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Dread Sports Squash Series #1 2011
01-04 Sep, Washington DC, USA, $7k
Sponsored by Squash on Fire, SportsClub/LA, Ritz-Carlton and Gould Companies

04-Sep, Final
[1] Siyoli Waters
(Rsa) bt [2] Lauren Selby (Eng)
            11/6, 12/10, 12/14, 11/2 (39m)  

Waters Wins Dread WISPA in Four

Top seed Siyoli Waters bested #2 seed Lauren Selby in a four game match filled with point run streaks in the final of the Dread Sports WISPA in Washington DC.

Both players came out aggressively, and Selby took five of the first seven points. Then suddenly Waters took charge, winning an incredible fifteen of the next sixteen points. She captured the first game 11/6 and then staked a 6-love lead in game two with a combination of excellent serves and balls skimming the side walls.

It looked like Selby was finished after the point run by Waters, but suddenly she came to life, reeling off six points off Waters, who suddenly found herself under pressure and making errors. The two streaky players then surprisingly traded points to 10 all before Waters put the game away with a cross court nick off a serve and a fine dying length drive.

This is a good time to note that despite Waters’s many errors in the semis with the lob serve, she tried it again but hit the ceiling on the first attempt of the match. She stuck with it and then she found a way to not only keep it in, but put Selby under pressure with it for much of the match. I counted four points gained in part due to the pressure from her lob serve in game two alone.

Game three went to 3-2 for Selby, and then Waters went on a another seven point tear to 9-3 using the whole court, featuring two nicks to the right, two fine backhand drops and and two deep drives that could not be retrieved. Things looked bleak for Selby, but suddenly Waters found herself under pressure, appeared to lose focus and lost six straight points, four of them on errors. Suddenly a game and match that looked over was tied at 9. Selby’s craftiness the rest of the way allowed her to save the game and match with a 14/12 victory.

It appeared that the sudden turn in game three gave Waters new resolve in game four to put it away once and for all. She came out hard, winning two of the first three points on hard smashes along the right wall. She never let up, saying she resolved to “stay focused to the end,” and she did, putting Selby under pressure with lobs, drops to the right and left and several boasts on the way to a decisive 11/2 win in game four to win the tournament championship.

Waters said that today “I started off the way I wanted to – aggressively,” because she knew she was facing a “very clever player on the court.” Selby observed that “Siyoli didn’t make many mistakes today, and she didn’t give me much to work with.”

As for the streaks during the match, Selby attributed it to the points “building on itself from concentration, leading to confidence and momentum.”

Selby’s next stop is the European Club Championships women’s team event in Belfast, where she will play for her club, Edgbaston Priory in Birmingham, UK.

Waters is off to the $10K Orange County Open in California, with the main draw starting September 8.


Lauren Selby's Blog
watch and learn ...

Dread Sports Squash Series #1 2011
01-04 Sep, Washington DC, USA, $7k
Sponsored by Squash on Fire, SportsClub/LA, Ritz-Carlton and Gould Companies
Round One
01 Sep
02 Sep
03 Sep
04 Sep
[1] Siyoli Waters (Rsa)
[1] Siyoli Waters
11/3, 11/3, 11/7
Katie Tutrone
[1] Siyoli Waters

1/11, 8/11, 11/8, 12/10, 11/9 (45m)

[3] Misaki Kobayashi

[1] Siyoli Waters

11/6, 12/10, 12/14, 11/2 (39m)

[2] Lauren Selby

[7] Niki Clement (Usa)
11/8, 12/10, 3/11, 6/11, 11/8 (44m)
Katie Tutrone (Usa)
[3] Misaki Kobayashi (Jpn)
11-6, 11-4, 11-8 (24m)
Georgina Stoker (Eng)
[3] Misaki Kobayashi
11/3, 11/5, 11/2
[6] Genevieve Lessard
[6] Genevieve Lessard (Can)
11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (20m)
Katja Amir (Ger)
Alix Younger (Can)
11/8, 11/5, 11/8 (25
[5] Merhan Amr Mahmoud (Egy)
[5] Merhan Amr Mahmoud
11/4, 6/11, 12/10, 11/8
Sabrina Sobhy
[5] Merhan Amr Mahmoud

8/11, 11/9, 12/14, 11/2, 11/9 (55m)

[2] Lauren Selby

Sabrina Sobhy (Usa)
11/9, 11/6, 11/8 (23m)
[4] Stephanie Edmison (Can)
Larissa Stephenson (Nzl)
11/8, 9/11, 11/7, 9/11, 11/9 (43m)
[8] Sally Skaarenborg (Den)
[8] Sally Skaarenborg
 10/12, 11/3, 11/4, 11/3
[2] Lauren Selby
Camille Lanier (Usa)
11/3, 11/2, 11/7 (19m)
[2] Lauren Selby (Eng)

04-Sep, Final
[1] Siyoli Waters
(Rsa) bt [2] Lauren Selby (Eng)
            11/6, 12/10, 12/14, 11/2 (39m)   more to follow ...

03-Sep, Semi-Finals

Waters bt Kobayashi   1/11, 8/11, 11/8, 12/10, 11/9 (45m)
Selby bt Mahmoud      8/11, 11/9, 12/14, 11/2, 11/9 (55m)

Top Seeds Take Five to Finals
David Keating reports

Top seeds Siyoli Waters and Lauren Selby both came from behind to reach the finals in a pair of gruelling five-game matches that delighted spectators at the Dread Sports WISPA in Washington DC.

Waters overcomes slow start

Anticipation was high for the match between Misaki Kobayashi, who dominated in the earlier rounds, and #1 seed Waters. Yet it began with the makings of a blowout, with Kobayashi coming out hard with brilliant play, dropping just one point in the first game, and taking 14 of the match’s first 15 points. Waters, who typically relies on her lob serve, found the ceiling too low for her style, and served out of court both times in her only two first game serves.

After a love-three start in the second, Waters began to show her flash and skill, finding her length and moving the ball around from corner to corner to make Kobayashi work hard. The first glimmers of Waters’ touch began to appear, with the first of many deadly back hand drops from deep in the court that proved impossible for the speedy Japanese opponent to retrieve. Waters staked a 7-6 lead but after exchanging points to 8-8, Kobayashi made perfectly placed shots short and deep, plus a Waters error to close out game two.

The third game started out with a streak of two errors from each player to leave the scored knotted at two. It progressed to five all when the match reached a turning point. Waters caught fire, with another deadly drop from deep in the court, then a fine cross court drop when Kobayashi was out of position to retrieve, followed by a time-denying volley drop. But she seemed to break the momentum with another out of court lob serve. Kobayashi then sent a dying length drive deep right, with the crowd gasping when Waters made a spectacular full split on the court, but she missed the get by inches.

Waters recovered the serve on a cross court drop and the next rally led to Waters running in to Kobayashi. She limped around the court, but waved off an injury time out. Still, her ankle had suffered a nasty twist. Waters attempted to capitalize with a cross court drop, but hit the tin. Waters took the game on two errors by her opponent, who still seemed a bit stunned from the collision.

The crowd wondered if the ankle injury would turn the match to Waters, but in game four, Kobayashi seemed to move well and jumped to a 5-2 lead. When Waters regained the serve, she abandoned the lob for a smash serve that won the next point.

Despite being plagued by at least four errors in the game, Waters fought her way back to an 8-7 lead on a point where Kobayashi lost her racquet after Waters flew by to retrieve a ball. But Kobayashi’s winning boast, a fine drop and an error by Waters put it at match ball 10-8. A long rally ended in a let, and then Kobayashi put Waters under enormous pressure and it appeared the match was done – a smash deep right. Yet somehow Waters stretched to retrieve what appeared to be a sure winner, and then won the point. After her opponent tinned, Waters made two spectacular cross court drop nicks to win 12-10.

Both players made a number of errors in game five. Yet Kobayashi went up 4-1, and then to 8-5. But Waters won four straight points that featured another two nicks. After a let at 9-9, Waters put a cross court drop out of reach and a tin by her opponent sealed the victory.

After the match Kobayashi was gracious in defeat, complimenting her opponent’s “strong fitness” and noting “she played better than me today.” She had seen Waters play before “outside, but it’s a lot different inside.”

Waters said Kobayashi “started off strong” and as a result she “couldn’t find a rhythm” until the second game, which “went a bit better.” She is looking forward to Sunday’s final and was “happy to get the win” in the tough match.

Selby builds the suspense

After the drama in the first semi, many thought the second game couldn’t top the excitement of the first, though they were wrong.

The first two games saw Lauren Selby and Merhan Amr Mahmoud run off streaks of three or four points several times to set up a dramatic game three at one all in games.

Selby nearly handed that game to Mahmoud, making at least five errors and the rest of the time it seemed the Egyptian’s touch put the ball out of reach up front on the way to a 6-9 deficit for Selby. Yet she brought it back to nine all, with two backhand drop nicks and another fine drop.

Selby crept ahead to 11-10 in a series of long points, putting the ball out of reach twice. Two lets ensued, and Mahmoud regained the tie in a long point off another fine drop only to drop to game ball again. Then the Egyptian went into a zone and reeled off three points on a superb dying length drive, a spectacular deceptive cross court drop and a back hand drop to go up 2-1.

Selby appeared to find one key to victory in game four, though it may not have been obvious to many due to the lopsided 11-2 game win. It appeared Mahmoud did not like the ball high, with three errors, two out of court, on cross court lobs. That discovery gave Selby a new tool for the deciding game, and Mahmoud’s six errors gave Selby a rest in the long match.

The crafty women traded points, strokes and a let on the way to four all. After falling to 4-6, Selby got her second point of the game as a result of a lob, and then tied it at six. She moved ahead on a point that featured the two players hitting three balls off the back wall to save the rally.

After Mahmound got to 9-8, Selby won two stroke calls and a not up call to reach the final.

Selby noted after the match that she likes “to think of myself as a thinking player.” She tries various shots to probe for weakness and then tries to confirm them. She remarked that after several game four lobs Mahmoud “didn’t like the ball going up high.” She praised her opponent, who “has come on a lot” since “training with her in Egypt about a year ago.” She noted Mahmoud played with classic Egyptian style, where the game is “played freely, relaxed and cleverly, which is how it should


Lauren Selby's Blog
watch and learn ...


Selby settles in DC
Lauren Selby's blog ... issue #1

Reluctantly I've agreed to write a 'short' blog, everyone knows I hate to talk (isn't that right Fram??!). I'm the world's worst time waster so in the many hours I have spare I thought I'd drag myself out of the king sized Ritz Carlton hotel bed and write about my experiences so far in powerhouse capital of USA.

This is my second visit to the capital and having walked around the streets for miles so far I'm learning to love it! It's vibrant, everyone is happy, willing to help a lost foreigner and they love a British accent (I don't know why I feel the need to speak like the Queen when I speak to Americans).

There's so much to see, the White House being one landmark which fascinates me. Surely its the most protected building in the world. The Canadian girls, Steph Edmison and Alix Younger informed me they are now professional tourists having walked the streets all day yesterday, so much so that they got blisters, tan lines and swollen feet.

Dedication girls, well done.

Now onto the important part of the trip...SQUASH!

According to quite a few members and organisers I've spoken to, Washington DC is becoming the next big 'hub' for squash. Everyone is extremely passionate and keen to develop our sport further, with talk of more tournaments, a surge up and coming juniors and more investment. Something which is key for the WISPA tour to develop further.

This is the first tournament in the Dread Squash Series held at the Sports Club/LA within the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Let's just say the facilities are pretty incredible and the players are being totally spoilt, just like they should be!

That's what I like about coming to the States, the hosts make you feel like a professional athlete which I think in turn changes the attitude of the players and improves the quality of the squash.

The main organiser of the tournament is Lefika Ragontse who clearly has devoted hours of time and passion into this series of events. He also has fantastic locks, something I'll mention to him later [and send us the photos of, obviously, Ed]. He is also developing a strong batch of young US girls who, from the evidence I've seen here, will without doubt prove a real threat on the tour in years to come.


According to my sources this is the name of the new squash club being being built in D.C. which will house eight brand new squash courts courtesey of Mr Lanier, the key sponsor. The investment from Mr Lanier, the Gould Property Company and PMI have allowed for the WISPA girls to play a sport they love, in this passionate environment with the treatment they so richly deserve! So thank you!

Mr Lanier kindly hosted a function last night at his beautiful home in Georgetown (apparently Hilary Clinton lives here!). Gutted I didn't bump into her, I'm sure she would've loved hearing how little I know about politics.

The party involved plenty of delectable Austrian food, a giant chocolate cake and a few cheeky glasses of silky red wine. Of course I never touched the wine (believe that and you'll believe anything). I think I was even forgiven for beating Mr Lanier's daughter, Camille in the first round. Not sure I'd want to play her in a few years time though!

The evening was rounded off nicely as Siyoli Walters sparked up a hidden talent and jumped on the piano! She wowed us with a beautiful number, that girl has an incredible voice!!! She is one bundle of energy!!

So Fram is right, I have just scrolled up the page and realised how much I've babbled on! I've managed to waste an hour of time though, only another seven to go before my match! I must head to the club to catch the crazy Canadians who apparently are going to show me their new squash/zumba warm up they've created. I'm intrigued!

Signing off for now, if you've managed to read to this point you are either bored or hoping at some point I might write something funny. Sorry to disappoint!!

I'm going back to surround myself in the tournament where without doubt ...'squash is on fire'.

Oh and before I forget, “have a nice day”.



02-Sep, Quarters:
Top seeds progress on day two
David Keating reports

After a first day with upsets, today’s Dread Sports WISPA quarterfinals played out according to seeding, with three relatively easy wins, while Sabrina Sobhy put up a strong challenge to Merhan Amr Mahmoud.

Fourteen year old Sobhy again displayed impressive maturity and surprising quickness in a tight four game loss. After the match Mahmoud praised Sobhy as “a fine player with a lot of potential” who “put a lot of pressure on me” during the match.

Indeed, after the two split the first two games, Mahmoud built a 10-7 lead in the third only to see Sobhy claw back to 10-10 before she lost the last two points, to Mahmoud’s evident relief.

The final game saw Mahmoud build leads of 5-2 and 9-4, but Sobhy kept fighting and reached 8-10 before dropping the match. The final score sheet was 11/4, 6/11, 12/10, 11/8.

Mahmoud came into the match with the goal of “concentrating and fighting for each ball,” and it may well have made the difference for her tonight.

Only one other match went to four games, with #2 seed Lauren Selby defeating Sally Skaarenborg 10/12, 11/3, 11/4, 11/3. Skaarenborg had a long and tough five-game match yesterday, but came out strongly to take the first game.

Then the match turned on the ball itself. At 1-1 in the second game, Selby asked for a new ball and after some back and forth, Skaarenborg graciously agreed.

After the new ball was warmed up, Selby reeled off six straight points and was not seriously challenged the rest of the way.

Selby admitted to a lack of mental preparation for the first game. When she woke up, she decided the ball “was dead and asked for a new” one. “Good thing Sally agreed,” she observed.

Selby says she is looking forward to her match with Mahmoud, who she has not faced before, since “Egyptian players often make for fun squash.”

Siyoli Waters, in her first visit and match in Washington DC, defeated USA junior Katie Tutrone in three games. Waters watched Tutrone knock out the #7 seed the day before, and said she was “talented and quick, not a player to take lightly.” So she “went in full force” and won the match in 18 minutes.

Misaki Kobayashi again dominated, this time beating #6 seed Genevieve Lessard 11/3, 11/5, 11/2.

Waters predicted the semifinal with Kobayashi will “be a tough match.” In the meantime, she appears to be thoroughly enjoying her stay, saying the “tournament sponsors have spoiled us” with great accommodations, “wonderful effort and great organization.”

For long-time residents of Washington DC, this comes as no surprise as the sponsors are the Ritz-Carlton, SportsClub/LA, Squash on Fire, and the Gould Companies, all highly admired organizations.

01-Sep, Round One:
USA Juniors Score Two Upsets in WISPA Tournament
David Keating reports

USA Juniors Katie Tutrone and Sabrina Sobhy scored upsets in today's WISPA Dread Sports Squash Series Round of 16, convincingly demonstrating that these USA Junior Women will be a force in the Junior World Team Championships in the years to come.

The day's biggest upset came from unseeded Tutrone, playing in her first ever WISPA match against the #7 seed Elpiniki Clement, a former collegiate star. Tutrone started tentatively, then took the first game 11-8 and the second 12-10. She then lost the next two games by large margins as she tried to end the rallies quickly. In the fifth, she showed more patience, with the turning point midway through the last game on a point where both players made spectacular gets. After that thrilling point, Tutrone took control and secured the win.

Tutrone said that going into the match "I thought I could do it," and determined that in the crucial game five she should be "more patient, and make the rallies as long as possible," which turned out to be a winning strategy.

Fourteen year old Sobhy, showing poise far beyond her years, finished off Canadian Stephanie Edmison, the #4 seed, 11/9, 11/6, 11/8 in just 23 minutesf. Sobhy started slowly in game one, then found her footing and played a steady retrieval match with few mistakes.

Sobhy said she had been "working hard on her fitness" through the summer. She came into the match hoping to "keep her focus" and "play it point by point."

Local Results, The Gym coach Larissa Stephenson lost a thrilling five game match with Denmark's Sally Skaarenborg. The match was close and hard fought right through the end, with many emotional and at times frustrating points for both players. Stephenson was up 9-8 in the fifth, but dropped the last three points.

The other top seeded players cruised to easy victories, and the #1 seed Siyoli Waters had a bye.



Selbs & Siyoli report from DC
Top seeds cast their eye over the opposition on day one in DC ...

The first tournament in the brand new Dread Series has kick started in Washington DC.

The $6,800 WISPA event is being held at the Sports Club/LA, a fantastic facility with everything you could ever need at a venue. The club has 4 excellent squash courts which got their first taste of WISPA matches, with hopefully many more to follow in the future.

The facility sits within the Ritz-Carlton Hotel which is quite stunning in itself and would rate amongst the top hotels I've stayed at on tour. More info to come from me about Washington DC and what exciting things we've been up to!!

So today saw the start of the first round with an eagerly awaiting crowd and hungry squash players!!

Genevieve Lessard bt Katja Amir 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (20m)

Although I only caught a glimpse of this match I witnessed some good well contructed rallies from both players. Left-handed Lessard always had the edge with more accurate finishing shots. Amir didn't give in and retrieved well, forcing Lessard to move the ball around and remain error-free which she did well. A 3-0 victory for Lessard moves her into the quarter final to play Kobayashi.

Misaki Kobayashi bt Georgina Stoker 11-6, 11-4, 11-8 (24m)

Although the scoreline looks like a comfortable 3-0 victory Stoker put up a good fight. The rallies were fast, competitive and intense. Both were evenly matched but Stoker looked to tire slightly quicker forcing more errors and Kobayshi to run away with the first two games. The 3rd was tighter as Stoker found a second wind but didn't have quite enough in the tank to force a 4th game.

Merhan Amr Mahmoud bt Alix Younger 11/8, 11/5, 11/8 (25m)

Both players were hitting the ball at a high pace to start, but then the Egyptian slowed it down and moved her opponent around with more accuracy to win the first game. In the second game, Mahmoud was clearly in control. She mixed the pace up well in the third, finish off with some beautiful deceptive shots.

Katie Tutrone bt Elpinki Clement 11/8, 12/10, 3/11, 6/11, 11/8 (44m)

16 year old Tutrone took the first game by applying good pressure by taking the ball early and picking uo well. The second was a close game, but Clement cut down on the unforced errors in the third and fourth and took both games fairly comfortably. In the final game, Tutrone came back with renewed focus and superb volley drop winners.

Sally Skaarenborg bt Larissa Stephenson
                                         11/8, 9/11, 11/7, 9/11, 11/9 (43m)

The first game saw both players sizing each other up but with Skaarenborg as the victor. In the next game Skaarenborg started off strong by leading 6-2, to have Stephenson catch up to 6-6, and finally take the game. In the third Stephenson made too many errors giving Skaarenborg the game but she came back in the fourth playing fantastic drops. The 5th game was full of excitement. At 4-4, Sally won the point with the deceptive rally. The ball breaks, then some physical contact moments, with both palyers fighting hard. At 9-9, Sally proved to be the more composed player and won 11/9.

Lauren Selby bt Camille Lanier 11/3, 11/2, 11/7 (19 mins)

Lauren led fairly comfortably in the first and second games, attacking the front of the court at every opporunity. The third game saw Camille fight back, and move Lauren around a bit more, but Lauren soon closes the game at 11/7. The 2nd seed moves on to play Skaarenborg tomorrow.

Sabrina Sobhy bt Stephanie Edmison 11/9, 11/6, 11/8 (23m)

The game started out pretty even. 4-4, the Edmison leads 8-5. Sobhy has a come back to 8-8 by keeping the rallies long. Sobhy shows of her speed with some fabulous pick ups and wins the game 11/9. Sobhy led 9-4 in the second, with Edmison coming back to 9-6 but Sobhy closes out the game to put herself in a strong position. Edmison always fights hard to the end but couldn't quite claw her way back into the match. Sobhy takes a 3-0 victory to knock out the 3/4 seed and set up an interesting tie with the Egyptian.


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