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Ottawa International 2004
21-24 October, Ottawa
, $14k 


23-Oct, Final:

[1] Rebecca Macree (Eng) bt [2] Stephanie Brind (Eng)
       9/2, 7/9, 9/3, 9/4 (52m)

Macree Takes Ottawa Title
Neil Tubb reports from the Goodlife Club

With the final set to begin between the top two seeds from England, it was tough to make a prediction for those of us who’d followed the tournament’s progress. Both players had progressed to the final without dropping a game. Macree and Brind had played a number of times in WISPA events in the past few years (most recently in Las Vegas last May), and Macree had the winning record, but Brind had looked the sharper of the two in this tournament so far.

As they prepared to take the court, Macree actually looked more loose and relaxed than she had in her earlier round matches. It was noticeable that both players checked their smiles outside the court—it was unclear if this was just overt professionalism and desire to win, or if these two just didn’t like playing each other.

As the match began, it was clear there was some sort of bad blood, as Brind was immediately complaining about Macree’s blocking her path to the ball. In the same vein as Melissa Martin the day before, it seemed as if Brind’s preoccupation with this hurt her concentration in the match. But Macree didn’t let the commotion bother her too much, and just set about hitting deep drives followed up with very tight drops and boasts. Add in a few tins contributed by Brind, and the first game was over rather quickly to Macree 9-2.

As the second began, it wasn’t clear how Brind was going to make any headway in the match, as her shots were stretching but not beating the athletic Macree. But a conduct warning given for pushing seemed to snap Brind back into the game, and she put a fine run together to build a 6-0 lead. Macree carefully tried to reinstitute her length game and make a comeback, but Brind had found her range and finished it off 9-7.

In the third game, Brind’s shot selection now was varying beautifully, and Macree was now the one under pressure. Macree, who was clearly fighting a cold, was having trouble catching her breath between rallies. But despite this, she stuck to her disciplined gameplan, and managed to reel in Brind for a 9-3 victory and momentum heading into the fourth.

At this point, Brind’s situation didn’t look good. Macree was now in her comfort zone, hitting hard down the wall, then pouncing on weak replies with volley chops short. Brind didn’t feel like she was being given access, and indeed Macree was instructed by the referee to move differently out of her volleys—but the quality of her shots at this point basically made this footwork lesson moot. Brind lost her way, and after 52 mins, Macree had secured her first Ottawa International WISPA title.
 

  • Draws & Results
      

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  • 2003 Event


Heather Wallace & Macree

Ottawa Intenational2004
21-24 Oct, Calgary, $6k  
1st Round
Thu 21st
Quarters
Fri 22nd
Semis
Sat 23rd
Final
Sun 24th
[1] Rebecca Macree (Eng)
9/2, 6/9, 9/1, 9/2 (40m)
[Q] Tara Mullins (Can)
Rebecca Macree
9/5, 9/3, 9/5 (28m)
Aisling Blake
Rebecca Macree

9/6, 9/7, 9/4 (35m)

Melissa Martin

Rebecca Macree
 

9/2, 7/9, 9/3, 9/4 (52m)
 

Stephanie Brind
[7] Alana Miller (Can)
6/9, 9/5, 3/9, 9/3, 9/5 (58m)
Aisling Blake (Irl)
[3] Melissa Martin (Aus)
9/1, 9/5, 9/5 (26m)
Marnie Baizley (Can)
Melissa Martin
9/6, 9/1, 9/2 (27m)
Katie Patrick
[6] Lauren Briggs (Eng)
7/9, 9/3, 3/9, 10/9, 9/7 (64m)
Katie Patrick (Can)
[Q] Lee Hai-Kyung (Kor)
10/9, 10/8, 4/9, 9/5 (55m)
[5] Heidi Mather (Aus)
Heidi Mather
3/9, 9/2, 9/1, 9/4 (49m)
Runa Reta
Heidi Mather

9/0, 9/7, 9/6 (26m)

Stephanie Brind
[Q] Georgina Stoker (Eng)
9/0, 9/1, 9/0 (22m)
[4] Runa Reta (Can)
Melanie Jans Burke (Can)
9/3, 3/9, 3/9, 9/1, 9/6 (60m)
[8] Sarah Kippax (Eng)
Melanie Jans Burke
9/4, 9/3/ 9/4 (29m)
Stephanie Brind
[Q] Samantha Teran (Mex)
9/1, 9/3, 9/0 (17m)
[2] Stephanie Brind (Eng)


Qualifying Finals, 20-Oct:
Lee Hai-Kyung (Kor) bt Elise Ng (Hkg)  7-9, 7-9, 9-4, 9-1, 9-2 (48m)
Samantha Teran (Mex) bt Seanna Keating (Can)  9-0, 9-0, 9-3 (18m)
Tara Mullins (Can) bt Izumi Matsuda (Jpn)  9-0, 9-4, 9-3 (25)
Georgina Stoker (Eng) bt Ashley Clackson (Can)  9-2, 9-3, 9-3 (25)

First Round:
Seanna Keating (Can) bt Gemma Hall (Eng) 9-6, 3-9, 9-4, 9-5  (41)

Reports
23-Oct, Semi-Finals:

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 Goodlife Club

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 opponent.

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 game.
 

Quarter-Finals:
[1] Rebecca Macree (Eng) bt Aisling Blake (Ire)      9-5, 9-3, 9-5 (25m)
[3] Melissa Martin (Aus) bt Katie Patrick (Can)      9-6, 9-1, 9-2 (24m)
[5] Heidi Mather (Aus) bt [4] Runa Reta (Can)      3-9, 9-2, 9-1, 9-4 (45m)
[2] 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 Goodlife Club

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 Saturday afternoon…
 


First Round:
Mixed Fortunes For
Canadians In Ottawa
Neil Tubb reports from the Goodlife Club

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.