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Atkinson Topples World Champion David In Apawamis Final

Apawamis Open
Rye, New York

1st round draw



[2] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt [1] Nicol David (MAS) 9-6, 9-2, 9-10, 9-7


[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [3] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 9-7, 9-2, 1-9, 9-5

[2] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt [Q] Fiona Geaves (ENG) 10-8, 9-0, 9-1


[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Engy Kheirallah (EGY) 6-9, 9-6, 9-0, 9-1

[3] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Madeline Perry (IRL) 9-4, 10-8, 9-7

[Q] Fiona Geaves (ENG) bt [5] Natalie Grainger (USA) 0-9, 9-6, 9-6, 9-6

[2] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt [7] Tania Bailey (ENG) 10-8, 9-1, 9-10, 9-3

1st round:

[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt Annelize Naude (NED) 9-3, 9-1, 9-6

[Q] Engy Kheirallah (EGY) bt [6] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 10-8, 3-9, 9-1, 5-9, 10-8

[3] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Pamela Nimmo (SCO) 9-4, 9-4, 9-7

Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [8] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 4-9, 9-0, 9-7, 9-7

[5] Natalie Grainger (USA) bt Alison Waters (ENG) 9-4, 9-3, 9-5

[Q] Fiona Geaves (ENG) bt [4] Vicky Botwright (ENG) 5-9, 9-7, 9-6, 9-8, 1-0 ret.

[7] Tania Bailey (ENG) bt [Q] Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG) 9-2, 9-5, 9-1

[2] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt [Q] Latasha Khan (USA) 9-7, 9-2, 9-6


Atkinson Topples World Champion David In Apawamis Final
Nicol David
lost her first match since winning the World Open title in December and becoming world No1 in January when she was beaten by Dutch rival Vanessa Atkinson in the final of the Women's Apawamis Squash Open in Rye, New York.

It was the climax of the first WISPA Gold event of the year with second seed Atkinson looking to avenge her defeat by the Malaysian in the World Open semi-finals in Hong Kong.

The world number two took the opening two games, but top seed David fought back to take the next game to reduce the deficit. 

In a close fourth game, it was Atkinson that reached the finishing post first, to record a 9-6 9-2 9-10 9-7 win and the 18th WISPA World Tour title of her career.

Top Seeds To Contest Apawamis Final

The world's top two women squash players will contest the final of the Women's Apawamis Open when Malaysia's Nicol David and the Netherlands' Vanessa Atkinson meet in the climax of the first WISPA Gold event of the year in Rye, New York.

David, who became world No1 last month, faced her predecessor in the semi-finals. When Rachael Grinham took the third game, it seemed as if the Australian was on way to an upset when she led in the fourth.

But the Netherlands-based world champion came back to win 9-7 9-2 1-9 9-5, thus reaching her first WISPA final of the year, but the 21st of her career.

England's Fiona Geaves put up a brave show in the first game against Atkinson. The experienced 38-year-old, a qualifier who knocked out both the fourth seed Vicky Botwright and fifth seed Natalie Grainger, took the first game to a tie-break.

But the fit Vanessa Atkinson kept Geaves under constant pressure, and ultimately romped to a 10-8 9-0 9-1 win in 35 minutes to reach her 30th WISPA Tour final.

Geaves Gets Grainger In Shock Apawamis Upset

England veteran Fiona Geaves, who is winding down her international squash career after taking up a coaching role in New York city, pulled off a sensational upset in the Women's Apawamis Squash Open when she beat local star Natalie Grainger, the fifth seed, in the quarter-finals of the WISPA Gold event in Rye, New York.

The 38-year-old from Gloucester recovered from a first game drubbing by Grainger to beat the world No7 from Washington DC 0-9 9-6 9-6 9-6.

Geaves will now face second seed Vanessa Atkinson for a place in her 15th WISPA final since 1990. Atkinson, the second seed from the Netherlands, survived a tough battle with England's seventh seed Tania Bailey to win 10-8 9-1 9-10 9-3.

The other semi-final brings together the current world No1 Nicol David, and the Australian she succeeded in January, Rachael Grinham. David, the top seed from Malaysia, recovered from the loss of the first game to Engy Kheirallah to go on and beat the Egyptian qualifier 6-9 9-6 9-0 9-1.

Grinham had to be at her best to withstand great pressure from Madeline Perry, the Irish champion who celebrated a career-high world No10 ranking this month. The Australia took the opening game, but Perry fought back from 6-8 down in the second to reach game-ball but failed to convert. Grinham re-established her authority to win 9-4 10-8 9-7.

Botwright Bows Out In Apawamis
England's world No5 Vicky Botwright became the biggest casualty on the opening day of the first WISPA Gold event of the year when she bowed out to veteran compatriot Fiona Geaves in the first round of the Women's Apawamis Squash Open in Rye, New York.

Fourth seed Botwright took the opening two games, but her gutsy opponent, now based in the US as a coach at the Heights Casino in New York, came back to take the next two to level the match.

However, Botwright stumbled awkwardly on the penultimate point of the fourth game – and, after a short break to ice and stretch her heel, cautiously tried to start the fifth game. But after a single point, the 28-year-old was forced to retire, with the score at 5-9 9-7 9-6 9-8 1-0. It was later confirmed that Botwright has suffered a painful foot problem for the past three weeks.

Geaves, a qualifier, now takes on Natalie Grainger, the fifth seed from the USA who beat England's unseeded Alison Waters 9-4 9-3 9-5.

Unseeded Irish champion Madeline Perry caused the exit of another English seed when she came back from a game down to beat eighth seed Jenny Duncalf 4-9 9-0 9-7 9-7.

An all-Egyptian first round clash between Omneya Abdel Kawy and qualifier Engy Kheirallah saw the sixth seed squander an 8-6 lead in the fifth game. Kheirallah, a 24-year-old from Alexandria who is ranked nine places below her compatriot, fought back to record a notable 10-8 3-9 9-1 5-9 10-8 upset.

WISPA Celebrate Gold At Apawamis

The Women's International Squash Players' Association is celebrating the elevation of its long-established Apawamis Open to a WISPA Gold 35 event.

The 2006 event at the Apawamis Club in Rye, in the US state of New York, has attracted a top-class field led by Malaysia's world No1 Nicol David and Netherlands' world No2 Vanessa Atkinson.

Long-time event organiser Peter Briggs commented: "This is a transitional year for us and though we hope to welcome back the guys, for now we are really excited to have the cream of the WISPA women at Apawamis. Not only do our members enjoy watching them, but talking to them and in some cases playing with them too; especially the juniors whom the women are so happy to play with."

Andrew Shelley, Chief Executive of WISPA, added: "Because the club itself are the main sponsors this year, they decided that to run high level events for men and women wouldn’t be possible, and WISPA is delighted and grateful that they have chosen to run with a WISPA Gold event."

After qualifying on 1st/2nd February, the first round gets underway on Thursday (3 February) leading to the final on Sunday.

1st round draw:

[1] Nicol David (MAS) v Annelize Naude (NED)

[6] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Qualifier

[3] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Pamela Nimmo (SCO)

[8] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v Madeline Perry (IRL)

[5] Natalie Grainger (USA) v Alison Waters (ENG)

[4] Vicky Botwright (ENG) v Qualifier

[7] Tania Bailey (ENG) v Qualifier

[2] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) v Qualifier