SINGAPORE – For a while it looked as though for a second night, Laura Massaro
was going to come back from two games down to win. But Madeline Perry wasn't
about to let that happen.
The Northern Irish player stayed composed to defeat a tiring Massaro in four
games to lift the 2011 CIMB Singapore Women's Squash Masters crown.
If against Camille Serme Perry had produced what she said was her best game in
ages, against Massaro she was a little more circumspect. After all, she come out
on the wrong side of the score the last time she met the Englishwoman, at the
semi-finals of the Cleveland Classic in February which Massaro went on to win,
with a famous title victory over Nicol David.
This time around, it was Massaro's five-game victory over David on Friday night
that perhaps gave Perry the edge she needed.
With only some 19 hours to recover from her 85-minute exertion over David,
Massaro quickly fell two games behind as Perry sought to work her around the
court and make her earn every point.
Knowing Massaro's greatest strengths were her tricky shots in front, Perry, with
pointers from stand-in adviser Shane Hagan , sought the game tight.
Said Hagan, a former New Zealand junior player: “Madeline had good length most
of the time and prevented Laura from playing her shots.”
Massaro managed to get enough shots in to take the third
game – including a couple of odd bounces in her favour that kept the 700-strong
But Perry wasn't about to make the same mistake that Nicol did the night before
by allowing the world no 7 to recover, although the win did not come easy: “I
knew she'd worked really hard for her win over Nicol and wanted to take
advantage of that. It was still difficult to break her down and I really had to
hang in there for many points.”
“My feet were hurting a bit at the end, so I was pleased to be able to wrap it
up in four games,” she added.
As for Massaro, it really was down to her fitness: “I was feeling confident but
it was a matter of how my body recovered from the tough matches this week. And I
wasn't getting onto the ball quite as quickly today and wasn't making the shots
Perry's win makes her a new champion in Singapore which has seen Nicol David
winning four straight titles since the tournament was inaugurated in 2007.
Four-Time Champion Undone In 5
SINGAPORE – Shockwaves hit VivoCity as Malaysian top seed and four-time Nicol
David was sent crashing out of the CIMB Singapore Women's Squash Masters by
English fifth seed Laura Massaro.
The upset looked unlikely as the Penangite took the first two games but Massaro
gave a glimpse of what was to come as she matched David stroke for stroke.
The world number seven took advantage of David's uncharacteristic errors in the
next two games to force a decider.
And despite the world champion jumping to a 3-0 lead, then 4-2, Massaro refused
to yield and she plugged back point after point, edging David into unforced
11-5 to Massaro in the fifth game stunned the packed venue, and ended a
thrilling 85-minute contest.
The 27-year-old Englishwoman was delighted to get her second win over the
Malaysian, following up on February's victory at Cleveland Classic which ended
David's 14-month unbeaten streak.
"I thought I was unlucky to lose the first two games, I felt I was in there and
suddenly they were gone. But I'm really happy to come back and I thought Nicol
looked a bit nervous at the end when she hit a few tins," remarked Massaro after
David was gracious in defeat, a rare one in Asia at that: “Laura played a very
smart game tonight and didn't make too many mistakes. I went for my shots too
early and gave her too much to work with and she took her chances well.”
Massaro will now meet Irish third seed Madeline Perry after the Irishwoman saw
off French contender Camille Serme in straight games.
The previous night's thrilling upset of second seed Rachael Grinham got the
better of the eighth seed as she committed numerous unforced errors in the
second and third games to hand the match to her opponent in 40 minutes.
Perry was pleased to make the final in Singapore for the first time and in some
style: "This is my best match for a very long time. I am happy to see my tough
training in the summer has paid off."
A new champion will be crowned in Singapore tomorrow as David's streak in the
Lion City is stopped at four titles and a total of 18 straight matches.
SINGAPORE – Frenchwoman Camille Serme pulled off the upset of the quarter-finals
at the CIMB Singapore Women's Squash Masters 2011, brushing aside world no 3
Rachael Grinham in straight games.
Despite lasting only 25 minutes, the match made fascinating viewing for fans at
VivoCity, a shopping mall south of Singapore, as Grinham dug deep into her bag
of tricks to try and slow her charging opponent.
After dropping the first game 11-5, Grinham started varying her game – slowing
down the pace, mixing up her shots, going for the lobs – but nothing could stop
Serme on the ascendancy. She was always half a step ahead and well worth the
And the 22-year-old from Creteil was delighted to pick up only her second win
over Grinham: “I really played well today. I was surprised with the way I was
getting the ball and I was feeling good physically as well, I could pick up the
ball and have good and long rallies.”
As for Grinham, she was gracious in defeat: “I didn't think I was moving very
well but I wasn't able to compete with Camille today. Even when I was winning
some rallies it didn't feel easy and she was making me work.”
“I didn't get much sleep which could have contributed to my lack of energy
tonight,” she added.
Grinham had spent the previous night keeping her sister Natalie company as
14-month-old nephew Kieran continues to be treated for high fever at a local
Serme's reward is a semi-final meeting another opponent she'd beaten only once
in her career – world no 4 Madeline Perry.
The Irishwoman took 40 minutes to despatch New Zealander Jaclyn Hawkes who'd
fought through from the qualifiers and upset Egypt's Omneya Abdel Kawy to make
Said Hawkes: “I thought I had a chance but Madeline just got in front of me too
much today and punished me with her good shots. She was able to dominate the
rallies a lot and I wasn't able to get in front and volley.”
The top half sees an intriguing semi-final match-up between world no 1 Nicol
David and the player who ended her 14-month unbeaten streak back in February,
Massaro and Australia's Kasey Brown battled for 65 minutes – unsurprisingly the
longest of the quarter-finals given the players are ranked one apart.
And the Englishwoman is happy with the win over Brown: “Kasey's ranked one above
me in the world– she's 6th and I'm 7th – and I lost the last match 3-1 so I'm
really pleased to turn the game around.”
“I'm going to recover as well as I can and watch Nicol play against Annie and
give it my best shot whoever I meet tomorrow,” Massaro added.
And she will get her shot at Nicol as the Malaysian brushed aside Annie Au 11-5,
11-9, 11-6 in 39 minutes in the evening's final match.
Massaro took a set off David in her quarter-final loss in Kuala Lumpur last
week. Fans here would be keen to find out if she can reproduce her Cleveland
form to end David's unbeaten run in the Lion City.
Natalie Grinham's Withdrawal
SINGAPORE -- New Zealander Jaclyn Hawkes pulled off the only upset of the first
round at the CIMB Singapore Women's Squash Masters 2011, coming from 2-1 down to
defeat sixth seed Omneya Abdel Kawy in five tough games.
The Kiwi was playiing a third straight night at the Kallang Squash Centre,
having come through the qualifiers, and it was clear she'd benefitted from the
extra court time.
Victory for Hawkes earned her a quarter-final meeting with third seed Madeline
Perry, while for Omneya, it was a second straight year that the enigmatic former
world junior champion has exited at the first calling in the Lion City.
Perry came through a tough three-setter against Englishwoman Sarah Kippax, while
Camille Serme had a far easier time, needing only 24 minutes to brush aside
Malaysia's Delia Arnold.
Second seed Rachael Grinham overcame a first game blip to get past Joelle King,
and the former world no 1 from Toowoomba was pleased with the result: "I've not
beaten Joelle in my three meetings with her, she a real tough player, and I'm
glad to have a little bit of luck going my way tonight."
And while Rachael was in action, younger sister Natalie was forced to concede a
walkover to Hong Kong's Annie Au as her 14-month-old son Kieran was in hospital
after developing high fever overnight.
The toddler had wowed fans at the Kallang Squash Centre over the past two days
with his racquet-wielding abilities and no one begrudged her mother's absence
from this tournament she has twice made the final -- in 2007 and 2009.
Said Rachael: "Being a mom now, Natalie had to pick and choose her tournaments
as she makes her comeback and she chose Singapore over Malaysia because she
really like it here. And from her wins in the qualifiers, you can see she's
playing well... so it's a blow for her to have to withdraw."
Laura Massaro and Kaey Brown both enjoyed easy passage -- Massaro defeating
Donna Urquhart while Brown ended the hopes of Singapore wildcard Pamela Chua.
This is the third straight year that Chua, soon to resume her third year of
Mathematical and Computational Studies at Stanford University, has taken part in
her home tournament.
And her time playing collegiate squash in the United States has shown in her
maturing game, although she admitted she's far from matching it with the
World No 1 Nicol David started her quest for a fifth straight Singapore Masters
title confidently, although Raneem El Weleily did not go down in a whimper.
According to Nicol, the second game which went to deuce was an examplt that she
needed to take every opponent seriously: "Raneem started to impose her will in
that game and I needed to go up a gear to recapture the initiative. I managed to
force her into making mistakes and was able to wrap up the match from there."
"And the match certainly gave me the workout I needed for the quarter-final
against Annie," the Penangite added.
The tournament moves to the glass showcourt at the VivoCity from the
quarter-finals onwards, with the ladies expected to put on a grand show at this
popular shopping mall at the southern end of Singapore island.
Marathon All-Malaysia Tie Sets Pace in Final
Eight quality contenders, four final slots in the main draw, four exciting
match-ups. That summed up the action in the final round of qualifying on the
second day of action at Kallang Squash Centre.
In the end, the biggest star in qualifying Natalie Grinham, Malaysia’s Delia
Arnold, Sarah Kippax of England and WISPA New Zealander President Jaclyn Hawke
completed the main draw octofinal lineup.
The opening match was an all-Malaysian affair between Arnold and Low Wee Wern
and it had all the elements of an exciting encounter.
They did not disappoint as they served up a titanic contest in their bid to join
top-ranked compatriot Nicol David in the round of 16.
Exchanges were sharp and furious as neither wanted to give a quarter in all five
sets, but it was Arnold who eventually prevailed after winning the final three
points without reply in a 102-minute contest that left the packed Kallang
Arnold admitted the contest was delicately balanced that it took all her might
to triumph in the fifth game. “It could have gone either way as both of us are
trying very hard to hang in there,” said the Malaysian in the post-match
“My mind wanted me to win so badly and all I could think about was getting the
final result on court. I am glad I am able to win and progress.”
She now hopes her body can recuperate before her first round clash as she aims
to improve on her best showing in this tournament. She reached the main draw
last year before she was eliminated in the round of 16.
“Whoever my opponent is, it will be tough tomorrow. I hope my body can recover
from tonight’s match, play my best and hopefully progress into the next stage,”
The second tie was a contrast of the first as former world number two Natalie
Grinham made light work of Hong Kong challenger Joey Chan in four sets.
Her masterclass was evident in the opening set, but carelessness early and late
in the second set allowed her opponent to level.
That pushed the stunned Dutch to up her game as she blazed her way in the next
two games to seal the match in 39 minutes and joined her sister Rachael in the
Next to progress is Hawke. As was the case in the previous round, she won in
straight sets but not before having to work hard for her victory in 48 minutes
by her Mexican challenger Samantha Teran.
Kippax took 40 minutes to complete the quartet of successful qualifiers in the
main draw after she overcame the stubborn resistance of Dipika Pallika of India
in four sets.
In the main draw on Wednesday evening at Kallang, Singaporean wildcard entry
Pamela Chua will commence proceedings in the first round as she takes on fourth
seed Kasey Brown of Australia.
The winner of that tie will face either English fifth seed Laura Massaro or
Australian Donna Urquhart in the quarter-finals.
The younger Grinham faces the prospect of a potential quarter-final clash with
David after she is drawn with another Hong Kong opponent Annie Au. Meanwhile the
Malaysian top seed will begin her title defence with a first round encounter
with Egyptian Raneem El Weleily.
Another Egyptian, sixth seed Onmeya Abdel Kawy, will take on Hawke, with
potential last eight opponent be either Irish third seed Madeline Perry or
Arnold will need to recover quickly to be at her best again against French
seventh seed Camille Serme. The winner faces the prospect of facing the younger
Grinham or New Zealand’s Joelle King to complete the quarter-final line-up.