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02-Oct, Day SEVEN,
Finals:
 
Final:
[1] AUSTRALIA bt [2] ENGLAND  2-0
Rachael Grinham bt Cassie Jackman 3-9, 9-5, 6-9, 9-1, 9-5(75m)
Natalie Grinham bt Linda Elriani
9-4, 9-7, 9-2 (42m)
Amelia Pittock v Fiona Geaves  not played

 
Grinhams Beat England To Secure
World Title For Australia
Howard Harding reports from Amsterdam
 
Queensland sisters Rachael and Natalie Grinham clinched the Women's World Team Squash Championships title for Australia for the eighth time in the event's history with a 2/0 victory over England in today's final at the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam.

It was the eleventh time, the old rivals had met in the final, and the sixth consecutive occasion, with Australia seeded to beat the second seeds in the climax on the glass centre court at the impressive new 21-court complex in the Netherlands capital.

Rachael Grinham, the world No1 from Toowoomba who is based in Cairo, twice had to come from behind to overcome England's Cassie Jackman, the world No2, in the opening match. The capacity crowd was treated to squash of the highest quality as 27-year-old Grinham, the older of the two sisters, ultimately conquered Jackman 3-9 9-5 6-9 9-1 9-5 in 75 minutes.

England were unable to force the tie into a decider when Natalie Grinham, the world No4 who is based in the host city, beat the England No2 Linda Elriani 9-4 9-7 9-2 to retain the title for Australia.

Squad manager and coach Michelle Martin, who six years ago led Australia to the title in Germany, was delighted with her team's performance: "All I really had to do was convince Rachael and Natalie that they could do it, reminding them that you don't get to one and four in the world without ability."

A subdued Cassie Jackman, who was competing in the event for the first time after an eight-year absence through injury - and played her last match in the 1996 final against Martin - rued the fact that she is now unlikely ever to win this crown: "I can't see myself playing this again in two years time, and I'm gutted that I've never won this title even though my team-mates have."

Kiwis clinch third

In the play-off for third place, sixth seeds New Zealand beat Egypt, the fourth seeds, 2-0. Victories by both the NZ No1 Shelley Kitchen and national champion Tamsyn Leevey gave the underdogs the bronze medal.

The result meant that the top four finishing positions was identical to the last championship, in Denmark in 2002.

In the medal ceremony following the final, Dutch Olympic Committee Chairman Erica Terpstra congratulated squash on being selected as one of five new sports being considered for the 2012 Olympic Games. "It's such a spectacular sport and so marvellous to watch - it would truly be a pearl amongst the Olympic sports."

Hester Maaij, Alderman of the City of Amsterdam, made a special presentation from the city to the 'Player of the Championships'.

The award was presented to Tenille Swartz, the 17-year-old South African No4 who was making her debut for her country at the event. Tenille won three out of her six matches whilst fully stretching the three world-ranked players to whom she lost - and resumes her school studies immediately on her return to Parys in Free State.

David Dashes
Hosts Hopes


Malaysia
secured their best ever finish after winning the battle for fifth place against hosts Netherlands. Squad No1 Nicol David prevailed 10-8 9-10 10-9 9-5 in a 57-minute top-string clash with world No3 Vanessa Atkinson to put the sixth seeds ahead, before Tricia Chuah beat Karen Kronemeyer 9-7 5-9 9-6 9-3 in the dramatic 51-minute decider.

"It was a fantastic win for us as this is our best finish in the tournament. The moment Nicol won, we knew that we could upset Netherlands," said Raymond Arnold, the Malaysian coach.

Ireland claimed the seventh place play-off to record their best result in 14 years and USA finished in eighth place for the first time for ten years.

 



 




01-Oct, Day SIX,
Semi-Finals:

[1] AUSTRALIA bt [4] EGYPT 3-0
Rachael Grinham bt Omneya A/Kawy 6-9,9-5,10-8,9-5 (59m)
Natalie Grinham bt Engy Kheirallah 9-2, 9-0 (13m)
Amelia Pittock bt Eman El Amir 10-8, 10-8, 9-4 (41m)

[2] ENGLAND bt [6] NEW ZEALAND  3-0
Cassie Jackman bt Shelley Kitchen 9-4, 9-5, 9-4 (42m)
Linda Elriani bt Tamsyn Leevey 9-6, 9-6 (28m)
Fiona Geaves bt Louise Crome 9-4, 9-4, 9-1 (29m)

Australia & England To Meet
In Eleventh World Final

Howard Harding reports from Amsterdam

Favourites Australia and second seeds England will meet in the final of the Women's World Team Squash Championships for the eleventh time after convincing 3/0 victories in today's  semi-finals at the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam.

Pittock sets Aussies off
Third string Amelia Pittock gave Australia the perfect start against Egypt, beating the fourth seeds' Eman El Amir, ranked three places lower in the world, 10-8 10-8 9-4 in 41 minutes.

With world No1 Rachael Grinham then due to take on the Egyptian No1 Omneya Abdel Kawy, ranked ten places below, Australia's place in the final seemed assured. However, the 19-year-old world junior champion from Cairo took the opening game against the best player in the world, and had two game balls in the third to take a 2/1 lead.

Grinham senior maintained her composure however and swept to her sixth successive win in the tournament by beating Kawy 6-9 9-5 10-8 9-5 in 59 minutes to put Australia into their tenth final in a row.

Rachael's younger sister Natalie Grinham took just 13 minutes to maintain the team's clean sheet in the event, beating Engy Kheirallah 9-2 9-0 in the dead rubber.

"Omneya played really well tonight, putting us under pressure for the first time in the event," conceded Australia's team manager and coach Michelle Martin, the former world No1 and three-times world champion. "But Rachael came through well in the end - and I was particularly pleased with the way Amelia played in the opening rubber, against a tough opponent."

Geaves gets England under way
In the second semi-final, it was again the third strings that put the early shape on the tie as veteran English star Fiona Geaves gave the second seeds the first point against New Zealand with a 9-4 9-4 9-1 victory over the sixth seeds' Louise Crome.

Cassie Jackman, the England No1, was next on court - eager to make up for her disappointing showing 24 hours earlier against Dutch No1 Vanessa Atkinson. The world No2 showed New Zealand's Shelley Kitchen, unbeaten at the Frans Otten Stadion so far, no mercy - and clinched England's sixth successive place in the final with a 9-4 9-5 9-4 triumph over the world No14 in 42 minutes.

"I'm just so happy I put in a performance like that after what happened yesterday," said the beaming Jackman afterwards. "After not being involved with this event for the past six years because of injury, it's so good to be back with the team again and now I just can't wait for tomorrow."

In the dead third rubber, Linda Elriani beat New Zealand's Tamsyn Leevey 9-6 9-6 in 28 minutes.

Scots still suffering
New Zealand and Egypt will meet in the play-off for third place, with Egypt one day away from their best ever finish in the event.

Fifth seeds Malaysia will take on hosts Netherlands in the play-off for fifth place, guaranteed to improve on their previous best seventh place finish - while seventh seeds Scotland, who beat France 2-1, will do battle against Denmark in the play-off for 13th place in the knowledge that this will be the team's worst ever finish in 12 appearances in the championships.
 

Final:
AUSTRALIA v ENGLAND

3rd place play-off:
EGYPT v NEW ZEALAND

5th place play-off:
NETHERLANDS v MALAYSIA

7th place play-off:
IRELAND v  USA

9th place play-off:
CANADA v  SOUTH AFRICA

11th place play-off:
BELGIUM v HONG KONG

13th place play-off:
SCOTLAND v  DENMARK

15th place play-off:
FRANCE v  SWITZERLAND



Michelle Martin


Jackman clinches it
for England


Scotland beat France

30-Sep, Day FIVE,
Quarter-Finals:


[1] AUSTRALIA  3-0  [5] MALAYSIA
[4] EGYPT 2-1 [9] IRELAND
[6] NEW ZEALAND  3-0  [10] USA
[2] ENGLAND 2-1 [3] NETHERLANDS

Elriani Saves England In
Dramatic World Quarter-Final
Howard Harding reports from Amsterdam

In a dramatic last quarter-final of the night in the Women's World Team Squash Championships at the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam, England stalwart Linda Elriani fought back from 0/2 down in the deciding match against hosts Netherlands to win the tie for the second seeds and prevent England from finishing outside the top four for the first time in the history of the tournament.

England, five-times former champions, will now face New Zealand for a place in the final, while the other semi-final will feature favourites Australia, the defending champions and seven-times winners of the title, against fourth seeds Egypt.

England Late for Dutch Date

In far from ideal preparation of the important tie ahead, the England team arrived at the venue only minutes before the first match was due to start, as the result of a road accident on the route from the team hotel. Team No1 Cassie Jackman, ranked two in the world, quickly lost the first game against her opposite number Vanessa Atkinson and was 0-6 down in the second before making her first reply.

Atkinson, pumped up for the clash after losing disappointingly to New Zealand No1 Shelley Kitchen 24 hours earlier, wrapped up the match 9-0 9-6 6-9 9-6 in 46 minutes - to the sheer delight of the near capacity centre court crowd.

The third string clash quickly brought England back into contention as Fiona Geaves despatched Dutch No3 Karen Kronemeyer 9-0 9-1 9-3.

When the rapidly-improving Dutch No2 Annelize Naude forged a 2/0 lead in the decider against Elriani, it looked as if a major upset was on the cards. Elriani, showing her frustration at several refereeing decisions that went against her, was literally screaming with rage, but talks from the England coaching team calmed Elriani down for the vital final games.

The determined 32-year-old from Eastbourne stuck to her task, however, and ultimately pulled back the deficit to claim an impressive 8-10 2-9 9-4 9-4 9-1 face-saving victory in 68 minutes.

"I was NOT going to be the one to be responsible for England's worst ever finish in these championships," said Elriani, the world No6 who has now extended to eight matches her unbeaten run against Naude, ranked 17 places lower.

"There's nobody better than Linda to be in that position for you," said a relieved England national coach David Pearson afterwards. "It's not easy coming from a string of matches where you win easily, into a high-pressure situation like tonight's. But what it shows is that we are a strong team - and in fact it's just the kick we needed for our next match tomorrow."

Kiwis Breeze Past USA

England's semi-final opponents New Zealand breezed to a 3/0 win over surprise quarter-finalists USA, the tenth seeds. Shelley Kitchen followed her fine win over Vanessa Atkinson in the previous round to beat five-times US champion Latasha Khan 9-7 9-2 9-1 - before squad No3 Jaclyn Hawkes fought back from two games down to defeat Michelle Quibell 5-9 7-9 9-3 9-3 9-0 in 45 minutes.

Aussies Roll On ...

Top seeds Australia were untroubled by opponents Malaysia, the fifth seeds - first string Rachael Grinham crushing the Malaysian No1 Nicol David 9-1 9-2 9-3 before team-mate Amelia Pittock put the tie beyond Malaysia's reach with a 9-2 9-1 9-0 victory in just 23 minutes over Tricia Chuah.

Egpyt overcome Kawy's lapse

Fourth seeds Egypt suffered a poor start against Ireland in the other quarter-final when squad No1 Omneya Abdel Kawy squandered a 6-1 lead in the fifth and final game of the opening match to go down 9-1 1-9 7-9 9-1 9-6 to the Irish top string Madeline Perry. Egypt's momentum was restored when Engy Kheirallah and Eman El Amir secured straight games wins in the remaining two matches to give the fourth seeds a 2/1 win.

Semi-final draw:
[1] AUSTRALIA v [4] EGYPT
[2] ENGLAND v [6] NEW ZEALAND

5th - 8th place play-offs
[5] MALAYSIA v [9] IRELAND
[3] NETHERLANDS v [10] USA

9th - 12th place play-offs
[8] CANADA v [11] BELGIUM
[13] SOUTH AFRICA v [15] HONG KONG

13th - 16th place play-offs:
[12] FRANCE v [7] SCOTLAND
[17] SWITZERLAND v [14] DENMARK


Photos by Fritz Borchert
www.squash-u-bild.net


 

 

 

 

   
29-Sep, Day FOUR,
Qualifying final round:


A: Canada 1-2 Ireland, Germany 1-2 Switzerland
B: England 3-0 Scotland, USA 2-1 Hong Kong
C: Netherlands 1-2 New Zealand , Belgium 2-1 Denmark
D: Egypt 2- 1 Malaysia, France 0-3 South Africa

Howard Harding reports from Amsterdam

Kiwis shock Hosts

There was shock in the Pool C decider when hosts Netherlands, the third seeds and group favourites, lost to New Zealand, the sixth seeds. Before a packed crowd surrounding the three-sided-glass-walled centre court, Dutch No2 Annelize Naude put the home side ahead with a 9-4 9-5 9-4 win over NZ National champion Tamsyn Leevey.

But New Zealand No1 Shelley Kitchen, the world No14, upset the form book when she beat Dutch star Vanessa Atkinson, ranked three in the world, 10-8 1-9 9-7 9-3 in a dramatic 60-minute match which had the crowd on the edges of their seats. The victory marked Kitchen's first ever tournament win over the seven-times Dutch champion.

"That was one of her best performances, very solid all the way through and tactically putting her game together well," said a delighted NZ coach Dave Clark.

In the decider, New Zealand's Louise Crome, the 26-year-old world No57 from Auckland, was too strong for Margriet Huisman, beating the 20-year-old Dutch No4 9-2 9-7 9-0 in 33 minutes.

The upset put New Zealand at the top of Pool C, with a place in the quarter-final draw against USA, while second-placed Netherlands will face former champions England in the other half of the draw.

"We're pleased to have avoided the heavyweights like Australia and England, and have a good chance of making the semifinals," added Clark.

Hall Fight Back Takes USA
Into World Quarter-finals


A courageous fight back from 0/2 down by third string Louisa Hall in the deciding match on the final day of qualifying put USA into the last eight of the Women's World Team Squash Championships at the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam for the first time in ten years.

"It's just huge," said the squad's No1 Latasha Khan as the jubilant tenth-seeded US squad celebrated their 2/1 Pool B victory over Hong Kong, the 15th seeds who beat them by the same margin at the exact same stage of the previous event, two years ago in Denmark.

"We had no expectations to get this far before we arrived, but after beating Scotland yesterday, I thought we could do it today," said Khan, whose straight games loss to the Hong Kong No1 Rebecca Chiu put the tie into a decider after the squad No2 Meredeth Quick put the US ahead with a 9-2 9-0 9-6 win over 15-year-old Annie Au in the opening rubber.

Hong Kong's Joey Chan dominated the first two games against Hall, but showed signs of tiredness in the third. Louisa eased up from then on and began to take advantage of Chan's errors and tiredness. But, after the New Yorker levelled the match, 16-year-old Chan came back to life and took a 4-1 lead in the decider. Again Louisa relaxed and went on to take the match, and the tie, 2-9 5-9 9-3 9-5 9-4 in 44 minutes.

England assume pole position

Earlier in the Pool, No2 seeds England crushed their British neighbours Scotland 3-0, dropping just nine points in a three-match tie which lasted under an hour of playing time.

Egypt win 'D' Decider

The Pool D decider featured fourth seeds Egypt and fifth seeds Malaysia. Whilst second string Engy Kheirallah needed 77 minutes to put Egypt ahead with a 6-9 9-5 9-5 8-10 9-6 win over Sharon Wee, the world No27, it took just 37 minutes for Malaysia's world No8 Nicol David to cruise to a 10-8 9-1 9-5 victory over Omneya Abdel Kawy - her successor as world junior champion - to level the tie.

"We know each other's games so well," said David afterwards. "I knew I had to go for everything from the word go - and did just that. I was very pleased with the way I played - but disappointed with the eventual outcome."

Malaysia's third string Tricia Chuah was unable to make an impression on her opponent Eman El Amir in the decider as the Egyptian wrapped up victory 9-4 9-2 9-3 in 24 minutes.

Egypt's reward is a quarter-final clash with ninth seeds Ireland, surprise 2/1 winners over eighth seeds Canada in the Pool A play-off for second place. Malaysia will meet favourites Australia.

"It's a pretty devastating loss for us because it was so close," said Canada's Marnie Baizley. "We were on pins and needles the whole match. Runa and Alana are two young players and to get this kind of experience early in their careers will be valuable for down the road."
 




Naude's win in vain

 


Kitchen's best ever

 



Latasha Khan

 


England ... no worries ?

 


Happy Irish

28-Sep, Day THREE

Pool A:  Australia 3-0 Canada           Ireland 2-1 Germany
Pool B:  Scotland 0-3 USA                Hong Kong 3-0 Japan
Pool C:  New Zealand 3-0 Belgium    Denmark 3-0 Austria
Pool D:  Egypt 3-0 France                 Malaysia 3-0 South Africa

Howard Harding reports on Day Three ...

Scotland Suffer Second Upset

Seventh seeds Scotland suffered their second successive upset in the Women's World Team Squash Championships when they were crushed 3/0 by tenth seeds USA in today's third qualifying round at the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam.

Considerably weakened by the absence of world No 20 Pamela Nimmo - who was forced to withdraw from the squad suffering with a cyst on her right tonsil - Scotland lost 2/1 to 15th seeds Hong Kong on the second day. This latest defeat severely weakens their chances of maintaining their position inside the world top eight.

Squad No1 Latasha Khan led the rout for the USA. The five-times US National champion from Seattle, ranked 21 in the world, despatched Scotland's world No 42 Wendy Maitland 9-6 9-3 9-5, then team-mate Meredeth Quick made sure of victory with a 9-5 9-0 9-0 win over Susan Dalrymple in the second string clash. New York-based Louisa Hall completed the US offensive by defeating Scotland's third string Frania Gillen-Buchert 9-1 9-2 9-7.

Scotland face No 2 seeds and Pool B leaders England - who enjoyed a rest day today - in Wednesday's final qualifying round.

The tie which is likely to decide the runners-up position in the Pool, however, will be the one featuring USA and Hong Kong, who also secured a 3/0 win today, over Japan, the 18th seeds.

While USA will be favoured to win the clash, and gain the chance of improving on their previous best-ever finish of sixth place, Hong Kong won the encounter 2/1 at exactly the same stage of the event two years ago in Denmark.

Aussies First into Quarters

Favourites Australia became the first team to guarantee a place in the last eight when they beat Canada, the eighth seeds, without dropping a game.

The Grinham sisters were again in devastating form - world No1 Rachael beating Runa Reta 9-0 9-3 9-1 and Natalie defeating Canadian National champion Alana Miller 9-4 9-0 9-1, a scoreline which brought the younger sibling's total of points dropped in the tournament to just 18 in four matches!

"It was the first time I played a top-five player and I thought I played well," said Miller. "We had some long rallies and I was able to get some points. The big difference for me was the speed of the ball during the match, it was out of my comfort zone."

Irish still Smiling

The other Pool A tie saw ninth seeds Ireland beat Germany, the 16th seeds, 2/1.

The scene is now set for Canada and Ireland to meet in tomorrow's final qualifying round to decide the runners-up position behind Australia.

As expected in Pool D

Action in Pool D was resumed today after a rest day - and fourth seeds Egypt romped to a 3/0 win over France, the 12th seeds.

After a tight first three games, world No11 Omneya Abdel Kawy established her authority over France's Isabelle Stoehr, ranked four places below, to win 10-9 4-9 10-8 9-4 - after which team-mates Engy Kheirallah and 15-year-old Egyptian National champion Raneem El Weleily beat Celia Allamargot and Soraya Renai in straight games respectively.

World No8 Nicol David was back in top form to lead fifth seeds Malaysia to a 3/0 win over South Africa in the other battle in Pool D.

The former world junior champion, who suffered an unexpected loss in her first qualifying match, took less than 20 minutes to crush retired pro Claire Nitch 9-5 9-0 9-0. But in the third and final match, 17-year-old South African newcomer Tenille Swartz led 7-2 in the fifth, and had three match-balls from 8-5, before going down 9-6 9-2 8-10 0-9 10-8 to Kuala Lumpur's world-ranked Tricia Chuah.

Egypt and Malaysia are guaranteed quarter-finals places, and will meet tomorrow to decide the group winners.

Danish Duck Broken

There was a late finish in Pool C when 14th seeds Denmark registered their first win of the tournament, a 3/0 win over Austria, the 19th and lowest seeds. The first string battle was an 83-minute marathon in which Austria's 14-times national champion Pamela Pancis fought back from 0/2 down to force the match against world-ranked Ellen Petersen into a fifth game decider. However, despite leading 6-2, part-timer Pancis was unable to topple Petersen as the Danish doctor went on to win 9-3 8-10 9-4 2-9 9-7.

Kiwis cruise to Dutch showdown

Earlier, sixth seeds New Zealand cruised to a straightforward 3/0 win over 11th seeds Belgium, with world No14 Shelley Kitchen, National champion Tamsyn Leevey and third string Louise Crome all enjoying straight games wins over their Belgian opponents.

New Zealand will face hosts Netherlands tomorrow to decide the top two placings in the pool.
 

 


USA sink Scotland

 


HK win Asian Challenge



 

 


Ruthless Rachael ...




Kawy in control


Egypt are through



Leevey leads NZ

27-Sep, Day TWO:

Pool A:

Australia 3-0 Germany, Ireland 2-1 Switzerland
Australia 3-0 Switzerland, Canada 2-1 Germany
Pool B:
England 3-0 Hong Kong, USA 3-0 Japan
England 3-0 Japan, Scotland 1-2 Hong Kong
Pool C:
Netherlands 3-0 Denmark, Belgium 2-1 Austria
Netherlands 3-0 Austria, New Zealand 3-0 Denmark

Top Seeds Untroubled
On Second Day In Amsterdam
Howard Harding reports

Despite playing two ties each on the second day of action in the Women's World Team Squash Championships, none of the top seeds was unduly troubled at the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam.

Aussies on Cruise Control
Favourites Australia, the title holders and seven-times winners of the event since 1979, crushed both Germany and Switzerland, 16th and 17th seeds respectively, 3-0. The two Grinham sisters, from Toowoomba in Queensland, dropped only 17 points between them in their set of straight games wins.

"We're not under much pressure at the moment," conceded the Australian team manager and coach Michelle Martin, the former world No1 and three-times world champion who is making her debut in this capacity at the event. "With Rachael and Natalie at one and five in the world, we're clearly in a strong position - but we can't afford to be complacent.

"I'm finding it quite hard personally, just being here in the position of advisor, helping where I can and keeping all my feelings neutral. But I'm enjoying it a lot and certainly not feeling as though I want to be out there playing."

England Dash Asian Hopes
England
, the No2 seeds and winners of the title five times since 1985, also enjoyed 3-0 wins in ties against 15th seeds Hong Kong and Japan, the 18th seeds.

Japan, led by left-hander Chinatsu Matsui, ranked 89 in the world, are enjoying their sixth appearance in the event since 1987. The team's player/manager Miyuki Adachi, aged 44, boasts participation in all but one of her team's appearances in the event since making her debut seventeen years ago in the first!

Hong Kong Deliver First Upset
Later in the day, Hong Kong claimed the first upset in the event, beating seventh seeds Scotland 2-1. Second string Frania Gillen-Buchert put Scotland ahead with a 9-7 9-4 7-9 10-8 victory over Karen Lau, but Asian Games champion Rebecca Chiu soon brought the 15th seeds back into contention with a 9-1 9-1 9-5 win over Susan Dalrymple in the top string clash.

The Scottish squad was supplemented on the eve of the event by Louise Philip following the withdrawal of world No20 Pamela Nimmo with severe tonsillitis. But the 36-year-old from Edinburgh was no match for 15-year-old Annie Au in the decider as the youngster despatched Philip 9-0 9-4 10-8 to give Hong Kong their unexpected win.

Hosts Settle
After a nervous 2-1 win over neighbours Belgium on the opening day, hosts Netherlands secured two 3-0 wins to strengthen their position in Pool C. Led by world No3 Vanessa Atkinson in both ties, the squad beat 14th seeds Denmark and 19th seeds Austria - with Atkinson dropping just a single point in her defeat of the Austrian top string Birgit Coufal.
 


Natalie Grinham
untroubled for Australia


Cassie Jackman


Louise Philip loses out
to Annie Au

26-Sep, Day ONE:

Hosts Fight Back in
World Teams Opener
Howard Harding reports from Amsterdam

Hosts Netherlands were given an early shock by close rivals Belgium on the opening day of action at the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam. But after world No3 Vanessa Atkinson levelled the tie following team-mate Karen Kronemeyer's surprise loss to unranked Belgian Annabel Romedenne, the team won 2/1 with second string Annelize Naude dropping just two points in the final match.

Kronemeyer, ranked 48 in the world, suffered at the hands of the part-time Belgian player in the European Championships earlier in the year. But history was repeated on the centre court at the new 21-court facility in Amsterdam when Romedenne won 9-7 3-9 9-4 10-8 to put Belgium ahead.

The in-form Atkinson stopped the rot with a 9-3 9-0 9-3 victory over Belgium's Katline Cauwels in the top string clash - and Annelize Naude brought smiles back to the Frans Otten crowd when she crushed rising star Charlie de Rycke, the 17-year-old European Junior Champion from Antwerp, 9-0 9-1 9-1.

"We thought we might struggle in the first match after Karen's defeat in the Europeans this year, and I must admit that I was quite nervous when I went on next," said Atkinson, winner of six WISPA titles this year. "But I felt good once I was on court, and overall the tie was just the warm-up we needed in this important tournament."

Stoehr Strikes For France
While the event's top two seeds Australia and England teams won their opening encounters with ease - against Ireland and the USA, respectively - fifth seeds Malaysia were given a scare when top string Nicol David, the world No8 from Penang, lost in four games to France's No1 Isabelle Stoehr.

David, the twice former world junior champion, is based in Amsterdam and was looking for forward to a rare 'home' match. But 25-year-old Stoehr, now based in Manchester in England, was in devastating form as she took her opponent apart in a 9-0 9-10 9-0 10-9 scoreline.

"When Isabelle plays for France, she seems to raise her game a few notches," conceded David afterwards. "She played really well and thoroughly deserved her victory - it just wasn't my day today. We have a day off tomorrow, so I hope to pick myself up and psyche myself up for our later matches against South Africa and Egypt."

Scotland Squeeze Through
The late withdrawal of Scotland's No1 Pamela Nimmo, caused by a cyst on her right tonsil, almost cost the seventh seeds their tie against Japan, the 18th seeds. Wendy Maitland, the newly-promoted top string, had to fight back from 0/2 down to beat Japan's Chinatsu Matsui, ranked 47 places lower in the world, 6-9 5-9 9-6 9-6 9-4.

In the final match, Susan Dalrymple lost 9-2 4-9 9-0 5-9 0-9 to Kozue Onizawa to leave Scotland with a 2/1 victory over their lower seeded rivals.
 


NEWS FROM
AROUND THE WORLD

  • Sharon holds the key for Malaysia

 


England

 


Netherlands

 


New Zealand

     

26-Sep:
WSF Hails Women Ambassadors
At a special dinner hosted by the Netherlands Squash Bond to welcome players and officials to the 2004 Women's World Team Squash Championships in Amsterdam, World Squash Federation Chief Executive Ted Wallbutton praised women's squash as being 'one of the aces in our pack' in the sport's bid to be included on the Olympic Games programme.

"This is a special time for squash," Wallbutton pointed out to teams from the 19 countries competing in the 14th Women's World Championships. "You may have seen that we are one of five new sports being evaluated for a place in the Olympic Games.

"I am sure rugby, karate, golf and roller sports all have women's world championships - but women's squash is the strongest of these and your performance here will help our chances of being in Paris, London, New York, Madrid or Moscow in 2012."

Amsterdam Happy To Host
Simon Vollers, Chairman of the Netherlands Squash Bond, replied on behalf of the hosts, adding his congratulations to all the players who have been selected to represent their countries - "one of the highpoints, surely, in anyone's life" - in these World Championships.

"We are delighted to be hosting this event in our country this year," said the recently-appointed Chairman, a former international referee. "We believe that staging events like this play a major part in promoting squash in the Netherlands - and we will host the European Team Championships in 2005 and hope to stage the World Masters here in 2006."

Dutch Media Delighted
The event is being staged at the spectacular Frans Otten Stadion, a new facility in Amsterdam opened in March 2004 which boasts 21 squash courts including a permanently-sited glass-walled court.

The 2004 World Championships have attracted widespread media attention in the Netherlands, with world No3 Vanessa Atkinson profiled on a major networked sports TV programme earlier in the week.

Hosts Netherlands, led by Vanessa Atkinson, are seeded to achieve their highest ever finish in the championships. The third seeds take on rivals Belgium in their opening Pool C tie today (Sunday). Defending champions and top seeds Australia face Ireland in the first tie in Pool A, while former champions England, the No2 seeds, meet USA in Pool B.

 
   
Preview:
Old enemies to clash ...
World Champions Australia are expected to face their old enemy England in the final, with the holders topping Pool A and England, champions in 2000, leading Pool B. Australia have won the title seven times to England's five.

In Denmark in 2002 Sarah Fitz-Gerald was the banker at no.1 for the Aussies with England, according to the rankings, having the advantage at numbers two and three. Natalie Grinham at no.3 for the Aussies however blew those hopes away with an upset win over Stephanie Brind and Fitz-Gerald, after a careless start beat Linda Charman to secure the title.

This time however Fitz-Gerald is not available. Although retired from the WISPA circuit she is certainly good enough, and was the recent winner of the Victorian Open, but she told Squash Player "I felt it was time to move on and give our younger girls a chance to play and gain experience."

Behind the Grinham sisters the Aussies have picked Amelia Pittock (ranked 30) and Melissa Martin (33, Brett Martin’s wife). In the recent Australian Open Pittock got to the final but lost to Natalie Grinham for the loss of four points while Martin went out in the quarters.

All this will be music to the ears of the English, who will be eyeing the no.3 spot and pencilling in an English winner – Fiona Geaves (ranked 7) or Jenny Duncalf (ranked 12). Competition for this fourth place in the England team was very tight with Duncalf getting the nod ahead of Rebecca Macree (9), Jenny Tranfield (10), and Vicky Botwright (13).

Title in the Balance
This time the title will again be in the balance. Basically it will be the Grinhams against England. They have improved with experience with Rachael now the world no.1 and Natalie ranked no. 4. They should be up against Cassie Jackman the world no.2 who was unavailable because of her back injury last time, and Linda Elriani, ranked 6.

It would be a major upset if either of these teams failed to get to the final. Australia would be vulnerable to an injury to either of the Grinhams while England has strength in depth. The Netherlands is seeded three and Egypt four.

The competition will start on the 28 September with four pools of five teams each, including newcomers Somalia [withdrawn, unable to obtain visas], before the knockout stage culminating in the final on 2nd October.

 


Australia win in 2002


England's in 2000