Nicol David Back On Track In Grand Cayman
world number one Nicol David celebrated her 50th appearance in a WISPA
World Tour final in appropriate style in the climax of the inaugural
Women's Cayman Islands Open - playing her best squash for over a year to
beat world number two Natalie Grainger in straight games and avenge her
recent defeat by the US star.
"I'm very happy with that - I played my best squash of this year,
and last year too probably," an exuberant Nicol David said after the stunning
11-8, 11-6, 11-5 victory in 33 minutes which landed the 25-year-old from Penang
the 35th Tour title of her career - but her first this year.
"She played well - but with the whole atmosphere of it, with what
happened last time we played, I brought it all on to court and it helped me
focus," explained David, referring to the crushing five-game defeat she suffered
at the hands of Grainger in the final of the KL Open in March, which
brought to an end the Malaysian's 56-match unbeaten run over the previous 17
what happened last time you have a good idea of what you need to do, so that it
doesn't happen again. She played well last time but I really wanted to play well
today," David added.
"This tournament has been so great, the setting, the club, and
the atmosphere. Dan (Kneipp) has done a fantastic job - I can't wait to come
With four successive Tour titles to her credit already this year,
Natalie Grainger had built up a 19-match unbeaten Tour run on the eve of the
final of the $37,500 event at South Sound Squash Club in Grand Cayman
in the Cayman Islands.
"I made a good start, but not with enough control," admitted the
31-year-old from Greenwich later. "I was a bit tense in a way, I wasn't
finishing my shots properly I wasn't hitting a good length.
"In these conditions, Nicol's always going to be tough to beat.
You have to be at the top of your game.
"But it's been a good tournament overall for me - a fantastic
setting and organisation, so I can't be too unhappy overall. I'm just a bit
disappointed about the three-nil."
Grand Cayman Hosts
& David's 50th
world's two highest-ranked squash players will contest a 'dream final' of the
Women's Cayman Islands Open after Nicol David (left) and Natalie
Grainger prevailed in the semi-finals of the inaugural $37,500 WISPA
World Tour event at South Sound Squash Club in Grand Cayman in
the Cayman Islands.
And Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia, will be
celebrating her 50th appearance in a WISPA Tour final after her semi-final
victory over Australian rival Rachael Grinham - the only current player
to have featured in more finals (51).
Furthermore, the final will be the first meeting between the pair
since US star Grainger defeated David in the final of the KL Open in
March, thus dramatically ending the Malaysian's 56-match unbeaten run over the
previous 17 months.
"Everyone's trying to do something to beat me, so I have to be
ready for anything and try to play my game," top seed Nicol David said after her
9-11, 11-0, 11-8, 11-3 victory over third seed Grinham.
"Rachael plays a slow game really well, and it worked for her at
the start. I had to bring something extra in the next game, and I found my
momentum and carried it on to the next games.
"I'm just glad to be in the final, and looking forward to another
match up with Natalie," added David, now just one win away from her 35th Tour
crown. "Hopefully it will be a good match for the crowd, who have been great
Grainger, the in-form No2 seed from Greenwich, crushed England's
Jenny Duncalf 11-6, 11-2, 11-3 in just 25 minutes - the fifth seed
clearly feeling the effects of her marathon hour-long upset over fourth seed
Natalie Grinham in the previous round.
"I'm very happy with how that went - I knew Jenny had a hard
match and a good win yesterday, so I really wanted to make sure I was on my game
from the start, take my time and make sure my shots were tight," explained
Grainger, the reigning US and Pan American Games champions.
"I worked it well, good shot selection and once I got on top it
was important to keep it going, you can't afford to let anyone back in.
"Now it's the same routine as before - good food, good sleep,
breakfast, a bit of sun and ready to go for the next match!"
Grinham In Grand Cayman Upset
Less than a week after upsetting world No4 Natalie Grinham
in the final of the European Team Championships in Sweden, England's
Jenny Duncalf (right) again defeated her Dutch rival in a five-game marathon
in the quarter-finals of the Women's Cayman Islands Open to claim a
surprise place in the last four of the inaugural $37,500 WISPA World Tour
squash event at South Sound Squash Club in Grand Cayman in the
Duncalf, the fifth seed from Harrogate in Yorkshire, won the
first game for just four points and had two game-balls in the second. But the
gutsy fourth seed from Almere, winner of a record three gold medals for
Australia in the 2006 Commonwealth Games, drew level - and went on to
lead twice in the fifth game decider.
Undaunted, the two-time British National champion recovered the
lead and battled to an 11-4, 13-15, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9 victory in exactly one hour
- recording only her third ever career win over former world number two Grinham.
"I started off well, but I could have done with taking the second
- it would have been difficult for her to come from two down," explained Duncalf,
"In the third I went for more shots and hit a few winners. Maybe
she was feeling the effects of the conditions then - I certainly did in the
fourth, my energy levels went right down. It's just so hot, and there's no air
"It was even at the beginning of the fifth, then she got ahead -
but the crowd got behind me a bit which gave me a boost. I was so happy to
finish it, it was a relief to get off there. It's a great atmosphere with the
crowd and the kids, but it's probably the toughest conditions I've played in!"
Duncalf now faces US champion Natalie Grainger, the second
seed from Greenwich who defeated Australian Kasey Brown, the No7 seed,
11-9, 11-7, 11-7.
There will be Grinham representation, however, in the other
semi-final where Natalie's older sister Rachael Grinham, the third seed,
takes on event favourite Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia.
Grinham senior recovered from a game down to beat surprise New
Zealand opponent Jaclyn Hawkes 9-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-8 in 51 minutes.
Unseeded Aucklander Hawkes made the quarters after upsetting sixth seed
Isabelle Stoehr in the opening round.
"Jaclyn's improved a lot, and she's very good at getting
everything back. She's got such a reach, you think she's struggling to get there
but she comes back with a good shot," said Rachael Grinham.
"I made a few errors in the beginning, but was happy with how I
played after that. I twisted my ankle in Heliopolis a few weeks ago, so
yesterday was my first real test since then."
Nicol David, competing in her first Tour event since ending her
17-month unbeaten run in March, eased into the semi-finals with an 11-3, 11-8,
11-8 victory over Samantha Teran, the No8 seed from Mexico.
"I've been training with Samantha in Amsterdam, so it's nice to
get on court and see how she's playing in matches," said David. "She's playing
very well - that was a very tough match!
"It's fantastic how the crowd really get behind you here. I hope
they carry on and that I can play better tomorrow."
Hawkes Stuns Stoehr In South Sound Upset In Cayman
New Zealander Jaclyn Hawkes produced the only upset on the
opening day of the Women's Cayman Islands Open when she beat France's
sixth seed Isabelle Stoehr in straight games to claim a surprise
quarter-final berth in the inaugural $37,500 WISPA World Tour squash
event at South Sound Squash Club in Grand Cayman in the Cayman
The 26-year-old world No17 from Auckland took only 26 minutes to
subdue Stoehr 11-7, 11-6, 11-4 – ending a run of four defeats to the
higher-ranked Frenchwoman over the past three years. Hawkes will now face
former world champion Rachael Grinham, the third seed from Australia, for
a place in the semi-finals.
"I felt that she knew that the court suited my game better than
hers, and she felt she needed to go for shots with less margin for error than
she probably had," Hawkes explained later "She wasn't prepared to rally like I
"I think I played pretty well there - and, as it's the first time
I've beaten her, I'm very pleased with the result."
in her first Tour event since ending her 17-month unbeaten run in the final of
the KL Open in March, top seed Nicol David recorded a comfortable
11-2, 11-5, 11-6 win over Malaysian compatriot Sharon Wee (left
foreground), a qualifier.
"Sharon played well, but I played out of my skin - I'm pleased
with my performance," said the exuberant world number one. "It's a lovely
place, I'm just taking everything in, but it's so nice to be back on court, back
in tournament play - especially in somewhere like this.
"The atmosphere was great though, I was feeding off the whole
vibe of the crowd and took a lot of momentum from that!"
David now faces Samantha Teran – but the eighth-seeded
Mexican was taken the full distance by unseeded English opponent Dominique
Lloyd-Walter before prevailing 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6 in 89 minutes.
"That was very tough - it's so hot I even had to change my
skirt!" said Teran, the world No16 and highest-ranked Mexican of all-time.
Second seed Natalie Grainger, the world No2 from the USA
who ended Nicol David's 56-match unbeaten run in Malaysia two months ago, had to
fight back from a game down to beat compatriot Latasha Khan, a qualifier,
5-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6.
"Latasha played well in the first - she's used to the conditions
and had a couple of qualifying matches to get accustomed to it," said US
champion Grainger. "I knew what was wrong, it was just a question of settling
down, concentrating, and winning the next game!"
Nicol David Begins
Comeback Campaign Against Compatriot In Cayman
in her first WISPA World Tour squash event since ending her 17-month
unbeaten run in the final of the KL Open in March, world number one
Nicol David is drawn to meet Malaysian compatriot Sharon Wee in today's first round of the Women's Cayman Islands Open,
the inaugural $37,500 WISPA event at South Sound Squash Club in Grand
Cayman in the Cayman Islands.
The world's top five players are competing in the highest quality
field ever to appear in the Caribbean.
Wee, the world No25 from Malacca, defeated England's Emma
Beddoes 11-7, 11-6, 11-8 in 29 minutes in the qualifying finals to set up
her fifth Tour meeting since 2000 with her Malaysian team-mate.
"This was a very important match for me," Wee said afterwards.
"Emma beat me 3/0 two months ago in Malaysia and I was determined to put that
right. I'm very happy - I'm proud of myself in fact."
made it 100% success for Malaysians in the qualifiers after the Kuala
Lumpur-born 23-year-old beat Sweden's Anna-Carin Forstadius 11-3, 11-8,
11-3. Arnold gets the second highest-ranked opponent in second seed Natalie
Grainger, the world No2 from the USA who ended Nicol David's 56-match
unbeaten run in KL two months ago.
But the toughest qualifying battle saw USA's Latasha Khan
edge out Caribbean star Nicolette Fernandes 9-11, 14-12, 11-1, 11-5 in 53
Fernandes has been out of action for almost two years after a
knee injury. After winning the first game, the 25-year-old from Guyana led 10-5
in the second and had two game-balls before Khan drew level.
"Nicolette's such a good player," said Khan, a seven-time US
champion. "I used to hit with her a lot before she got injured, so I knew it
was going to be tough, she just never gives anything up. She's the only woman
who dives after the ball!
"Coming back to win it was more her than me, and the same in the
third. She's been out for two years, but she'll be back to where she was in no
A downcast Fernandes, who attained a career-high world No27
ranking in May 2007, felt she should have won: "I thought I played really well
in the first two - I should have had the second, and should have won, so I'm
really gutted to lose.
"You're always scared when you come back that you won't be able
to compete at the same level, so I'm happy to be back, happy to be competing.
My fitness is back 100%, but not my match fitness yet. I need to win more, I
can't let these games get away from me.
"I feel at home here, I had great support, I love playing in the
Caribbean. I just should have won!"