Malaysia's world number one Nicol David ended unseeded French
star Camille Serme's giant-killing run in the final of the
Carol Weymuller Open in New York to win the Women's
Squash Association Gold 50 event, celebrating its 40th
anniversary at The Heights Casino in Brooklyn, for the
second time since 2005.
The match notched up David's ninth successive Tour win over the
world No10 from Creteil - but Serme had enjoyed a sensational run in
only her third appearance in the event, upsetting higher-ranked
English opponents Alison Waters, Jenny Duncalf and
defending champion Laura Massaro in quick succession.
"The match started off evenly and both players were working the
court well and there were some long hard fought rallies," explained
Heights Casino Director of Squash Linda Elriani. "Nicol
looked as though she was prepared to just absorb Camille's pressure
and not go for too many shots.
"Camille (pictured above, left, with David) was trying to
apply the pressure that she had done yesterday and throughout the
week but was making some tentative errors with her short game. Nicol
managed to edge ahead to 9-7 after a crazy long rally that ended in
backhand drop in the tin from Camille.
"Another tin from Camille took Nicol to game ball at 10-8. Camille
gave a big push and managed to pull back and with a backhand boast
in the tin from Nicol and a lovely backhand drop winner from Camille
this took her to 10-10. Nicol stepped on the gas and a very deep
penetrating drive forced an error from Camille and then an unforced
backhand volley drop gave Nicol the first game 12-10."
David dominated the second, dropping just two points to establish a
2/0 lead - and stayed focussed in the third, fittingly winning the
championship point on a perfect crosscourt drop shot straight into
"I'm just so happy to win this tournament after so long," said David
(pictured above with the trophy) after the 12-10, 11-2, 11-5
triumph which saw the 30-year-old from Penang go through the
championship without dropping a game.
"It has been such a great atmosphere that it just drives me forward
to play better squash each day. Camille played really well in that
first game and it was neck and neck all the way!
"In the second and third I mixed it up a bit more because she gets
into a great rhythm and it can be dangerous!
"I'm very pleased and I'm looking forward to next week. I'd like to
thank Linda for such a great event and all the families that have
supported this tournament for all these years."
Serme (pictured below with David) rued the errors in her
final match: "I'm a bit disappointed to be honest," said the
24-year-old France and European champion. "Even though she's the
world number one I wanted to do better than getting one game as
that's the best I have done against her!
felt she played really well and I made too many mistakes. I don't
even know why as I wasn't even trying to go fine on my shots. Right
after the match I feel disappointed but later I will look back at
what a great tournament I've had.
"The good thing is I only have to wait one week to hopefully play
her again at the US Open. Thanks so much to everyone here for
everything! Thanks too for all the support here and back home and
all the people that watched me on the live streaming."
success marks her the third WSA title of the year - and the 68th of
Heights Casino images courtesy of Jean Ervasti
Continues English Cull At Carol Weymuller Open
France's unseeded Camille Serme celebrated her
third successive English scalp in the Carol Weymuller Open in
New York when she dethroned defending champion Laura
Massaro to set up a final of the Women's Squash Association
Gold 50 event celebrating its 40th anniversary at The Heights
Casino in Brooklyn against top seed Nicol David.
Serme is enjoying the tournament of her life: Earlier
upsets against Londoner Alison Waters, the world No4, and
Yorkshire's Jenny Duncalf, the world No6, took the world No10
from Creteil to a surprise semi where she faced her toughest hurdle,
world No2 Massaro, the in-form title-holder.
"Camille started off the match very well and very
quickly found her rhythm and was lunging well and moving Laura
around the court," explained Heights Casino Director of Squash
Linda Elriani. "Laura looked unusually tentative and made some
The French underdog (pictured above with Massaro)
established a 9-4 lead. "Laura then dug deep and pushed up the court
and stayed 100% focused to claw her way back to 10-9 game ball in
one hand!" Elriani continued. "Camille started to look flustered for
the first time and it was looking as though Laura had finally found
her groove. A forehand boast mistake from Laura gave Camille another
chance and Camille took it by the horns and came through to win the
From six-all in the second, Serme rattled off five
points in a row to increase her lead to 2/0.
"The third game followed a very similar pattern with
Camille looking as confident as ever and not seeming to be fazed by
the fact she could also take out the world #2 as well as the world
#4 and #6! Camille was looking so comfortable on the court and Laura
was looking increasingly the opposite. It wasn't for lack of trying
on Laura's part it was just so difficult to impose her game on a
player that was obviously feeling so good in every way. Camille came
through the third and final game 11-4."
A delighted Serme said after her huge win: "I feel so
well physically. I wonder how it is possible! I just want to say a
big thank you to my physical coach as he gave me a hard program to
follow this summer.
"Squash is so much mental and if I feel well in my
life then I play relaxed and focus on what I want to do on the
court. I just wish my boyfriend and parents were here to share it
and see how well I can play. For now back on the bike and stretch!"
Now in the 13th Tour final of her career, but her
first of the year, Serme faces the ultimate challenge - world number
one Nicol David.
After a shock quarter-final exit last year, the
Malaysian star is back at her best - and reached her fifth WSA Tour
final of the year, and the 87th of her career, when she beat Egypt's
No3 seed Raneem El Weleily 11-8, 11-7, 11-4.
"To beat Raneem 3/0 is a huge deal," admitted 2005
champion David (pictured above with El Weleily) afterwards.
"It came together at the right time and I want to bring that through
to the finals tomorrow."
A disappointed El Weleily said: "She played really
well. I wasn't as sharp as I needed to be. I should have done better
but it's been a great tournament and I've enjoyed my time here.
Thank you everyone for everything," added the world No3 from Cairo.
Semi-finals action at Heights Casino took place on
World Squash Day: "It's quite a coincidence that we have most of
the best players in the world playing on our courts on this special
day," added Elriani.
"Before the semi-finals began we held a 'Play a Pro'
event for our juniors so that they had a chance to get on court with
some of the top women's squash players. World #21 Sarah Kippax,
World #43 Kylie Lindsay, World #73 Sarah Cardwell,
World #32 Samantha Cornett, World #22 Aisling Blake,
World #29 Samantha Teran, World #35 Victoria Lust,
World #25 Donna Urquhart and World #5 Joelle King all
very kindly agreed to play with our two groups of juniors
(pictured below - Linda Elriani extreme right).
"The juniors all had such a fun time, trying their
hardest to win a point or two off the pros! Thanks so much to the
WSA players for taking part in this. We really appreciate it. They
are all a huge credit to women's squash as they are so prepared to
give back to the tournaments and help spread the joy of playing
Heights Casino images courtesy of Jean Ervasti
Serme Sinks Second English Seed At Carol Weymuller
Unseeded French squash star Camille Serme continued her
giant-killing campaign against English seeds in the Carol
Weymuller Open in New York when she despatched seventh
seed Jenny Duncalf to become the sole non-seed to make the
semi-finals of the Women's Squash Association Gold 50 event
celebrating its 40th anniversary at The Heights Casino in
Duncalf, the 2009 and 2010 champion, went into the match 7-2 up in
the pair's head-to-head record - but Serme was successful in their
most recent clash, and 24 hours earlier had upset Duncalf's
fourth-seeded compatriot Alison Waters.
World No10 Serme made an excellent start and took the opening game.
"In the second the rallies were long and each player was trying to
control the middle, but it was Camille that kept a constant pressure
on Jenny," explained said Heights Casino Director of Squash Linda
Elriani. "Jenny has amazing racket skills and holds and played
many wonderful winners but she didn't seem patient enough today to
wait for her openings and made some unforced errors.
"Camille was defending immaculately and was absorbing Jenny's
pressure so well. Camille won the second game 11-7 too."
Serme was thrilled with her 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 victory. "I'm SO happy!
To be honest when I was warming up I didn't feel the best because of
yesterday's match but when I was on court in the match I was running
and covering the court like I normally do," said the 24-year-old
guess Jenny didn't play her best. After the second I realised the
second game was so important. I've reached the semi's here and I'm
so happy! I'm going to try and enjoy it now but tomorrow I'll
re-focus. For now back on the bike and stretch!"
disappointed Duncalf commented: "She obviously played well. She hit
her targets really well. I wasn't good enough. Poor performance, but
she was on fire."
Serme, in her first Carol Weymuller semi, will now play her third
English opponent, Laura Massaro - the No2 seed and defending
champion. The world No2 from Preston eased past Malaysia's No6 seed
Low Wee Wern, winning 11-8, 12-10, 11-6.
"That was a really hard 3/0," said Massaro later. "You know you've
played well to beat Low 3/0! I was really happy with performance and
the way I played. Feeling good to be in the semi's without dropping
a game and really looking forward to tomorrow."
Low, the world No7 from Penang, said: "I felt I was actually playing
well and I didn't do anything wrong in particular. We both played
tight squash. It's always disappointing to lose but I felt there was
not much I could do more.
"We're both top 10 players and she's not world No2 for nothing and
she has more experience than me!"
The other semi-final will feature last year's runner-up Raneem El
Weleily, the No3 seed from Egypt, and top seed Nicol David,
the world number one from Malaysia who won the title in 2005.
"My aim was to keep her moving because she is so good when she has
time," said David afterwards. "I managed to put my game plan
together and my shots came in at the right time.
"I'm looking forward to another step up tomorrow. It's already a
bonus on last year so now I'm just going to enjoy it!"
Pallikal, who upset Australia's No8 seed Kasey Brown to make
the quarters, said: "I'm tired after my long match yesterday! When
you play Nicol you have to be fresh to have a chance.
started well in the first game and she just got tighter in the
second and third which made me go for more shots and she just got
onto the balls. I've had a good tournament and I've got a lot to
"It's all a learning process for me. I really made use of this
tournament and hopefully I'll come back in a week or so in Macau and
play well. You've got to take the positives and learn from it."
Weleily also won in straight games, taking out New Zealand's fifth
seed Joelle King 11-6, 11-7, 11-9.
think I played OK and I'm happy to be through to the semi-finals,"
said the 24-year-old world No3 from Alexandria. "Joelle is such a
good player and she has had such great results since we played last
King added: "Lots of mistakes! Just really hot and struggling to
control the ball. All credit to her as she can make you feel rushed.
In parts I got a couple of good runs of points but I just couldn't
take it up to the next level and capitalise."
Powers To Kasey Conquest In New York
Indian squash star Dipika Pallikal played one of the best
games of her life in the opening round of the Carol Weymuller
Open in New York when she recovered from two games down -
and saved a match-ball in the third - to upset Australia's No8 seed
Kasey Brown and reach the quarter-finals of the Women's
Squash Association Gold 50 event celebrating its 40th
anniversary at The Heights Casino in Brooklyn.
"It was the longest and most exciting match of the evening and the
only five setter," said Heights Casino Director of Squash Linda
Elriani. "Kasey and Dipika were 4-1 in their head to heads in
Brown, the US-based world No11, started strongly and managed to
contain underdog Pallikal's shot selection - winning the first two
games. In the third, Brown led 9-7 before reaching match-ball at
10-9 - but was unable to convert it as Pallikal, ranked six places
lower, dug in to take the game 13-11.
Pallikal took the fourth to set up a decider. "The points were
pretty much even all the way through the fifth until 9-9 and Kasey
got a no let in the front backhand corner to take Dipika to 10-9
match ball," Elriani continued. "Dipika took her chance on the first
attempt and went through to take the match 3/2."
thrilled Pallikal said after her 6-11, 10-12, 13-11, 11-8, 11-9
victory: "I'm really, really, pleased to get through. When my mum
told me I was in the main draw, I didn't believe her as I was
thinking that I was going to have to qualify.
"So I wanted to take advantage of being in the main draw. I came all
the way to the USA for one tournament as I am playing in Macau,
China, in a week's time," added the 22-year-old from Chennai.
had 3 months off tournaments this summer so I trained with Sarah
Fitz-Gerald in Australia, trained with Ritwik (Bhattacharya) in
Bombay and in Chennai with my fitness trainer Basu - and I think it
made the difference. I'm really thankful to Sarah as she has put a
lot of effort in for me and she'll be really pleased that I won
disappointed Brown added: "I was 2/0 and had match ball in the
third! I knew it was going to be tough and I think I went a little
defensive in the third and fourth and in the end she was able to
pull it out. She played well."
Pallikal will go on to meet top seed Nicol David, the world
number one form Malaysia who won the title in 2005. The 30-year-old
from Penang - eager to make up for a shock quarter-final exit last
year - despatched Australia's Donna Urquhart 11-8, 11-5,
Urquhart, returning to full strength after a foot injury, commented:
"I feel a little bit disappointed with the way I played. I'm just
happy to be back playing again. I was enjoying being on court and I
wish I could have been on court longer. I feel keen and I feel like
I'm starting over and working on getting back to where I was before
I was injured."
David, looking for a second successive WSA title after winning the
Malaysian Open last month, was delighted to have survived the
first hurdle: "It's nice to have a good win in the first round. The
first game with Donna she was volleying and reading the game well
and I made a few errors. I think I just started to tighten up better
at the end of the first and kept solid in the second and third."
There was another significant upset later when France's unseeded
Camille Serme ousted fourth-seeded English opponent Alison
Waters 11-7, 11-13, 11-4, 11-9 - a repeat of last month's shock
straight games Malaysian Open win by Serme over the world No4 from
"I'm very happy obviously!" said Serme, the world No10 from Creteil.
"Twice I've beaten her in three weeks! First in KL and now here!
think that she played better here than in KL. The rallies were long
and we were both a bit up and down in this match, but it was a good
battle. Now I need to go on the bike and then stretch."
disconsolate Waters said: "It was close in the first and second.
Camille played well. She was hitting her areas well and I wasn't
really in front much. I'm pretty disappointed."
There was better English news later when second seed Laura
Massaro successfully began her defence of the title with an
11-4, 11-6, 11-7 win over Irish qualifier Aisling Blake.
"It was tough going on late, it just felt like a really long day,"
said Massaro, the world No2 from Preston who won the trophy last
year for the first time after her second appearance in the final.
"I'm obviously glad to come through in three. I thought Aisling was
feeling the effects of her five setter yesterday. I was catching her
out with a few boasts and I just have to be careful with that
Massaro now faces Malaysia's No6 seed Low Wee Wern who
defeated Guyana qualifier Nicolette Fernandes 13-11, 11-7,
There were also impressive wins by former champions Raneem El
Weleily and Jenny Duncalf. Third seed El Weleily, the
2011 champion, leads Egyptian interest in the quarter-finals after
an 11-9, 11-3, 11-4 win over Danish qualifier Line Hansen.
Duncalf, the only two-time winner in the field, beat English
compatriot Victoria Lust 11-5, 11-5, 11-4.
"Lusty looked good yesterday in her quali match so I wasn't taking
her lightly," said 2009 and 2010 champion Duncalf. "Canada seems to
be agreeing with her. I was happy I managed to control the ball in
the hot conditions.
"I'm happy to be back in Brooklyn. It feels like home!"
Earns Carol Weymuller Debut In New York
England's Victoria Lust earned her maiden appearance in the
main draw of the 40th edition of the Carol Weymuller Open in
New York after upsetting higher-ranked Canadian Samantha
Cornett in the qualifying finals of the Women's Squash
Association Gold 50 event at The Heights Casino in
The 24-year-old from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire is enjoying an
excellent run of form - and arrived in New York after reaching last
month's final of the Abierto Mexicano de Raquetas in Mexico,
where she was the fifth seed!
"Sam started off very shaky and couldn't seem to settle and made a
lot of unforced errors and before we knew it Vicky had a 9-1 lead,"
explained Heights Casino Director of Squash Linda Elriani.
"Sam started to find her game a little but Vicky took advantage of
her great lead and took the first 11-3."
Cornett, ranked 32 in the world - three places higher than Lust -
took the second to draw level.
"The third game was crucial and both players were steady and
focused," Elriani continued. "The game stayed even most of the way
through until Vicky hit a few perfect volley drops at the right
moment to take a small lead of 10-8. Sam did some amazing retrieving
to save the first game ball but Vicky ended up taking the third game
"In the fourth game, Sam started to step back in the court a little
and it gave Vicky the chance to take the ball earlier and really put
the pressure on. Vicky kept a lead the whole way though the final
game and came through to win it 11-6."
Lust, who won one of her five WSA titles in the USA at the Liberty
Bell Open, but has never before made the main draw of the
prestigious Carol Weymuller Open, was delighted with her success: "I
feel good and relieved! I'm just happy to win. It's been hard to win
here in the past. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. It's good
experience whoever I play. All the qualifying spots are tough!"
Lust was later drawn to meet fellow countrywoman Jenny Duncalf,
the No7 seed and champion in 2008 and 2009. Incredibly, it will be
the pair's first tournament meeting.
Guyana's Nicolette Fernandes and Dane Line Hansen -
both of whom celebrated their world top 20 ranking debuts this month
- continued their progress through to the main draw.
Fernandes, the new world No19, defeated local hope Amanda Sobhy,
the newly-crowned Pan American champion from New York.
"This was definitely the match of the evening and it was the most
attritional and exciting too," commented Elriani. "All the rallies
were fought incredibly hard for by both players and it was a
wonderful example of great retrieving and lunging, variation of pace
and amazing use of the court. It almost seemed unfair to have one of
the players not qualify!"
The 11-8, 12-10, 10-12, 11-8 victory over Harvard student Sobhy
takes Fernandes through to a first-ever meeting with sixth-seeded
Malaysian Low Wee Wern.
feel really good," said Fernandes after her breakthrough win. "I
think it's the first time that I have qualified for a 16 draw gold
tournament! At this point I want to play all the girls and I don't
care who I have to play tomorrow!"
disappointed Sobhy added: "It was tough! I just wanted to qualify
and this is my third year to lose closely in the qualifying finals!
I'm going back to Harvard tomorrow to study. Good luck to Nicolette
and I'll play her again at the US Open!"
World No18 Hansen despatched England's Lisa Aitken, ranked 28
places below, 11-5, 11-3, 11-9.
"I'm really happy to win in three," said the 30-year-old from
Odense. "I think Lisa has improved so much in the last six months
and she'll be one to watch for in the future. I'm really looking
forward to tomorrow with no pressure!"
Hansen is drawn to meet Raneem El Weleily, the No3 seed from
Egypt against whom she boasts a single win in four Tour meetings.
The final qualifying slot was taken by Ireland's Aisling Blake.
In the only match which went the full distance, world No22 Blake
recovered from a game down to beat England's Sarah Kippax,
ranked a single place higher, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6.
"It was brutally hot," exclaimed Dublin-born Blake - who now meets
England's title-holder Laura Massaro in the first round.
"It is the first time that I've qualified for the Weymuller so I'm
very happy with that! I tried to slow it down against Sarah. We had
some brutally long rallies and I did what I needed to so to
neutralize her pace. I'm looking forward to playing Laura tomorrow
and another great day in Brooklyn Heights!"
& Hansen Justify New Ranking Heights At Heights Casino
Guyana's Nicolette Fernandes and Dane Line Hansen
produced convincing victories in the first qualifying round of the
Carol Weymuller Open in New York on the day they made
their debuts in the Women's Squash Association world top 20
The WSA Gold 50 Carol Weymuller Open is celebrating its 40th
year at The Heights Casino in Brooklyn - and has
attracted ten of the world's top 12 players, led by Malaysia's world
number one Nicol David.
Hansen, the 30-year-old from Odense who jumped three places to a
career-high world No18, battled for four games and saved game-balls
in the third game to beat USA's former Heights Casino junior
Olivia Blatchford 7-11, 11-4, 14-12, 13-11.
"I'm really happy I won," said Hansen afterwards. "I think Olivia
played really well. You have to expect that she'll hit some lovely
shots. Maybe I was a bit slow to get going coming straight from LA."
When asked about her ranking breakthrough, the Dane commented:
"Since I moved to Holland just over a year ago my daily training is
better and consequently my results have been better."
Fernandes, also 30, is celebrating a remarkable comeback after a
career-threatening knee injury which saw her ranking plummet to 249!
Now a best-ever 19 after starting the year outside the top 30,
Fernandes despatched Australian Sarah Cardwell 11-7, 11-5,
11-6 - and will now meet US star Amanda Sobhy for a place in
the main draw
feel good," said Fernandes after her first round win. "I'm happy,
last year I came and lost in the first round of qualifying. It's
always nice to come back to a tournament and do better. I'm really
looking forward to playing Amanda tomorrow. These courts are nice
Sobhy, a 20-year-old Harvard student and a former world No17, took
on Lucie Fialova, the world No44 from the Czech Republic.
"Amanda mostly dominated the games and powered her opponent into the
back and controlled the T," reported Heights Casino Director of
Squash Linda Elriani. "Lucie tried her hardest to remove
Amanda from the T but couldn't do it for enough of the time."
Sobhy said after her match: "It was hot out there! I'm feeling good
and I trying to keep up the studying and the training and also
trying to play as many pro tournaments as possible. Hopefully it'll
be less hot tomorrow!"
Scotland's Lisa Aitken pulled off the day's biggest upset
when she beat Mexican star Samantha Teran, the 32-year-old
former world No11 currently ranked 29 in the world.
The Dundee-born 23-year-old twice came from behind to beat Teran
8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8 in the longest match of the day.
"Wow! These are the sort of players that I am looking to beat now,"
said an ecstatic Aitken afterwards. "I had a good summer and trained
really hard. I just need to believe in myself and have confidence in
the work I have put in. I also need to remember not to come out in
any game in second gear!"
Aitken, ranked 46 in the world, will face Hansen for a place in the
also produced a notable upset in an all-English clash with
19-year-old Emily Whitlock, the world No26 and youngest
player in the qualifiers.
Whitlock took the opening game, but was then forced to concede the
match midway through the fourth, suffering with a heel injury.
felt like I was able to stay in the rallies and managed to counter
attack," said world No35 Lust after her 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 5-2 (ret.)
victory. "I was patient and I stuck to my game plan.
"It's a shame that Emily got injured in the end and I hope that she
recovers before the US Open."