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)

Qatar Classic: Round 2 Report

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RESULTS: Qatar Classic, Doha, Qatar

2nd round:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [11] Donna Urquhart (AUS) 11-5, 11-4, 11-4 (23m)
[7] Kasey Brown (AUS) bt [9] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) 11-9, 7-11, 13-11, 5-11, 11-6 (67m)
Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [16] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 11-7, 4-11, 11-2, 11-4 (34m)
[13] Joelle King (NZL) bt [5] Camille Serme (FRA) 11-7, 11-8, 11-13, 10-12, 11-8 (70m)
[8] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt [14] Sarah Kippax (ENG) 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 (24m)
[4] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [12] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) 11-5, 12-10, 11-2 (28m)
[6] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Dipika Pallikal (IND) 11-6, 11-5, 15-13 (31m)
[2] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [10] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) 11-8, 12-10, 4-11, 11-4 (41m)

El Tayeb Marches On In Qatar

Egypt’s 17-year-old Nour El Tayeb extended her sensational run in the Women’s Qatar Classic to reach the quarter-finals of the $74,000 WISPA World Tour squash event at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in Doha.

El Tayeb faced 16th seed Nour El Sherbini, the 15-year-old former world junior champion who had previously always held the upper hand over her older national rival.

But, boosted by her maiden win against the Egyptian number one Omneya Abdel Kawy 24 hours earlier, El Tayeb clinched her first victory over El Sherbini in an impressive 11-7, 4-11, 11-2, 11-4 win in 34 minutes.

“Same as yesterday, except for the second when I thought ‘I’m one up against Nour – that never happens’, and I decided to go short too early and she just killed me,” explained the jubilant winner to www.squashsite.co.uk later.

“In the third, I remembered yesterday’s match and started to pin her to the back, and then I could win the points.

“I’m happy to be in the quarters, and I’m not done yet,” added El Tayeb. “To be in the Qatar quarter-finals, that’s something!”

The youngster will now face Joelle King, the 13th seed from New Zealand who upset France’s fifth seed Camille Serme 11-7, 11-8, 11-13, 10-12, 11-8 in 70 minutes in their first meeting on the WISPA Tour.

“I’ve lost so many close matches, and so many from two-nil up – I did that in Hong Kong last week – that I told myself in the fifth I couldn’t let it happen again,” said King. “I wasn’t going to get a chance to play the match again in ten minutes.”

The 22-year-old Kiwi was one of the stars of last month’s Commonwealth Games after winning a gold and silver medal against expectations to become New Zealand’s most successful athlete in Delhi.

“Winning the medals at the Commonwealths has given me a confidence boost I think. The Games are a big thing in New Zealand, so when I get home there’s usually just my Gran and boyfriend waiting for me – but this time, coming back as the most successful New Zealand athlete, it was just huge!

“It’s funny, Nour and I played each other in qualifying here last year – and now we’ll be playing the quarter-finals!”

Top seeds Nicol David and Jenny Duncalf are on course to meet in the final. David, the Malaysian world number one, despatched Australia’s 11th seed Donna Urquhart 11-5, 11-4, 11-4, while – on the eve of her 28th birthday – England’s second seed Jenny Duncalf needed four games to see off New Zealander Jaclyn Hawkes 11-8, 12-10, 4-11, 11-4.

Click on the image for more photos from Qatar.

[1] Nicol David (MAS) v [7] Kasey Brown (AUS)
Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v [13] Joelle King (NZL)
[4] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v [8] Raneem El Weleily (EGY)
[2] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v [6] Laura Massaro (ENG)

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