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: Semi-finals Report

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RESULTS: Torneo International Bicentenario Mexico, Toluca, Mexico

[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [6] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) 12-10, 11-6, 11-6 (31m)
[3] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [5] Kasey Brown (AUS) 8-11, 11-2, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9 (61m)

David & Grinham Renew Rivalry In Mexico Final

The opening semi-final in the first WISPA Gold event ever to be staged in Mexico was a classic affair, with the deft lobs and drops of third seed Grinham countered by the supreme athleticism of Kasey Brown.

The two Aussies traded shot for shot, but despite her five-game win the previous day – when the fifth seed upset second-seeded Englishwoman Jenny Duncalf – it was Brown who came out faster, powering her way through the first.

However, former world number one Grinham is known for her clever play – and, taking the pace off the ball, she deadened Brown’s attack and raced away with the second. Maintaining a similar pattern, Grinham took the third and looked to be cruising to victory at 4-0 in the fourth.

But Brown, winner of three medals in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, had other ideas – and stepped up the court, mixing short sharp volleys with fierce drives as she pegged the game back to 9-9 before drawing level.

Grinham again came out quicker in the decider – and, after the pair were locked at nine-all again for several minutes, it was the more experienced Grinham who pulled away to win 8-11, 11-2, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9 in 61 minutes.

Malaysian starlet Nicol David booked her place in the final with a composed win over talented young Egyptian Raneem El Weleily. The 21-year-old from Alexandria started well with some exquisite squash, striking the ball purely and easing to a 5-2 lead.

However, David hasn’t remained unbeaten for 12 months by panicking at such an early stage – and steadily turned up the pressure on her younger opponent before gaining her 12-10, 11-6, 11-6 victory over the sixth seed.

“It was good to get through in three games,” said the relieved 27-year-old Malaysian afterwards. “I expected at least four as Raneem is so talented. The first was a bonus as she started well.”

Nicol David first met Rachael Grinham in the final of the Milo Open in Kuala Lumpur in 2000 – when Grinham was top seed and 16-year-old David was seeded six. The Australian came out on top – but has since seen David build up a 24-6 career head-to-head lead.

“Nicol and I used to play a lot, but that was when I used to make more finals,” explained 33-year-old Grinham as she looked forward to the Mexican final. “We played in Hong Kong but it will be nice to have another match with her.

“The altitude makes it difficult to decide how tired you feel, so I’m hoping I will be fine tomorrow.”

David will be celebrating her 64th career Tour final in Toluca, while Grinham will be marking her 57th.

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