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)

US Open 2010: Quarter-finals Outcome

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RESULTS: METROsquash US Open, Chicago, USA

Manuela Manetta (ITA) bt [6] Latasha Khan (USA) 6-11, 11-3, 6-11, 11-4, 12-10
[8] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [4] Aisling Blake (IRL) 15-13, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7
[5] Line Hansen (DEN) bt [3] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) 8-11, 16-14, 11-5, 11-8 (42m)
[2] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt [7] Emma Beddoes (ENG) 12-10, 11-8, 14-12 (44m)

Sobhy Sails Into US Open Semis

New York teenager Amanda Sobhy upset Ireland’s No4 seed Aisling Blake in the quarter-finals of the METROsquash Women’s US Open to become the first US-born woman to reach the semi-finals of the country’s longest-established squash tournament for at least 17 years.

The 17-year-old eighth seed, the reigning World Junior champion, dug deep to overcome world No27 Blake 15-13, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7 on the first day of action in the $36,500 WISPA World Tour event at Millennium Park in Chicago.

“It’s really great to get into a semi-final of a tournament that’s being held in my home country,” said the rising star of US squash after her stunning win. “So many people know me and are rooting for me just because I’m from the US. It’s nice to have this much support at home.”

The world No36 now faces Manuela Manetta, the unseeded Italian who pulled of her second successive upset in the event by beating Sobhy’s compatriot Latasha Khan, the sixth seed from Seattle, 6-11, 11-3, 6-11, 11-4, 12-10.

“As far as my semi-final match, I’m really hoping to make it into the finals – something I know I am very capable of doing,” added the confident young New Yorker.

The other semi-final will also feature an unexpected line-up after fifth-seeded Dane Line Hansen upset France’s No3 seedIsabelle Stoehr 8-11, 16-14, 11-5, 11-8.

Hansen will face second seed Vanessa Atkinson after the rejuvenated Dutch star, a former world number one and world champion, beat England’s No7 seed Emma Beddoes 12-10, 11-8, 14-12.

Semi-final line-up:
Manuela Manetta (ITA) v [8] Amanda Sobhy (USA)
[2] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) v [5] Line Hansen (DEN)

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