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Grainger Battles To LA Open Title

Women's Epstein Becker & Green Los Angeles Squash Open,
Los Angeles, USA



[1] Natalie Grainger (USA) bt [3] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) 4-9, 9-7, 4-9, 9-7, 9-4 (49m)



[1] Natalie Grainger (USA) bt [4] Lauren Briggs (ENG) 9-1, 9-0, 9-6 (27m)

[3] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt [6] Manuela Manetta (ITA) 9-4, 9-5, 9-3 (27m)


[1] Natalie Grainger (USA) bt [8] Runa Reta (CAN) 9-1, 9-0, 9-3 (20m)

[4] Lauren Briggs (ENG) bt [5] Latasha Khan (USA) 9-5, 9-3, 9-2 (42m)

[3] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt Joshna Chinappa (IND) 9-0, 9-6, 4-9, 10-8 (27m)

[6] Manuela Manetta (ITA) bt [2] Samantha Teran (MEX) 9-4, 6-9, 9-3, 9-7 (70m)


1st round:

[1] Natalie Grainger (USA) bt [Q] Tara Mullins (CAN) 9-1, 9-0, 9-2 (19m)

[8] Runa Reta (CAN) bt [Q] Neha Kumar (CAN) 9-2, 9-3, 9-0 (25m)

[4] Lauren Briggs (ENG) bt Kirsty McPhee (ENG) 5-9, 9-1, 9-6, 9-2 (37m)

[5] Latasha Khan (USA) bt Carolyn Russell (CAN) 9-4, 9-1, 9-7 (39m)

Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt [7] Aisling Blake (IRL) 9-4, 6-9, 0-9, 9-7, 9-7 (68m)

[3] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt Jenna Gates (ENG) 9-1, 9-1, 9-1 (19m)

[6] Manuela Manetta (ITA) bt [Q] Dipika Pallikal (IND) 9-2, 9-3, 9-7 (28m)

[2] Samantha Teran (MEX) bt [Q] Karen Kronemeyer (NED) 9-2, 9-2, 9-6 (42m)


Grainger Battles To LA Open Title

Natalie Grainger won the Women's Epstein Becker & Green Los Angeles Squash Open title as predicted by the seedings - but the experienced 29-year-old from Washington DC was taken the full distance in the final by third seed Raneem El Weleily before beating the Egyptian teenager at the LA Athletic Club in Los Angeles, USA.


Twice the US National champion had to come from behind before finally overcoming El Weleily, the 18-year-old world junior champion from Alexandria, 4-9, 9-7, 4-9, 9-7, 9-4 in 49 minutes.


"I wasnít very fast today, Iíve been struggling with a cold all week," champion Grainger said afterwards.  "She got into it very quickly and I wasnít quite there at the start.  Sheís very good, very skilful, reads the game well and has great touch.


"After I won the second, I thought I knew what I needed to do - but she stepped it up again and just steamrollered me in the third.  I had to raise my pace to keep her at bay - I knew that if I worked her hard she could make a batch of errors, so I had to will myself to that higher pace and be ready to go after it when I could," added Grainger, who became a US citizen in February and has now won three WISPA World Tour titles since that date on her new 'home soil'.


El Weleily, who was hoping that it would be third time lucky in her third WISPA final, was pleased with her performance:  "I felt really calm all the way through.  I wasnít thinking of the score at any time, just trying to win each rally, but in the end the errors I hit just killed me.


"I tried my best - I didnít have anything more to give out there.  Thanks to everyone for a great tournament."


Grainger & El Weleily To Contest LA Open Final

It took both players 27 minutes to win their semi-finals - but when favourite Natalie Grainger and third seed Raneem El Weleily meet in the final of the Women's Epstein Becker & Green Los Angeles Squash Open at the LA Athletic Club in Los Angeles, they will represent opposite ends of the spectrum of players on the WISPA World Tour.


Egyptian El Weleily, the 18-year-old world junior champion from Alexandria, is now in her third Tour final - but yet to see her name inscribed on a trophy - while Grainger, the 29-year-old former world number one from Washington DC in the US, is celebrating her 30th appearance in a Tour final, and already has 13 titles to her name.


Grainger was in formidable form as she despatched England's fourth seed Lauren Briggs 9-1, 9-0, 9-6.


"I was very happy with that: High concentration, put the ball where I wanted it to go, mixed up the pace - if you meet those targets you canít go far wrong," explained the US champion. "Laurenís improved over the last year and played really well yesterday so I wanted to come out hard and fast and I did just that. I lost to her the last time we played when I wasnít fully fit, so itís nice to put that one right.


ďIíve never played Raneem before, but sheís really talented. It feels like watching a little mini-me out there with that backhand volley of hers. Itís going to be fun watching her develop - but not just yet!"


Only seven ranking positions separate El Weleily from Manuela Manetta, the sixth-seeded Italian who upset Mexico's No2 seed Samantha Teran to earn her surprise semi-final slot.


But despite leads by Manetta in both the second and third games, it was the Egyptian teenager who prevailed, winning 9-4, 9-5, 9-3.


ďI played much better today - I had to," said El Weleily later. "Never mind the score - that was really tough. Manuela never gives up and sheís getting better and better every day. Iíve watched her results improving.Ē


Manetta Upsets Teran In LA Open

A 70-minute quarter-final battle in the Women's Epstein Becker & Green Los Angeles Squash Open resulted in Italy's Manuela Manetta scoring a significant upset in the WISPA World Tour event at the LA Athletic Club in Los Angeles when she beat second-seeded Mexican Samantha Teran.


It was the pair's second meeting on US soil since January - but this time the 24-year-old from Parma avenged her defeat in the Dayton Open in Ohio by overcoming world No22 Teran 9-4, 6-9, 9-3, 9-7.


ďI knew that if I wanted to win I would have to play my best, and I did," said Manetta . "I felt in control most of the time. I was holding the ĎTí and making her do the work. Sometimes I lose concentration and make mistakes - but that didnít happen today.


ďI lost 3/1 to her in Dayton in January, so it was good to get revenge for that.Ē


Manetta will now face Raneem El Weleily after the third seed from Egypt ended the giant-killing run of Joshna Chinappa, beating the unseeded Indian 9-0, 9-6, 4-9, 10-8.


In the other semi-final, top seed Natalie Grainger will face England's No4 seed Lauren Briggs. US champion Grainger defeated Canada's Runa Reta 9-1, 9-0, 9-3 while Briggs beat former US champion Latasha Khan 9-5, 9-3, 9-2.


Semi-final line-up:

[1] Natalie Grainger (USA) v [4] Lauren Briggs (ENG)

[6] Manuela Manetta (ITA) v [3] Raneem El Weleily (EGY)


Chinappa Chops Blake In LA Upset

Joshna Chinappa pulled off one of her best results of the year on the opening day of action in the Women's Epstein Becker & Green Los Angeles Squash Open when she upset Ireland's No7 seed Aisling Blake to reach the quarter-finals of the WISPA World Tour event at the LA Athletic Club in Los Angeles, USA.


The unseeded 20-year-old from Chennai in India fought back from two-games-to-one down to defeat Blake, ranked 38 in the world, 9-4, 6-9, 0-9, 9-7, 9-7 in 68 minutes.

Chinappa now faces third seed Raneem El Weleily for a place in the semi-finals after the teenager from Egypt crushed England's Jenna Gates 9-1, 9-1, 9-1 in just 19 minutes.

Natalie Grainger, the reigning US champion, and Latasha Khan, a former seven-times winner of the title, carried domestic hopes through to the last eight. Top seed Grainger was too strong for Canadian qualifier Tara Mullins, beating the 30-year-old from Toronto 9-1, 9-0, 9-2.


"Itís only the second time Iíve played a real top player. I handled the pace ok, but it was the ball accuracy that was the difference," explained Mullins. "Itís so hard to get her out of position. I did it a few times but not enough to win a game. I gave her too many loose balls and she just put them away."

Khan also despatched a Canadian - beating Carolyn Russell, from Vancouver, 9-4, 9-1, 9-7.


ďThere were lots of long rallies, but I didnít have to move too much, she was putting a lot of shots into the middle," said Khan, from Seattle. "I just had to stay focused. Itís always a bit physical when you play Carolyn, you just have to not let it get to you."


Quarter-final line-up:

[1] Natalie Grainger (USA) v [8] Runa Reta (CAN)

[4] Lauren Briggs (ENG) v [5] Latasha Khan (USA)

[3] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) v Joshna Chinappa (IND)

[2] Samantha Teran (MEX) v [6] Manuela Manetta (ITA)