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Fifth Time Lucky For Grinham In New York

Women's Carol Weymuller Squash Open,
Heights Casino, New York, USA

[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [2] Natalie Grainger (USA) 6-9, 9-6, 9-1, 1-9, 9-4 (70m)

[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [3] Engy Kheirallah (EGY) 6-9, 3-9, 9-5, 9-3, 9-6 (85m)
[2] Natalie Grainger (USA) bt [4] Annelize Naude (NED) 9-1, 5-9, 9-2, 9-1 (35m)

[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [5] Sharon Wee (MAS) 9-4, 9-3, 9-2
[3] Engy Kheirallah (EGY) bt [7] Lauren Briggs (ENG) 8-10, 9-5, 9-1, 7-9, 9-7
[4] Annelize Naude (NED) bt [Q] Manuela Manetta (ITA) 9-2, 9-4, 9-7
[2] Natalie Grainger (USA) bt [8] Tricia Chuah (MAS) 9-2, 9-2, 9-6

1st round:
[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [Q] Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 9-0, 9-6, 9-3
[5] Sharon Wee (MAS) bt [Q] Chinatsu Matsui (JPN) 10-8, 9-2, 9-5
[3] Engy Kheirallah (EGY) bt [Q] Louise Crome (NZL) 9-5, 9-3, 9-0
[7] Lauren Briggs (ENG) bt Amelia Pittock (AUS) 1-9, 9-4, 9-1, 9-1
[Q] Manuela Manetta (ITA) bt [6] Latasha Khan (USA) 9-7, 3-9, 1-9, 9-7, 9-6
[4] Annelize Naude (NED) bt Runa Reta (CAN) 9-4, 9-2, 9-1
[8] Tricia Chuah (MAS) bt Meredeth Quick (USA) 9-4, 9-3, 9-7
[2] Natalie Grainger (USA) bt Suzie Pierrepont (ENG) 9-2, 9-1, 9-4

Qualifying finals:
Chinatsu Matsui (JPN) bt Joshna Chinappa (IND) 10-8, 6-9, 10-8, 9-2
Louise Crome (NZL) bt Georgina Stoker (ENG) 9-2, 9-5, 10-8
Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) bt Aisling Blake (IRL) 9-6, 3-9, 9-2, 9-6
Manuela Manetta (ITA) bt Dianne Desira (AUS) 9-6, 9-2, 3-9, 9-1

Fifth Time Lucky For Grinham In New York
It was fifth time lucky for Australia 's Rachael Grinham who secured her first WISPA World Tour title of the year in her fifth final appearance after beating home heroine Natalie Grainger in the climax of the Women's Carol Weymuller Squash Open at Heights Casino in New York, USA .

It was a battle between two former world number ones which was described by Heights Casino Squash Director Julian Wellings as "the most intriguing match of the week, with both players enjoying complete control at times, each player desperately trying to impose their game on the other with two very contrasting styles of play".

Grainger, the No2 seed from Washington DC, got off to her customary quick start to take the opening game – despite the fact that Grinham, the event favourite from Queensland, was showing no ill effects of her 85-minute marathon 24 hours earlier.

Grainger maintained her momentum in the second to open up a 6-0 lead in just a couple of minutes – but the Australian hit back to take the game, then the third to forge a 2/1 advantage.

The 29-year-old US star found her confidence again in the fourth, as errors turned to winners and Grainger closed out the game to level the match.

The decider was the same battle for control, but unlike the previous two games neither player was allowing the other one to get away, and so it went point for point to 4-4.

"The physical advantage now started to tell as Rachael incredibly was still moving as she was in the first and Natalie was slowing down," explained Wellings.

Grinham maintained her focus to record her 6-9, 9-6, 9-1, 1-9, 9-4 victory in 70 minutes. The success marked the Cairo-based 29-year-old's 22nd career WISPA title.

"It was a great match to end a great tournament," concluded Wellings.

Grinham Survives Kheirallah Marathon At Heights Casino
Top-seeded Australian Rachael Grinham had to fight back from two games down to overcome fast-improving Engy Kheirallah in a dramatic 85-minute semi-final of the Women's Carol Weymuller Squash Open at Heights Casino in New York, USA.

It was the 24-year-old Egyptian's second marathon clash in 24 hours after battling past England's Lauren Briggs in a 92-minute quarter-final duel.

But Grinham's greater experience shone through in the semi of the established WISPA World Tour event as she dug deep to forge a 6-9, 3-9, 9-5, 9-3, 9-6 victory to earn her second successive final appearance in a WISPA event and the 38th of her career.

"From the knock up, the ball felt really heavy on my racket, I couldnt seem to get a decent length especially when I tried to put pace on the ball," said a relieved Grinham afterwards. "Basically she was playing much better squash than me in the first two games - I knew the only way to stay in the match was to run everything down and luckily my movement was very good today.

"I had to keep her behind me and deep, so I started lobbing as much as possible - forcing Engy to go for higher risk shots which she did in the third and fourth to let me back in. In the fifth, she became more patient and kept the ball deep for longer which made the fifth a close game," added the 29-year-old from Queensland.

Kheirallah, the third seed who lost to the Australian in last month's British Open semi-finals, admitted that she had been nervous of being tired "but felt good".

"I was playing really well and Rachel was making a lot of mistakes and I couldnt believe it when I was 2/0 up! I had a lead in the third then Rachael changed her game, slowing the pace and hitting a lot of lobs. In the fifth, I got more patient and got a second wind - but she was playing better and her experience won her the match," explained the world No12 from Alexandria.

The first game of the other semi-final was over almost as soon as it started, with USA's No2 seed Natalie Grainger playing at a blistering pace that caught her opponent Annelize Naude completely off guard.

The fourth seed from the Netherlands fought back in the second to draw level, but Grainger reasserted her authority thereafter to carve out a 9-1, 5-9, 9-2, 9-1 win in 35 minutes.

The win takes the former world number one from Washington DC into her second WISPA final on home soil this year and the 26th of her career.

Brave Briggs Extends Kheirallah At Heights Casino
In a quarter-final clash described by Tournament Organiser Julian Wellings as "easily the match of the night and of the tournament so far", Egypt's third seed Engy Kheirallah was taken the full distance by Lauren Briggs before beating the seventh seed from England to claim her predicted place in the semi-finals of the established WISPA World Tour event at Heights Casino in New York, USA.

Briggs, the 27-year-old world No23 from Essex, got off to a good start grabbing a quick 7-1 lead by taking the ball early and dominating the T with effective volleying. Kheirallah fought back but was unable to stop her lower-ranked opponent from opening up a one-game lead.

The 24-year-old from Alexandria, ranked 12 in the world, recovered to take the next two games but again Briggs bounced back to draw level. In the decider, the pair traded point for point until 7-7, after which Kheirallah had three match balls before finally clinching an 8-10, 9-5, 9-1, 7-9, 9-7 victory after a marathon 92 minutes.

Kheirallah, who became the first ever Egyptian to reach a British Open semi-final last month in Nottingham, will now take on Rachael Grinham, the top-seeded Australian who brushed aside Malaysia's fifth seed Sharon Wee 9-4, 9-3, 9-2.

I felt good again today," said the former world No1 from Queensland. "I was hitting the ball well and felt I was moving really well. Im always happy regardless of the result, as long as Im moving well and hitting the ball well! The beginning of each game was very close but Sharon tends to drop the pressure towards the end of them which helped me.

The other semi-final will bring together two former South Africans when second seed Natalie Grainger, now based in the USA but raised in Johannesburg, takes on the Dutch No2 Annelize Naude, born in Kempton Park, South Africa.

Grainger, the No2 seed from Washington DC, delighted the local crowd when she beat Malaysia's eighth seed Tricia Chuah 9-2, 9-2, 9-6.

"I was very focused in the first two games and felt good," said the top-ranked American. "In the third I lost some patience and started going short too early which made for a close finish. I needed to work the point more and I managed to do that at the end and get the win."

Fourth seed Naude ended Manuela Manetta's dream of making the last four when she beat the Italian qualifier 9-2, 9-4, 9-7.

[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v [3] Engy Kheirallah (EGY)
[2] Natalie Grainger (USA) v [4] Annelize Naude (NED)

Fernandes Forges Weymuller Breakthrough In New York
Guyana's Nicolette Fernandes earned her maiden appearance in the Women's Carol Weymuller Squash Open when she defeated Ireland's Aisling Blake in the qualifying finals of the established WISPA World Tour event at Heights Casino in New York, USA.

Winner of the Central America & Caribbean Games golf medal in July and runner-up in the Panamerican Championship last month, Fernandes beat Blake 9-6, 3-9, 9-2, 9-6 on her return to the Tour after a three-month break.

The UK-based 23-year-old will now face Australia's top seed Rachael Grinham in the first round.

Grinham, the world No3 making her first appearance in the Heights Casino event, is expected to face local star Natalie Grainger in the final. Grainger, the No2 seed from Washington, takes on England's Suzie Pierrepont in the first round.

Updated 1st round draw:
[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v [Q] Nicolette Fernandes (GUY)
[5] Sharon Wee (MAS) v [Q] Chinatsu Matsui (JPN)
[3] Engy Kheirallah (EGY) v [Q] Louise Crome (NZL)
[7] Lauren Briggs (ENG) v Amelia Pittock (AUS)
[6] Latasha Khan (USA) v [Q] Manuela Manetta (ITA)
[4] Annelize Naude (NED) v Runa Reta (CAN)
[8] Tricia Chuah (MAS) v Meredeth Quick (USA)
[2] Natalie Grainger (USA) v Suzie Pierrepont (ENG)