silver medallist will now face second seed Kasey Brown, the world No7 from Australia to whom she has never lost.

Brown brought to an end Indian interest in the event by beating eighth seed Dipika Pallikal. But the 19-year-old from Chennai, ranked 29 in the world, delivered a sensational performance to fight back from two games down to force the match into a fifth game decider.

But Brown, winner of three Commonwealth Games medals on the same court in October, battled back to clinch the match 11-5, 11-5, 7-11, 7-11, 11-5 after 61 minutes.

“Brown won, but whether the Indian crowd or press recognise it, Pallikal’s performance was remarkable,” said noted English coach Malcolm Willstrop on www.squashsite.com “She is a star of the future.”

An all-European clash will take place in the other semi-final when England’s top seed Jenny Duncalf lines up against the top-ranked French player Camille Serme.

Duncalf, the world No2 from Harrogate, beat Hong Kong’s No7 seed Joey Chan 4-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-2 while third seed Serme, the world No10, despatched Malaysia’s sixth seed Low Wee Wern 11-7, 11-8, 11-3.

Semi-final line-up:
[1] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v [3] Camille Serme (FRA)
[2] Kasey Brown (AUS) v [5] Annie Au (HKG)