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)

World Open 2010: Straight Sets in the Semis

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RESULTS: Soho Square World Open, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [3] Alison Waters (ENG)
14-12, 11-2, 11-6 (38m)
[4] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt [9] Camille Serme (FRA)
11-4, 11-7, 11-6 (26m)

Abdel Kawy Sets Up Dream World Final In Sharm El Sheikh

Ecstatic home crowd

Omneya Abdel Kawy provided the dream climax to the $147,000 Soho Square Women’s World Open Squash Championship in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Soho Square at Sharm El Sheikh by becoming the first Egyptian to reach a World Open final in the event’s maiden staging in her home country.

A beaten quarter-finalist for the past five year, the 25-year-old from Cairo finally secured her place in the last four of the richest ever WISPA World Tour squash event when she defeated rising Australian star Kasey Brown.

A gritty Omneya makes history as the first Egyptian woman to make it to a World Open final.

But awaiting the fourth seed in the next round was event giant-killer Camille Serme, the No9 seed from Paris who had become France’s first ever semi-finalist after stunning England’s No2 seed Jenny Duncalf.

The Egyptian favourite was in control for most of the match, with Serme at times looking tired, perhaps after her exertions in the quarter-finals. Although the world No9 never let Abdel Kawy streak ahead, in the first two games she was always playing catch-up – and the crowd favourite took advantage to take a two game lead.

Serme made a good start to the third, leading 3-0 and 5-3, but Kawy struck back, and once she had levelled at five-all the result was never in doubt.

“It was the first time I had even been in the World Open semi-final, and I was really focussed,” Abdel Kawy told the official website www.sohosquareworldopen.com/2010 after notching up her 25th WISPA Tour final appearance.

“I put the pressure on myself to deliver and it worked.

“I had to win it,” she added. “My home country, the fans, no way I could lose, no excuses.”

In the final, Abdel Kawy will face defending champion Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia who ended the English challenge with a three-game defeat of third seed Alison Waters.

Waters maintained a slight lead for most of the first game – but, just as in their two previous meetings this year in the Malaysian Open and Singapore Open, was unable to finish it off as David took a 1/0 lead.

Nicol looks ahead to her 5th World Open final

It was downhill thereafter for the top seed as David swept through the second, and ultimately took the third to record the 14-12, 11-2, 11-6 win, and her 16th successive victory over the Londoner.

“I am just glad to be in the final,” said David. “This was definitely a big hurdle to get over. Against Alison I always have to play my best game. It was a difficult match, even though the score doesn’t show it.

“It’s sure to be a tough match with Omneya like it always is,” added the 27-year-old from Penang. “I’ll have to bring everything out of my bag!”

For all the latest information, check out the official website: www.sohosquareworldopen.com/2010