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Monte Carlo Classic 2004
20-23 October, Monaco
, $20k 



23-Oct, Final:

[1] Cassie Jackman (Eng) bt [3] Jenny Tranfield (Eng)
       9/6, 9/0, 9/5 (42m)

Jackman Hits Monte Carlo Hat Trick
Monaco report from WISPA

Cassie Jackman had lost five of her last six WISPA Tour finals in a run, starting with the World Open final last December, so the Monte Carlo Classic was a chance for her to break the cycle. This was hardly unknown territory as she was already a twice winner of the Monaco title. Add to that the fact that her opponent didn't have the surname Grinham and the omens were certainly good!

Her opponent Jenny Tranfield came to the final without having to endure a sapping semi as her prospective opponent Fiona Geaves had been forced to withdraw due to knee damaged incurred in her quarter final. But she does have two Tour titles to her name this year, the Squashworks and Las Vegas Opens, set against the Grand Prix Finals that Jackman won.

The ranking and formbook screamed Jackman, and after a plucky fight from Tranfield, and this is very much how the ninth Monte Carlo Classic Final panned out.

The former world champion set about her task with characteristic venom, jumping into the ball and driving fiercely. These piledrivers were laced with drops and lobs to ensure that direction would not be too predictable. The third seed, also a former world champion, but at lower university level, scurried like a ferret on speed....but it proved to be mission impossible. For all her efforts the first game could not be taken, despite her creeping up towards Jackman's initial lead.

Watched by her parents and boyfriend, Tranfield was by now using all her coursework from the element of her PHD which covered coping with stress at high performance level. It may have helped but when Jackman is firing on all cylinders the problems are difficult to solve. She was being forced deep, and when a defensive lob was not high enough Jackman was in the air and putting it away overhead. A great sight indeed.

The second game was not short, eleven minutes in fact, but Tranfield ended it without a point for her efforts.

Jackman moved into a 3/0 lead in the third only to be pegged back by some obdurate resistance that turned into a 4/3 lead for the third seed. From here, she could get little further, gamely though she tried. The title had gone the way of the two time winner here in 42 minutes.

Trophies were presented by a local squash player, His Highness Prince Albert Of Monaco. He is an IOC delegate and was particularly interested in hearing from Jackman that the WISPA Tour is going to Shanghai next month. When it was explained that a glass court will be erected on the waterfront and international TV will feature the final stages he was genuinely enthused.

Afterwards Jackman was satisfied with her week. "I knew that the final would not be easy, and to win 3/0 is a bonus". Then, talking about the event she added, "There are so many familiar faces here, they are so welcoming and Monaco is a really nice place to come to". She should be happy, having walked away with their trophy three times now.

As for Tranfield, she was caught between being pleased to have reached the final but wanting to have done better in it. "I didn't take my chances. I needed to go for it more but Cassie controlled the match from the tee and when I wasn't inch perfect she cut me out" was her summary.

Still, the players had served up a meal fit for a Prince!
 

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Jenny Tranfield was supported by her parents
and boyfriend




The final four with his Highness Prince Albert of Monaco

Monte Carlo Classic 2004
20-23 Oct, Monaco, $20k  
1st Round
Wed 20th
Quarters
Thu 21st
Semis
Fri 22nd
Final
Sat 23rd
[1] Cassie Jackman (Eng)
9/0, 9/1, 9/5 (25m)
Becky Botwright (Eng)
Cassie Jackman
9/4, 9/4, 10/8 (40m)
Alison Waters
Cassie Jackman

9/10, 9/5, 9/3, 9/1 (41m)

Shelley Kitchen
Cassie Jackman


 9/6, 9/0, 9/5 (42m)

Jenny Tranfield

[8] Alison Waters (Eng)
9/1, 9/6, 9/2 (31m)
Line Hansen (Den)
[4] Shelley Kitchen (Nzl)
9/5, 9/0, 9/4 (34m)
[Q] Manuela Manetta (Ita)
Shelley Kitchen
9/3, 9/1, 9/0 (21m)
Tegwen Malik
[7] Tegwen Malik (Wal)
2/9, 9/6, 9/7, 9/6 (61m)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Eng)
[Q] Karen Kronemeyer (Ned)
9/3, 9/1, 9/6 (31m)
[8] Laura Lengthorn (Eng)
Laura Lengthorn
9/6, 9/0, 6/9, 9/4 (54m)
Jenny Tranfield
Jenny Tranfield

walkover

Fiona Geaves

[Q] Kirsty McPhee (Eng)
9/0, 9/2, 9/0 (21m)
[3] Jenny Tranfield (Eng)
Sharon Wee (Mas)
9/5, 7/9, 9/6, 3/9, 9/7 (71m)
[5] Carla Khan (Pak)
Sharon Wee
9/2, 7/9, 9/7, 9/5 (41m)
Fiona Geaves
[Q] Olga Puigdemont Sola (Esp)
9/6, 9/2, 9/1 (22m)
[2] Fiona Geaves (Eng)


Qualifying Finals:
Olga Puigdemont-Sola (Esp) bt Jenna Gates (Eng)  9/4, 9/7, 9/2
Manuela Manetta (Ita) bt Orla Noom (Ned)  9/5, 8/10, 9/1, 9/0
Kirsty McPhee (Eng) bt Corinne Castets (Fra)  9/7, 9/0, 2/9, 0/9, 9/3
Karen Kronemeyer (Ned) bt Sonia Pasteris (Ita)  9/6, 9/3, 1/9, 10/8

First Round:
Olga Puigdemont-Sola (Esp)  bye
Jenna Gates (Eng) bt Cristina Di Sacco (Ita) 9/2, 9/2, 9/1
Orla Noom (Ned)  bye
Manuela Manetta (Ita) bt Violaine del Ponte (Mon)  9/0, 9/0, 9/1
Kirsty McPhee (Eng) bt Chiara Ferrari (Ita)  9/2, 9/0, 9/0
Corinne Castets (Fra)  bye
Sonia Pasteris (Ita) bt Jana Smeralova (Cze)  9/3, 9/1, 9/4
Karen Kronemeyer (Ned)  bye

Reports

22-Oct, Semi-finals:

[1] Cassie Jackman (Eng) bt [4] Shelley Kitchen (Nzl)    9/10, 9/5, 9/3, 9/1 (41m)
[3] Jenny Tranfield (Eng) bt [2] Fiona Geaves (Eng)      walkover

Jackman tames Kitchen
as Geaves limps out
Monaco report from WISPA

Although she fought on and held on against Sharon Wee in their quarter final, the knee and ankle injury sustained midway through that match forced second seed Fiona Geaves to give Jenny Tranfield a semi final walkover in the Monte Carlo Classic. Moving sideways Geaves had turned over her ankle, her knee gave way and it sent her crashing into the side wall. While she was able to carry on with difficulty, twenty four hours later her damaged limbs had not recovered sufficient mobility to contemplate beginning the match. Indeed, Geaves is not certain of competing in the main draw and trying to retain her British Open over 35 title in nine days' time.

"I hyper extended and twisted my knee and I can't straighten it at the moment. I have arranged physio for the moment I get home and with that and rest I am hopeful of getting to the British", she said.

Third seed Tranfield will be in the final, fresh, and hoping that the remaining semi would be a real marathon! Could the improving Kiwi Shelley Kitchen stretch top seed Cassie Jackman to satisfy Tranfield? She gives the squash ball a fair old leathering and has added some quality drops to her repertoire, but Jackman feeds off power and certainly did so as the match unfolded. The rallies were extended, so were the players. From straight driving to cross court versions, the players were stretching.

In small steps the score in the first climbed until Jackman served at 8/7. There she was denied by a cruel side wall roller in the forehand service box, with the importance magnified as Kitchen sent a straight drive which died at the back. Jackman did regain the initiative and served again for the first at 9/8 only to be denied again before Kitchen secured the game with a backhand drop that was a pace too short for the world number two.

The second saw more blows traded until five all, after which Jackman managed to induce more errors from the sheer weight of her hitting – feeding very much on the power of her opponent.

Having taken the second, the top seed set a pattern where the rat-a-tat-tat continued but she was controlling the beat. Kitchen was finding it increasingly difficult to get short or long enough to dent the Jackman defences and while she was not wilting her cause was becoming lost. Jackman took the third with the flourish of a crunching long backhand volley drop and never then allowed her opposition enough any hint of a lapse that would have allowed her to level. Instead she ploughed on and eventually stood at match ball at 8/1 in the fourth after 41 minutes. This rally and the match were ended with Kitchen stretching but unable to reach a flashing drive.

"I got on my game a bit more in the second and managed to stop Shelley dictating" Jackman commented. Continuing, "Once I managed to get in front of her and play my own game it got better for me".

As for Kitchen, a good run is maintained, as is her rise up the rankings. "Getting to a WISPA Silver semi has been good and I am hoping to continue the run at the British Open" she said.

An all English final. Tranfield has yet to beat Jackman after a number of attempts over the years, but this time she comes to it fresh and hopeful. Will it be enough?


Jenny Tranfield and Laura Lengthorn

21-Oct, Quarters:
[1] Cassie Jackman (Eng) bt [8] Alison Waters (Eng)  9/4, 9/4, 10/8 (40m)
[4] Shelley Kitchen (Nzl) bt [7] Tegwen Malik (Wal)   9/3, 9/1, 9/0 (21m)
[3] Jenny Tranfield (Eng) bt [6] Laura Lengthorn (Eng)  9/6, 9/0, 6/9, 9/4 (54m)
[2] Fiona Geaves (Eng) bt Sharon Wee (Mas)   9/2, 7/9, 9/7, 9/5 (41m)

Good Order in Monaco
Monaco report from WISPA

There was a sense of good order on the Cote D'Azur in the quarter finals of the Monte Carlo Classic. The top four seeds made their way into the last four, with only New Zealander Shelley Kitchen preventing complete British domination.

Cassie on Course for Third
Cassie Jackman
had been runner up to Sarah Fitz-Gerald in the first Classic played in 1996, won the title twice since, and remains on course for her hat-trick after extinguishing the challenge presented by 20 year old Alison Waters. The eighth seed is knocking on the door of the WISPA top twenty and is developing the experience to eventually find it opening to her, but here was given a demonstration of the power and placement that she still aspires to. Jackman took the ball so early, was so relentless that the only times that Waters could use her own deftness to effect were during the occasional Jackman lapses of concentration. There was one such chink in the third which allowed Waters to move to 7/4 & 8/6 before Jackman refocused and literally drove home.

Waters' summary was "I tried to play side to side rather than in straight lines and I nearly got a game so I'm pretty pleased".

Kitchen coasts into semis
Kiwi Shelley Kitchen will be her semi final opponent as the fourth seed romped home against Tegwen Malik. The Welsh number one had admitted to being a little up and down in recent months but had battled well to beat Dominique Lloyd Walter in the first round, suggesting that it was the best she had played for a while. She couldn't keep up the momentum here, but Kitchen has been steadily improving her game in recent months and has every reason to look forward to upcoming events. In addition to her strength she has honed her short game skills and left Malik regularly floundering in a quest to reach some delicious backhand straight drops.

Tranfield keeps youngster at bay
Third seed Jenny Tranfield found herself up against an obdurate opponent in Laura Lengthorn, like Waters moving closer to the top twenty. In a closely contested first game which saw Lengthorn well in front initially, the variety and tenaciousness of Tranfield just edged out the crisp hitting of her opponent. But from this point Tranfield seemed to have just too many ways to end a rally.

However, at 6/3 up in the third she produced a cluster of unforced errors that lost her that game. Composure restored she was home in four.

Afterwards she was quick to praise Lengthorn saying "she holds the ball well and is a determined character. Every time I player her she gets stronger". But, like Jackman, she had kept her younger English opponent in check.

Geaves limps home
Fiona Geaves
was not too stretched by Sharon Wee, the Malaysian clearly finding her opponents' famed short game even more difficult to handle with limbs reacting to her extended first round win over Carla Khan. But at five all in the second Geaves stumbled and found the side wall in the way of her knee. At first it appeared that she may have turned it, but tentatively at first,and  with a little more confidence later, she continued. Wee moved her around, some shots were taken off balance but the Englishwoman was just able to expunge the scent of victory that Wee could see on the horizon.

The second seed had set up an all English semi with Tranfield, who has a point to prove to the England selectors who controversially overlooked the claims of herself and Rebecca Macree for fourth berth in the recent World Team Championships. Whether she will be able to press this home by beating England's third string Geaves remains to be seen. Everything will depend upon how her hyper-extended knee reacts to the cold compresses and overnight rest.
 


Becky Botwright, Line Hansen, Laura Lengthorn
& Tegwen Malik take time out to to visit the harbour

20-Oct, Round One:
Saving the best for last
Monaco report from WISPA

The first round of the ninth Monte Carlo Classic saw the real barnstormer saved until last. Fifth seed Carla Khan was engaged in a "last man standing" battle with Sharon Wee. The Malaysian was taking the ball as early as she could, always looking for the volley and counter drop. Khan was also crashing around trying to force Wee into the corners.

Wee wants it more
It see-sawed towards an almost inevitable fifth game characterised by traffic lets; and at seven all in the decider they had yet to be parted. Both players had moments between points doubled over as the final business end was reached. Only now did Wee edge ahead by virtue of two crisp cross court drives at the end of more protracted rallies. But even then it was only by dint of forcing her way back into them having failed with almightily nervous attempted drops that handed the initiative to Khan.

Seventy one minutes of rumbustuous squash and she was through to meet Fiona Geaves in the quarters.

After she had drawn breath the winner pointed out the blindingly obvious to all who watched. "I really wanted it today", she said. "I've been up and down for a while but I have now moved to Antwerp, a new environment. It's a brand new me. I'm motivated to do better" she added.

Seeds safely through
The other seven matches saw seeds going through. However, 21 year old Italian Manuela Manetta had got through to the main draw, and extended fourth seed Shelley Kitchen for over half an hour. Bearing in mind that fellow Italian Sonia Pasteris came very close to getting into the main draw it is a pity that their country didn't give them the chance to go to the recent World Teams.

Meanwhile, Tegwen Malik, another player who had not been enjoying a good run recently, turned the corner after resisting a strong challenge from Dominique Lloyd Walter. The Welsh seventh seed reckoned that she had played her best for a while, and certainly needed to against an improving opponent.

Another happy player was nineteen year old Kirsty McPhee. Having repelled experienced French player Corinne Castets in the qualification she made her first significant WISPA Tour main draw. Although she was despatched by third seed Jenny Tranfield, she was content. "It's been a good week and good experience" was her summary.

But looming over proceedings for the rest of the field is world number two Cassie Jackman. Having beaten Rebecca Botwright, eighth seed Alison Waters will be next to try her luck against the top seed in the quarters.
 

19-Oct, Qualifying:
Manetta & McPhee Make
Monaco Main Draw

Final qualifying in Monaco saw Italy's Manuela Manetta and England's Kirsty McPhee make unexpected progress to the main draw.

Manetta, who defeated the host principality's only entrant
Violaine del Ponte in the first round, upset the Netherland's Orla Noom in four games to earn a main draw match against New Zealand's Shelley Kitchen. McPhee, one of Malcolm Willstrop's Pontefract charges, survived a comeback from France's Corinne Castets, losing a 2-0 lead to win in the fifth. McPhee faces third seed Jenny Tranfield in an all-English first round match.

Top seeds in the qualifying competition, Olga Puigdemont Sola of  Spain and Karen Kronemeyer of the Netherlands, both won through to earn matches against English opposition - Fiona Geaves and Laura Lengthorn.

Now into its ninth year, the Monte Carlo Classic is one of the most  eagerly-awaited events on WISPA's European circuit. England's Cassie Jackman is top seed, with compatriot Fiona Geaves, winner here in 2001, seeded to meet the world number two in the final.