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Nicol David Wins Seventh World Open Title

Final   Semi Finals   Quarter Finals   2nd Round   1st Round   Qualifying   Preview
Cayman World Open 2012
Grand Cayman, $188k
Round One
16 Dec 
Round Two
17/18 Dec
19 Dec
20 Dec
21 Dec
[1] Nicol David (Mas)
11/8, 11/5, 11/5 (31m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)
Nicol David
11-3, 11-2, 11-3 (25m)
Annie Au
Nicol David
11-3, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3 (51m)
Madeline Perry
Nicol David
11-7, 11-4, 11-2 (37m)
Jenny Duncalf
Nicol David
11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (44m)
Laura Massaro
[9] Annie Au (Hkg)
11/2, 11/5, 10/12, 11/8 (42m)
Line Hansen (Den)
[8] Nour El Sherbini (Egy)
11/6, 11/5, 11/5 (24m)
[Q] Samantha Cornett (Can)
Nour El Sherbini
11-2, 11-9, 11-9 (37m)
Madeline Perry
[10] Madeline Perry (Irl)
11/6, 13/11, 6/11, 11/2 (44m)
 Nour El Tayeb (Egy)
[4] Alison Waters (Eng)
11/1, 11/4, 11/3 (19m)
 Marlene West (Cay)
Alison Waters
11-5, 12-10, 11-3 (29m)
Samantha Teran
Alison Waters
7-11, 17-19, 11-5, 11-4, 11-9 (77m)
Jenny Duncalf
[15] Samantha Teran (Mex)
 11/7, 11/3, 11/7 (35m)
[Q] Lauren Briggs (Eng)
[6] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
11/9, 1/11, 11/5, 11/8 (45m)
[Q] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)
Jenny Duncalf
12-10, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8 (58m)
Camille Serme
[14] Camille Serme (Fra)
11/8, 10/12, 11/7, 11/6 (50m)

[Q] Emma Beddoes (Eng)
[Q] Latasha Khan (Usa)
11/5, 11/3, 11/4 (25m)
[12] Kasey Brown (Aus)
Kasey Brown
11-5, 11-8, 12-10 (35m)
Low Wee Wern
Low Wee Wern
8-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (46m)
Laura Massaro
Laura Massaro
5-11, 11-9, 12-14, 11-4, 13-11 (69m)
Raneem El Weleily
Sarah Kippax (Eng)
7/11, 11/8, 11/7, 11/5
[7] Low Wee Wern (Mas)
[Q] Nicolette Fernandes (Guy)
3/11, 6/11, 12/10, 11/5, 11/9 (65m)
[16] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
Nicolette Fernandes
11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (51m)
Laura Massaro
[Q] Catalina Pelaez (Col)
11/4, 11/4, 11/6 (19m)
[3] Laura Massaro (Eng)
Donna Urquhart (Aus)
 8/11, 11/4, 11/8, 11/9 (45m)
[11] Natalie Grinham (Ned)
Natalie Grinham
8-11, 11-3, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7 (54m)
Joelle King
Natalie Grinham
11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (26m)
Raneem El Weleily
Joey Chan (Hkg)
11/0, 11/6, 11/5 (27m)
[5] Joelle King (Nzl)
[Q] Delia Arnold (Mas)
 13/11, 11/9, 11/9 (42m)
[13] Dipika Pallikal (Ind)
 Dipika Pallikal
7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5 (38m)
Raneem El Weleily
Aisling Blake (Irl)
 11/9, 5/11, 11/4, 11/8 (42m)
[2] Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
Qualifying finals:
Delia Arnold (MAS) bt Tesni Evans (WAL) 11-9, 13-11, 11-8 (51m)
Samantha Cornett (CAN) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 (30m)
Catalina Pelaez (COL) bt Lauren Selby (ENG) 11-5, 11-6, 11-9 (23m)
Lauren Briggs (ENG) bt Mary Fung-A-Fat (GUY)  11-1, 11-1, 11-4 (19m)
Emma Beddoes (ENG) bt Nayelly Hernandez (MEX) 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 (24m)
Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) bt Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) 6-11, 12-10, 9-11, 13-11, 11-9 (83m)
Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Heba El Torky (EGY) 11-4, 8-11, 11-4, 11-9 (39m)
Latasha Khan (USA) bt Yathreb Adel (EGY) 11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9 (47m)
1st qualifying round:
Delia Arnold (MAS)   bye
Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Ivonne Diaz (MEX) 11-3, 11-8, 11-3 (20m)
Lisa Aitken (SCO) bt Leonie Holt (ENG)     11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-4 (57m)
Samantha Cornett (CAN)     bye
Catalina Pelaez (COL) bt Kylie Lindsay (NZL)       11-7, 11-8, 11-6 (27m)
Lauren Selby (ENG) bt Karina Heredia Gonzalez (MEX) 11-2, 11-1, 11-3 (18m)
Mary Fung-A-Fat (GUY) bt Kanzy Emad El-Defrawy (EGY)        w/o
Lauren Briggs (ENG)            bye
Emma Beddoes (ENG)          bye
Nayelly Hernandez (MEX) bt Milou van der Heijden (NED)       8-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-3, 11-5 (55m)
Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) bt Coline Aumard (FRA)        11-6, 11-1, 11-4 (30m)
Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) bt Eilidh Bridgeman (CAY)        11-4, 11-2, 11-4 (18m)
Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Ashley DeGroot (GUY)           11-3, 11-7, 11-3 (18m)
Heba El Torky (EGY) bt Katja Amir (GER) 11-5, 11-1, 11-5 (14m)
Yathreb Adel (EGY) bt Maria Toor Pakay (PAK)  13-11, 11-8, 11-9 (37m)
Latasha Khan (USA) bye

click on images for larger view


Nicol David Wins Seventh World Open Title


Nicol David defeated Laura Massaro in straight games in the WSA Cayman Islands World Open 2012 to become World Champion for the seventh time. 

For the second successive year, the World Open was to be decided by a Malaysia versus England finale, this time featuring world No.3 Laura Massaro. 

David had dispatched last year’s finalist Jenny Duncalf in straight games in the semi-finals, as well as 2010 finalist Omneya Abdel Kawy in round one.  Further defeats of Annie Au in round two and a four game win over Madeline Perry ensured that the Malaysian was able to defend her six World Open titles. 

By contrast, Massaro experienced over three hours of court-time on her way to the final, including a dramatic five-game thriller against second seed Raneem El Weleily in the semi-final, and a 51-minute effort to dispatch local hero and qualifier Nicolette Fernandes in round two. 

David has been on the receiving end of an upset from Massaro, losing to the Englishwoman in both the Singapore Masters and the Cleveland Classic in 2011, but the world No.1 has avenged these losses with six wins over Massaro in WSA events in 2012. 

The defending champion made a solid start to her fifth successive World Open final, establishing a three-point lead which was held for the majority of the first game.  Massaro attempted to close the gap after a tentative start to her first World Open final, but David was too far ahead and closed out the first game 11-6. 

The second game was much closer, with the Englishwoman matching David’s line and length game plan, whilst causing some problems for her opponent.  The Malaysian’s response to a challenge is to simply up the pace and she did just that. She weathered the storm created by Massaro’s pressure, before coming through the business end of a pivotal second game to extend her lead. 

David refused to falter in her dominance, and the experience of six previous World Open finals weighed heavily to her advantage.  She ran out another early lead in the third game, and a dejected Massaro settled into the game too late to do any serious damage to her opponents 5-point lead. 

A stroke and a tin gave the 29-year-old from Penang championship-point and she leapt on a loose Massaro shot to drive home her seventh World Open title. 

“I can’t believe it,” exclaimed a delighted David. “I’m so pleased with my game tonight.  Laura played so well and was pushing me on every point, I just couldn’t relax at any time, she played a brilliant match today.

“I was focused, but I had to step up another gear to win today.  I just wanted to win so much.  To win again in Cayman and that seventh world title… I wanted it all! 

“It’s been a great experience here again, I’ll try to see a bit of the island tomorrow before I leave!  Thanks to Dan [Kneipp, Promoter], the sponsors and organisers, and the fantastic Cayman crowd, we feed off their energy, and they all do it better than anywhere else we go."

Normally a successful WSA World Tour Gold event in spring-time, Grand Cayman this year hosted the $165,000 World Open event that has previously been held in Rotterdam, Sharm El Sheikh, Amsterdam and Manchester. 

2012 has been a near perfect season for David, finishing just one event shy of a World Series clean-sweep after losing out to Raneem El Weleily on home soil in the Malaysian Open in September.  The Malaysian also lost out in the Carol Weymuller Open in New York later that month, but returned in emphatic style to claim the elusive US Open in Philadelphia.  Claiming not only the one World Series title that had eluded her, it was also David’s 63rd WSA World Tour title, which moved her above the record held by Sarah Fitz-Gerald of 62.  David finishes 2012 with an incredible 65 WSA titles to her name, with eight of them coming in the last 12 months.  

Semi Finals

Massaro In Maiden World Open Final

Laura Massaro reached the final of the Cayman Islands World Open final last night, after beating No.2 seed Raneem El Weleily in a thrilling five-game encounter. 

As is often the case, El Weleily took a few minutes to get her eye in while Massaro quickly extended a four-point lead.  Once the Egyptian’s shots began working however, she stormed through a quick first game, closing it out with Massaro able to register just one more point.

The Englishwoman fought her way back into the match, establishing runs of points and claimed the second game to level the match.  She never quite got a foothold in the second game, staying with her opponent but always a point or two behind, until the world No.3 saved four game-balls to force the tiebreak.  El Weleily would close out the game after two Massaro volleys clipped the tin. 

A dominant fourth-game went in Massaro’s favour, with the Egyptian unable to register any real threat, before setting up a nail-biting fifth game finale.  
Massaro reached match-ball first, and was disappointed when a let decision was given instead of a stroke against her opponent.  But El Weleily stayed strong to force the tiebreak, but both players were showing signs of nerves as the errors continued to creep in at the wrong time, before two mistakes from the 23-year-old from Alexandria sent Massaro through to her first World Open final. 

“We’ve been taking turns at winning and swapping in the rankings all year, so it’s fitting that there was just a couple of points between us in the whole match,” an emotional Massaro said later.

“You always know with Raneem there are going to be patches where she hits winners, you just have to hang in and come through them.  It feels great to reach the World Open final, I’m so happy!”

“Now it’s all about getting the right preparation for tomorrow. I haven’t been to swim with the Dolphins yet, it looks like [husband] Danny will have to go on his own now!”

Massaro will be joined by world No.1 Nicol David in the World Open final, with the Malaysian on the prowl for her seventh World Open title in eight years.  The top seed defeated Jenny Duncalf in her semi-final contest, in a repeat of last year’s World Open final in Rotterdam. 

Duncalf, keen to set the record straight after a humbling 0-11 loss in the third game of last year’s final, made a steady start to last night’s match, feeling her way into the contest and registering some good points. 

The Malaysian was made to work throughout the opening exchanges, but maintained a small lead as the game progressed and took three points in a row to claim the first game.  David’s ability to return to court and further increase the pace, saw the Englishwoman begin to struggle and the top seed extended a strong lead in the second before closing it out.  A similar pattern occurred in the third game, with the scurrying retrieval and powerful hitting simply too good for the former world No.2, as David progressed to her seventh World Open final in straight games. 

“Jenny was playing some great shots at the start, I just couldn’t tell where the ball was going next and I wasn’t able to play my own game,” said Nicol.

“I really had to up my game to stay in it, and thankfully I got it all together as the match wore on.

“It’s great to be in another final here, especially the World Open!  Laura and I both know we have to step up our games for tomorrow, so it should be a great battle.”

Quarter Finals

Duncalf Battles Back To Make World Open Semi’s

Jenny Duncalf fought back from a two game deficit to make her second successive semi-final in last night’s WSA Cayman Islands World Open quarter-final round. 

Her compatriot, No.4 seed Alison Waters claimed a scrappy first game in which both players struggled to find and maintain a decent length.  It was the second game which really set the stage for the gripping contest between the two friends.  A cat-and-mouse affair saw Duncalf come from behind to take the lead late in the game, but Waters regained her composure to force the tie-break.  The pair then continued to mix enthusiastic attacking play with a number of unforced errors as the score rose, with neither player able to finish of the other. 

Waters finally took the game 19-17 to extend her lead, but Duncalf had found a foothold in the match and she stormed back onto court to dominate the proceedings for the next two games, not allowing Waters a look-in. 

Little separated the pair in the deciding game, reflected in the 9-all score-line. Two exciting rallies went in favour of Duncalf, the last a tin from a laboured movement by Waters, and ensuring that the lower seed makes her first WSA semi-final of the year – her first since last year’s World Open! 

“It was a bit scrappy at the start, but in the second I was starting to feel much better,” Duncalf explained post-match.  “And even though I lost it I felt the momentum had turned towards me. 

“I’m delighted to win, a bit disappointed for Al too, but not that much!  We all love playing here, the whole vibe is great and it makes you feel so relaxed on court - and it wasn’t too hot tonight which was a bonus!”

In a repeat of last year’s Rotterdam World Open final, Duncalf will now play Nicol David in the semi’s, following the Malaysian’s four-game victory over 2008 World Open semi-finalist Madeline Perry

The six-time World Open champion made a quick start to the match, leaping to a strong lead before finishing off the first game with Perry barely able to register a threat.  The Irishwoman settled more in the second however, causing problems for the top seed but not quite finding the finishing quality.  The third was similar but Perry stormed through to claim a narrow game in her favour, before David returned to up the pace even further and close out the win. 

Laura Massaro doubled England’s hopes of a first World Open title since 1999, after coming from a game down against Low Wee Wern to make her debut in the semi-final of the event.  The No.3 seed got off to a sluggish start against the young Malaysian, who had to pull out of last month’s Hong Kong Open with an injury. 

Leg strapped up, Wee Wern sprung to an early lead in the match, doing just enough to stay ahead of her opponent and closed out a competitive first game.  Massaro returned on court with a definite strategy, and forced boasts and drops to the front of the court in order to test the injured leg of the seventh seed.  This proved enough for the Englishwoman to see off the win against Wee Wern, and she took the following three games in a much more comfortable fashion. 

“She gets so many balls back, whenever I play her I have to try to keep my aggression up, that’s where all the “cmons” help,” explained Massaro.  

“I’ve become better at dealing with the pressure of being expected to win over the last couple of years and that’s helped me improve my consistency and my ranking.

“I’m so pleased to make a first World Open semi-final, I’ll just take each match as it comes now.”

Massaro will now face Raneem El Weleily in the semi-final, in a third versus second seed battle.  The Egyptian played out the quickest match of the evening as she faced four-time World Open runner-up Natalie Grinham

With both happy to play short, attacking rallies, the points amassed quickly in the opening game through a combination of efficient winners and tins in equal measure.  El Weleily broke the mid-game deadlock to extend a lead to 10, and it was only a matter of time before the world No.2 found that last winner to finish the game off. 

The second was an even closer contest, with the players level up to 9-all before the Dutchwoman squandered her chance to level with a tin and a stroke in favour of her opponent.  Despite another strong start to the match Grinham was ultimately unable to prevent El Weleily from hitting her winning shots, and the tie ended in just 26-minutes with the Egyptian reaching her first World Open semi-final.

“I played better today than I did yesterday, and I’m thankful for that,” said Raneem. “Natalie has great racket skills and it’s always difficulty trying to stay focused and consistent when you play her so I’m pleased I managed to do that today.

“I’m really happy to make a first semi-final and I hope I can play as well tomorrow and make the final.

“I haven’t seen much of the island so far, but I’ve seen lots of photos of the other girls with the dolphins. I haven’t been to see them yet, and I hope I don’t get the chance to!”

2nd Round Bottom Half

Grinham Claims Marathon Clash Over King

Natalie Grinham claimed the surprise result of the evening in yesterday’s second half of the WSA Cayman Islands World Open split round two draw.

The former world No.2 dispatched fifth seed Joelle King in a five-game cat-and-mouse thriller, in which neither player was able to settle into a consistent error-free performance.

The first four games were shared evenly between the pair, with King twice taking the lead against the four-time World Open runner-up.  It was the experienced 11th seed who had the edge in the deciding game however, and Grinham said after the match, that she likes playing as the pressure-free underdog.

“That was very tough,” she said, “I’ve come here from freezing conditions and it’s soooo hot here!

“I made the World Open semis last year, but my results have been up and down, I’m just happy that I’m playing well. I like being the underdog, there’s no pressure on me then, so I’ll take that scalp.”

The Australian-born, Netherlands international will now face second seed Raneem El Weleily in tonight’s quarter-final round.  The Egyptian got off to a shaky start against Indian favourite Dipika Pallikal, who took the first game.  As both players continued to look for winners, the Egyptian’s ability began to show and she found her range increasing causing problems for the No.13 seed.

Weleily’s range improved, and Palikal found herself unable to combat the world No.2’s attacking range and lost the next three games by increasing margins.

“We have very similar games and it’s always close between us,” Weleily said later, “she had me all over the court for a while so I’m pleased to be able to come through to win it like that, it was far from an easy win.”

Low Wee Wern became the second Malaysian to reach the Cayman Islands World Open quarter-finals after a narrow three-game win over Kasey Brown.  The Australian took a while to settle into the match, and will be haunted by the numerous unforced errors that plagued her for the first two games.

A more steady approach saw better results in the third game, and she held game ball to re-establish herself in the contest, but was unable to see it through as Wee Wern came back to force a tie-break.  The Malaysian offered no second chances and finished off the game on her first opportunity to claim the straight-games win.

“It’s always tough against Kasey, she never gives up and was getting closer all the time,” the Malaysian told SquashSite.

“The pace seemed to get faster and faster but you can’t afford to slow down against any of the top girls.

“I’m used to playing in conditions like this, which might have been an advantage to me. I can play fine with my leg strapped [after a hamstring injury in Hong Kong], but I’m glad to be able to get through in three.”

Wee Wern will now face third seed Laura Massaro, who played out an extremely close three-game win over home-hope Nicolette Fernandes.

Fernandes matched her higher ranked opponent all the way in the first game, but just lacked the finishing edge to her game as two tins allowed the world No.3 to take the narrow first game 11-9.  A similar contest ensued in the second, as Fernandes refused to allow the Englishwoman to run-away with proceedings, but was unable to prevent Massaro from doubling her lead.

In the third game, the scores tied at 3, 4, 5 and 6-all with the Guyana-born player showing the form of her career, but the quality of the Englishwoman proved to substantial, and she claimed six out of the remaining seven points to end the 51-minute contest.

With home hopes dashed, local hero Fernandes spoke of her World Open experience: “I’m thrilled with my tournament, disappointed it’s over obviously but I’ve never had support like this anywhere, a lot of the girls have told me they’re jealous. The crowd believed in me and made me believe in myself - I’m going to take this experience and run with it.

“It didn’t feel as though I was the number 40 playing the number 3, it was just a couple of points in each game, that’s what it felt like to me anyway.

“I had to cancel my flight, so I don’t even know if I’ll get home for Christmas, but it’s been well worth it!”

Massaro was quick to praise her opponent after the match, saying: “Nicolette has had a fantastic tournament, and that shows you just what a bit of home support can do for you.

“She pushed me all the way in each game, it just shows you can’t take anything for granted as the level is so close these days.

“Nicol will be tough for anyone to beat, but until you get through to play her, you just have to take each match as it comes.”

2nd Round Top Half

Sherbini Downed By Experienced Perry

Madeline Perry ensured her place in the WSA Cayman Islands World Open quarter-finals last night, following a consummate performance against the teenage No.8 seed Nour El Sherbini

Perry, seeded tenth for the event, got off to a flying start against the higher ranked Egyptian and stormed to a first game lead with Sherbini managing just two points in response.  The second game started in similar fashion, with the Irishwoman taking another strong lead, but Sherbini began to get in to the match, chipping away at the deficit to draw level at 9-all.  Experience and confidence in her game saw Perry extend her lead to two games, and tied again at 9-all in the third, she claimed a stroke either side of an unforced error from the teenage to book her quarter-final place. 

“When we played in the British Open the court was really cold and I knew these conditions would suit me more but I didn’t expect to get a start like that,” Perry said after the match. “At 7-0 I had to try to keep my concentration as I knew she’d be coming back into it.

“I’m really pleased to get through here, my form has been a bit up and down but this is the world open and I really like coming here, so I wanted to be able to perform here.”

Perry will face six-time World Champion Nicol David in the quarters, following the top seed continuing to power past her opposition.  Her deconstruction of ninth seed Annie Au took just 25minutes, with the Hong Kong interntional managing just eight points in the match.  

Hunting her seventh World Open title, the Malysian said afterwards: “It’s great getting back here.  I love the court and the setting, so it’s nice to be playing here again, especially in the World Open. The last three years here have been memorable for me but this is the big one and everyone will be going for it and stepping their game up.

“I’m just happy to be playing well and looking forward to the quarter-finals, taking it one match at a time and enjoying it all.”

Jenny Duncalf continued her quest for a successive World Open final appearance after navigating a tricky second round clash against Camille Serme of France.  Serme put in the performance of her career last month by reaching the Hong Kong Open final, but was unable to exert any lasting dominance on a much warmer court setting. 

The Englishwoman narrowly claimed the opening game on the tie-break, using her experience to shut out Serme in the final stages.  She then doubled her lead by claiming a quick run of points from which the Frenchwoman was unable to recover.  The young 14th seed hit back however, claiming the third game and increasing the pressure on the former world No.2.  But Duncalf wasn’t to be deterred, and established a strong lead at the mid-stage of the fourth game.  Serme’s comeback was again thwarted as her opponent made use of all four corners of the court and closed out the win to push her in to the quarter-finals. 

“I think I played well enough to win,” Duncalf said post-match. “Camille’s been playing well so to get her in the second round was tough, she always makes you work hard, but I feel like I’m playing at the moment better than I have for most of the year. 

“I’m pleased to be back here, pleased to get through, and pleased to have a rest day now!”

Duncalf will face an all-English quarter-final round next, following No.4 seed Alison Waters’ defeat of Samantha Teran.  Teran was the surprise package of last year’s Rotterdam World Open, reaching the semi-finals as fifteenth seed.  But the Mexican was unable to work similar magic on this occasion as Waters got off to a flying start to take the first game. 

A closer second game was forced to a tie-break by the determined Teran, but the Englishwoman, who missed out on last year’s World Open with an Achilles injury, held firm during the important points to double her lead.  Waters’ confidence was evident throughout the third game, hitting accurate lengths without reply from her opponent and the match was concluded in under the half-hour mark. 

Waters explained after the match: “Sam’s a tough character, and she came back at me well in the second.  Thankfully I managed to see that one out which was crucial, as on this court I knew that at one-all it could become a real battle. 

“Taking the second decided the match really, so it’s good to get through in fairly quick time.”

Round two continues later today from Grand Cayman…


1st Round 

Fernandes Shocks Former World Champion In Caymans Opener

Qualifier Nicolette Fernandes stunned former world champion Rachael Grinham in round one of the WSA Cayman Island World Open

The world No.48 from Guyana fought back from two games and match-ball down against the 2007 World Champion, to claim an unlikely second round place in front of a home crowd. 

A tense affair was described with relief afterwards by Fernandes, as the 29-year-old told SquashSite: “I'm just so happy, and grateful, and thankful for everything.  

"You have to believe you can win, even if you don't expect to. I don't even remember saving those match balls in the third, but when I got to 10/6 in the fifth and she started coming back I just told myself to keep playing the way I'd played to get to that point.”

Low Wee Wern went a game down to English qualifier Sarah Kippax in their round one clash, but the Malaysian settled down to win the next three games too progress to round two.  She will face Australian Kasey Brown, who saw off the challenge of US qualifier Latasha Khan in straight games. 

Three English players will feature in the second round of the World Open.  Alison Waters ensured her progression after cruising past local wildcard entrant Marlene West in 19-minutes, whilst No.3 seed Laura Massaro defeated Columbian qualifier Catalina Pelaez, in also just shy of 20-minutes. 

Last year’s World Open runner-up Jenny Duncalf had to regain her composure as compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry hit back after losing the first game, with a dominant 11-1 second game retaliation.  Duncalf’s experience brought her quickly back to focus however, and the No.6 seed will progress to Camille Serme of France in round two. 

Samantha Teran defeated qualifier Lauren Briggs in straight games to set up a clash with Alison Waters, whilst Massaro will face round one giant-killer Nicolette Fernandes. 

Six-time World Champion Nicol David got her World Open campaign off to a good start, as she navigated a tricky first round match against Hong Kong Open semi-finalist, Omneya Abdel Kawy.  David was able to progress after three games, and will now face Annie Au, who beat Line Hansen 3-1. 

Tour veteran Madeline Perry took 44-minutes to dispatch unseeded Egyptian Nour El Tayeb in four games.  The Irishwoman clinched a second game tiebreak before dropping the third, but recovered to see off the match and book her round two place against another Egyptian, teenager Nour El Sherbini.  Sherbini defeated Canadian hopeful Samantha Cornett in straight games to ensure her second round place. 

Fifth seed Joelle King booked her round two place after beating Joey Chan in 27-minutes.  The Kiwi, who earned an 11-0 ‘bagel’ in the first game, will now play experienced Natalie Grinham of the Netherlands.  Grinham recovered from a game down to beat Australian Donna Urquhart

Second seed Raneem El Weleily was forced to four games following a gutsy effort from unseeded Aisling Blake.  The Egyptian said after the contest: “I don't recall playing Aisling before, but I know she's been improving and getting some good results recently. She played really well and I had to work hard to win that.”

Weleily will face Dipika Pallikal in round two of Cayman Islands Open, following the Indian’s narrow three-game win over Malaysian qualifier Delia Arnold.


Top Qualifying Seeds Through To World Open Main Draw

The top five seeded players for the 2012 WSA Cayman Islands World Open qualifying rounds all progress to through to the main round draw with few upsets.

Having received a bye through the first round of qualification, top seed Delia Arnold ended Welsh hopes of World Open representation by defeating Tesni Evans in straight games.  The Malaysian will face 13th seed Dipika Palikal in the main draw.

English pair Lauren Briggs and Emma Beddoes progressed in three-game wins after also receiving first round byes.  Joining them is compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry who defeated Guyana-national Ashley DeGroot and Egyptian Heba El Torky to make her first ever World Open main draw.  Perry will face fellow Englishwoman Jenny Duncalf in the first round, whilst Briggs lines up against Samantha Teran of Mexico and Beddoes will play Camille Serme of France.

World No.226, Catalina Pelaez shocked audiences as the she first defeated Kylie Lindsay of New Zealand, followed by Lauren Selby to become a surprise inclusion in the Cayman Islands first round draw.  “I was enjoying being able to run, but I think I relaxed a bit in the third,” admitted Catalina, “and she was putting me under a lot of pressure in the third with her dropshots. I was getting a little tired, so I was happy to be able to win!”
The 21-year-old Columbian will now play third seed Laura Massaro

Samantha Cornett represents the sole Canadian interest for the Open, after defeating Lisa Aitken of Scotland in straight games.  Despite the 3-0 scoreline, the match was closely contested, and Cornett said after her win: “I knew it would be a hard, fast game as we both play that way.  I think I play better when it’s fast like that so I was quite happy to play her at that game.  I’m really pleased to qualify in my second World Open, I’ve been getting a lot of snorkelling in but I need to do some serious practice now!”
The Canadian now progresses to the main draw where she will face the teenage prodigy and eighth seed Nour El Sherbini

Nicolette Fernandes defeated Misaki Kobayashi, ranked just six places above her in the WSA World Rankings, in a close five-game battle.  Having already beaten Coline Aumard of France in her opening qualifier, the Caribbean favourite will now play World Open stalwart Rachael Grinham of Australia.

“You guys have no idea how much pressure you put me under!” said a delighted and relieved Fernandes. “It’s great to be playing in front of a home crowd like this, but I’m a nervous wreck. I had a shoulder injury after the last CASA championships here last year, it’s been a long road back but it’s all coming together now and I’m really excited to make the main draw of the World Open, right here in the Caribbean!”

Latasha Khan qualified for the main draw, after beating Egyptian Yathreb Adel in four games.  The American veteran is one of sixteen different nationalities to feature in the WSA Cayman Islands World Open first round.

David Seeded For Seventh World Title
Nicol David is seeded first as she looks to retain her World Open champion status in the Cayman Islands next month in the WSA 2012 Cayman Squash World Open from 13-21 December.

The first four days of the event will take place at the South Sound Squash Club, before the action moves to an all-glass court on Festival Green on Camana Bay.

The Malaysian world No.1, who claimed her six World Open titles in Egypt, England, Ireland, China, and twice in the Netherlands, also has three Cayman Open titles to her name.  She is poised to attempt her seventh World title, but faces a tough first round opponent in former world No.4 and 2010 World Open runner-up Omneya Abdel Kawy of Egypt.  One of the pair could face ninth seed Annie Au in round two, should the Hong Kong national defeat unseeded Jaclyn Hawkes.

Currently enjoying her highest ranking on the WSA World Tour, Raneem El Weleily is seeded second for the event, having never made it past the second round in her previous ten World Open campaigns.  Now enjoying the form of her life, the Egyptian will play Aisling Blake in the first round, before potentially meeting No.13 seed Dipika Pallikal in round two.

Missing out on the No.2 seeding by just one month, Laura Massaro is seeded as No.3 and will face a qualifying opponent in the opening main round, and could face 2007 World Open champion Rachael Grinham in the second round.

Having finally fought back to the top end of the women’s game, Alison Waters has had a successful year regaining full-fitness after a lengthy Achilles injury.  She returned to the No.4 ranking in November, and is seeded fourth for the event.  She will face local wildcard entrant Marlene West, who reached her highest WSA ranking of 71 in 2010.  Waters could then meet last year’s semi-finalist Samantha Teran in the second round, should the Mexican overcome her qualifying opponent.

Another success story of 2012, Joelle King raised her highest ranking this month to grant her fifth seed position for her third World Open.  She will play Joey Chan of Hong Kong in the first round, and could see either No.11 seed and four-time runner-up Natalie Grinham or Donna Urquhart in round two.  The New Zealander could also meet Raneem El Weleily in the quarter-finals, should both players progress.

Last year’s World Open runner-up Jenny Duncalf is placed at sixth seed, and is drawn to face a qualifier in the first round.  The Englishwoman could then play Camille Serme of France in the second round, with the possibility of facing fellow Englishwoman Alison Waters in the quarter-finals.

Seventh seed Low Wee Wern, currently placing her highest ranking on the WSA World Tour, will face unseeded Sarah Kippax in the first round, with the possibility of meeting twelfth seed Kasey Brown in round two and Massaro in the quarters.

After becoming the youngest ever World Series finalist in May’s British Open, Nour El Sherbini rose to No.5 in the world, but currently sits at No.8.  Also seeded eighth in the draw the Egyptian, now 17-years-old, will play a qualifying entrant in the opening round, before facing tenth seed Madeline Perry, should the Irishwoman defeat Nour El Tayeb.

Players from 24 nations are due to take part in the qualifying and main draw events, and upsets can happen at every stage along the way.  Last year third and fourth seeds Madeline Perry and Rachael Grinham fell in round two, whilst Perry, Natalie Grainger, Laura Massaro and Natalie Grinham all saw early exits in 2010. This year just 34 rankings points separates the world numbers’ 4 and 8, so competition between the top seeds has never been higher and there will surely be some surprises along the way.