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)

Sharm El Sheikh: Quarter Finals Report

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RESULTS: Sharm El Sheikh Open, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

[1] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [7] Victoria Lust (ENG) 11-4, 11-6, 11-4 (25m)
[4] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [5] Kanzy Emad El-Defrawy (EGY) 12-10, 11-7, 13-11 (38m)
[6] Heba El Torky (EGY) bt [Q] Salma Hany (EGY) 7-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 5-0 ret. (56m)
[2] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt [8] Lucie Fialova (CZE) 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 (22m)

Egyptians Close In On Massaro In Sharm El Sheikh

Laura, returning Victoria's shot.

England’s top seed Laura Massaro stands in the way of a local winner of the Women’s Sharm El Sheikh Open after Egyptians claimed the remaining three semi-final places in the $29,500 WISPA World Tour squash event at the Laguna Vista Hotel in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh.

Massaro, the world No9 from Preston, defeated seventh-seeded compatriot Victoria Lust 11-4, 11-6, 11-4 and will now face fourth seed Nour El Tayeb for a place in the final.

El Tayeb, the 17-year-old from Cairo who leapt into the top 20 for the first time this month, beat fellow Egyptian Kanzy Emad El-Defrawy, the fifth seed, 12-10, 11-7, 13-11.

The other all-Egyptian semi features second seed Raneem El Weleily and Heba El Torky. But sixth seed El Torky stared defeat in the face at two-love down to 18-year-old qualifier Salma Hany. The 19-year-old from Alexandria battled back to take the next two games, however, and led 5-0 in the decider when Hany was forced to concede the match after sustaining a thigh injury.

El Weleily, the world No11 from Alexandria, recorded a commanding win over Lucie Fialova, beating the eighth seed from the Czech Republic 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 in just 22 minutes.

Semi-final line-up:
[1] Laura Massaro (ENG) v [4] Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
[2] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) v [6] Heba El Torky (EGY)