Today was the final day of our 2010 Carol Weymuller Open. It’s been
a tremendous week of squash and the WISPA players have definitely
left everyone inspired and motivated. We usually have the honor of
Carol Weymuller herself coming to watch the final, but Carol has
sent us a lovely e-mail apologizing that she was very busy and could
not unfortunately find the time to come.
Carol started the junior squash program here at The Heights Casino
many years back and it has obviously grown and grown over the years.
We always like to thank Carol for all her work and dedication at the
start as we wouldn’t be where we are today with our program if she
had not been forward thinking enough to develop squash in this area.
We were lucky enough to have Alicia McConnell in town on
Friday night though. Alicia grew up playing squash at The Heights
Casino, also ran the squash program for 4 years and was the USA # 1
player. When Alicia ran the program it was her initiative to change
the courts at The Heights Casino from hard ball to international
soft ball courts and then start a tour on the East coast for foreign
players to travel over and compete with our tournament being one of
them. It was also Alicia’s great idea to name the professional event
after Carol Weymuller. So basically Alicia was the back bone to a
lot of the events that we are proud of today. So thank you Alicia!
Duncalf defends the title
Our ‘Halloween’ final today was between defending Champion and world
# 2 Jenny Duncalf and world # 8 Laura Massaro and it
started at 2pm with packed out bleachers full of excited members. In
the WISPA head to head statistics Jenny is 2-1 up on Laura so it was
going to be interesting to see if Laura could make it 2-2. Both
players had hard matches in the semi-finals that went to five so
they may have been going into the final today a little fatigued.
Jenny found control in the first game early on moving Laura around
the court excellently and making very few errors. Laura was doing
her best to move Jenny into the back but her length just wasn’t
penetrating enough to re-gain any control. Jenny won the first game
The second Jenny was on fire and couldn’t miss! She showed us why is
world # 2, with her excellent skills, fluent movement and variety of
shots. Laura only got one serve, but was battling hard to get her
game plan to work, but to no avail as Jenny won the second game
The third game was the first time that Laura’s length was starting
to get Jenny out of position and she could get some control on the
T, but Jenny was just too accurate and fast today for Laura and
eventually Jenny came out on top 11/6 to win the 2010 Carol
Weymuller Open for the second year running.
A smiling Jenny said after the final: “I’m really happy to win here
again, especially in 3 games. We both had tough matches yesterday so
I was pleased to keep my concentration and not let up on any of my
leads in each game. I felt like I played well and managed to move
her around the court. It’s nice to finish the trip on a high! Next
Laura commented to me after her match: “I feel disappointed losing
3-0. I think that I felt a bit heavy in my legs today after
yesterday and I felt I couldn’t really get on top. My length was a
little short and she finished the ball well”. Jenny won 11/6, 11/1,
Congratulations to both players for reaching the final, especially
to Jenny for re-gaining her title, it was a pleasure to watch them
both play. Good luck to Jenny, Laura and the rest of the England
team for the upcoming world team championships.
And Finally ...
I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to some key people who have put a
lot of time, effort and generosity into making this tournament what
it is. Firstly our corporate sponsors Corcoran, who support
us year after year and to all our members who contributed to the
prize fund. We wouldn’t have a tournament if we didn’t have this
incredible support. To all the WISPA players for choosing to come
and play our event and for playing such beautiful squash and
inspiring all of us, especially our juniors. To Jim Wellington
and Dave Wisler who drove all the way from Cleveland to
stream our event live on the internet for us. They did a fantastic
job and we really appreciate their hard work. We hope that they will
come back next year. To all our members who opened up their
homes to house the players and to Francesca Connolly who organized
all housing of the players. To Sheila Baltzell who helped
with all our logo designs, websites updates, programs and draws etc.
To Blair Brewster for doing all our website work, the website
looks so great now. To www.squashsite.co.uk who put up my
reports and photos so quickly and brilliantly on every day. To
Emily Lungstrum, our adult squash chair and all her support
throughout the year. To our co-chairs of the Weymuller this year,
Ashley Bernhard and Judy Scofield-Miller. They have done
a tremendous job and have worked SO hard to make sure that every
aspect of the Weymuller has been thought about, from updating the
website, to organizing the fundraising committee and arranging the
fundraising, gifts for the WISPA players etc etc etc. Then last but
certainly not least, Cristian, Jayson, T and
ALL our Heights Casino staff. We have an amazing team of
dedicated people who all pull together and make every event we run
here a success. Thanks SO much.
Thanks again and we hope you all
enjoyed the 2010 Carol Weymuller Open as much as we did and we look
forward to running it again next year.
Congratulations again to Jenny and good luck to all the WISPA
players for the rest of the season. Cheers!
in Brooklyn Linda Elriani reports
Semi finals day is here at the 2010 Carol Weymuller. Everyone was
excited for the some more action packed squash as the quarter final
matches were so entertaining and such a tribute to how strong and
amazing women’s professional squash is.
the semi finals began we held a ‘Play a Pro’ event for our
juniors so that they had a chance to get on court with some of the
top women’s squash players in the world. World # 29 Latasha Khan
from USA and World # 34 Line Hansen from Denmark both
kindly agreed to play with our two groups of juniors. We had the
under 11 kids playing first and then the 12 and over playing second.
They all had such a fun time, trying their hardest to win a point or
two off the pros! Thanks so much to Latasha and Line for taking part
in this. They are a credit to women’s squash as they are so prepared
to give back to the tournaments and help spread the joy of playing
The first semi final on this afternoon was ex-world no 1 and # 2
seed Rachael Grinham playing against World # 8 and # 3 seed
Laura Massaro. They have played 9 nines ever in their careers
and before they stepped on the court today Rachael was 8-1 up in the
head to head meetings. Laura got her win over Rachael in December
2008, so I’m sure she felt ready to try and clinch another win off
Rachael got off to a great start really moving Laura around the
court and taking her short whenever possible. Rachael took the first
2 games 11/6, 11/7. Laura didn’t really find her rhythm until the
3rd game when she made a big push to get in front of Rachael and get
the ball deeper in the court. This game plan then forced some errors
from Rachael as she still tried to shoot short as much as she could.
Laura battled back the next 2 games 11/7, 11/9 and we were left
wondering who would manage to force their game over the other.
It was Laura who managed to pin the ball deeper and tighter and
eventually took the 5th game in an impressive 11/4.
A very happy Laura said…”I’m really pleased to be in the final.
Rachael is such a dangerous player and in the first 2 games I felt I
didn’t know what to do because she was playing so well. Then I just
tried to dig in more physically and make the rallies longer and I
felt that I got rewards from doing that. I’ll be trying to play as
well as I can in the final and it’s nice as there is no pressure on
The second semi final match was defending champion and world # 3
Jenny Duncalf against Kasey Brown, the recent 3 time
medalist at the Commonwealth Games in India.
They have a head to head of 4-1 in Jenny’s favor, but when they
played last week in Mexico Kasey took her first win off of Jenny so
we were all looking forward to seeing who could come through the
We felt that the second semi could not possibly be as exciting as
the first one, but it did not disappoint us in the least! Kasey is
looking fitter than ever and Jenny has incredible movement so they
both moved the ball around the court well and both managed to get a
lot of hard to retrieve balls back into play and sometimes with
interest on it too! Jenny started the match off well taking the ball
early and hitting a great attacking length and won the first game
The second game Kasey managed to get in front of Jenny much more and
she varied the pace well and started to force some errors out of
Jenny and managed to come through the second game 11/9. At one all,
the match was starting to get very exciting and some rallies were
very long and hard fought. Jenny started to make some unforced
errors and started going short too soon and Kasey won the third
11/8. Jenny came out flying in the 4th and really concentrated on
her length and controlling the T and cut out the errors and soon won
the fourth in a convincing 11/3.
At two all it was really anyone’s match, but Jenny seemed to get her
confidence back after winning the fourth and got a good start in the
fifth game and Kasey never seemed to be able to regain her control
quite the way she did so well in the second and third games. Jenny
went through to win the fifth game 11/6. It was a fantastic match
and the crowd were definitely spoilt with the quality of matches
that were played this evening.
Jenny said when I asked how she felt after her long match..”Relief
really!!!! It was tough. Kasey has improved recently physically.
She’s picking up a lot of balls and she’s always been good with the
racket. I was pretty patchy at times, but I kept telling myself KEEP
PUSHING! I’m looking forward to playing in the final. One more match
and it’s home time!”
We held a cocktail reception with some delicious Chinese food after
the semi finals, which was another opportunity for our members to
get to know the players and for the players to relax after their
matches. Our members had such a treat this evening having two 5 set
matches, we couldn’t have asked for more from the players.
Congratulations to the winners and we look forward to the final
Tomorrow’s final is between Jenny Duncalf and Laura Massaro at 2pm
and everyone is so excited to see who will be the 2010 Carol
Weymuller Champion. See you then!
Quarters in Brooklyn Linda Elriani reports
It was the quarter finals night of the Weymuller Open. The quarter
final night is always my favorite night at tournaments because it’s
usually four extremely high quality matches all on one court. A
feast of squash!
First up on the championship court was the world # 2 and defending
champion Jenny Duncalf playing Rebecca Chiu world # 19
from Hong Kong. Jenny played a sound and skillful game and was
moving beautifully around the court. Rebecca made a big push in the
second and was 8-8 before Jenny went through to win. Jenny ended up
winning 11/4, 11/9, 11/5.
Jenny commented after the match, “I felt good today, the 2nd game
was crucial and I generally felt good movement wise. I’ve enjoyed my
last 2 matches here. After a rough week in Mexico I’m enjoying being
on court at this tournament”.
Jenny plays Kasey Brown tomorrow in the semi final.
Second on was Kasey Brown, the world # 9 against Mexican
Samantha Teran. Kasey controlled the match for the first 2 games
and then Samantha suddenly found her rhythm in the 3rd game and went
10-8 game ball up, at which time Kasey focused on her length again
and re-gained control of the T and managed to squeeze the third
13/11 to win 3-0.
Kasey commented after her match…”I felt I came out strong in the
first 2 games and stuck to my game plan and in the 3rd I knew I had
to stay in front of her but she fought back well. I very happy to
win in 3! I’ve played Jenny quite a bit and last week in Mexico was
the first time I’ve beaten her so I hope that I can consolidate on
Third match on tonight was World # 8 Laura Massaro against
world # 10 Raneem El Weleily. They have apparently played 5
set matches recently that went right down to the wire so we knew
that we had a great match on our hands. They both played well and
fought hard but Laura almost managed to win the match in a
surprising 3-0 as she had match ball at 10-8 in the 3rd, but the
gutsy Raneem kept her head down and came back to win the third in a
very exciting 12-10. Laura came out strong in the third and managed
to win it 11/8.
Laura said..”I’m really happy to have won, it’s been SO tough
against her in the last few matches. I thought I’d blown it after
having 2 match balls in the 3rd!! I just so glad to be in the semis
tomorrow, it’s the furthest I’ve got in this tournament”.
The last match of the night and certainly not the least was world #
5 Rachael Grinham playing Nour El Tayeb, who took out
the world # 12 in yesterday’s 1st round match. The final match of
the evening was definitely worth waiting for as it was a superb
display of athleticism and creative squash play.
The crowd were gasping as Rachael and Nour literally throw
themselves around the court in the endeavor of getting EVERY ball
back! It was seriously entertaining and Nour definitely deserved to
win at least a game for the amount of effort she put into the match.
Nour is only 17 years old and is already an amazing player. She has
a wonderful career ahead of her, that is for sure.
A smiling Rachael said after the match “I really enjoyed playing
tonight! I haven’t enjoyed playing as much as that in a while! I
felt like I was moving really well and hitting the ball well and
made very few errors. I’m so pleased that I won that second game,
that way I could still feel confident in the 3rd and play my shots
freely. I knew it was an uphill battle for Nour once she was 2-0
down, so that helped me too. I haven’t played Laura in a while and
it looks like she is in good shape so I hope that I play well”.
We all look forward to some more amazing squash in the semi
finals….see you all again tomorrow afternoon!
Round One in Brooklyn Linda Elriani reports
Tonight was the 1st round of the 2010 Carol Weymuller Main draw. The
qualifying matches were fantastic and we’ve had a lot of local
interest what with now having three USA players in the main draw…Amanda
Sobhy, Olivia Blatchford who both qualified and
Latasha Khan the world # 29 who was already in the draw. The
quality of the matches tonight was amazing and it’s so inspirational
for our Heights Casino juniors to watch. There’s a cute group of our
youngest players who come watch nearly all the matches and have got
as many signatures from the WISPA players as is humanly possible!
First on the Championship court was the defending champion and world
# 2, Jenny Duncalf from England playing against Line Hansen,
the world # 34 from Denmark. Line started the match really well,
with attacking lengths and early volleys and took an 8-5 lead, but
Jenny soon got her groove and settled into her game plan and won the
match 11/8, 11/5, 11/4.
Jenny commented after the match ...”We’re about the same age but we
don’t think that we ever played in a WISPA event before! It’s great
to be back in Brooklyn. I’ve been here, there and everywhere
recently – different settings and different courts, but I always
love coming back. It always feels so familiar. I feel so at home
here. I’m looking forward to tomorrows match against Rebecca. I
haven’t played her in a while and it’s nice to play different
Rebecca Chui, the world no 19 from Hong Kong played qualifier
Suzie Pierrepont in the next match on. Rebecca had a great to
start to the match and got a 2-0 lead, and Suzie had a big push in
the 3rd which a game ball opportunity, but Rebecca eventually won
11/5, 11/3, 12/10. Rebecca said..”I played OK, I found it difficult
to start with to see the ball with the glass side wall. Suzie played
better in the 3rd game so I was happy to win in 3. I haven’t played
Jenny for a long time so I hope I can play well tomorrow”.
The longest match of the night was Samantha Teran the world #
14 from Mexico against Latasha Khan. Latasha played an
attacking and error free first 2 games and then Samantha found her
game and battled through to the take the fifth game 11/7.
Samantha was very relieved when I spoke to her saying..”I’m happy to
win. I didn’t play very well. It took me the first 2 games to get
into my rhythm. Latasha played really well the whole match and I
think in the 5th it could have gone either way. It was my 2nd WISPA
tournament since I injured my ankle and was out for 3 months. So I’m
really happy to get through. I haven’t played Kasey in a long time
and I hope that I play better tomorrow. I’m always enjoying playing
this tournament, everyone is friendly and I’ve known a lot of the
members here for as long time now!”
Second match on the championship court was Kasey Brown the
world # 9 from Australia playing junior world champion Amanda
Sobhy. Kasey was far too strong and confident for Amanda but
with a few more WISPA matches under her belt Amanda could start to
worry a lot of the top girls. Kasey won 11/8, 11/4, 11/8 and said “
I was happy to win in 3. Amanda put up a good fight. I haven’t got
past the 1st round here for a while so I’m really pleased to be
playing again tomorrow. I haven’t played Samantha for ages and the
court is very bouncy so I’m expecting a long one!”
Laura Massaro the world # 8 was next on court with fellow
English woman Emma Beddoes. Laura controlled the match very
well for the first 2 games and had to make a big push in the 3rd to
take it 11/4, 11/6, 14/12.
Laura commented after the match..”I’m pleased to get off in 3 as I
was 10-8 down in the 3rd. I thought I played really well in the
first 2 games and my focus was great and I battled through in the
3rd! I’ve played Raneem many times this year and it’s always really
close so I hope that I play well tomorrow”
Raneem El Weleily played the American up and coming Olivia
Blatchford and Raneem controlled the match nicely moving Olivia
around the court and chopping the ball off whenever she could.
Raneem won 11/5, 11/5, 11/8.
Raneem said..”I’m happy to be through. It’s a strange court with the
glass side wall, but I like it! Olivia played really well and is
very talented and has great skills. It was a good match. I play
Laura tomorrow and it’s the 5th time we’ll play this year. I’m
hoping that I’ll do good!”
When I spoke to Olivia after her 1st ever main draw match at the
Weymuller she said…”It was really fun and I had a good learning
experience. Hopefully I’ll play her again soon. It was awesome! I’m
just going to stick around and watch now and learn!”
Olivia is embarking on her professional squash career next year and
we all wish her the very best of luck. I personally think she has a
great career ahead of her….Watch this space!
Unfortunately Tania Bailey, former world # 4 had to retire in
her match against Rachael Grinham our # 2 seed for this
tournament. Rachael was 2-1 up and Tania had breathing difficulties.
She has been feeling under the weather this week and was hoping to
be ok in her match but in the end unfortunately wasn’t. We hope you
feel better soon Tan.
Rachael commented after the match “It’s a shame the match had to end
like that. She’s such an experienced player and fights so hard so
even if you are ahead you can’t let her in at all. I haven’t played
Nour in a while, but I’m just happy to be back in court. Last week
was my first WISPA event back after pulling my calf and being out
for 6 weeks!”
The big upset of the evening was qualifier Nour El Tayeb
taking out compatriot and world #12 Engy Kheirallah 11/7,
Nour was speaking excitedly on the phone when I went over to talk to
her and she said..’I don’t know what to say!! I’ve never beaten Engy
before! She wasn’t at her best today and hit the tin a couple of
times. I think that I played well, it was important to play a good
length because she cuts it off so well. I have to play Rachael
tomorrow. She is my favourite player! I hope that it is a good
So here ends another exciting night of squash here at The Heights
Casino and we all look forward to the quarter finals tomorrow night.
See you again soon!
Qualifying Complete in Brooklyn Linda Elriani reports
Tonight was the last evening of the qualification at the 2010 Carol
Weymuller Open. It’s always an exciting round as it really is all or
nothing…main draw or not!
The first match was between two young players, Amanda Sobhy
from the USA and Samantha Cornett from Canada. It was great
match full of high quality rallies, Samantha really took some
beating, she never gave up on a thing and Amanda really had to
battle for every point. It was the closest contested match of the
evening. Amanda won in a very close 4 games….12/10, 12/10, 8/11,
Amanda commented after the match was over….”I‘m very happy, it was
tough! She’s a runner and gets a lot back and my fitness is not as
good as hers! I relied on my shots and power and just kept running
everything down and I knew a mistake would come eventually. Fingers
crossed for a good draw in the 1st round in the main so my friends
can come back and watch me do well.”
Amanda is playing Kasey Brown, the world # 9 from Australia,
tomorrow in the 1st round of the main draw.
on was Greenwich based English woman, Suzie Pierrepont
against Stephanie Edmison from Canada. Suzie played a solid
match and really controlled the T, which is what she does best.
Suzie won 14/12, 11/1, 11/9.
When I spoke to Suzie after the match she said “I’m really pleased
to have qualified as last year I didn’t and I was a full time pro
travelling the world. Now I’m just playing for fun and I guess I’m
playing pretty well!"
Suzie has recently taken on the job of Director of Squash at
Greenwich Academy, running their squash program and coaching field
hockey and tennis too. Suzie now plays Rebecca Chiu, the world # 19
from Hong Kong in the 1st round tomorrow.
Next on was ex-Brooklyn based Olivia Blatchford against
Maggy Marshall from Australia. Olivia played another strong and
sharp match following the same steady pattern as she did in her
match yesterday. Olivia won in a convincing 11/8, 11/7, 11/3.
Olivia was so excited after her match and exclaimed ... ”I played
well and I’m SO excited! I’ve been coming to this tournament to
watch since I was 5 years old and I’ve got some wildcards in the
past, but to actually qualify for the main draw for the first time
is AWESOME! Now I guess the fun begins!”
Olivia now plays Raneem El Weleily the world #10 from Egypt.
Our last match of the evening was between Nour El Tayeb from
Egypt and Alexandra Norman from Canada. Nour started off the
match well, helped with some errors from her opponent and just
managed to close the match in 3, after being down in the 3rd…
Nour looked happy to have qualified and said “I don’t think that was
my best squash, but I’m happy to have won in 3 games. She goes short
unexpectedly and it took my by surprise! In the 3rd game all her
shots were working. My length was short so this helped her to be
able to do this. I was 10-6 down in the 3rd so I probably played my
best squash of the match to come back and win! Now I play Engy!!!!
We’re staying with the same family here at the tournament and we
train together at home in Egypt, so I hope that I play my best
Nour plays Engy Kheirallah the world # 12 in the 1st round tomorrow
After the matches, we also held our “Meet and Greet” reception for
the members to have a chance to talk and get to know the WISPA
players and we also had each player stand up and say something about
themselves to the excited onlookers.
The WISPA players are always so great at giving back to the
tournament and did a great job on and off the court. It’s great
having the WISPA players here. Thanks girls and good luck for the
rest of the tournament!
New York Time
Under way in Brooklyn Linda Elriani reports
The 2010 Carol Weymuller Squash Tournament is now underway with the
first 8 qualification matches taking place on our two new Heights
Casino squash courts. We were lucky to have four USA juniors competing
in the Weymuller Qualification - Olivia Blatchford, Amanda Sobhy,
and our very own Haley Mendez and Julianne Chu.
match on was Olivia Blatchford, who is only 17 and already
ranked 48 in the WISPA world rankings. Olivia won in three over
Canadian Gen Lessard. Olivia played a very sharp and precise
match and made very few errors moving her opponent around the court
well and exposing her weaknesses.
Olivia, who used to live here in Brooklyn and be a member of The
Heights Casino, said after the match “It’s really nice to be ‘home’.
Considering it was the 1st match I felt great and especially coming
back from altitude as I’ve just played a tournament in Mexico.”
Tomorrow Olivia plays Maggy Marshall from Australia.
second match on was the recently crowned World Junior Champion,
Amanda Sobhy, who also has an amazingly high WISPA ranking of 37
for her young age. Amanda came through her match against Larissa
Stephenson in four games.
Amanda commented after her match “The 1st game was a bit of a slow
start with a combination of my tins and her nicks! But after that I
warmed up, it was tough because she is a talented player, even
though the score wasn’t that close in the end.
"I’m feeling good for tomorrow. Sam (Cornett) is a tough player, so
I’m hoping to play well. I actually have a bunch of friends coming
to support me so I have to play well for them!!!!!”
match on the championship court was Julianne Chu, one of our
Heights Casino members, and she lost 3-0 to Stephanie Edmison.
Julianne said “I think that my shots were good and that I was
hitting the ball well, but my fitness is just not here at the mo
because I’ve been taking off to do my college applications…..but
I’ll be ready for the next tournament and this was a great
experience and I enjoyed every minute. WISPA events are always
exciting….just to come out and participate.”.
Stephanie plays Greenwich based English woman Suzie Pierrepont
tomorrow evening in the last round of qualifying round.
but certainly not least was our very own Haley Mendez, who
was playing Canadian Alexandra Norman. Alexandra played an
excellent and error free match and put Haley under maximum pressure.
Haley battled bravely and every point she won she certainly deserved
as Alexandra was not giving anything away.
When I spoke to Haley after the match she said ”I’m pleased for the
most part with the way I played. I wanted the match to last longer
as I felt that I was starting to adjust to such a precise game. I
wish I could be playing again tomorrow, as I gain so much experience
from these WISPA events.”
Amanda, Haley and Julianne have all recently found out that they
have been accepted into Harvard next year. Congratulations to
them all and what an amazing addition they will all be to Harvard’s
It was a great evening of squash to start off the 2010 Weymuller and
we look forward to the final round of the qualifying tomorrow night.
Today was also Laurent and my son’s Jack’s second birthday and I
know that Jack is excited about coming to the tournament this
weekend as he loves the squash courts and squash balls!