Rebecca Macree (Eng) bt Melissa Martin (Aus) 9-6, 9-7, 9-4 (35)
Stephanie Brind (Eng) bt Heidi Mather (Aus) 9-0, 9-7, 9-6 (22m)
All-English Final In Ottawa
Neil Tubb reports from the
This afternoon’s matchups faced a showdown of the two top seeds from
England versus two challengers from Australia, and the old imperial
power managed to come out on top.
Brind drops Mather to death
The first semi-final match featured second seed Stephanie Brind
against Heidi Mather. Mather, who trains under the eye of former
world champions Geoff Hunt and Rodney Martin in Brisbane, plays with the
kind of perfect footwork and ball-striking one might expect, with a
dutiful attention to length before attempting the riskier short shots.
She executed this textbook approach beautifully in her quarter-final
match, and we all sat back and expected her to give Brind fits.
Brind, in contrast, plays in a manner that would make a conservative
squash coach shake their head. From the very first rally of this match,
her approach was to basically drop every loose ball from Mather—and
incredibly she pulled it off to perfection. A truly bewildered Mather
was off the court almost as quickly as she went on, having lost the
first game in just over 3 minutes.
When Mather finally registered her first point at 3-0 in the second, she
raised her arms skyward in mock jubilation- a move that gave us in the
stands a laugh, and seemed to relax her as well. Finally Brind started
to find a bit of tin in her relentless attacks, but she still managed to
squeeze out the second 9-7. The Aussie gathered herself for the 3rd, and
came out strong to build a 6-0 lead—only to have Brind start chopping
down the lead with her wristy boasts and drops, eventually taking the
game and the match.
Macree raises the game
The other semi-final looked to be more of a battle, as Melissa Martin
had shot the lights out in her first two matches, and top seed
Rebecca Macree was clearly improving with each match. There is
something about experienced pros like Macree—they seem to know just how
much effort to give in the earlier rounds to get through, while saving
their best for later. This was definitely true here, as Martin looked
shaken early in the first game at the length and power from her taller
Martin also seemed upset from the start with what she saw as Macree’s
blocking and excessive swing—a diagnosis with which neither Macree or
the referees seemed to agree—but the result was a number of traffic
problems in the opening game. The Englishwoman always seemed to have the
right shot at the right time, and managed to put away the first 9-7.
The second game found Martin starting better, with a bit more length and
accuracy on her shots early. But again it seemed like Macree was the
hungrier of the two, always more willing to do whatever it took to get
the ball back. Martin’s lack of consistency cost her the second game as
well, although at 9-7 it was close.
In the third game, Martin was getting increasingly frustrated with the
number of lets, and it was clearly ruining her concentration. Macree
kept her composure well, and quickly sewed up the final game 9-4.
Tomorrow’s final featuring the top two seeds should be a great battle,
as well as a terrific display of completely different approaches to the
 Rebecca Macree (Eng) bt Aisling Blake (Ire)
9-5, 9-3, 9-5 (25m)
 Melissa Martin (Aus) bt Katie Patrick (Can)
9-6, 9-1, 9-2 (24m)
 Heidi Mather (Aus) bt  Runa Reta (Can)
3-9, 9-2, 9-1, 9-4 (45m)
 Stephanie Brind (Eng) bt Melanie Jans-Burke (Can)
9-4, 9-3, 9-7(26m)
Canadians Crash Out In Ottawa
Neil Tubb reports from the
Either the previous evenings efforts came to bear, or the overall class
of the top seeds is starting to shine though—either way, the
quarter-final matchups at the WISPA Ottawa International Open left the
fans wanting a bit more squash to admire than they eventually got.
The action got underway with Melanie Jans Burke and Stephanie
Brind. While the referees may not have even known the second seed
well enough to pronounce her name correctly (note: it is Brind, as in
Wind), clearly her Canadian opponent was getting to know all about her.
The Englishwoman is a delight to watch, with her loose demeanour and
almost childish impatience during rallies that she seemed constantly to
be looking to end with winners. While Jans Burke went about her business
professionally, trying to find a way through, she was unable to really
put any pressure on Brind, and lost in three.
Local hopes were firmly pinned on Runa Reta as she purposely took
the court with her Australian opponent, Heidi Mather. With some
encouraging words from her coach, Reta cleverly absorbed the pace and
pressure of Mather, and together with some clever angles of her own,
backed herself out a convincing winner of game one.
But Mather showed her Aussie mettle well and took to the court with some
positive energy in the second, adding even more pace and using great
length to really stretch her smaller opponent. As things started to go
against her, Reta got far too negative, and even for the local fans
gathered, the end result was soon not in doubt. The Australian would
have to be well pleased with her performance, and be looking for a
breakthrough tomorrow against Brind.
Canada’s last hopes rested with Calgary’s Katie Patrick, who was
faced with the uphill challenge of facing the confident looking
Melissa Martin. The match started tentatively, with both players
hitting it a bit loose, but soon Martin found her range, and with a mix
of a few nice flicks from her racquet- combined with a few
uncharacteristic errors from Patrick- the first game was over in short
order. The second game found Martin starting to really fire away,
displaying an array of shots that left the crowd at times breathless.
Martin duly wrapped up the match 3-0, and must also be looking forward
to the semi-finals.
With the matches going far too quickly, we were all hoping for
Irishwoman Aisling Blake to put in a spirited performance against
top seed Rebecca Macree. Blake did give it her all, but Macree,
who seemed to be over her ills from the previous evening, had that extra
bit of class that showed right from the beginning. Blake showed a
continued willingness to slug it out with the occasionally combustible
Macree, but the gulf in length, touch, and experience, proved to be too
much. Another 3-0 scoreline, but this should provide each of the
semi-finalists with the required rest to provide a great display on
Mixed Fortunes For
Canadians In Ottawa
Neil Tubb reports from the
Thanks to the endless energy of Ottawa squash legend Heather Wallace,
the Goodlife Athletic Club here in the nation’s capital is again host to
the WISPA Ottawa International Open. Heather’s hard work has paid off,
as the event is now a fixture on the WISPA circuit, providing the Ottawa
local players an annual display of how the game should be played. If
only we put some of that knowledge into practice...
Three Canadians Into Quarters
A decent crowd had already gathered for just before 5pm when
multiple-time Canadian champ Melanie Jans Burke took the court
with England’s Sarah Kippax. It was a great match to start the
tournament, with a complete contrast in styles—Jans Burke kept the ball
floating deep, being patient, whereas Kippax scurried around admirably
and smacked the ball with plenty of pace. The momentum went back and
forth like a door in a gale, but in the end the Canadian’s experience
allowed her to sneak out a victory in the fifth.
The Canadians in general put in an excellent showing, giving the crowd
plenty to cheer about. Alana Miller (current Canadian national
title holder) was put to task by the feisty Irishwoman Aisling Blake.
In another nail biter, Miller's shotmaking flair wasn’t enough, as she
went down in five to the tough Blake. Katie Patrick faced off
against the sixth seed Lauren Briggs from England, and again
there was little to choose between them as they ground towards the
inevitable fifth game. Patrick, despite facing a match ball in the
fourth, came out as the winner. The sportswomanship award would have to
go to Briggs though—imagine coming all the way to Ottawa, only to lose
the match on a dicey no-let? Briggs just shook hands and left the court
though, which showed her class.
The local support gathered to the show court for Runa Reta’s
match with another Englishwoman, Georgina Stoker. Stoker may have
been a little fatigued after having had to qualify for the main draw
yesterday, but either way clearly had no answer for Reta’s length and
deception. Second seed Stephanie Brind of England also made short
work of her opponent, the game but clearly outclassed Samantha Teran
of Mexico. Brind looked extremely loose as she flicked the ball about
the court effortlessly, hinting that her best is still to come.
Aussies on Form
The two Australians in the draw were also looking on form. Melissa
Martin, the fourth seed, was hitting the ball beautifully right from
the warm-up, and it was clear that her opponent, Canadian Marnie
Baizley, was in for a tough match. Martin’s delicate drops and
volley nicks stopped any runs that Baizley managed to pull together, and
Martin duly finished the match a 3-0 winner. Heidi Mather played
a different style to Martin of hard lengths and volleys, but the result
was the same as she took control over Korea’s Lee Hai-Kyung,
winning convincingly in 4 games.
Macree out of Sorts
The final match of the evening featured the top seed, Rebecca Macree
from England, who looked out of sorts right from the first ball
being struck. Not sure what it was, but she seemed to get more negative
with every shot in the warm-up, shaking her head as if to indicate
something was not right. Macree managed to start her match against
Canadian Tara Mullins off right- slamming Mullins’ serve straight
into the nick!- but after that it was a battle. Mullins dug in and
played some fantastic squash, but Macree pulled herself together enough
to come out with a fairly comfortable four game win.