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)

Torneo Bicentenario: Round 1 (Lower half of draw)

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RESULTS: Torneo International Bicentenario Mexico, Toluca, Mexico

1st round (top half of draw):
[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Ivonne Diaz (MEX) 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (22m)
[8] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) bt [Q] Karina Heredia Gonzalez (MEX) 11-2, 11-2, 11-0 (15m)
[4] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt Annie Au (HKG) 11-9, 11-6, 13-11 (25m)
[6] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt Latasha Khan (USA) 11-6, 11-5, 11-9 (22m)

1st round (lower half of draw):
[7] Samantha Teran (MEX) bt [Q] Olivia Blatchford (USA) 11-3, 11-6, 11-5 (23m)
[3] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [Q] Nayelly Hernandez (MEX) 11-1, 12-10, 11-3 (25m)
[5] Kasey Brown (AUS) bt Rebecca Chiu (HKG) 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (22m)
[2] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt Emma Beddoes (ENG) 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 (26m)

Beautiful glass court in Toluca.

Local Star Teran Advances In Toluca

A packed press conference greeted Samantha Teran after the local favourite left the court following her straight games victory over US qualifier Olivia Blatchford in the opening round of the inaugural Women’s Torneo International Bicentenario Mexico, a $67,500 WISPA World Tour squash event at the Estado De Mexico in Toluca.

Spurred in by a crowd chanting ‘Mexico, Mexico’, Teran showed that she is back to full fitness after an ankle injury that ruled her out of last month’s METRO Squash US Open by beating 17-year-old New Yorker Blatchford 11-3, 11-6, 11-5.

“Obviously it is fantastic to play in front of your home crowd, and I really wanted to win for them and everyone who has put so much effort into putting on this event,” said the 29-year-old No7 seed from Mexico City – her country’s highest-ranked woman of all-time.

Earlier, a crowd of over 800 graced Toluca’s Plaza Civica to witness the official opening, followed by the first round of the first WISPA Gold event ever to be staged in Mexico. A host of local dignitaries, including a representative of the Mayor of Toluca Enrique Pena Nieto, aided by World No1 Nicol David and Teran officially opened the proceedings on the Manata All Glass Court.

The play got underway with an impressive display by Australian Kasey Brown. Coming to the event off the back of winning three Commonwealth Games medals in Delhi, Brown was in impressive form in blowing away Hong Kong’s Rebecca Chiu.

At 9000 feet above sea level, the conditions in Toluca clearly didn’t affect Brown as she rattled off an 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 victory in just 22 minutes.

“It’s not often that I win quickly, so it’s great to get through relatively easily as this could prove to be a tough week at altitude,” said the New York-based fifth seed. “Obviously the (singles) bronze in Delhi has given me a lot of confidence so I am looking forward to a good week here.”

England’s world No2 Jenny Duncalf set up a clash with Brown with a straight games victory over compatriot Emma Beddoes. Duncalf, the silver medallist in Delhi, looked in fine fettle as she worked Beddoes around the court before putting the ball away with trademark drops and volley drops.

“It’s a great venue to play in and wonderful to see so many people turn out to watch a squash event,” said Duncalf in the post-match press conference after her 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 victory.

Australia’s former world No1 and world champion Rachael Grinham soon quietened the expectant crowd as she raced through the first game 11-1 against Mexican qualifier Nayelly Hernandez. However, the 24-year-old – ranked 136 places below the Australian – proved she wasn’t overawed by matching her experienced opponent point for point in the second – and indeed holding a game ball at 10/9.

However, Grinham closed out the game and then eased through the third to record an 11-1, 12-10, 11-3 win.

David Dashes Diaz’s Hopes In Toluca

Malaysian favourite Nicol David eased into the quarter-finals of the inaugural Women’s Torneo International Bicentenario Mexico after beating local qualifier star Ivonne Diaz in straight games in the $67,500 WISPA World Tour squash event at the Plaza Civica de Toluca in Toluca.

Appearing in her first Tour event since winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, world number one David despatched Diaz 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 in her opening match in the first WISPA Gold event ever to be staged in Mexico.

At the post-match press conference, David explained how all of the players have arrived early to get used to the altitude. “Although you notice it a little in the first couple of days you start to get used to it,” explained the 27-year-old from Penang. “It’s great to play in such a public and stunning setting, and I am sure that this event will motivate Mexicans to play squash.

“Sam (Teran) has already shown it is possible to be very successful and she is one of the main reasons this event is on. Thanks Sam!”

David will next face eighth seed Jaclyn Hawkes. The New Zealander showed no mercy in progressing to the last eight at the expense of another Mexican, qualifier Karina Heredia Gonzalez, winning 11-2, 11-2, 11-0 in just 15 minutes.

Earlier, Raneem El Weleily started off the second day of first round action in fine form by knocking out USA’s Latasha Khan. The skilful Egyptian seemed unperturbed by the altitude causing the ball to speed off the front wall and cruised to an 11-6, 11-5, 11-9 victory.

The sixth seed will now line up against Ireland’s Madeline Perry. The No4 seed took the first two games against Annie Au, but had to save three game balls against the rising star from Hong Kong before winning 11-9, 11-6, 13-11.

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) v [8] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL)
[4] Madeline Perry (IRL) v [6] Raneem El Weleily (EGY)
[3] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v [7] Samantha Teran (MEX)
[2] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v [5] Kasey Brown (AUS)

PS! Join Our Fan Competition for Mexico!

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