Monte Carlo Classic 2003
19-22 Nov, Monaco, Monte Carlo, $19k 

Sat 22nd Nov, The Final:

[1] Linda Charman (Eng) bt Nicol David (Mas) 
     8/10, 9/1, 9/6, 9/1 (42m)

Charman captures Monaco title
Tired legs versus Fresh Head ...

Twenty year old Nicol David had beaten three seeds, the last two in five games to reach the Monte Carlo Classic final, while Linda Charman had celebrated her birthday on semi finals day by comfortably disposing of Stephanie Brind to reach the last day without dropping a game.

Young possibly tired legs set against an older fresh head.

Both finalists had watched the Rugby World Cup final a few hours earlier; Charman keenly and David a little bewildered by the rules and wincing at the power of the tackles. The question was, would England win the squash final too?

David settled her nerves with two immaculate overhead kills, picked up a couple more points from extended rallies and soon moved to a 6/0 lead in the first in front of a capacity crowd at the Stade Louis II in Monaco.

However, Charman had watched her friend Fiona Geaves compete against David in the semis and began to settle into a better length, employ accurate lobs that demanded boasts and eventually levelled at seven all after a number of lengthy, exciting rallies. At 7/8 David’s impetuous tinned overhead could have cost her the game but Charman soon returned the compliment and it was tied at eight all. David, with matching purple top and bandanna, edged ahead with a wide drive that left her opponent flapping at air and finished the game with a deft backhand drop. First blood to the challenger.

Then the game changed. David stopped thinking, Charman chopped away loose returns and just five minutes later the games were tied.

David refocused and a tighter battle followed in the third game. David was proving immensely frustrating as she chased down every ball, Charman maintaining a conservative approach to keep the Malaysian pinned back until an opening presented itself. The score progressed within no air between the players until three errors at the business end of the game handed it to the English player.

Was David tiring after her two sapping encounters in the previous two rounds? Certainly, chants of “Nicol, Nicol” from the crowd will have buoyed her as she re-entered the court. Smiling, Charman joined in amidst laughter!

Then the serious business continued. Charman raced to a 4/0 lead before David regrouped, but though hands changed points were more difficult for the smaller girl. The score against her just kept creeping up. Soon, a stroke at 7/1 led to a match ball, which Charman took with a rasping cross court to win the Classic at her fourth attempt.

Essentially, it was a match too far for the younger player. As she said afterwards, “I was tired before we started. I tried to push through early but she kept me under pressure and in the end I couldn’t cope”.

The delighted winner paid tribute to David, saying “She has a really good attitude, is strong and fast. What a great personality to have on the circuit. She is getting better and better.

“I started the year winning at Greenwich and it’s nice to have another title. With the Qatar Classic and the World Open coming up it is good to have some hard matches and some good form under my belt before these huge events”, she added.

David had set the event alight with her seed beating exploits, but in the end it was the the top seed who took the spoils.


Charman & David

Annelize Naude points out
the winners' boat ...

All together, now ...
photo from MC Squash

Monte Carlo Classic 2003
19-22 Nov, Monaco, Monte Carlo, $19k
1st Round
Wed 19th
Thu 20th
Fri 21st
Sat 22nd
[1] Linda Charman (Eng)
9/1, 9/2, 9/0 (26m)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Eng)
Linda Charman
9/5, 10/9, 9/6 (60m)
Isabelle Stoehr
Linda Charman

9/0 9/0 9/3 (26m)

Stephanie Brind
Linda Charman


8/10, 9/1, 9/6, 9/1 (42m)


Nicol David

[6] Isabelle Stoehr (Fra)
9/0, 9/3, 9/1 (30m)
[Q] Carla Khan (Pak)
[3] Stephanie Brind (Eng)
9/7, 9/4, 1/9, 9/6 (36m)
Annelize Naude (Ned)
Stephanie Brind
9/3, 9/6, 9/2 (23m)
Alison Waters
[5] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)
9/3, 2/9, 9/5, 9/1 (31m)
[Q] Alison Waters (Eng)
[7] Sharon Wee (Mas)
10/8, 9/2, 9/6 (35m)
[Q] Laura Lengthorn (Eng)
Laura Lengthorn
9/0, 9/3, 9/5 (28m)
Fiona Geaves
Fiona Geaves

1/9, 9/2, 9/4, 7/9, 9/3 (54m)

Nicol David
[4] Fiona Geaves (Eng)
3/9, 9/5, 9/6, 10/8 (49m)
Tegwen Malik (Wal)
[8] Latasha Khan (Usa)
9/8, 9/2, 9/3 (30m)
Nicol David (Mas)
Nicol David
9/4, 4/9, 9/7, 6/9, 9/5 (64m)
Rebecca Macree
[2] Rebecca Macree (Eng)
3/9, 9/5, 10/8, 9/4 (53m)
[Q] Amelia Pittock (Aus)

Qualifying (Tue 18th Nov):
Carla Khan (Pak) bt Olga Puigdemont-Sola (Esp)  9/0, 9/2, 9/4 (27m)
Alison Waters (Eng) bt Becky Botwright (Eng)  9/2, 9/3, 9/4 (26m)
Laura Lengthorn (Eng) bt Karen Kronemeyer (Ned)  10/8, 9/4, 8/10, 5/9, 9/3 (70m)
Amelia Pittock (Aus) bt Vicky Lankester (Eng)  9/4, 10/8, 10/8 (43m)

First Round:
Carla Khan (Pak) bt Frania Gillen-Buchert (Sco) 9/3, 9/3, 9/5 (19m)
Olga Puigdemont-Sola (Esp) bt Kim Hannes-Tuenen (Bel)  9/2, 9/3, 6/9, 9/1 (39m)
Alison Waters (Eng) bt Milja Dorenbos (Ned)  9/5, 9/6, 9/4 (53m)
Becky Botwright (Eng) bt Corinne Castets (Fra)  9/2, 9/1, 8/10, 7/9, 9/6 (24m)
Karen Kronemeyer (Ned) bt Karine Isambard (Fra)  9/4, 9/5, 9/6 (24m)
Laura Lengthorn (Eng) bt Laurence Bois (Fra)  9/3, 9/0, 9/1 (17m)
Vicky Lankester (Eng) bt Manuela Manetta (Ita)  9/5, 9/2, 9/0 (26m)
Amelia Pittock (Aus) bt Camilla Dora (Mon)  9/1, 9/2, 9/0 (14m)

Reports from Monaco

Fri 21st Nov, Semi-Finals:

[1] Linda Charman (Eng) bt [3] Stephanie Brind (Eng)
     9/0, 9/0, 9/3 (26m)
Nicol David (Mas) bt [4] Fiona Geaves (Eng)
     1/9, 9/2, 9/4, 7/9, 9/3 (54m)

Nicol's Monaco Mayhem
Nicol David continued to carve her way through the seeds with a third one falling to her in the Monte Carlo Classic semis. This time it was 2000 champion Fiona Geaves who was despatched in another five game thriller.

Geaves started well, slowing the ball and generally controlling the flow, but the stroll was not to last as David began to settle to the task in the second. The cobwebs from the previous five setter with Rebecca Macree had gone and she began to flow forward to the Geaves drops. She was also dishing out lobs like the master she was playing and was in sight of the winning post at 7/5 in the fourth before the 35 year old regrouped. Once she did errors started to creep back into the Malaysian’s game and the match was tied.

But in the decider there was a moment at three all when the match turned, as there had been the previous evening when she had been 5/1 down. Briskness returned, her expression changed and it was clear that she had found a new gear. From then there was only one winner as Geaves floundered.

“Fi always has something up her sleeve so I really had to fight to stay alive” said the elated Malaysian. “I am just pleased to be in the final. Whatever it takes, two five setters, that’s okay,” she added before disappearing to have a long hot shower.

The other semi was a nice gift wrapped 32nd birthday present for Linda Charman. Opponent Stephanie Brind struggled to get to the pace from the start and was diced in 26 minutes. A combination of not believing in herself by the loser and a focussed performance by the winner was all it took.

Charman was delighted to make the final at her fourth attempt in Monte Carlo and attributed some of her progress to her quarter final win over French woman Isabelle Stoehr.

“Because I had a fast attacking match with Isabelle yesterday it set me up for today. I felt sharp, took the ball early and made hardly any errors. I wish I could bottle the formula!” she said afterwards. Meanwhile, a disconsolate Brind could only say “She didn’t give me time to do anything today”.

Now to see whether the experience of Charman can nullify the tired exuberance of youth.

Thu 20th Nov, Quarters:

[1] Linda Charman (ENG) bt [6] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA)  9/5, 10/9, 9/6 (60m)
[3] Stephanie Brind (ENG) bt [Q] Alison Waters (ENG) 9/3, 9/6, 9/2 (23m)
[4] Fiona Geaves (ENG) bt [Q] Laura Lengthorn (ENG)  9/0, 9/3, 9/5 (28m)
Nicol David (MAS) bt [2] Rebecca Macree (ENG)  9/4, 4/9, 9/7, 6/9, 9/5 (64m)

David dumps Macree in Monaco
English qualifiers Alison Waters and Laura Lengthorn both lost to English opposition in the quarters, but it was Malaysia's Nicol David who produced the result of the night to prevent all-English semi-finals ...

The seed removing activities of the emerging English brigade was halted in the quarter finals of the Monte Carlo Classic in Monaco when the older English heads of Fiona Geaves and Stephanie Brind, winner and runner up respectively in the 2000 event, both reached the last four with comparative ease.

Geaves was simply too sharp and accurate at the front to allow Laura Lengthorn into the match. Balls were dying just beyond the stretch of the 20year old from Lancashire, the surprise winner against seventh seed Sharon Wee the day before.

Even more surprisingly, Alison Waters had taken the larger scalp of world junior champion Omneya Abdel Kawy in the first round, but was now up against the more steady Brind. Too often an adventurous shot from Waters found the tin, but she, like Lengthorn, can reflect on gathering valuable WISPA ranking points that will take them closer to the top thirty which they currently lie just outside.

Top seed Linda Charman needed to avoid defeat against French hope Isabelle Stoehr to reach her third Classic semi final, and if any player personifies steady, she does. Keeping the ball in the right places, letting her opponent do the chasing and picking off the loose ripostes are her trademark, and they didn’t let her down ... eventually.

After a strong start she found her squat Gallic opponent becoming more of a handful as she started slotting in winners too. Stoehr raced to 7/1 & 8/4 in the second before serving out, Charman hitting three dispiriting rolling nicks and several fiercely contested rallies before eight all was reached. Charman took the game on a backwall nick and Stoehr was bowed. The third was no easier as Stoehr herself staged a comeback after settling down having lost a few early points. Charman came through in exactly an hour; an extraordinarily lengthy three games.

“I expected to play a long match and was ready to go into a second hour if necessary, but I needed to play more of the right shots”, maintained Stoehr. “I didn’t want to leave the tournament so quickly”, she added.

Similarly to the first round second seed Rebecca Macree dropped the first game in the quarters; this time her opponent was Nicol David. Again she settled though, battling against the superlative court coverage of the Malaysian and comfortably took the second. However, maybe the arrival via Hong Kong was taking its toll for as the rallies lengthened in the third Macree started to blow while Duracell David kept going.

The pace was unrelenting in this battle royal and now David was rampant and racing ahead in the fourth. Up 6/1 in double quick time she seemed set to make the semis. But Macree found a little more, David went short a little too early in a bid to close and the claw back began. Eventually it was two all without David winning another point. The decider saw the riproaring tussle continue. First Macree went to 5/1, then it was David’s turn to fight back. She started to go longer again and Macree was reeled in after 64 pulsating minutes.

Macree could only comment, “I should have won the third”, while David, elated, said ”At 5/1 down in the last I thought, I don’t care, let’s go for it!”

19-Nov, First Round:
English Qualifiers upset
the seeds in Monaco
While France’s Isabelle Stoehr was keeping home hopes alive by employing her great facility to cut off drives into front corners and nullify strong running Carla Khan, other seeds didn’t find it so easy in the Monte Carlo Classic.

First, seventh seed Sharon Wee struggled against successful qualifier Laura Lengthorn and a blocked nose which forced her to breathe through her mouth. Lengthorn maintained a good length and her concentration to sweep past her ailing opponent and into a telephone booth to delay her return flight to England.

Meanwhile, second seed Rebecca Macree was also a little out of sorts following winning the Buler Challenge in Hong Kong at the weekend. Her play was a little erratic, her racket grip causing her problems and requiring changes and her opponent was playing rather too well for her liking. Australian Amelia Pittock was exhibiting an exciting range of shotmaking, especially cutting across court on the backhand. Indeed she reached 8/4 in third before eventually losing the game. A little more experience will make her even more dangerous than she is already.

Later the eighth seed Latasha Khan exited at the hands of the resurgent Nicol David, despite making a promising start by leading 8/3 in the first. As David buzzed better and closed in, the American desperately tried to snatch the remaining point she needed once eight all was reached but was unable to convert.

Annelize Naude, watched by her holidaying parents, was able to dent the defences of third seed Stephanie Brind, but not to break through.

Top seed Linda Charman also ensured that ranking order was not disturbed by comfortably beating Dominique Lloyd-Walter, but despite only giving away three points she took 26 minutes to close the match as Lloyd-Walter showed again that she has continued her improvement this year.

Then it was Welshwoman Tegwen Malik’s turn to have a tilt at a seed. Again, an opponent on the ropes, but Fiona Geaves was not to be floored. The former champion had to save two game balls at the end of the pulsating fourth game to prevent a decider being reached, winning the fourth 10/8.

Finally, the evening was rounded off by the biggest shock of all. Nobody would have predicted England’s qualifier Alison Waters to upset world junior champion Omneya Abdel Kawy, but the fifth seed was vanquished with some ease at the end. The Egyptian seemed to be at odds with herself and unable to dominate; leaving the 20 year old to do just that and claim a notable scalp.


Monte Carlo Classic
into its 8th year

From the President of Monte Carlo Squash

8 years, this is becoming a "Classic"!

The Monegasque Federation of Squash is very honoured to organize the Monte-Carlo Squash Classic 2003.

The Classic does indeed today stand up for its name, as this is the 8th consecutive year the best female squash players in the world meet up in the Principality to compete for a title which is about to become a "true classic".

We would like to thank all these champions for their loyalty and would like to wish a warm welcome to all the new players.

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