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Natalie Nets Grinham Win In Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo Classic 2007
Monaco, 10-15 Dec
Round One
12 Dec
13 Dec
14 Dec
15 Dec
[1] Natalie Grinham (Aus)
9/3, 9/1, 9/2 (32m)
Latasha Khan (Usa)
Natalie Grinham
9-4, 9-3, 9-1 (38m)
Jaclyn Hawkes
Natalie Grinham
9-0, 9-0, 9-6 (37m)
Laura Lengthorn-Massaro
Natalie Grinham
9-7, 9-6, 9-7 (49m)
Rachael Grinham
[7] Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl)
9/4, 9/1, 9/1 (32m)
Manuela Manetta (Ita)
[4] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned)
9/3, 7/9, 10/9, 9/2 (45m
Annelize Naude (Ned)
Vanessa Atkinson
1-9, 9-7, 9-1, 9-5 (57m)
Laura Lengthorn-Massaro
[5] Laura Lengthorn-Massaro (Eng)
9/3, 9/2, 9/5 (32m
[Q] Lauren Siddall (Eng)
[Q] Lauren Briggs (Eng)
9/6, 9/4, 9/5 (64m
[8] Samantha Teran (Mex)
Samantha Teran
9-7, 9-3, 9-6 (32m
Omneya Abdel Kawy
Omneya Abdel Kawy
4-9, 9-2, 9-4, 9-6 (47m)
Rachael Grinham
Line Hansen (Den)
9/4, 9/3, 9/4 (42m
[3] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)
[Q] Sarah Kippax (Eng)
8/10, 9/7, 9/2, 4/9, 9/4 (66m)
[6] Isabelle Stoehr (Fra)
Isabelle Stoehr
9-2, 9-4, 9-6 (39m)
Rachael Grinham
[Q] Laura Hill (Eng)
9/7, 9/2, 9/0 (39m)
[2] Rachael Grinham (Aus)

Natalie Nets Grinham Win In Monte Carlo
Australia's Natalie Grinham successfully defended her title in the Women's Monte Carlo Squash Classic - but her straight games victory in the final of the $31,500 WISPA World Tour Silver squash event in the Monaco capital was sweet revenge for the loss to her older sister Rachael Grinham in the final of the World Open in Madrid in October.

The clash was the Queensland siblings' 17th WISPA Tour meeting since their first in 2001 - their third in a final and their seventh this year!

But it also followed a string of three successive wins by Cairo-based Rachael - despite the Netherlands-based Natalie being ahead in the world rankings over the period.

Rachael led 7-2 in the first game and 7-3 in the third:  But on both occasions Natalie, who had not dropped a game leading to the final, regained control before clinching the match 9-7, 9-6, 9-7 in 49 minutes.

"After winning in Seoul (in April), I hurt my foot, and then later on my wrist," explained Natalie, the world No2.  "I am still having treatment for that and getting a little pain.  But though I am not quite 100% I am well on the way," added the 29-year-old from Toowoomba who started the year with a win and ended it on a similar high.

But the two-time Monte Carlo champion acknowledged her slow start:  "Rachael had been beating me and I was unsure how to play her - and I was too defensive and not confident enough.  Then I relaxed and changed my game."

Rachael Grinham, who beat Natalie en-route to both her World Open and British Open triumphs in 2007, was delighted to have made her 45th WISPA final:  "I was trying hard but not making smart shot decisions.  I was pleased enough to make the final but maybe Natalie was more up for it."

Natalie - now the winner of 12 Tour titles, including four this year - was delighted to be presented with her Fred of Monaco ring.  Runner-up Rachael was similarly enchanted with hers - and both praised local hospitality and the organisation of the Monaco Squash Federation.  The pair will leave the Principality having offered up a splendid finale to the 12th Monte Carlo Classic.

Grinhams To Contest Monte Carlo Final
Australian sisters Natalie Grinham and Rachael Grinham, ranked two and three in the world, will meet in the final of the Women's Monte Carlo Squash Classic in their first clash since contesting the final of the World Open seven weeks ago in Madrid.

Top seed Natalie Grinham - the younger of the pair, based in the Netherlands - despatched England's No5 seed Laura Lengthorn-Massaro 9-0, 9-0, 9-6 in 37 minutes to take a place in the final without dropping a game.

Last year's champion, now in her 27th WISPA World Tour final, was clearly not only focussed on reaching the climax for the financial return. “Half the reason I play this event is to win some Fred jewellery and I am really happy that I will now!” said Grinham junior. Both the winner and runner up receive fine items from the Fred of Paris range.

Rachael Grinham, based in Cairo, faced Egyptian Omneya Abdel Kawy, the third seed who is also based in her country's capital. After dropping the first game, Grinham senior went on to claim a 4-9, 9-2, 9-4, 9-6 victory after 47 minutes.

Abdel Kawy was disappointed with the result, but will have every opportunity to get to know her opponent’s game even better soon. “We hardly ever practiced together before, but we did almost every day last week. I want to train with Rachael more, as I think that she will improve my squash,” added the 22-year-old.

On the match itself, Kawy said: “Rachael started slowly, hitting the tin, as she sometimes does, and I saw my opportunity. But later she changed it and put me under pressure.”

Rachael Grinham is celebrating her 45th appearance in a WISPA World Tour final - and her seventh Tour meeting with her sister this year!

Laura Is Victor As Vanessa Is Vanquished
England's Laura Lengthorn-Massaro pulled off a long-awaited upset over Vanessa Atkinson when she beat the former world champion from the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of the Women's Monte Carlo Classic.

The 12th staging of this popular WISPA World Tour squash event at the Stade Louis II in the Monaco capital has attracted a high-class field led by Australian sisters Natalie Grinham and Rachael Grinham, ranked two and three in the world, respectively.

It was the 24-year-old from Preston's sixth WISPA World Tour meeting with Atkinson over the past five years - with Lengthorn-Massaro losing out in all previous cases, four times in straight games.

And fourth seed Atkinson, champion of the event two years ago and runner-up in 2006, took the first game for the loss of just a single point.

However, from 4-0 up in the second, the gremlins started to assert themselves - and in one hand the Dutch star found herself 4-8 down. Errors crept in and Atkinson was unable to press her advantage.

The match ended tamely after 57 minutes with two tinned drives as fifth seed Lengthorn-Massaro claimed her breakthrough 1-9, 9-7, 9-1, 9-5 win.

"In the first game I gave her too many short rallies and her confidence was up a bit," said the Lancastrian winner. "But in the second, I kept thinking 'stay in this, extend the rallies and play deeper'. She began to give me openings and I felt I finished the match strongly," Laura explained.

Atkinson admitted to being jaded: "She seemed more up for it, battling it out and making fewer mistakes towards the end. I started quite well but my resilience is not so good at the moment. I seem to be crumbling a little rather than fighting. I guess I am a little jaded."

Lengthorn-Massaro now faces defending champion Natalie Grinham for a place in the final. The top-seeded Australian beat New Zealand's No7 seed Jaclyn Hawkes 9-4, 9-3, 9-1.

Natalie's Cairo-based sister Rachael Grinham, the second seed, also enjoyed a straight games win, ending French interest in the event with a 9-2, 9-4, 9-6 over sixth seed Isabelle Stoehr.

The reigning British Open and World Open champion now faces fellow Egypt-based Omneya Abdel Kawy after the third seed beat Mexico's Samantha Teran 9-7, 9-3, 9-6.

Seeds Survive Opening Classic Encounters
The Women's Monte Carlo Classic - the 12th staging of this popular WISPA World Tour squash event at the Stade Louis II in the Monaco capital - has attracted a high-class field. And the top eight seeds survived the first round to face further action in the quarter-finals of this year-ending $31,500 championship.

Australian sister Natalie Grinham and Rachael Grinham overcame first round opponents in straight games as they head towards a predicted meeting in the final - their first since contesting the World Open climax in Madrid in October.

Top seed Natalie, the defending champion, despatched USA's Latasha Khan 9-3, 9-1, 9-2 in 32 minutes, while Rachael, the reigning World Open and British Open champion who is the second seed, defeated English qualifier Laura Hill 9-7, 9-2, 9-0 in 39 minutes.

In her bid to reach the final for the third successive year, fourth seed Vanessa Atkinson took 45 minutes to overcome Dutch compatriot Annelize Naude 9-3, 7-9, 10-9, 9-2.

The 2005 champion from The Hague will now face England's Laura Lengthorn-Massaro, after the fifth seed from Lancashire beat English qualifier Lauren Siddall 9-3, 9-2, 9-5.