Waters Wins Biggest Career Title At Carol Weymuller
was appropriately at Heights Casino in New York that
England's Alison Waters recorded a new high in her
illustrious squash career - winning the WSA Gold 50 Carol
Weymuller Open to claim her 10th, but biggest, Tour title.
The 30-year-old Londoner reached a career-high world No3 ranking in
October 2010 - but just a year later saw her ranking plummet to 44
after taking time out to recover from an Achilles injury.
Waters was back in the world top five by the end of 2012 - since
when she has won a fourth British National Championship title
and, in August, secured a silver Commonwealth Games medal in
the Mixed Doubles in Scotland.
Seeded three, the world No7 made her New York breakthrough in the
semi-finals, where she ousted Egypt's world No3 Raneem El Welily
to set up a final meeting with Omneya Abdel Kawy, the fifth
seed from Egypt.
The pair's competitive history goes back to January 1998 when they
met in the final of the British Junior U14 Open - with the
Egyptian recording a 6-9, 9-1, 9-4, 9-6 victory! Waters held a 10-5
Tour head-to-head advantage going into the match - and was the
winner of their most recent clash earlier this year in five games.
"The first game started a little gingerly with both players trying
to find their rhythm, but they soon settled into some wonderful,
long and skilful rallies," reported tournament organiser Linda
Elriani. "The points went back and forth evenly until 7-7 with
an array of different winners around the court. Ali was
concentrating on keeping the ball out the middle where Omneya is so
deadly and managed to do so for the most part but as soon as the
ball was off the wall Omneya would step in with her volley drops and
finish the point."
World No14 Abdel Kawy (pictured above, right, with Waters)
won the first game and moved through to game-ball at 10-8 in the
"But Ali wasn't about to give up," continued Elriani. "With an
amazing counter drop from Ali, a couple of tins from Omneya and a
perfect forehand drop, Ali snatched away the second game from under
Omneya's nose to win 12-10."
Precise play from Waters in the third saw the Londoner move ahead
"The fourth game was a complete 360 degree turn at the beginning,
with Omneya getting a very fast and easy lead of 6-1, mainly from
Ali's unforced errors. Omneya continued through and at 8-3 we were
definitely all thinking that this match was going to five games,"
"Yet once again Ali was not going to give up lightly, she pushed up
the court, started to volley more, took some wonderful short shots
in and changed the momentum in her favour. Ali went from 4 to 9 in
one hand and with the game now at 9-9 we wondered who would play
these last big points the best.
'no let' took Ali to her first match ball! Ali got slightly edgy and
hit a tin to even it out again at 10-10. Ali took advantage of a
slight opening that Omneya gave her, hitting a powerful winning
forehand kill to gave her a second match ball. There was a great
rally from both players trying to outmanoeuvre one another but a
loose ball on the backhand from Omneya got Ali a stroke to take the
final point she needed to become the 2014 Carol Weymuller Open
Comeback-Queen Waters was overjoyed with her victory: "I'm really,
really delighted to have won! It's been two years since I won a
title and to win it here of all places is extra special!!
"It was another tough match: Omneya played really well and I could
have gone 2/0 down! I'm pleased with how I stuck in there and just
kept going, which was key all week in all my matches. That's what
I'm most happy with, is my attitude and commitment to it.
"I'm off to Philadelphia on Thursday for the US Open, so hopefully I
can take this forward for next week."
Cairo-based Abdel Kawy was pleased overall with her Carol Weymuller
campaign: "I wanted to finish it good, but it was still a good week.
I was playing well and took the first game and in the second I was
up 10-8 and my head started to think stuff!!
"So I put pressure on myself - which was the last thing I wanted to
do this week. But it happened and my shots weren't working as well
as when I was relaxed. My volley drop was great and in the end it
wasn't as accurate.
"Ali played really well, she pushed hard and I think that she felt
when I got tense and that's where she pushed and pressured me while
I wasn't relaxed. Overall this week was great for me and hopefully
I'll continue playing good squash and keep going and enjoying it!"
Carol Weymuller Open images courtesy of Jean Ervasti
Abdel Kawy & Waters Set Up Surprise Carol Weymuller
The semi-final exit of the event's top two seeds has led to a
surprise Anglo/Egyptian Carol Weymuller Open final between
third seed Alison Waters and No5 seed Omneya Abdel Kawy
- with both players celebrating notable WSA World Tour
milestones in the climax of the long-established WSA Gold 50
squash event at Heights Casino in New York.
Londoner Waters recovered from two games down to beat second-seeded
Egyptian Raneem El Welily 7-11, 9-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-3 to
reach the 20th Tour final of her career, whilst Cairo-based Abdel
Kawy will celebrate her 30th Tour final after seeing off top seed
Laura Massaro, the reigning world champion from England, 11-2,
7-11, 11-8, 11-5.
World No7 Waters led El Welily 7-2 in their Tour head-to-head record
going into the first semi - but the world No3 from Cairo won 3/0 the
previous time they played back in February 2013.
"The match started very well for Raneem with great control,
wonderful flowing movement and a series of amazing winners all over
the court taking her to 10-4 game ball quite quickly," reported
tournament organiser Linda Elriani. "Alison did her best to
stick in there, weather the storm and pin Raneem in the back. Ali
managed to climb back from 4 to 7 but she couldn't stop Raneem from
taking the first game 11-7."
Welily continued to dominate in the second to move 2/0 ahead - and
led 3-0 in the third.
"Ali climbed back from 0 to 7 in one hand with a combination of her
own great play and also errors from Raneem," Elriani continued.
Waters (pictured above in action with El Welily) duly took
the third, then the fourth to draw level.
"Ali's momentum and confidence seemed to be growing and she started
off the fifth game exactly the way you always hope you can by taking
a 3-0 lead," said Elriani. "With a couple of great dying lengths and
precise drop shots from Ali and many errors from Raneem, Ali went
through from 4 to 11 in one hand to take the match and win herself a
much deserved place in the 2014 Carol Weymuller final!"
delighted Waters, now in her first Tour final for more than a year
and a half, said later: "Being 2/0 down I still felt confident
because I had played well in the first two. I knew that if I kept
persevering I could get the errors from her, especially as I knew
she'd had a tough match last night - I told myself to keeping
"It's nice to be in the final. It's been a while so I'm really
excited and looking forward to it!"
Favourite Massaro came into the second semi after being taken the
full distance in the previous round by rising Egyptian star Salma
Hany Ibrahim, an 18-year-od qualifier.
"Laura looked a little flat and was not getting onto the short shots
the way she had been last night and was hitting her shots very one
paced, where usually Laura has the ability to vary the pace and
control the game so well," commented Elriani. "With a series of
wonderful winners Omneya flew away with the first game 11-2."
World No2 Massaro struck back in the second to draw level - but from
six-all in the third it was underdog Abdel Kawy, ranked 12 places
lower, who prevailed to regain the lead.
"In the fourth, Omneya's confidence was at its highest and she hit
so many great winners from spectacular holds, forcing Laura out of
position," Elriani continued. "Laura as always kept fighting to
regain her control but today it was Omneya's day for sure and she
went through in style to win the fourth and final game 11-5."
Abdel Kawy (pictured above with Massaro), now in her second
WSA final of the year, but looking for her first title for four
years, was delighted: "I really was enjoying it! When I won the
first I wasn't thinking about winning or losing. Then in the second
I started to think about this, so it messed up my game and she
played really well in the second too.
"But I tried to get back in the second game at 7-0 down so that even
if I lost the game, she knew I was still in the match.
"I'm happy to win this one," added the 29-year-old. "It's my first
gold final in a long time, maybe since 2010. So tomorrow, no
pressure, just relax and enjoy it!"
Waters and Abdel Kawy have been battling on the WSA World Tour for
almost 11 years, with the Londoner currently boasting a 10-5 head to
But their rivalry goes back to January 1998 when the pair met in the
British Junior U14 Open final - with the Egyptian recording a
6-9, 9-1, 9-4, 9-6 victory!
Carol Weymuller Open images courtesy of Jean Ervasti
Pressure-Free Omneya Nullifies Nour In New York
was a determinedly-relaxed Omneya Abdel Kawy who held off the
challenge of higher-ranked fellow Egyptian Nour El Tayeb in
the quarter-finals of the Carol Weymuller Open to claim a
first-time appearance in the semi-finals of the long-established
WSA Gold 50 squash event at Heights Casino in New York.
Fifth seed Abdel Kawy held a 6-2 head-to-head advantage over her
younger Cairo colleague going into the match - but it was El Tayeb
who had the upper hand in last month's clash in the Atlantis Open
on home soil, and the 21-year-old qualifier who now boasts a higher
world ranking of eight after a sensational recent run on the WSA
"The control of the match kept switching back and forth between the
players, with Omneya playing a great first game, with some very
powerful lengths and lovely holds which worked Nour out of
position," reported tournament organiser Linda Elriani.
"There was some lovely squash from both players but Omneya was more
in control and won the first game 11-8.
"In the second it was Nour's turn to take control and Omneya made a
whole bunch of unforced errors to give Nour a 7-1 lead. Omneya found
her game a little at the end but Nour finished the game with a great
deceptive cross court that sent Omneya the wrong way, winning 11-4."
The 29-year-old world No14 (pictured above in action with El
Tayeb) went on to take the next two games to secure her 11-8,
4-11, 11-8, 11-9 victory.
Later, Abdel Kawy revealed the secret of her success: "It's lack of
pressure: this week I've told myself 'Omneya just relax and enjoy' -
and it's worked!
feel good inside the court and I'm enjoying every shot in the rally.
Even if it's a long rally, I'm not pressurising myself to win on the
Looking forward to her next match, Abdel Kawy added: "I just played
Salma recently and won 11-9 in the fifth and I haven't played Laura
for a while since the British Open last year. So let's see who wins
and enjoy it tomorrow!"
The opponent was soon revealed when top seed Laura Massaro
also held off the challenge of a young Egyptian qualifier when the
reigning world champion from England beat 18-year-old Salma Hany
Ibrahim 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 11-4.
"I'm really pleased to come through in the end," said world No2
Massaro (pictured above, left, with Ibrahim) afterwards. "I
felt like I was dominating in the first two games and I just lost a
little bit of my focus. I just tried to get my body language up and
find a bit of composure towards the end.
"I'm really happy to be in the semis," added the 2012 champion.
"It's all a bonus from here!"
The other semi will also be an Anglo/Egyptian affair when Londoner
Alison Waters, the third seed, takes on 2011 champion
Raneem El Welily, the No2 seed from Cairo.
Both players had faced WSA opponents for the first time - Waters
despatching Guyana's top-ranked player Nicolette Fernandes
14-12, 11-2, 11-4, while El Welily twice had to fight back from
behind to overcome England's Emma Beddoes 13-15, 11-6, 7-11,
knew Nicolette had had a monster match last night so I knew a tough
first game would take it out of her, which it did," explained world
No7 Waters later. "But she still sticks in and keeps going, which I
knew she would. I was quite pleased to play well and close out the
"I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Raneem is obviously a great
player. We haven't played in a while so I'm looking forward to
getting stuck in there!"
Welily's response after surviving her close encounter was brief and
succinct: "Thank God!" said the 25-year-old world No3.
Brit Beddoes Blasts US Hope Sobhy To Make Carol
England's unseeded Emma Beddoes denied US number one
Amanda Sobhy her first ever appearance in the quarter-finals of
the Carol Weymuller Open in her home town New York
when she upset the No8 seed on the second day of first round action
in the long-established WSA Gold 50 squash event at
Sobhy, 21, has enjoyed a remarkable recent run on the WSA World
Tour - reaching the semi-finals of the Malaysian Open and
Hong Kong Open (both World Series events) against
expectations and breaking into the world top 10, all while studying
full-time at Harvard University!
"Amanda is definitely playing the best squash of her life with
recent big wins over top 10 players but Emma was looking very fit,
focused and ready for the match," reported tournament organiser
"Emma started the match very well, with incredible movement,
especially into the front and steady tight length. She really took
the T away from Amanda, which is where she is deadly with her volley
drops and kills. The rallies were hard fought but Emma definitely
managed to keep the pressure on Amanda and force some errors. Emma
won the first game 11-7."
Beddoes, the world No20 from Leeds (pictured above, right, with
Sobhy), maintained the upper hand throughout and closed out the
match 11-7, 12-10, 11-4.
"Obviously I'm really pleased," the triumphant 29-year-old told
Elriani later. "First two games were really tight and I managed to
stick in there and keep it tight, particularly at crucial times.
have so much respect for the fact that Amanda is at Harvard and also
in the world top 10! She had a great summer and I was expecting a
despondent Sobhy told her Twitter followers later: "You know how
some players have a specific tournament where they always lose in?
Well Carol Weymuller is that tournament for me #seeunextyear"
her first Carol Weymuller quarter-final, Beddoes will face Raneem
El Welily, the No2 seed from Egypt who was the event's champion
in 2011. The 25-year-old world No3 from Cairo beat Mexican qualifier
Samantha Teran 11-5, 11-7, 11-4.
"I've never played Raneem - she's the only player that I haven't
played," added Beddoes. "I'll be expecting some nicks, but I'll be
ready for them!"
There was a further upset for the Heights Casino crowd to savour
when unseeded Nicolette Fernandes overcame event veteran
Rachael Grinham, the No7 seed from Australia, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8,
Grinham, the 37-year-old former world number one from Queensland, is
celebrating her 12th appearance at Heights Casino after making her
debut in 1996 and claiming the trophy ten years later!
win against Rachael is amazing as half the time you don't know where
the ball is going," said the jubilant Fernandes, the world No22 from
Guyana. "You just have to focus on what you are trying to do. I
really enjoy this tournament and I think that it shows as every time
I play well."
Fernandes, who is also now looking forward to her first
quarter-final appearance in the championship, will face England's
Alison Waters, the third seed from London who ousted Denmark's
Line Hansen(both pictured in action above) 11-6,
haven't played Ali in a while," continued Fernandes. "I love to play
someone I haven't played for a while - so bring it on!!!"
'Man Up' Cry Sees Salma Through In New York
was after telling herself to 'man up' in her opening match in the
Carol Weymuller Open in the USA that Egyptian teenager Salma
Hany Ibrahim was able to pull off a notable upset over England's
former world No2 Jenny Duncalf to reach the quarter-finals of
the long-established WSA Gold 50 squash event at Heights
Casino in New York.
Founded in 1993, the Carol Weymuller Open boasts a Roll of Honour
featuring all the sport's great names, including Michelle Martin,
Sarah Fitz-Gerald and Nicol David. On the eve of the
first main draw matches, the club staged the inaugural Weymuller
AT-Lunch to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the WSA, hosted by
tournament organiser Linda Elriani.
Ibrahim, an 18-year-old qualifier and the youngest player in the
draw, went into the match again sixth seed Duncalf - the event's
champion in 2009 and 2010 - having beaten the 31-year-old world No16
in five games in their previous encounter in Hong Kong.
"Salma started the match so maturely, way beyond her years,"
reported Elriani. "She played a perfect combination of attacking
shots and patience, without any errors. Jenny was trying to get the
ball deeper but too many cross courts and unforced errors lead the
way to Salma winning the first game 11-6."
The next two games were similarly tight, but the Alexandria
youngster ultimately prevailed 11-6, 11-9, 12-10.
"I'm SO happy to win that match," said the delighted Ibrahim, ranked
31 in the world (pictured above in action with Duncalf).
"After the epic match yesterday I'm so glad to have held myself
together, pushed myself to the limit and keep myself solid until the
didn't want to drop a game as I knew my energy was not full. Jenny
is a tough opponent and a very experienced player and I knew that if
I let her into the game it would be very hard to win.
was so worried after the first game and kept thinking a lot and
there was lots of stuff going on in my mind. Every time I felt the
tiredness, I kept telling myself 'MAN UP' and it's only a few points
away and then you will have the whole day off!"
Ibrahim will now face world champion Laura Massaro, the top
seed from England who held off a national challenge from Sarah
Kippax, beating her England team-mate 11-5, 11-9, 11-8.
"I'm really happy to come off 3/0," said world No2 Massaro
afterwards. "I really feel Sarah is consistent in her play and she
really gets a lot of balls back, so I had to stay calm and play the
big points well.
"I'm looking forward to playing Salma, I've never played her before
and she's obviously playing really well so I'll have to concentrate
on playing the best I can."
There was a further Egyptian upset on the opening night when
qualifier Nour El Tayeb beat experienced Irish opponent
Madeline Perry, the fourth seed ranked 13 in the world, 11-2,
But it was strictly an upset on paper as El Tayeb (pictured
above, left, with Perry) is now ranked eight in the world after
a remarkable WSA Tour run over the past six weeks which saw the
21-year-old from Cairo reach the finals of the Malaysian Open
and Hong Kong Open, both World Series championships.
"In the qualifying, I was feeling tense and I almost lost in the
first round," admitted El Tayeb. "All day today I was telling myself
to enjoy the match. I slept as much as possible to release the
"Madeline is one of the best players on tour and has beaten
everyone! She can come up with great performances, but today she was
tinning more than she usually does.
am playing Omneya next, I didn't want to play her in the first round
but I have to play her now. She's like my big sister and I hope that
we can play a great match."
Omneya Abdel Kawy,
the fifth seed, became the third Egyptian to make the last eight
after dismissing Canadian qualifier Samantha Cornett 11-5,
"She gave me a hard time to win each point and I had to think for
every shot," said Abdel Kawy in response to Elriani's suggestion
that the world No14 from Cairo had made it look so effortless. "At
times she got some openings and I was lucky because she made
mistakes and I took advantage and kept on winning points.
"Hopefully on Saturday I'll play good squash and enjoy the game and
that's all that matters now!" concluded the 29-year-old.
Carol Weymuller Open images courtesy of Jean Ervasti