Grinham (Aus) bt  Cassie Jackman (Usa) 9/5, 9/5, 9/5, (53m)
GRINHAM TAKES TEXAS TITLE
Rachael Grinham won her second WISPA Gold title of 2004 when she
beat England's Cassie Jackman in the final in Houston.
As might be expected, the match was a
fascinating contrast between the brutal power of Jackman and the lighter
touch of Grinham – but of the highest order as befits the world's top
It took only a few rallies for the players to settle into a pattern
which featured Jackman driving and lobbing, Grinham playing attacking
boasts and looking for opportunities to take the ball high and early and
deposit into a front wall nick.
It could have been the exertion of beating the younger Grinham in their
68 minute semi the night before, but while Jackman was covering the
boasts she was stretching enough to give her opponents a few openings.
Enough of these were taken to enable Grinham to win the first game.
was using her cut cross court drive to greater effect in the second to
help reach a 5/1 lead, but this was slowly whittled away as Grinham
covered the court so well and frustrated Jackman into errors. The
Australian progressed from 5 all in identical fashion to the first and
repeated the scoreline to go two ahead after 33 minutes.
Would Jackman have anything left or would another final slip away?
England Squash's Paul Carter clearly wanted her to keep Grinham back,
but whenever she was not tight enough a Grinham drop was proving
difficult to reach. The score reached five all for the third time with
Jackman as competing strongly but slowly the match was running away from
her as Grinham flitted across the boards. Again it was Grinham who
managed to dominate the second phase of the game with Jackman snatching
at a ball when Grinham was tangled in the corner, only to find the tin.
She did so again at then end of the next long rally to lose with a
symmetrical scoreline in 53 minutes.
Grinham had been aided by her sister drawing a little of the sting of
her opponent, as she acknowledged in her winner's speech where in
addition to thanking the organisers she said "Thanks also to my sister
for wearing Cassie out last night. It really helped!".
 Cassie Jackman (Eng) bt 
Natalie Grinham (Aus) 9/7, 3/9, 3/9, 9/1, 10/9 (68m)
 Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt  Vanessa Atkinson (Ned) 10/9,
8/10, 9/0, 9/6 (61m)
into Texas final
The first semi final ended after 68 sensational minutes with the full
house on its feet applauding Cassie and Natalie off court.
Cassie had won by the narrowest of margins having saved one match ball
at 7/8 and again at 8/9 in the 5th. She had been stamping her authority
with powerful drives and overheads but was making mistakes too, always
under pressure from Natalie whose speed around the court was
Several rallies appeared to have been taken by Cassie, only to find
Natalie digging out her "winners" and keeping the rallies going.
As Cassie said afterwards, "That was a skin of the teeth job! Still,
having lost in my last two finals I am just pleased to have another
Natalie was coached and supported by sister Rachael who was to go on
next against Vanessa Atkinson.
"It was a little daunting having to follow that match," commented
Grinham. "Especially after seeing them receive a standing
ovation as they walked off court !!
"And besides that I had almost had a
heart attack after the final part of Nat's match, so I was a little
worried I was gonna just fall to pieces after all the nerves running
thru my body."
started well, reaching 8/6 in the first before Vanessa saved two game
balls and then having one of her own at 9/9 before losing the game with
a downed boast.
The second was equally tight, with Rachael again squandering a slight
lead and this time losing to tie the match.
Sister Natalie was returning the compliment by talking to her, and
although she was playing all over the court with confidence it was only
in the third that Vanessa started making error upon error under the
pressure and the match started slipping away. The third was won by
However, Vanessa regrouped in the 4th by cutting out unforced errors and
got to a 4/0 lead before being pegged back. After a series of rallies
where both players continued to anticipate the direction of shots from
the front Rachael edged ahead to take the match and a place in the final
after 61 hard fought minutes.
final will be Jackman's 52nd tour final, her first after getting married
last month, while Rachael Grinham's 22nd final will mark her third
successive meeting with Jackman this year - the results being shared,
with Grinham winning the Kuwait Open final in January and Cassie getting
her revenge in the Qatar Airways Challenge semi-finals in February.
Top four into Huston Semis
The top four seeds progressed into the semi-finals in Houston, but it
wasn't plain sailing.
World number one Cassie Jackman dropped the first game against
Rebecca Macree before imposing her game on the fellow Englishwoman.
Natalie Grinham and Vanessa Atkinson then scored
straight-game victories, but in the final match Vicky Botwright pushed
world number two Rachael Grinham all the way, leading in the
fifth until a run of points saw the Australian to victory.
Match-by-match from Houston
C. Jackman bt R. Macree
4/9, 9/3, 9/2, 9/5 (53m)
Frustated in the first game, Jackman changed her strategy and took away
the let opportunities from the second game onward.
N. Grinham bt P. Nimmo
9/5, 9/2, 9/1 (26m)
Nimmo ran out of gas, probably tired after her last match.
Atkinson bt N. David
9/6, 9/2, 9/5 (35m)
Extremely clean squash with both players displaying sportmanship.
R. Grinham bt V. Botwright
9/1, 6/9, 9/1, 4/9, 9/5 (75m)
This last match of the evening was by far the most closely contested.
Botwright fought hard in the fourth to level the score, and led in the
fifth until Grinham had a run of four points.
More photos from SquashFlash
Nimmo Tames Charman in Texas
Match-by-match from Houston
The world's best women players prepare for Texas
(with organiser Rishad Alikan, far left)
C. Jackman bt M. Perry 9/3, 9/2, 10/8
Perry made a strong run in the 3rd but lost it on an unforced tin error
at 8 all in this 29 min match.
R. Macree bt I. Stoehr 9/10, injury default
Early in the second game the players collided accidentally with Stoehr
tripping and falling to the floor onto her right shoulder. She was
clearly in pain and after resting for 20 mins in the hope of recovering,
she decided to default the match.
N. Grinham bt J. Duncalf 9/3, 7/9, 9/7, 9/1
This was a long and well contested match lasting 55 mins. After some
incredible retrieving by Grinham, Duncalf started to show frustration
and played several unforced errors in the 4th game.
N. David bt R. Chiu 10/8, 4/9, 10/8, 9/2 (45 mins)
After 3 incredible close and well contested games, Chiu showed signs of
fatigue in the 4th game.
V. Atkinson bt L. Lengthorn 9/0, 9/2, 9/5 (22 mins)
Lengthorn appeared not to be playing up to her full potential until the
last game, by which time Atkinson was well in control.
V. Botwright bt F. Geaves 9/3, 9/6, 9/3 (32 Mins)
Botwright played very aggressively and with complete confidence. Early
she had said "I have had ups and downs in playing this year but I am
definitely looking for an up in Texas".
R. Grinham bt O. Abdel Kawy 9/7, 9/3, 9/2 (45 Mins)
Some of the best and cleanest squash of the evening between players who
obviously know each others games well. Great racquet skills were
exhibited by Abdel Kawy, although Grinham experience came through for
P. Nimmo bt L. Charman 6/9, 9/3, 9/7, 9/7 (68 mins)
A well fought and hot blooded match with both players shouting at the
referee to blow off some steam. This final match of the evening was
played in front of a full gallery who showed their appreciation of good
squash by applauding loudly after nearly every point.
Brind In Houston
England's 20-year-old Laura- Lengthorn caused a notable upset in
the final qualifying round when she beat experienced compatriot
Stephanie Brind, a former world No4, 9-7 1-9 9-5 3-9 9-7 in 65 minutes.
The twice British Junior National champion from Lancashire now faces
Netherlands' third seed Vanessa Atkinson in the first round of the third
WISPA Gold event of the year.
Ireland's Madeline Perry also needed five games to reach the main
draw, twice coming from behind to beat Annelize Naude in 85 minutes, and
now faces top seed Cassie Jackman.
Scotland's Pamela Nimmo also marked her return to form since a
number of injury setbacks with a 4-9 9-4 9-1 9-4 dismissal of New
Zealand's world No14 Shelley Kitchen. The 26-year-old from Edinburgh is
drawn to face fellow Briton Linda Charman, the No6 seed from Eastbourne
Hong Kong's Rebecca Chiu took 50 minutes to overcome England's
Alison Waters 4-9 9-3 9-2 9-1 - and is rewarded with a chance to repeat
her success over Nicol David in last year's Asian Games final when she
meets the seventh seed from
Malaysia in the first round.
Lone Star State
The third running of the Texas Open is the third WISPA
Grand Prix event of 2004, with the world's top players competing for a
share of the $42,500 prize fund.
Prix leaders Cassie Jackman, Rachael Grinham and Vanessa Atkinson are
top seeds, with the only notable absentee the USA's Natalie Grainger,
who is taking time off the tour to recover full health.
A new Texas champion is guaranteed, succeeding the
retired Carol Owens, who won the 2002 and 2003 events.
The Texas Open is the third WISPA Gold event of the year, with results
counting towards the Qatar Airways Grand Prix Standings. Full details on
2003 & '02 Events