Australian Open Champion
became the first Irishwoman to win the Australian Open when she beat
England's Alison Waters in the thrilling five-game final of the $56,000
WISPA World Tour squash event - the sixth WISPA Gold championship
of the year - in Canberra.
33-year-old from Belfast saved two match balls in the fifth game of the Grays-sponsored
women's event to win the biggest tournament of her career 11-5, 12-10, 6-11,
4-11, 13-11 on the all-glass court at Canberra's Royal Theatre.
final was a wonderful advertisement for women's squash, with the match swinging
first one way then the other until fourth-seeded Perry closed it out on a
controversial no-let call, which caused Waters to throw her racket in disgust
and the new champion to throw hers in elation.
The title also
crowned a superb comeback for the 11-time Irish national champion who was
hospitalised with severe head injuries after she was mugged in Italy three years
ago, with doctors unsure whether she would ever play squash again.
dynamic from the start and caught Waters on the back foot with her court
movement and precision.
Waters, the third seed, stormed back to dominate the next two and level the
game went point for point - Waters had match balls at 10-9 and 11-10, which
Perry then got
to 12-11 and closed out the match when she put in a drop shot and the referees
ruled that Waters would not have reached the ball.
"I thought it
was a let - they'd been giving those as lets the whole game, but what can you
do?" Waters said.
Perry said was
thrilled to have finally broken through for a major win. "Getting to the final
was a big achievement, but winning it was huge for me," said the career-high
world No6, whose ranking is now certain to rise.
"I won the
first two but I wasn't feeling amazing, I felt a lot of tension in my body and
then she really upped the pace in the third and fourth and I couldn't respond.
"The fifth was
pretty even all the way through - you could see both of us were getting a bit
tired and not doing that much.
"But I stuck
in there and took my match ball when it came."
Perry said she
was probably playing the best squash of her career and her win over Jenny
Duncalf, the world No2 from England, in the semi-finals was as good as she
had ever played.
The win marks
Perry's seventh WISPA Tour title - but her first on foreign soil for more
than five years.
Waters said she had paid the price for her slow start. "I was feeling a bit off
physically and she came out firing. I only started to get into it in the third
and mixed it up a bit.
"The fifth was
a bit of a battle really - I had my match balls but couldn't take them,"
explained the dejected world number four.
Waters now join the rest of WISPA's leading players at the Cathay Pacific Sun
Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open in Hong Kong from 25-29 August.
Both players begin their campaigns in the seventh WISPA Gold championship of the
year against qualifiers - and again could only meet in the final.
Suffer As Perry & Waters Make All-British Canberra Climax
Both top seeds
fell in the semi-finals of the Grays Women's Australian Open as
fourth seed Madeline Perry and third seed Alison Waters set up an
all-British final of the $56,000 WISPA World Tour squash event - the
sixth WISPA Gold championship of the year - in Canberra.
Alison Waters survived a magnificent fight back from second-seeded
Australian Rachael Grinham to make the 13th Tour final of her career.
a match ball in the third game then led 9-5 in the fifth before Waters stormed
home to win the next six points and take the match 11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 9-11, 11-9
in a magnificent advertisement for women's squash.
26-year-old from London will play Northern Ireland's Madeline Perry in
Sunday's final after Perry stunned top seed Jenny Duncalf in four games
on a day of upsets.
world No6 from Belfast, recovered from losing the first game to record a
convincing 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7 win over England's world number two.
Grinham went into the semi-final with their career head to head reading six wins
apiece, however Waters has had the recent edge over the Australian, including
beating her at the same stage of last week's Singapore Masters.
The world No4
looked heading for a straightforward win when she took the first two games and
eased ahead in the third, only for Grinham - ranked one place higher - to dig
deep and begin producing her array of unconventional attacking shots.
number one Grinham won the next two then got an early lead in the fifth before a
couple of errors swung the momentum back to Waters.
going two-love up, I thought I was playing quite well," Waters said. "Then my
length dropped a bit and she was moving quite well and started putting these
amazing cross-court drop shots in, so I had to hang in there.
"When I was
9-5 down in the fifth I thought 'I've had two really good tournaments leading
into this and I don't want to lose now'."
Grinham was at
a loss to describe what happened at the end of the deciding game after she had
fought her way back into the match.
thought it was going to be over in three but I told myself to push hard and make
her win every point," Grinham said.
"I ended up
taking the third then she slowed down a bit and I had more time. I got a good
start in the fifth and was 9-5 up and then, I don't know, I started getting a
little bit nervous and gave away a couple of points, then I lost my lead.
because I only needed a couple of points to win I started to go short too early.
I really don't know what happened."
Perry had a
slow start in her quarter-final on Friday, losing the first game to Laura
Massaro in quick time, but she said even though she lost the first game to
Duncalf she had not played badly.
"I had a
really good warm-up today for a start so even when I lost the first I didn't
feel too bad, unlike yesterday," said the Yorkshire-based 33-year-old, now in
her 17th Tour final.
"And then I
was kind of dying at the start of the second but I started to fight my way back
into it and then it turned. I got a couple of nicks in that game and then I
thought I can take this today."
She said she
felt good from the moment she walked on court.
"I felt really
good movement-wise and I think she didn't like me moving her around - I was
getting mistakes out of her," Perry said. "I could definitely feel her
frustrations start to rise and then I started to get the lucky shots and it
didn't seem to be her day."
Triumphs Over Youth In Canberra
triumphed over youth when 33-year-old Rachael Grinham downed fellow
Australian Donna Urquhart, 22, in the quarter-finals of the
Grays Women's Australian Open in Canberra.
second-seeded Grinham always looked in control against her younger rival as she
eased to an 11-7, 11-5, 11-8 win to reach the semi-finals of the $56,000
WISPA World Tour squash event - the sixth WISPA Gold championship of
plays third-seeded Englishwoman Alison Waters on Saturday, with the
winner to face either top seed Jenny Duncalf of England or Northern
Ireland's Madeline Perry.
number one Grinham said she knew she had to keep the ball away from the much
taller Urquhart, the No11 seed from New South Wales, and not give her any
opportunities to volley.
talented and she can be very dangerous," said the Queenslander. "It meant I had
to stick to the back of the court, which meant I had to run a lot.
scoring these days it's hard to win 3-0 because everyone is quite good, so I'm
really pleased to win in three."
earlier downed Australia's Kasey Brown in four games 11-5, 11-8, 11-13,
11-5 to set up her semi-final against Perry.
took the first game Brown opened a lead in the second, which Duncalf pulled back
to take the game.
appeared heading for a straight games win when she had three match balls at
10-7, only for Brown to save all three and win the game into a tiebreak.
top-seeded Duncalf regrouped and opened an early lead in the fourth which she
never looked like losing.
"I'm a little
but upset with myself for losing my concentration in the third," Duncalf said.
"You just can't slacken off in these matches."
Brown said she
was pleased with how she had played but said he had her chances.
"I could have
won the second and if I had, then won the third and gone 2/1 up, who knows what
might have happened?" said the New York-based 25-year-old from New South Wales.
"But I'm pleased with the tournament and I can build from there."
In a good day
for the English, third seed Alison Waters reached the final four with an
11-5, 11-9, 11-7 win over New Zealand's last hope Jaclyn Hawkes.
the first game easily then had to withstand a challenge from Hawkes in the
second, during which the Kiwi led 5-0 and 9-6. But in the third the Englishwoman
took an early lead and was never headed.
really well getting to 5-0 and put me under a lot of pressure," said the
26-year-old from London. "She got in front of me so I had to get my length right
- that makes such a big difference."
Ireland's Madeline Perry recovered from a disastrous start to down yet
another English player, Laura Massaro.
the first game in quick time, Perry settled her nerves and played the steadier
squash to win 2-11, 11-6, 11-5, 12-10, her first victory over Massaro since
"I was a bit
tight in the first for some reason and I knew I had to turn it around pretty
quickly," she said.
unusual for me to be like that at the start - I just get a bit uptight and once
I relax I play better squash.
"I think she
started quickly and got in front of me on the T so I tried to change my length
to get in front of her and I played much better.
"I feel good
(about winning the title). Physically I haven't had any really hard matches.
Today there were a lot of lets so it wasn't hard physically, so I'm feeling
Three Aussies Into Australian Open Quarters After Urquhart Upset
Australian Donna Urquhart, the eleventh seed, charged into the
quarter-finals of the Grays Women's Australian Open when she
stunned seventh-seeded Egyptian Engy Kheirallah in the second round of
the $56,000 WISPA World Tour squash event - the sixth WISPA Gold
championship of the year - in Canberra.
22-year-old from Yamba in New South Wales will play fellow Australian Rachael
Grinham for a place in the last four following her 11-6, 6-11, 11-2, 11-2
win over Kheirallah.
Grinham, the No2 seed, reached the final eight with a comfortable 11-8, 11-8,
11-9 win over England's Tania Bailey.
"That's probably the best win of my career," a delighted Urquhart said. "I
reached the same stage of the British Open last year but this one is in
front of my parents, who have never seen me play in a tournament of this size
Urquhart said she had gone into the match with a game plan to volley as much as
possible and play at high pace against Kheirallah.
stuck to it really well, apart from the third game when I had a lapse in
concentration," she said.
teammate Kasey Brown made it three Australians in the last eight when
Malaysian opponent Low Wee Wern retired injured with Brown ahead 11-4,
Brown takes on top seed Jenny Duncalf after the Englishwoman beat
Malaysia's Delia Arnold 11-3, 11-2, 8-11, 11-7.
World number two Duncalf suffered a minor hiccup when she lost the third game
after cruising through the first two without any trouble.
However, Arnold dug deep and took the game right up to the top seed before
Duncalf steadied and regained control.
probably took a little bit of time for her to get used to the glass court - I'm
lucky that I'd already played on it," admitted Duncalf. "The first two games I
was feeling really good but then I started slacking off and Delia stepped up.
last two games were a bit of a struggle and I was happy to get rid of her in
four," explained the 27-year-old from Harrogate in Yorkshire.
Grinham kept her hopes of a second Australian Open title alive when she
eased past Bailey, a former world No4.
33-year-old Queenslander is playing her first tournament in Australia for four
years and said she was still enjoying her squash such a long time on the tour.
have to be realistic - I don't have very big ambitions to get back to number
one," said Grinham. "But I still enjoy playing and the travelling. I just like
to come along and try and have a good time."
Despite the score line, Grinham never looked in any danger against Bailey, with
the Englishwoman falling behind in each of the three games and unable to close
the gap enough to trouble her opponent.
Third seed Alison Waters and fourth-ranked Madeline Perry both
dropped the third games of their matches before winning in four.
Waters downed Frenchwoman Isabelle Stoehr 11-4, 11-2, 12-14, 11-9 while
Perry overcame 2008 champion Annie Au of Hong Kong 11-8, 11-6, 7-11,
Waters now takes on New Zealand's Jaclyn Hawkes while Perry faces
Englishwoman Laura Massaro.
stepped it up in the third," Waters said of Stoehr. "She's so skilful with the
racket, you never know where she's going to put it - she can put in winners at
had match ball in the third which she saved, but both the third and fourth games
were quite tight.
"I've been playing well and made the semi-finals and final in Malaysia and
Singapore, which gives you a bit of confidence heading into a tournament, so I'm
looking forward to tomorrow."
Perry is seeded to meet Duncalf in the semi-finals and said she was due for a
pretty happy to get through because Annie was a tough opponent to get in the
round of 16," said the 11-time Irish champion. "I've been playing pretty well
all year - I reached the British Open final beating Nicol David
along the way.
it would be nice to win one of the big ones to be honest."
Out Australian Open Title-Holder King
unseeded Tania Bailey caused the biggest upset on the opening day of
women's action in the CSR Viridian Australian Open when she upset
New Zealand title-holder Joelle King to reach the last sixteen of the
$56,000 WISPA World Tour squash event - the sixth WISPA Gold
championship of the year - in Canberra.
former world No4 making her latest comeback after both knee and hip surgery over
the past two years, recovered from a game down - then from a whitewash drubbing
in the fourth game - to beat 12th seed King 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 0-11, 11-8.
30-year-old from Lincolnshire, recently named captain of England's
Commonwealth Games squad for Delhi in October, will now face Rachael
Grinham, the No2 seed from Queensland who is leading home interest in the
Australian Open champion saw off the challenge of 17-year-old qualifier
Tamika Saxby to move into the second round. Grinham recovered from a lapse
in the third game to win 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 11-2.
feel that comfortable," the Amsterdam-based Grinham said later. "I think she
gifted me quite a few points, but I always feel a bit shaky because I've never
seen these young girls play before.
"You get on
the court and the points can get away from you. I was really having trouble
feeling settled and I was quite lucky she made a few errors.
"In the fourth
game I tried to be confident and attack and pick the pace up a bit."
Top seed and
world number two Jenny Duncalf of England also progressed with an
impressive 11-2, 11-4, 11-6 win over reigning world junior champion Amanda
Sobhy of the USA and will next play Malaysian Delia Arnold, an 11-5,
11-3, 11-8 winner over New Zealand qualifier Amanda Landers-Murphy.
looked in any danger against Sobhy, who later conceded there was a huge
difference between the junior and senior ranks.
"In juniors if
you play a good shot you win the point, but that's not the case against someone
like Jenny," said the 17-year-old from New York.
Kasey Brown, also a former champion, looked in good touch as she downed
training partner and Commonwealth Games teammate Amelia Pittock
11-7, 11-5, 11-5.
Brown, who is
seeded to meet Duncalf in the quarter-finals, said she was feeling confident
after some solid training in the off-season.
"I did a lot
of work over the last couple of months and I'm feeling pretty good physically,"
"I've got a
tough draw, I play Low Wee Wern next then probably Jenny so I will have
to be on top of my game."
Annie Au was another former champion to get through when she beat India's
Dipika Pallikal 11-8, 11-5, 11-7, and she was joined in the second round by
third-seeded Englishwoman Alison Waters, who beat Austrian qualifier
Birgit Coufal 11-3, 11-3, 11-2.
Malaysian Sharon Wee also pulled off a significant upset to claim a place
in the second round. The 32-year-old from Malacca ousted Denmark's 15th seed
Line Hansen 11-8, 11-5, 6-11, 11-3, and will now face England's No5 seed
Laura Massaro for a place in the quarter-finals.
Australian Team-Mate To Make Australian Open Draw
Wales's Tamika Saxby downed former Australian junior team-mate
Christine Nunn in straight games in the qualifying finals of
the Women's Australian Open to make the main draw of the $56,000
WISPA World Tour squash event - the sixth WISPA Gold championship
of the year - in Canberra.
the main draw with an 11-3, 11-3, 11-4 win over Nunn to qualify for the Open for
the second year in a row.
17-year-old was bundled out by eventual champion Joelle King last year
but she is a much improved player this time around.
will have to lift several notches again after drawing Australia's second seed
and world number four Rachael Grinham in the first round.
"It was good
to go on court and feel so comfortable - I was striking the ball pretty well
right from the beginning," Saxby said. "I've known Christine since we first
started playing juniors so it was good to catch up with her for a hit.
"My goal was
to make the main draw and anything from now is a bonus."
joined in the first round by fellow Australians Samantha Davies and
Sarah Cardwell, New Zealand duo Amanda Cranston and Amanda
Landers-Murphy, and Austria's Birgit Coufal.
Melbourne's Selena Shaikh 11-7, 11-4, 11-5 and said she was delighted to
make the first round, where she takes on Malaysia's Low Wee Wern.
really well today and it is a great thing for me to make the main draw," said
the 21-year-old Queenslander. "I've played a fair few of the tournaments on the
Australian tour and I've been pretty consistent.
"But my goal
this week was just to make the main draw so I'm really happy."
fellow Victorian Grazia Guida 11-7, 11-1, 11-4 and has been drawn to play
New South Wales's Donna Urquhart, the 11th seed.
focusing on who I had to play if I qualified as all the girls in the main draw
are top quality players," Cardwell said. "I will just go out and give it my
local 17-year-old Laura McCredie 11-1, 11-5, 11-5 and Landers-Murphy
downed Hobart's Maggy Marshall 11-3, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7.
Frenchwoman Isabelle Stoehr while Landers-Murphy is up against Malaysia's
beat Brisbane's Bethany Brazier 11-2, 11-7, 11-2, has been drawn to play
third seeded Englishwoman Alison Waters.