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30-Jul, Final

[3] Madeline Perry bt [5] Laura Massaro
                                11/7, 11/8, 5/11, 11/9 (61m)

“I knew she'd worked really hard for her win over Nicol and wanted to take advantage of that. It was still difficult to break her down and I really had to hang in there for many points.”

“My feet were hurting a bit at the end, so I was pleased to be able to wrap it up in four games,”

 “I was feeling confident but it was a matter of how my body recovered from the tough matches this week. And I wasn't getting onto the ball quite as quickly today and wasn't making the shots I wanted.”


Madeline Perry takes the title

For a while it looked as though for a second night, Laura Massaro was going to come back from two games down to win. But Madeline Perry wasn't about to let that happen. The Northern Irish player stayed composed to defeat a tiring Massaro in four games to lift the 2011 CIMB Singapore Women's Squash Masters crown.

If against Camille Serme Perry had produced what she said was her best game in ages, against Massaro she was a little more circumspect. After all, she come out on the wrong side of the score the last time she met the Englishwoman, at the semi-finals of the Cleveland Classic in February which Massaro went on to win, with a famous title victory over Nicol David.

This time around, it was Massaro's five-game victory over David on Friday night that perhaps gave Perry the edge she needed.

With only some 19 hours to recover from her 85-minute exertion over David, Massaro quickly fell two games behind as Perry sought to work her around the court and make her earn every point.

Knowing Massaro's greatest strengths were her tricky shots in front, Perry, with pointers from stand-in adviser Shane Hagan , sought the game tight.

Said Hagan, a former New Zealand junior player: “Madeline had good length most of the time and prevented Laura from playing her shots.”

Massaro managed to get enough shots in to take the third game – including a couple of odd bounces in her favour that kept the 700-strong spectators bemused. But Perry wasn't about to make the same mistake that Nicol did the night before by allowing the world no 7 to recover, although the win did not come easy. As for Massaro, it really was down to her fitness...

Perry's win makes her a new champion in Singapore which has seen Nicol David winning four straight titles since the tournament was inaugurated in 2007.

Bernama (Malaysia)

Straits Times (Singapore)

29-Jul, Semis:

[3] Madeline Perry bt [5] Camille Serme
                     11/7, 11/7, 11/3 (44m)
[5] Laura Massaro bt [1] Nicol David
                                      9/11, 7/11, 11/8, 11/8, 11/5 (85m)

Massaro denies David ... again

Shockwaves hit VivoCity as Malaysian top seed and four-time Nicol David was sent crashing out of the CIMB Singapore Women's Squash Masters by English fifth seed Laura Massaro.

The upset looked unlikely as the Penangite took the first two games but Massaro gave a glimpse of what was to come as she matched David stroke for stroke.

The world number seven took advantage of David's uncharacteristic errors in the next two games to force a decider.

And despite the world champion jumping to a 3-0 lead, then 4-2, Massaro refused to yield and she plugged back point after point, edging David into unforced errors. 11-5 to Massaro in the fifth game stunned the packed venue, and ended a thrilling 85-minute contest.

The 27-year-old Englishwoman was delighted to get her second win over the Malaysian, following up on February's victory at Cleveland Classic which ended David's 14-month unbeaten streak.

"I thought I was unlucky to lose the first two games, I felt I was in there and suddenly they were gone. But I'm really happy to come back and I thought Nicol looked a bit nervous at the end when she hit a few tins," remarked Massaro after the duel.

David was gracious in defeat, a rare one in Asia at that: “Laura played a very smart game tonight and didn't make too many mistakes. I went for my shots too early and gave her too much to work with and she took her chances well.”

Massaro will now meet Irish third seed Madeline Perry after the Irishwoman saw off French contender Camille Serme in straight games.

The previous night's thrilling upset of second seed Rachael Grinham got the better of the eighth seed as she committed numerous unforced errors in the second and third games to hand the match to her opponent in 40 minutes.

Perry was pleased to make the final in Singapore for the first time and in some style: "This is my best match for a very long time. I am happy to see my tough training in the summer has paid off."

A new champion will be crowned in Singapore tomorrow as David's streak in the Lion City is stopped at four titles and a total of 18 straight matches.

WATCH LIVE (maybe)

Draw & Results

Press Cuts from New Zealand, Australia & Malaysia

CIMB Singapore Masters 20011
25-30 Jul, Singapore, $53k
Round One
27 Jul 
28 Jul
29 Jul
30 Jul
[1] Nicol David (Mas)
11-5, 13-11, 11-5 (25m)
Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
[1] Nicol David
 11/5, 11/9, 11/6 (39m)
[8] Annie Au
[1] Nicol David

9/11, 7/11, 11/8, 11/8, 11/5

[5] Laura Massaro

[5] Laura Massaro




[3] Madeline Perry

[8] Annie Au (Hkg)
[Q] Natalie Grinham (Ned)
[4] Kasey Brown (Aus)
11-4, 11-3, 11-2 (23m)
Pamela Chua (Sin)
[4] Kasey Brown
11/8, 7/11, 11/8, 11/8 (65m)
[5] Laura Massaro
[5] Laura Massaro (Eng)
11-7, 11-2, 11-6 (27m)
Donna Urquhart (Aus)
[Q] Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl)
11-9, 8-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-8 (84m)
[6] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)
[Q] Jaclyn Hawkes
 11/7, 11/7, 11/7 (40m) [3] Madeline Perry
[3] Madeline Perry

11/7, 11/7, 11/3

[7] Camille Serme

[Q] Sarah Kippax (Eng)
11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (54m)
[3] Madeline Perry (Irl)
[Q] Delia Arnold
11-5, 11-8, 11-2 (24m)
[7] Camille Serme (Fra)
[7] Camille Serme
11/5, 11/5, 11/7 (25m)
[2] Rachael Grinham
Joelle King (Nzl)
5-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-3 (36m)
[2] Rachael Grinham (Aus)

26-Jul, Qualifying Finals:

Natalie Grinham bt Joey Chan                                       11-2, 9-11, 11-1, 11-6
Jaclyn Hawkes bt Samantha Teran                                         11-7, 11-8, 11-2
Sarah Kippax bt Dipika Pallikal                                       11-6, 4-11, 11-9, 11-8
Delia Arnold bt Low Wee Wern                           12-10, 11-13, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8

25-Jul, Qualifying Round One:

Low Wee Wern (Mas)                                                                                  bye
Delia Arnold (Mas) bt Nur Adiwiyah Aziz (Sin)                     11/5, 11/6, 11/1 (19m)

Joey Chan (Hkg) bt Siti Minirah Jusoh (Mas)        9/11, 11/6, 8/11, 11/3, 11/6 (55m)
Natalie Grinham (Ned) bt Latasha Khan (Usa)                     11/4, 12/10, 11/7 (40m)

Sarah Kippax (Eng) bt Line Hansen (Den)           9/11, 6/11, 11/6, 11/4, 11/4 (70m)
Dipika Pallikal (Ind) bt Emma Beddoes (Eng)               11/4, 7/11, 11/7, 11/6 (48m)

Samantha Teran (Mex) bt Aisling Blake (Irl)        11/7, 9/11, 9/11, 11/4, 11/9 (66m)
Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl) bt Jerryca Teo (Sin)                              11/7, 11/1, 11/0 (17m)

PS: How NOT to do results ...

2010 Event      2009 Event  

28-Jul, Quarter-Finals:
Serme stuns Grinham in Singapore

[7] Camille Serme bt [2] Rachael Grinham
                                             11/5, 11/5, 11/7 (25m)

Frenchwoman Camille Serme pulled off the upset of the quarter-finals at the CIMB Singapore Women's Squash Masters 2011, brushing aside world no 3 Rachael Grinham in straight games.

Despite lasting only 25 minutes, the match made fascinating viewing for fans at VivoCity, a shopping mall south of Singapore, as Grinham dug deep into her bag of tricks to try and slow her charging opponent.

After dropping the first game 11-5, Grinham started varying her game – slowing down the pace, mixing up her shots, going for the lobs – but nothing could stop Serme on the ascendancy. She was always half a step ahead and well worth the victory.

And the 22-year-old from Creteil was delighted to pick up only her second win over Grinham: “I really played well today. I was surprised with the way I was getting the ball and I was feeling good physically as well, I could pick up the ball and have good and long rallies.”

As for Grinham, she was gracious in defeat: “I didn't think I was moving very well but I wasn't able to compete with Camille today. Even when I was winning some rallies it didn't feel easy and she was making me work.”

“I didn't get much sleep which could have contributed to my lack of energy tonight,” she added.

Grinham had spent the previous night keeping her sister Natalie company as 14-month-old nephew Kieran continues to be treated for high fever at a local hospital.

Serme's reward is a semi-final meeting another opponent she'd beaten only once in her career – world no 4 Madeline Perry.
[3] Madeline Perry bt [Q]Jaclyn Hawkes
                                                 11/7, 11/7, 11/7 (40m)

Irishwoman Madeline Perry took 40 minutes to despatch New Zealander Jaclyn Hawkes who'd fought through from the qualifiers and upset Egypt's Omneya Abdel Kawy to make the quarter-finals.

Said Hawkes: “I thought I had a chance but Madeline just got in front of me too much today and punished me with her good shots. She was able to dominate the rallies a lot and I wasn't able to get in front and volley.”
 Nicol David bt [8] Annie Au           11/5, 11/9, 11/6 (39m)
[5] Laura Massaro bt [4] Kasey Brown
                                              11/8, 7/11, 11/8, 11/8 (65m)

The top half sees an intriguing semi-final match-up between world no 1 Nicol David and the player who ended her 14-month unbeaten streak back in February, Laura Massaro.

Massaro and Australia's Kasey Brown battled for 65 minutes – unsurprisingly the longest of the quarter-finals given the players are ranked one apart.

And the Englishwoman is happy with the win over Brown: “Kasey's ranked one above me in the world– she's 6th and I'm 7th – and I lost the last match 3-1 so I'm really pleased to turn the game around.”

“I'm going to recover as well as I can and watch Nicol play against Annie and give it my best shot whoever I meet tomorrow,” Massaro added.

And she will get her shot at Nicol as the Malaysian brushed aside Annie Au 11-5, 11-9, 11-6 in 39 minutes in the evening's final match.

Draw & Results

27-Jul, Round One:
Hawkes ousts Omneya to make quarters

New Zealander Jaclyn Hawkes pulled off the only upset of the first round at the CIMB Singapore Women's Squash Masters 2011, coming from 2-1 down to defeat sixth seed Omneya Abdel Kawy in five tough games.

The Kiwi was playiing a third straight night at the Kallang Squash Centre, having come through the qualifiers, and it was clear she'd benefitted from the extra court time.

Victory for Hawkes earned her a quarter-final meeting with third seed Madeline Perry, while for Omneya, it was a second straight year that the enigmatic former world junior champion has exited at the first calling in the Lion City.

Perry came through a tough three-setter against Englishwoman Sarah Kippax, while Camille Serme had a far easier time, needing only 24 minutes to brush aside Malaysia's Delia Arnold.

Second seed Rachael Grinham overcame a first game blip to get past Joelle King, and the former world no 1 from Toowoomba was pleased with the result: "I've not beaten Joelle in my three meetings with her, she a real tough player, and I'm glad to have a little bit of luck going my way tonight."

And while Rachael was in action, younger sister Natalie was forced to concede a walkover to Hong Kong's Annie Au as her 14-month-old son Kieran was in hospital after developing high fever overnight.

The toddler had wowed fans at the Kallang Squash Centre over the past two days with his racquet-wielding abilities and no one begrudged her mother's absence from this tournament she has twice made the final -- in 2007 and 2009.

Said Rachael: "Being a mom now, Natalie had to pick and choose her tournaments as she makes her comeback and she chose Singapore over Malaysia because she really like it here. And from her wins in the qualifiers, you can see she's playing well... so it's a blow for her to have to withdraw."

Laura Massaro and Kasey Brown both enjoyed easy passage -- Massaro defeating Donna Urquhart while Brown ended the hopes of Singapore wildcard Pamela Chua.

This is the third straight year that Chua, soon to resume her third year of Mathematical and Computational Studies at Stanford University, has taken part in her home tournament.

And her time playing collegiate squash in the United States has shown in her maturing game, although she admitted she's far from matching it with the fulltime professionals.

World No 1 Nicol David started her quest for a fifth straight Singapore Masters title confidently, although Raneem El Weleily did not go down in a whimper.

According to Nicol, the second game which went to deuce was an examplt that she needed to take every opponent seriously: "Raneem started to impose her will in that game and I needed to go up a gear to recapture the initiative. I managed to force her into making mistakes and was able to wrap up the match from there."

"And the match certainly gave me the workout I needed for the quarter-final against Annie," the Penangite added.

The tournament moves to the glass showcourt at the VivoCity from the quarter-finals onwards, with the ladies expected to put on a grand show at this popular shopping mall at the southern end of Singapore island.

The Star (Malaysia)

Straits Times

The Star (Malaysia)

Leading From the Front Against Big Guns

Pamela Chua is facing the biggest match of her career when she steps onto Court 1 at Kallang Squash Centre in the CIMB Singapore Women’s Squash Masters 2011 on Wednesday.

Singapore’s top-ranked squash player will open the main draw with a first round tie against Australian fourth seed Kasey Brown.

Although the odds are against the Republic wildcard, she is determined to make the most out of the experience against one of the leading players in the circuit.

“I am pretty excited and nervous at the same time,” remarked the 21-year-old on the sidelines of the official tournament press conference at Grand Roxy Mercure on Tuesday. It is not everyday one gets to play against a world-ranked player and I am looking forward to the contest.”

Unlike Brown who is a professional competing regularly around the world, Chua is taking part in her third WISPA circuit event over the past twelve months.

However, the 105th-ranked Singaporean will be banking on her improved game in the American collegiate squash scene to give herself a slim chance of an upset.

“In college squash, the players are more aggressive in their approach to gameplay. That has made me raise my agility, reflexes and pace,” said the Stanford University undergraduate.

Looking ahead at the future of Singapore squash, Chua believes players at all levels will need greater exposure if they are to narrow the gap between themselves and the world’s best.

“Personally I will like to compete on the WISPA circuit more often, but it is a major challenge for us as we have our respective study or work commitments to juggle,” she commented.

“Many of the top players in the circuit travel regularly and are playing their trade as full-time professionals. We will need to have more international exposure if we are to push ourselves further.”

She sees the generation after hers to make that breakthrough as Singapore attempts to recapture the former glory days in the sport.

“We presently have a good junior programme. It is very structured and comprehensive,” she noted. “Under the guidance of (former Malaysia national player) Sandra Wu, the juniors are coming up very strong and can close the gap with our neighbours in the future.”

As Chua steps onto the court for her battle with Brown, it will not just be the flag of the nation she is carrying. The juniors watching among the audience will also be looking to her for inspiration she jousts for every point.

26-Jul, Qualifying Finals:
Marathon All-Malaysia Tie
Sets Pace in Final Qualifying

Eight quality contenders, four final slots in the main draw, four exciting match-ups. That summed up the action in the final round of qualifying on the second day of action at Kallang Squash Centre.

In the end, the biggest star in qualifying Natalie Grinham, Malaysia’s Delia Arnold, Sarah Kippax of England and WISPA New Zealander President Jaclyn Hawke completed the main draw lineup.

The opening match was an all-Malaysian affair between Arnold and Low Wee Wern and it had all the elements of an exciting encounter.

They did not disappoint as they served up a titanic contest in their bid to join top-ranked compatriot Nicol David in the round of 16.

Exchanges were sharp and furious as neither wanted to give a quarter in all five sets, but it was Arnold who eventually prevailed after winning the final three points without reply in a 102-minute contest that left the packed Kallang audience enthralled.

Arnold admitted the contest was delicately balanced that it took all her might to triumph in the fifth game. “It could have gone either way as both of us are trying very hard to hang in there,” said the Malaysian in the post-match interview.

“My mind wanted me to win so badly and all I could think about was getting the final result on court. I am glad I am able to win and progress.”

Leading From the Front Against Big Guns

Draw & Results

Straits Times

The Star (Malaysia)

25-Jul, Qualifying Round One:
Grinham Leads Qualifying Charge

The opening day of action in the CIMB Singapore Women’s Squash Masters 2011 witnessed some world-class squash as the contestants battled out for the four remaining slots in the main draw.

The biggest name in action was undoubtedly former world number two Natalie Grinham. The Australian-turned-Dutch rolled back her wonderful career with a masterclass against American opponent Latasha Khan.

Although it was a straight-games victory for the seasoned player, she was made to work hard for her win in the 40-minute battle between skill and strength in the encounter.

With her elder sister and tournament second seed Rachael supporting on the sidelines and young baby boy in tow, Natalie expressed satisfaction in her progress into the final round of qualifying. Praising to her opponent for a valiant contest, she commented:

“Latasha is my regular training partner and one of my best friends on tour. She is also one of the toughest opponents to play against, so I am relieved to be able to move into the next stage.”

Several matches of the day were tightly contested affairs, with little separating the professionals in end-to-end court action.

England’s Sarah Kippax came from two games down to overcome her Danish opponent Line Hansen 3-2 in over an hour of exhilarating squash.

Matching her effort was Hong Kong’s rising star Joey Chan. In a see-saw affair that saw several thrilling long rallies, she eventually prevailed against her taller Malaysian challenger Siti Munirah Jusoh in five games.

India’s Dipika Pallikal kept the Asian challenge going as she fended off her English opponent Emma Beddoes in four.

Although Singapore players Nur Adawiyah Aziz and Jerryca Teo gave their all against their professionals opponents, it was not sufficient as they were brushed aside in under 20 minutes.

After matching stroke for stroke in the first two games, Malaysian  Delia Arnold was too powerful for Adawiyah to overcome in the final set as she wrapped up the contest 11-5, 11-6, 11-1.

Teo was given a lesson in the professional game as her New Zealand opponent Jaclyn Hawkes used her athleticism and strength to her advantage to blow away the final two games after a tight first.

Both locals were pleased with their commendable performances despite the losses and highlighted the gulf in standards between themselves and the professionals.

“I was trying to stay in court as long as I could and pleased to have put in a good showing,” commented Adiwiyah in her post-match interview. “There were a couple of strong rallies in the first two games and I was trying to catch up. But in the third she was much faster and earlier with her shots and forced me deep into the back which made my mission tougher.”

Echoing the same sentiment was Teo as she acknowledged her opponent’s superiority in the defeat. “In the first game I was using home ground advantage while she was warming up and testing the ball,” she noted.

“She picked up the pace after that and showed the difference in the leagues between professional players and us where we also had to juggle with our studies or work with the sport.”

Wrapping up the evening’s action was another five-game duel between Mexico’s Samantha Teran and Aisling Blake of Ireland. In a game where every point was hard-won and the gap precariously close, it was Teran who prevailed.

Nicol goes for more in Singapore

After claiming her 7th Malaysian Open title, Nicol David heads for the Singapore Masters where she will be aiming for her 5th title in a row.


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