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Burning River Classic 2010
29-Jan - 03-Feb, Cleveland, Ohio, $39k

Broadcasting Live with Ustream.TV

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.

Photos by
Laura Ainamo

"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 end."

Burning River Classic 2010
29 Jan-03 Feb, Cleveland Racket Club $39k
Round One
31 Jan
01 Feb
02 Feb
03 Feb
[1] Alison Waters (Eng)
9/11, 11/5, 11/6, 11/3
[Q] Emma Beddoes (Eng)
[1] Alison Waters
11/7, 11/6, 11/5
[Q] Joelle King
[1] Alison Waters

11/5, 11/5, 11/7

[7] Samantha Teran

[1] Alison Waters

11/7, 11/9, 7/11, 3/11, 11/6 (54m)

[2] Omneya Abdel Kawy

[6] Engy Kheirallah (Egy)
9/11, 11/9, 11/6, 9/11, 11/5
[Q] Joelle King (Nzl)
[3] Madeline Perry (Irl)
8/11, 11/7, 8/11, 11/1, 11/9
[Q] Aisling Blake (Irl)
[3] Madeline Perry (Irl)
11/2, 11/8, 11/8
[7] Samantha Teran
[7] Samantha Teran (Mex)
11/7, 5/11, 11/2, 12/10
Lauren Briggs (Eng)
[Q] Sarah Kippax (Eng)
8/11, 8/11, 11/8, 13/11, 11/6
[5] Kasey Brown (Aus)
[5] Kasey Brown
2/11, 11/4, 12/10, 11/8
Raneem El Weleily
Raneem El Weleily

8/11, 11/7, 11/6, 11/4

[2] Omneya Abdel Kawy

Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
10/4, 11/4, 11/4, 12/10, 11/5
[4] Laura Massaro (Eng)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Eng)
11/9, 11/4, 11/9
[8] Isabelle Stoehr (Fra)
[8] Isabelle Stoehr
11/7, 11/6, 8/11, 11/4
[2] Omneya Abdel Kawy
Latasha Khan (Usa)
11/6, 11/9, 11/6
[2] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)

30-Jan, Final Round Qualifying Results

Sarah Kippax bt Deon Saffery                             11/6, 11/7, 11/7
Aisling Blake bt Fiona Moverley                         13/11, 11/2, 11/2
Joelle King bt Lisa Camilleri                                 11/4, 11/7, 11/2
Emma Beddoes bt Amanda Sobhy     11/6, 11/9, 4/11, 11/13, 11/2

29-Jan, Qualifying First Round:

Aisling Blake Bye
Fiona Moverley beat Lily Lorentzen 11/7, 11/7, 11/2.
Joelle King beat Yuko Ikeda 11/2, 11/1, 11/1.
Lisa Camilleri beat Fernanda Rocha 11/8, 11/0, 11/1
Amanda Sobhy beat Katja Amir 11/5, 11/1, 11/1
Emma Beddoes beat Samantha Cornett 3/11, 11/8, 11/6, 11/7
Deon Saffery beat Miranda Ranieri 11/9, 11/9, 8/11, 10/12, 16/14
Sarah Kippax Bye
02-Feb, Semis:
It's Waters & Kawy .... again
Nathan Dugan reports

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 before.

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.

Photos by
Laura Ainamo

"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 though."

Photos by
Laura Ainamo

"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 going."

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 work?"

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 night.

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 11-6.

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.

At 2-1 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 match.

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.

Photos by
Laura Ainamo

Photos by
Laura Ainamo

Day 2, Jan 30th
Final Round of Qualifying
Nathan Dugan reports


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 it around.

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 Ranieri.

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.

American 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?


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