Watch replays of previous matches, with commentary from the WISPA girls themselves ...
Special thanks and well done to Samantha Cornett, Fiona Moverley,
Lisa Camilleri, Sarah Kippax, Kasey Brown and Jack Herrick for their commentaries
and to Jim Wellington for organising the streaming.
"My coach was watching me in Egypt from
the live stream and was telling me what to do in between games
through Raneem. It worked in the third and fourth but the tins came
back in the fifth. I would like to tell him sorry I lost but I
tried. I tried to slow the pace down and it worked for while but
Alison kept going and I had a bad start in the fifth with the tins.
I will back next year, I want a watch!"
03-Feb, Final: Waters wins a thriller Nathan Dugan reports
Londoner, Alison Waters, became only the second player in the four
year running of the event, to lift the Burning River Classic trophy
on Wednesday night at the Cleveland Racquet Club. The previous three
years had been dominated by Natalie Grainger, who was unfortunately
sidelined this time around due to injury. Alison didn’t miss
Grainger’s presence though as she survived a valiant fight back from
the Egyptian number one.
The two finalists had met only ten days earlier in the final of
Greenwich, with Alison winning in three straight games. Tonight
looked to be heading the same way after Alison took a 2-0 game lead,
but Omneya had no intention of gifting Alison the title and the TAG
watch that went along with the winner’s purse. The first game of the
night was tight until 6-6, but two lose balls resulting in strokes
and an error from Omneya left her with too much to do and Alison
took it 11-7.
The second game was a tale about Omneya, or rather the good Omneya
and the bad Omneya. The world number seven from Cairo produced three
delightful early winners that were un-returnable to take a 4-2 lead,
but that was followed swiftly by two errors. Omneya produce some
more magic to go 8-6 up, but then again two errors to go back to
8-8. Another spark of inspiration took Omneya to 9-8 but then she
got a little too clever for herself as she deceptively hit the ball
right up the middle of the court leaving herself pinned in the
corner, 9-9. To Alison’s credit she had played a patient, solid game
up until this point, so when the big points arose at the end of the
game; it may not have been a surprise that she was the player to
remain steady and take advantage of the opponent’s errors, taking
the game 11-9.
The third game seemed to be going in the same vain as Omneya raced
to a 4-0 lead with some great accuracy and stroke play, but then
gave the lead right back with some sloppy play to go 5-5. At 7-7
Alison hit a rare tin as she left the margins of her backhand drop
shot a little too close. A wonderful combination of shots allowed
Omneya a two point cushion before another uncharacteristic mistake
on a big point gave Omneya three game balls. She only needed the
offer once to take the third game.
The fourth game is one that Alison would surely rather forget. She
hit more unforced errors in one game than she probably had for the
entire week, as Omneya surged to a 9-3 lead. Omneya herself had
stepped up her play with some tight drop shots out of the back hand
back corners and a much better quality of length on her shots.
Another tin from the English player at 10-3 meant we were going into
a fifth game.
Four tins in nine rallies from Omneya was the major story of the
fifth game as Alison was able to regain the lead and establish some
confidence that seemed to have left her since early in the third
game. Omneya’s length suddenly fell shorter and the short game that
had been working up until now was suddenly ineffective. Despite a
mini come back from Omneya to go from 9-3 to 9-6, the game already
appeared out of reach as Alison could see the finishing line near
and her confidence visibly increased. It seemed somewhat poetic that
the final rally was decided by another tin from the Egyptian which
was clearly the difference between the two players on the day. There
were flashes of genius from Omneya’s racquet and the lightness of
movement and general control from Alison was also to be admired.
You couldn’t help but wonder what may have been if they both
produced their best squash at the same time! Congratulations to
Alison who has made it two wins in two weeks in America.
"Don't ask me what happened after the
first two, I am not sure I know?
"She made a bunch of errors in the first two but then she played
well. She hit a few tins in the fifth which gave me a lead and I
though I needed to just keep pushing and it got me through in the
Alison Waters and Omneya Abdel Kawy, will face each other in the
final of a WISPA event for the second time in two weeks.
In the first encounter Alison won in five games, but we will have to
wait until tomorrow night at the Cleveland Racquet Club to see if
she can claim her second title of 2010.
Omneya was the first to book her place in the final with a win
against fellow Egyptian Raneem El Weleily. Raneem had not started
well in her previous two rounds, losing both first games before
making a comeback to secure passage through.
Today was a different story though as she raced in to a 6-2
advantage in game one. Everything about her play indicated that this
might be a good day for the younger player as she was able to
maintain her lead to the 11-8 finishing line. The second game was a
complete role reversal though as Omneya jumped out to an early lead,
a lead she was able to hold onto until the end of the game. A
combination of good stroke play from Omneya and errors from Raneem
allowed the number two seed to come to even terms.
Raneem’s temperament looked a little questionable and she helped
contribute to her own demise in the third, gifting a couple of
strokes while losing the first seven rallies without return. She
produced an attempt at a fight back when Omneya hit a few tins but
Omneya kept her composure to end the game ahead.
The fourth started competitively but the mountain was just a little
too high for Raneem to climb on the day today. Her results in
Greenwich moved her up to world number 18, and the result here this
week will also help elevate her average.
Alison made Samantha Teran move from corner to corner in their semi
final encounter. Although the Mexican didn’t ever seem to look
tired, she did start making an uncharacteristic amount of errors,
which we did not see in her victory against Madeline Perry the night
After she won the first, Alison continued to dominate, displaying
great balance and a controlled authority on the court. Samantha
tried to get into the points but struggled to find a way to put
Alison under any real pressure. Instead she tried to get more
aggressive and increasingly likely to hit the tin, which she did for
the last time at 10-7 in the third.
"I am happy with the tournament, I had
a good win. Still very disappointed to lose but I tried hard."
"I am feeling good at the moment and playing some of the best squash
I have played, I hope there is still some room for improvement
"I haven't been feeling great on court
all week, I could have done with Samantha giving me a few cheap
points, but she was solid today and didn't give me anything to get
We both play the similar way, it is
high risk so we will see who hits more tins tomorrow. That will
determine the winner."
"I try to warm up and get focused, but it just doesn't seem to
01-Feb, Quarters: Raneem romps into Cleveland semis
as Teran takes out Perry ... Nathan Dugan reports
Once again seeds fell on quarter finals day of the 2010 PNC Burning
River Classic, at the Cleveland Racquet Club.
First on court were Raneem El Weleily and Kasey Brown. Kasey
had survived a severe test and a couple of match balls during her
first round, but was unable to produce the same miraculous comeback
when faced with a 2-1 game deficit today. Raneem had quoted the
previous night that she never knew which player was going to turn
up; the good Raneem or the bad one. Well it was the later that
started the match with Kasey taking full advantage winning 11-2.
Good Raneem didn’t stay dormant for long though as she controlled
the second game from start to finish.
The third game was a much closer affair with both players refusing
to give. At 10-10 they played the longest rally of the match and
Kasey was left guessing, going helplessly the wrong way from a drive
from the front corner. It looked like her tank was empty as she
failed to defend the game ball with much conviction. Kasey tried to
stay with Raneem in the fourth but was always trailing by a couple
of points. This was her third top ten victory in two weeks and she
may be reaching a point of consistency.
The second match was expected to include a little flair from each
player and the crowd was not disappointed as both Omneya Abdel
Kawy and Isabelle Stoehr produce a multitude of winners between
them. Isabelle found the tin just a little too frequently to mount a
serious attack on the first two games despite coming back from 9-1
down in the second to make the game somewhat competitive.
The third was a different story though as Isabelle clearly showed
her desire to win getting both herself and the crowd motivated.
Unfortunately for Isabelle the momentum was not to last as Omneya
reeled of some deceptive winners from not the most obvious of
attacking opportunities. Omneya’s victory sets up an all Egyptian
semi final, a repeat of last week’s event in Greenwich where Omneya
won in 5 close games.
Madeline Perry had not played to the top of her game in the
first round and she started off in her quarter final in the same
vain. Madeline never really looked settled on the court despite
moments of quality, and Samantha Teran took full advantage.
The first went to the Mexican 11-2, but at 7-5 to Madeline in the
second, it looked as though the number three seed was finally going
to get going. It was not to be though as the tenacity of movement
and the lack of errors gave Samantha a well deserved victory on the
Qualifier Joelle King found Alison Waters just a
little too tough in the last quarter final of the night. She had
played some great squash to reach this stage, but Alison was able to
move the tall New Zealander around the court with ease. Alison
showed why she won in Greenwich last week, by moving effortlessly
around the court and playing shots with great precision. Her control
to the front was the big difference between the two players.
There was some drama during the game though when the club's fire
alarm sounded at 6-2 in the second. The players had to take a 20
minute time out while the fire brigade fixed the problem, thankfully
a false alarm!
"Well at least the
sprinklers didn't go off!" Assistant Pro Drewe Williams
Alison’s straight game victory sets
up an encounter with Samantha Teran, a player she has only lost one
game to in their last 6 meetings. Samantha has looked good so far on
the courts in Cleveland though so this could be a close one.
31-Jan, Round One: King Conquers, Brown survives,
as seeds struggle in Cleveland ... Nathan Dugan reports
Over eight hours of squash for eight matches was required in the
first round of the 2010 PNC Burning River Classic to determine the
quarter final places.
Joelle King produced the shock of the event thus far with a 5
game victory over world number 13 Engy Kheirallah. The match was a
physical affair with the referee having to play a significant role
in the process.
After splitting the first two games, Joelle raced to
an early advantage in the third. During a rally at 8-3 Joelle was
completely knocked off her feet after playing her shot and found
herself seated on the floor, she was still able to get up and
scramble the next shot back somehow and went on to take the game
An upset looked on the cards when Joelle extended a game four
lead to 6-3, but Engy had other ideas. She battled her way back with
persistent lengths and the occasional block to level at 2-2.
The 5th game showed just how far Joelle has improved her physical
conditioning and speed. She was bouncing in between shots like a
boxer about to deliver the next punch, and she delivered the final
blow with a tight backhand drop that was too tight for the Egyptian
to return, giving her a well earned victory.
In the quarter finals Joelle will face Alison Waters, who
although started off slow by dropping the first game to Emma
Beddoes, never really looked in any trouble from there on out. Emma
was noticeably a step slower than she had been the night before in
her thrilling win in qualifiers over American Amanda Sobhy.
In the second quarter both seeds prevailed, but not without drama.
Samantha Teran overcame Lauren Briggs with a display of power
squash and gutsy retrieving. For large periods of the match Lauren
looked to be in control, but she was unable to find the finishing
shot and too frequently the relentless pressure Samantha applied
resulted in an error from Laurens racquet.
At 2-1 in games down
Lauren held a 10-8 lead, but she was unable to convert to force a
decider. Instead an error at 10-10 gave match ball away and Samantha
only needed the one chance to progress.
Madeline Perry joined Samantha in the quarters with the
narrowest of victories over Aisling Blake from Ireland. The third
seed struggled to find her length and control of the game in the
early stages of the match and Aisling took full advantage.
down in games Madeline needed to step up her level of play and she
did so with great effect, winning 15 of the next 16 points. Aisling
was not to be thwarted easily though and she rallied back into
contention nearly leveling at 10-9. It was a huge sigh of relief for
Madeline as she saw her last forehand drop not returned giving her a
quarter finals birth.
In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Omneya Abdel Kawy
and eigth seed Isabelle Stoehr both notched up straight game
wins over Latasha Khan and Dominique LLoyd-Water respectively.
Omneya looked very relaxed in her victory and Dominique put on a
better show than she may have expected, after suffering a foot
injury prior to the match.
Both of the other bottom half matches went the distance with 4th
seed Laura massaro being the first major casualty of the event. Her
opponent, Raneem El Weleily, looked to be completely off the
boil in the first two games, making a string of unforced errors
including serving out and boasting the ball in to the tin on the
return of serves.
In the 3rd game though she came alive, giving the
crowed a hint of what there may be to come from the young Egyptian
later in the draw. In the fourth Raneem was on the end of a number
of court-sprints due to the accuracy of Laura’s shots but a crucial
tin at 8-9 gave Raneem a game ball and a chance to level the match.
She took it with the first attempt and then ran away with the fifth.
Kasey Brown joined Raneem in the last eight with the most
unlikely of comebacks; she trailed 2 games to 1 and 9-3 in the third
game to qualifier Sarah Kippax, before saving two match balls.
Kasey’s movement was the polar opposite to that of the Egyptian on
before her, and despite chasing down ball after ball she was not
able to apply much pressure to Sarah’s game. Sarah was little more
creative with the ball and played herself into a two game lead.
Kasey stayed resilient in the third and held on to extend the match,
but when she hit a cross court nick attempt into the tin off return
of serve to go 9-3 down in the 4th it looked to be game, set and
Sarah didn’t make any errors to give the game away at this point,
but she also stopped attacking the front of the court. Kasey
meanwhile had relaxed and with nothing to lose started attacking
with a free abandon. This was very effective as shot after shot
vanished into the nick un-returnable.
Sarah did get two match ball
opportunities at 10-8 but was unable to convert as Kasey played
another two winners. A winning drop shot presented Sarah with her
third match ball but once again Kasey leveled after one of the
longest rallies of the match. A perfect lob gave Kasey a 12-11 lead
and she was able to extent the match to a fifth game at the first
attempt. Sarah looked a little deflated at the start of the fifth
game and Kasey took full advantage racing to a 6-2 lead.
Sarah attempted to close the gap but once Kasey smelt victory her
tail was up as she surged for the finishing line. It was a great
escape and as the final point ended a huge smile spread across
Kasey’s face as she realized what she had done.
Day 2, Jan 30th Final Round of Qualifying Nathan Dugan reports
TOP FOUR THROUGH TO MAIN DRAW
The top four seeds in qualifying progressed to the main draw at the
Cleveland Racquet Club on Saturday afternoon, but not without a
scare or two along the way!
Aisling Blake was the first to progress into the main draw
with a victory over Fiona Moverley. Fiona started well taking
a 9-5 lead by cutting the ball off on the volley. Aisling changed
the pace a little to neutralize the volley, which she did pretty
effectively taking the game 13-11 and then she dominated the second
and third games.
Joelle King was too strong on the night for Lisa Camilleri.
Joelle, the world number 31, moved very smoothly all match and
played with great consistency. Lisa joked “it was like playing
against a giant brick wall, the ball just kept coming back!”
Emma Beddoes and Amanda Sobhy produced a thriller for the
crowd in the third match of the day. The first two games went to
Emma, and it looked like the world number 33 was on course for a
comfortable win. There were patches of brilliance from the young
American in the second game, but the combination of the tin and a
very patient opponent meant Amanda was facing a massive task to turn
Much to the crowds delight, turn it round she did, as a series of
great holds and attacking stroke play gave Amanda, and the crowd,
something to get excited about. She won the game 11-4. Emma looked
to have shaken off the loss of the third, producing a solid start to
the fourth game. Once again errors came from the 16 year olds
racquet, but a string of excellent attacking rallies brought Amanda
straight back to 5 each.
From then on it was a see-saw battle with both trying to seize the
initiative. Amanda worked Emma to every corner of the court again,
and again, and again. The work took its toll and an exhausted
looking Beddoes started to crumble. At 11-10 game ball to Amanda,
they had a gut wrenching rally which Emma won, but it left both
players bent over doubled gasping for air. 11-11 produced another
tired error from Emma, and this time Amanda was able to close out
with a tight counter drop shot. That was the last stand for the
talented American though as Emma dug deep to reel off 9 straight
rallies and book a place in the main draw. Whether she has any legs
left for tomorrow will have to wait and see.
The Last match of the night was a fairly one sided affair between
two players both residing in Yorkshire, England. Sarah Kippax
took full advantage of a sluggish Deon Saffery, who had
survived a marathon 16-14 in the 5th, the prior day. Sarah extended
some early rallies and looked in control of the match from then on.
Qualifying Round One Nathan Dugan reports
Deon Saffery made sure it was a second successful night for Ponte
fans, as she recorded the only upset of the first round of
qualifiers at the Cleveland Racquet Club. Fired up by her club mate,
James Willstrop’s, victory at the Tournament of Champions the night
before, she worked herself into a 2 game lead against Miranda
That lead was not to last though, as the battling Canadian tied the
match at 2 each after a nervy couple of points at 10-10. Saffery
then found herself trailing at 10-8 in the fifth game, but a tight
forehand drop shot from Saffery followed by a lose forehand volley
from Ranieri resulting in a stroke, gave the crowd their first full
distance match of the event. It took five match balls for the
Yorkshire based player to secure a place in round two, with everyone
in the crowd on the edge of their seats.
This had followed the second best match of the night with Emma
Beddoes having to come from a game down against teenager Samantha
Cornett. Cornett showed much promise taking the first with control,
displaying some nice attacking play to the front. Beddoes stepped up
the pace and quality of her length to gain control of the match from
there on out, but she didn’t have everything her own way.
The other matches of the evening were all fairly straight forward
victories for the seeded players, partly due to a number of last
minute withdrawals through injuries weakening the draw.
Lily Lorentzen started well taking a 5-2 lead against Fiona Moverley
in the first game, but from then on she was always second best.
There was something for the local crowd to cheer for though, when
Amanda Sobhy progressed in straight games. The 16 year old looked
full of confidence after her recent tour victory in Philadelphia.
The matches tomorrow look a lot closer on paper, so the upsets may
start rolling in at the Burning River Classic?