Cassie Jackman (Eng) bt  Shelley Kitchen (Nzl) 9/10, 9/5, 9/3, 9/1 (41m)
 Jenny Tranfield (Eng) bt  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
 Cassie Jackman (Eng) bt  Alison Waters (Eng) 9/4, 9/4, 10/8 (40m)
 Shelley Kitchen (Nzl) bt  Tegwen Malik (Wal) 9/3, 9/1, 9/0 (21m)
 Jenny Tranfield (Eng) bt  Laura Lengthorn (Eng) 9/6, 9/0, 6/9, 9/4 (54m)
 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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.