Texas Open 2004
01-04 April, Houston, USA, $43k 

04-Apr, Final:

Australia's 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 two players.

Grinham prevailed 9/5, 9/5, 9/5 in 53 minutes, and acknowledged in her winner's speech the help her sister Natalie had given in pushing the top seed to the limit in the semi-finals.

"I put in an extra effort when I was 5-1 down in the second game and to come back and win that one was just a massive lift for me. Thanks also to my sister for wearing Cassie out last night. It really helped!"

FULL REPORT from Houston

2003 & '02 Events
Ride 'em Cowgirl !

from Houston

1st Round
Thu 1st
Sat 3rd
[1] Cassie Jackman (Eng)
9/3, 9/2, 10/8 (29m)
[Q] Madeline Perry (Irl)
Cassie Jackman
4/9, 9/3, 9/2, 9/5 (53m)
Rebecca Macree
Cassie Jackman

9/7, 3/9, 3/9,
9/1, 10/9 (68m)

Natalie Grinham
Cassie Jackman

9/5, 9/5, 9/5 (53m)

Rachael Grinham

[8] Rebecca Macree (Eng)
9/10 rtd
Isabelle Stoehr (Fra)
[4] Natalie Grinham (Aus)
9/3, 7/9, 9/7, 9/1 (55m)
Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
Natalie Grinham
9/5, 9/2, 9/1 (26m)
Pamela Nimmo
[6] Linda Charman (Eng)
6/9, 9/3, 9/7, 9/7 (68m)
[Q] Pamela Nimmo (Sco)
[Q] Rebecca Chiu (Hkg)
10/8, 4/9, 10/8, 9/2 (45m)
[7] Nicol David (Mas)
Nicol David
9/6, 9/2, 9/5
Vanessa Atkinson
Vanessa Atkinson

10/9, 8/10, 9/0,
9/6 (61m)

Rachael Grinham

[Q] Laura Lengthorn (Eng)
9/0, 9/2, 9/5 (22m)
[3] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned)
Vicky Botwright (Eng)
9/3, 9/6, 9/3 (32m)
[5] Fiona Geaves (Eng)
Vicky Botwright
9/1, 6/9, 9/1, 4/9,9/5 (75m)
Rachael Grinham
Omneya Abdel Kawy (Eng)
9/7, 9/3, 9/2 (45m)
[2] Rachael Grinham (Aus)

Qualifying (Tue 30/Wed 31):

Pamela Nimmo (Sco) bt Shelley Kitchen (Nzl)  5/9, 9/5, 4/9, 10/9, 9/6 (55m)
Madeline Perry (Irl) bt Annelize Naude (Ned)  5/9, 9/5, 4/9, 10/9, 9/6 (85m)
Rebecca Chiu (Hkg) bt Alison Waters (Eng)  4/9, 9/3, 9/2, 9/1 (50m)
Laura Lengthorn (Eng) bt Stephanie Brind (Eng)  9/7, 1/9, 9/5, 3/9, 9/7 (65m)

First Round:
Shelley Kitchen (Nzl) bt Runa Reta (Can)  9/2, 9/3, 9/3
Pamela Nimmo (Sco) bt Sarah Kippax (Eng)  9/4, 9/4, 9/2
Madeline Perry (Irl) bt Alana Miller (Can)  9/5, 9/1, 9/4
Annelize Naude (Ned) bt Tara Mullins (Can)  9/1, 9/1, 9/5
Alison Waters (Eng) bt Katie Patrick (Can)  9/5, 9/3, 9/2
Rebecca Chiu (Hkg) bt Kate Roe (Eng)  9/1, 9/0, 9/2
Laura Lengthorn (Eng) bt Shabana Khan (Usa)  9/0, 9/0, 9/5
Stephanie Brind (Eng) bt Dominique Lloyd-Walter  9/5, 7/9, 9/1, 9/7

04-Apr, Final:

[2] Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt [1] Cassie Jackman (Usa) 9/5, 9/5, 9/5, (53m)


Australia's 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 two players.

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.

Jackman 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!".

03-Apr, Semi-Finals:
[1] Cassie Jackman (Eng) bt [4] Natalie Grinham  (Aus) 9/7, 3/9, 3/9, 9/1, 10/9 (68m)
[2] Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt [3] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned)  10/9, 8/10, 9/0, 9/6 (61m)

Jackman squeezes
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 breathtaking.

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 chance tomorrow"

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."  Rach reports

Rachael 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 Rachael 9/0.

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.

The 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.

02-Apr, Quarters:
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.

V. 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

01-Apr, Round One:

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 the win.

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.

31-Mar, Qualifying:
Lengthorn Lashes
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 in Sussex.

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.

Three-up for
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.

Current Grand 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 www.QAsquash.com 

2003 & '02 Events