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Nicol David Retains Seoul Trophy

Seoul Open 2009
01-07 Jun, Seoul, Korea, $60k
Round One
03/04 Jun
05 Jun
06 Jun
07 Jun
[1] Nicol David (Mas)
11-4, 4-11, 11-6, 11-7 (43m)
[Q] Annie Au (Hkg)
Nicol David
12-10, 11-5, 12-10 (40m)
Alison Waters
Nicol David
11-4, 11-6, 11-8 (36m)
Natalie Grinham
Nicol David
11-6, 3-11, 11-6, 11-4 (38m)
Jenny Duncalf
[5] Alison Waters (Eng)
11-2, 11-8, 11-8 (22m)
Song Sun-Mi (Kor)
[3] Natalie Grinham (Ned)
11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (25m)
[Q] Latasha Khan (Usa)
Natalie Grinham
11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (30m)
Kasey Brown
[8] Kasey Brown (Aus)
11-9, 11-9, 11-8 (34m)
Samantha Teran (Mex)
Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl)
12-10, 11-5, 11-7 (29m)
[6] Madeline Perry (Irl)
Madeline Perry
13-11, 12-10, 12-10 (44m)
Jenny Duncalf
Jenny Duncalf
11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (34m)
Rachael Grinham
[Q] Joey Chan (Hkg)
11-6, 11-2, 11-9 (26m)
[4] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
Rebecca Chiu (Hkg)
11-3, 11-3, 11-5 (25m)
[7] Shelley Kitchen (Nzl)
Shelley Kitchen
6-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8, 14-12 (67m)
Rachael Grinham
[Q] Donna Urquhart (Aus)
12-10, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6 (29m)
[2] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
2nd June Finals:
Annie Au
(Hkg) bt Kylie Lindsay (Nzl)
11/5, 11/4, 11/4 (18m)
Latasha Khan (Usa) bt Emma Beddoes (Eng) 11/8, 6/11, 11/1, 13/11 (55m)
Donna Urquhart (Aus) bt Sharon Wee (Mas)
11/6, 6/11, 11/6, 10/12, 11/7 (56m)
Joey Chan (Hkg) bt Line Hansen (Den) 11/5, 6/11, 11/8, 9/11, 11/7 (48m)

1st June Round One:
Kylie Lindsay (Nzl) bt Miwa Maekawa (Jpn) 6/11, 12/10, 11/5, 11/8 (36m)
Emma Beddoes (Eng) bt Chinatsu Matsui (Jpn) 11/8, 6/11, 11/4, 11/1 (39m)
Donna Urquhart (Aus) bt Park Eun Ok (Kor) 11/8, 11/6, 11/9 (35m)
Joey Chan (Hkg) bt Ahn Eun Chan (Kor) 11/5, 7/11, 11/7, 11/6 (35m)


Mr Yoon & Andrew Shelley

Nicol David Retains Seoul Trophy


Malaysia's world number one Nicol David successfully retained her title in the BBQ Women's Seoul Open after beating England's Jenny Duncalf, the fourth seed, in the final of the $60,000 WISPA World Tour Gold squash event being staged on an all-glass court before a packed crowd in Yongsan Plaza, by the Hyundai I-Park Mall, in the South Korean capital Seoul.


David, in her third successive final in Seoul, got off to a good start and confidently took the first game.  But Duncalf - the world No6 from Harrogate in Yorkshire who gate-crashed the climax after upsetting last year's runner-up Rachael Grinham, the No2 seed from Australia, in the semis - picked up her game in the second and sped to a 7-0 lead, before taking the game to draw level.


Now taking advice from Grinham between games, Duncalf returned to the court eager to extend her momentum - and, perhaps, put an end to the 11-0 winning Tour run David has over her.


Both players were using length and accuracy while seeking out chinks in each other's defences - while the massed ranks of spectators inside the arena, together with hundreds covering the steps, were all totally enthralled.  They were watching David edge ahead and turn winning rallies into points on the board.  


David maintained her advantage and, after 38 minutes, the challenger had been subdued and the defending champion had retained her BBQ Seoul Open title 11-6, 3-11, 11-6, 11-4.


"I wasn’t really into it in the first," admitted Duncalf, after her appearance in the biggest final of her career.  "I knew I needed to be more confident of my shots in the second - and I did start seeing it and timing it well.  She was taken a bit by surprise I think, but it is a fine line and you cannot fire the ball like that for a whole match.


"Actually I feel a bit disappointed as I am not feeling exhausted," added the 26-year-old.  "I just made a few too many errors at the end."


After reaching her 52nd Tour final - and moving ahead of her nearest rival Rachael Grinham (on 51) for the first time in her career - Nicol David was now celebrating her 37th Tour title, and her third in a row this year.


"Jenny started playing so well that I knew I had to keep working her," the new champion told reporters afterwards.  "It feels really good to have kept the title, especially as everybody is so enthusiastic in Seoul.  It is what we play for!"


Local squash fans can look forward to a potential hat-trick of David Seoul successes after the Seoul Squash Federation confirmed plans for the 4th staging of the WISPA Gold event next year.


Mr Lee Jang Ho, Secretary General of Seoul Sports Council, explained the value of the event and why Seoul Sports Council supports it:


"By hosting this major international event, the sponsors and squash fans are expecting the elevation of the image of Seoul city as a global city and that of Korea as one of the global leaders.


"The greatest merit of this Open is that the event penetrates into the daily city-lives of the citizens.  We are hoping that Seoul Women’s Squash Open will help Squash succeed in the bid for Olympics in 2016.


"We will put the utmost efforts in hosting another successful event, by increasing the level and quality of the Open and inventing the programs that would promote the image of Seoul city to the further level.  For the greater joy of the players and the spectators, we will keep up the good work."

David & Duncalf In Seoul Final


Defending champion Nicol David and fourth seed Jenny Duncalf will meet in a surprise final of the BBQ Women's Seoul Open after both Grinham sisters departed in the semi-finals of the $60,000 WISPA World Tour Gold squash event being staged on an all-glass court sited in front of the Hyundai I-Park Mall in Yongsan Plaza in the South Korean capital Seoul.


David's victory over third seed Natalie Grinham takes the world number one from Malaysia into her 52nd WISPA Tour final - and the defeat of second seed Rachael Grinham in the other semi means that David moves ahead of the Australian (currently poised on 51 appearances) to record more final appearances than any other current player.


Rachael Grinham, the former world number one from Toowoomba in Queensland, boasted a 6-3 head-to-head record over Jenny Duncalf - but the English player's wins were from their last three meetings.  And Duncalf extended her current run over her higher-ranked opponent in the first semi-final by beating Grinham senior 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 in 34 minutes.


"My accuracy just wasn’t there," said the disconsolate Australian, last year's runner-up, afterwards.  "The ball didn’t go where I wanted it to go.  This court punishes you if your opponent can put the ball away, and I gave her too many chances."


Duncalf, who slipped to six in the world rankings this month, was delighted to be in her first Seoul final - the ninth Tour climax of her career, but the biggest by far.  "I am really pleased to be in the final, and no long matches means I will be as fresh as possible – and I will need to be if Nicol gets through!


"But I don’t mind who I play, I just want to enjoy it. The crowd and the court have been great, the organisers have done a great job on the setting and I like to play outside!"


Nicol David tended to control proceedings in the second semi - delivering a second defeat for the Grinham family by beating younger sister Natalie Grinham, the third seed now representing the Netherlands, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 in 36 minutes.


"I haven’t played Nicol for a while so I was getting used to playing her again," said Natalie later.  "I was trying to find the right game plan but in the end I took her too short too much."


The last time that Grinham had beaten David had been in the Seoul final two years ago, and now the Malaysian has taken eight in succession. 


And the statistics show that Duncalf has a tough task ahead of her in the final - with the Malaysian boasting an unblemished 11-0 head-to-head record on the WISPA Tour, extended to 15-0 if you add in their other career clashes.


Shelley Shaken By Gritty Grinham


Rachael Grinham is on course to reach the final of the BBQ Women's Seoul Open for the second successive year – but the second-seeded Australian twice had to come from behind, then save a match-ball, before overcoming New Zealander Shelley Kitchen in today's (Friday) quarter-finals of the $60,000 WISPA World Tour Gold squash event being staged on an all-glass court sited in front of the Hyundai I-Park Mall in Yongsan Plaza in the South Korean capital Seoul.


It was a roller coaster – seventh seed Kitchen not only returning some of Grinham’s audacious offerings, but dominating many rallies too.  After Grinham has twice countered Kitchen's leads, the Kiwi led 9-7 in the decider before reaching match-ball at 10-9.  Here, Grinham looking as if she was in casual knock-up mode, flicked the serve from close to the back wall towards the tin. 


It was never destined to make the front - but by a millimetre it did, and out of the Kiwi’s reach too. Match ball saved, and another gut-wrenching boast took the former world champion to her own match-ball.  A rasping cross-court voided that.  But at 12-all, a snatched Kitchen drive went into the tin.  The final act was another feathered backhand drop from Grinham – and the Queenslander had squeezed through 6-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8, 14-12 in 67 minutes.


"I was lucky to get out of that," admitted Grinham, who had lost to Kitchen in their previous meeting in New York in November.  "When I hit the return on match ball I was sure it was down.  The moment I struck it, I called myself so many names and then it went up!"


Grinham's semi-final opponent will be Jenny Duncalf, the No4 seed from England who won a high-quality match against Madeline Perry.  Perry, the sixth seed from Ireland, has held steady at number nine in the world all this year, but a last 16 loss in last month's Texas Open had threatened to knock her back.  But a difficult first round hurdle here against Jaclyn Hawkes had been cleared.


But Duncalf was vibrant around the court, and got the breaks too.  Perry could conceivably have been aspiring towards the possibility of a three-nil win had she converted the game points she held in the almost identical first two games.  But it was the world No6 from Yorkshire that prevailed 13-11, 12-10, 12-10 in 44 minutes.


"I felt good, though Madders is very strong on the ball - especially when she is balanced and punishing you with low hard shots," said Duncalf afterwards.  "I tried to mix it up better, and I did play the big points well and not give too much away."


In the top half, it was business as usual for defending champion and top seed Nicol David.  The Penang powerhouse started slowly against England's fifth seed Alison Waters - but when she picked up the momentum during the second half of each game, became more of a potent force and difficult to stay with. 


Londoner Waters, who has regained the number five slot this month, is not only steady but an accomplished, hard-hitting and tight performer - but there is still daylight between David and the rest of the group.


Waters had leads of 10-8 in the first game and 10-7 in the third – but it was Malaysia's world number one who triumphed 12-10, 11-5, 12-10 in 40 minutes.


"I'm disappointed," said Waters.  "I think that I missed a good chance to do well against Nicol, but she makes every rally so hard when she is down.  She puts in the big rallies then.  At least I felt I gave her a good challenge and didn't make it easy for her - something to build upon!"


The final encounter would have been billed as an all-Australian affair until Natalie Grinham completed her move to become a Dutch national a year ago.  Kasey Brown still has 'AUS' after her name, and after this match a zero too, while Grinham junior has a three!


Natalie Grinham has been quietly moving through the field and clearly has her eyes set on reclaiming the title that she won in 2007.  The world No4 beat Nicol David in the final that year, and this time will have to beat her in the semis if she is to get a hand on the BBQ Seoul Open trophy.



Annie Au

Natalie Grinham (L) & Latasha Khan

Samantha Teran (L) & Kasey Brown

Song Sun-Mi (L) Alison Waters

Song goes short against Waters

Waters On Song In Seoul Opener


England's Alison Waters drowned hopes of local interest in the quarter-finals of the BBQ Women's Seoul Open when she defeated Korean teenager Song Sun-Mi on the second day of first round action in the $60,000 WISPA World Tour Gold squash event being staged on an all-glass court sited in front of the Hyundai I-Park Mall in Yongsan Plaza in the South Korean capital Seoul.


The world No68 from Kyung-Do is the highest-ranked woman in the country – and carried the hopes not only of the crowd, but also of the assembled VIPs.  Song did not disappoint:  the 19-year-old rallied well, retrieved athletically and hit a number of winners.


But the local star had a tough task in her fifth-seeded opponent Waters, the world No5.  The Londoner needed only 22 minutes to earn her 11-2, 11-8, 11-8 victory.


The crowd had been well briefed - and knew that the world champion was next on the bill. Seats remained fully occupied, the steps thronged and the areas outside the barriers filled as Nicol David took on vibrant young talent Annie Au, the last remaining member of a Hong Kong trio in the first round.


While Au smiles all the time off court, in her work box she gives little away – and when the 20-year-old qualifier settled into the match, there were times when David, the world number one from Malaysia, was unable to dictate.


Playing with abandon, the young left hander took the second game and reached six-all in the next before David started to deny her opportunities – and soon wrapped up her anticipated victory in an 11-4, 4-11, 11-6, 11-7 scoreline.


Indeed, the Malaysian - who had never played Au before - was lavish with her praise about Au afterwards:  "She has so much potential.  She has already matured so much, improving in leaps and bounds.  She knows how to work the ball and her feel of the game is very good too."


Au herself commented:  "I am very happy; to get one game is a bonus as I thought I would lose 3/0!"


The third encounter featured friends Natalie Grinham, the third seed from the Netherlands, and Latasha Khan, a successful qualifier from the USA.  While Grinham is making her fifth Tour appearance this year, the Seoul championship marks the indefatigable 36-year-old American's tenth WISPA outing in 2009!


Khan gave the 2007 Seoul champion a good workout – but it was Grinham that emerged the 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 victor.


Grinham will play Kasey Brown in the quarter finals after the eighth seed came through what looked like a difficult match on paper.  Mexican Samantha Teran is always an obdurate opponent, but it was the Australian who prevailed 11-9, 11-9, 11-8 in 34 minutes.


Mr Yoon Hong-Geun, representing championship sponsors BBQ, had remarked in his event opening speech about how suited Squash is for a place at the Olympics:  With the TV cameras rolling and the public enjoying the spectacle of top class sport, Squash can now point to spectacular settings and great coverage in yet another country – his own!


Seeds Survive Seoul Scene-Setter


The four seeds in action on the opening day of the BBQ Women's Seoul Open survived in straightforward fashion in the first round of the $60,000 WISPA World Tour Gold squash event being staged on an all-glass court sited in front of the Hyundai I-Park Mall in Yongsan Plaza in the South Korean capital Seoul.


This is the third year of the WISPA event in Korea, but the first in Yongsan Plaza after the previous central square location - Seoul Plaza – was deemed unsuitable as demonstrations were expected there following the recent death of former South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyum.  With little over a week’s notice, the Seoul Squash Federation relocated their ASB All Glass Court to a position in front of the I-Park Mall – a busy central area boasting shoppers in their thousands.


The location was succinctly described by Irish number one Madeline Perry:  "I really like the setting.  It is very different to last year but still pretty impressive."


The sixth seed from Belfast had good reason to be in expansive mood as she had just beaten New Zealander Jaclyn Hawkes in the first match of the evening.  She had squeezed through against the Kiwi in last year's World Open, and took her again in the Irish Open in April. 


But the Seoul success was the most convincing of the trio – despite Hawkes showing a rich vein of form over recent months. 


"I didn’t play well in Texas, so wanted to make up for that performance," said Perry after her 12-10, 11-5, 11-7 victory in 29 minutes.


Awaiting her in the quarters will be fourth seed Jenny Duncalf, who comfortably extinguished the challenge of qualifier Joey Chan.  The 21-year-old from Hong Kong found it difficult to cope with the vagaries of the all glass court as England's world No6 Duncalf romped to an 11-6, 11-2, 11-9 win in 26 minutes.


Indeed, the Hong Kong number one Rebecca Chiu fared little better against an on-song Shelley Kitchen.  The New Zealander was not only hitting hard and low, but holding well too.  It was all too much for Chiu who found herself floundering, going down 11-3, 11-3, 11-5.


This may not be such good news for second seed Rachael Grinham, who had lost to Kitchen in their last encounter at the Carol Weymuller Open last November.


Here, Grinham was pitted against fellow Aussie Donna Urquhart, whose legs and arms seem to elongate on court as the left-hander flails.  Not only does Grinham give away a number of inches to her opponent, but nearly gave away the first two games of their match too. 


Former world number one Grinham had to save game-balls in both games - then seemed to switch off as she lost the third, before coming back to take the match 12-10, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6.


"With a swing like hers, you are never sure where the ball is going so I was just glad to have got through," said Grinham.


Hong Kong Qualifiers In Seoul Search For Glory


Hong Kong interest in the BBQ Women's Seoul Open was trebled after Annie Au and Joey Chan battled through to success in the qualifying finals of the $60,000 WISPA World Tour Gold squash event at Seoul State University Sports Centre in the South Korean capital Seoul.


Annie Au, the 20-year-old world No18, despatched New Zealand's Kylie Lindsay 11-5, 11-4, 11-4 in just 18 minutes – but Chan had a tougher task against second qualifying seed Line Hansen.  In the last match of the day, the 21-year-old world No43 became the third left hander through – and the lowest-ranked player too. 


Chan twice stemmed fight-backs by Hansen before defeating the Dane 11-5, 6-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7.


Au has the tougher reward – a clash with top seed Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia who is the title-holder.  Chan will line up against England's No4 seed Jenny Duncalf on the all-glass court sited at Hyundai I-Park Yongsan Plaza.


The pair's compatriot Rebecca Chiu already has a place in the main draw, where she faces New Zealander Shelley Kitchen, the seventh seed.


Nicol David In Bid To Overtake Rachael Grinham In Seoul


Malaysia's world number one Nicol David is seeded to reach her 52nd WISPA World Squash Tour final in this week's $60,000 Women's Seoul Open in South Korea, thus moving ahead of her long-time rival Rachael Grinham to boast more Tour finals than any other current player.


But it is the second-seeded Australian whom David is expected to line up against in Sunday's climax on an all-glass court at Hyundai I-Park Yongsan Plaza in Seoul.


The 2009 Seoul Open, the third WISPA Gold event of the year, is in its third year in the Korean capital.  The championship has attracted a star-studded field, including seven players from the world top ten.  Nicol David, runner-up in 2007 and champion last year, is looking to record a hat-trick of successive final appearances.


The 25-year-old from Penang faces a qualifier in Wednesday's opening round and is expected to meet 2007 champion Natalie Grinham, the third seed, in the semi-finals.   The world No4 - Rachael Grinham's younger sister - arrives in Seoul fresh from victory in the European Individual Championships, the 31-year-old's first title success since becoming a Dutch national last year.


Grinham senior also takes on a qualifier in the first round - with the draw predicting a semi-final clash with England's No4 seed Jenny Duncalf.


The 2009 Seoul Open, only the fourth Tour event to be staged in South Korea, is helping to raise the profile of Squash in the country.


Mr Yoon Hong-Geun, Chairman of sponsors Genesis-BBQ, explained:  "The Seoul Women's Open will again help us to promote squash in Seoul and we hope that the all-glass court and television programmes will help us see squash become an official Olympic sport."