Day TWO

Cayman Islands Open  11-17 April 2010 Grand Cayman

 
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"The Cayman Open is run by CINSA (Cayman Islands National Squash Association)

 

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Mon 4th, Day TWO

Women's Qualifying Finals:

Sarah Kippax (Eng bt Aisling Blake (Irl) 
 
       12/10, 11/8, 11/8 (41m)                                        plays Au
Amanda Sobhy (Usa) bt Isabelle Stoehr (Fra)
        11/7, 11/8, 11/2 (25m)                                          plays Perry
Donna Urquhart (Aus)
bt Emma Beddoes (Eng)
       
11/6, 8/11, 13/11, 11/9 (56m)                               plays Waters
Natalie Grinham (Ned) bt Latasha Khan (Usa)
       
 11/8, 11/6, 12/10 (27m)                                       plays Brown

Men's Round One, Part Two:

Chris Binnie (Jamaica)
bt Micah Franklin (Bermuda)
         11/8, 11/9, 11/2 (25m)
Shawn Simpson (Barbados) bt Gabe Rabess (Cayman)
          11/2, 11/6, 11/5 (21m)
Cameron Stafford (Cayman)
bt Van Rolle (Bahamas)
  
        11/3, 11/4, 11/5 (19m)
Alister Walker (England)
bt Alex Frazer (Cayman)
         
11/1, 11/1, 11/1 (18m)


Sponsors meet Players ... more in the Day Two Gallery

Xtras #1

Ramy v Myron,
It's the Dreads Man ...

Women's Qualifying Finals

Sarah Kippax (England) bt Aisling Blake (Ireland) 
 
       12/10, 11/8, 11/8 (41m)

Kippax Qualifies again

Sarah Kippax professed to liking this event, feeling comfortable in the Caribbean surroundings which contributes to her playing well. She's not alone in that feeling, but it seemed to do the trick for her again today as she became the first qualifier for the 2011 event with a straight-games win over Cayman first-times Aisling Blake.

It was a little tougher than a bare "three-nil" would suggest though, the Irishwoman pushed the higher-ranked (#19 to #26) Englishwoman hard, and will feel unlucky not to have taken a game, at least.

Indeed, Blake got much the better start, taking leads of 6/3, 8/4 and reaching 10/7 with a short drive glued to the wall. Kippax saved those game balls with a volley drop, a drive that died in the deep, and a boast that Blake just couldn't reach.

She felt she was denied two strokes at 10-all, but kept her composure, accepted a simple error from Blake at the end of a long rally, then put in a wrongfooting straight drive to take the lead, much to her opponent's displeasure.

Kippax was on top early in the second, and she went ahead 4/1. Blake battled back to 4-all, but then found herself 10/4 down as Kippax's boasts and volley drops paying dividends more often now. Things srtarted to get nervy as Blake saved four game balls - two winners, a no let and a tin - but she wasn't able to replicate her opponent's first-game comeback, volleying into the tin to give the game to Kippax 11/8.

The third game was even, 3-all, 6-all, 8-all, but an error from Aisling followed by two well-worked rallies from Sarah and Kippax claimed the main draw place.

"Being down in the first gave me a bit of a kick start, I knew I had to focus and I seemed to get it right in my head and managed to push through and win it.

"You can get frustrated with the decisions sometimes, but it can help to focus you too, and I think that's what happened.

"I got on top in the second, but the third was a bit of a scrap. I tried to focus at the end, and tried to play the big points well, which I think I did. I'm happy with how I'm playing, and pleased to win in three.

"There's a couple of not too bad slots in the main draw, but I'll just have to see who I get and try to play my best ..."

Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Isabelle Stoehr (France)
        11/7, 11/8, 11/2 (25m)

Sobhy storms into main draw

"She's been on the circuit for a long time, and although I'd never played her before I knew she had great hands and would be going for her shots from the start," said Amanda Sobhy after her match with France's Isabelle Stoehr.

"So I just tried to run and run and run everything down, I thought she would get tired," added the World Junior Champion.

That's a pretty good analysis of the match, but it doesn't do justice to Sobhy's touch and power - she wasn't just retrieving, she was putting in boasts and drops that put Stoehr under pressure or caught her out altogether, lobbing her way out of trouble when needed, and applying more power to her drives than Stoehr could muster when she had the chance.

Don't think it was one-way traffic though - Isabelle gave as good as she got for two games, leading 4/1 in the first and 4/2 in the second, and taking the first to 7-all, the second to 8-all.

Amanda finished both games strongly though, kept the pressure on at the start of the third and found little resistance coming back as she eased through the game and into the main draw.

 

Donna Urquhart (Australia) bt Emma Beddoes (England)
       
11/6, 8/11, 13/11, 11/9 (56m)

Urquhart not to be denied

What a battle this match was, two girls going tot to toe, slugging it out with no quarter given, or asked for. An hour for four games, so you can tell that the rallies were long, always tough and at times brutal.

Donna Urquhart was ahead, then behind in all three games she won. She fell behind in part through a few patches where she made too many errors, partly through the solid, consistent and determined play of Emma Beddoes.

The Englishwoman made the better start, leading 3/1 then 6/3, but Urquhart struck back with a run of eight unanswered points to take the lead. Beddoes led again in the second, but although Urquhart managed to claw herself back to 4-all, then 8-all, Beddoes was still in charge, and finished the game with two lovely winners.

The third saw no let up in the ferocity of the exchanges, but from 5-all Beddoes again  went ahead, 9/5 and then 10/7. Another run of three points for the Australian, one more game ball for Beddoes, but Urquhart saved it too and went to game ball with a deep drive. Urquhart's serve down the middle found its mark as Beddoes swayed too little, the ball struck her and she was two-one down.

You could understand Emma going down 4/1 in the fourth, the third had the feeling of one of those pivotal games, and to lose it like that must hurt. Again though she came back, levelling at 6-all, then leading 8/6, and 9/8, it looked like we might yet have a decider.

Not to be though. A deceptive crosscourt flick from Donna, a stroke to reach matchball, another looooong rally to finish with an English lob going out. That was a toughie.

"I'm soaked and relieved! After watching her play yesterday I knew it would be tough, she's so determined and she never gives up.

"She came out really fast, and I was trying to finish rallies too quickly, too impatient in patches, and I was losing a few points in a row putting me in trouble.

"I was up in most of the games, but she came back well. When I was down it made me focus more, I had to go back to keeping it deep, cutting out the angles and keeping her off the volley, and it was effective.

"I felt for her when my serve hit her, we were both tired at the end of a tough game and she just didn't move enough, but I guess that's why you sometimes serve down the middle!

"I' pleased to get through, and relieved, it was one of those matches where you couldn't relax until after the final point."

Natalie Grinham (Netherlands) bt Latasha Khan (USA)
       
 11/8, 11/6, 12/10 (27m)

Grinham through, Friendship intact ...

Natalie Grinham
may still be a little short of her best, but she's coming off a tournament win in Montreal and she had beaten Latasha Khan in all their previous meetings, without dropping a game.

Khan came pretty close to snatching one tonight though, in a pretty competitive three games between two good friends and training partners.

"It's always awkward playing her," said Grinham, "we train a lot together when we're at tournaments so we knew each other's moves and what to expect."

You can tell there's not likely to be any contentious moments when one player's reaction to finding a boast rolling at her feet is to stick her tongue out at her opponent, and the other's reaction to receiving a let she thought was a stroke was to tell the referees "I don't want to hit her, she's my friend!"

Although in touch during the first two games, Khan didn't threaten to take either, Grinham's speed of retrieving and deft flicks enough to keep her ahead.

She stayed ahead through most of the third too, but leads of 9/6 and 10/8 evaporated as Latasha levelled. It wasn't to be the day she took her first game though, Natalie was in no mood for any more court time, Tommy and Keiran were waiting ....
  

Men's Round One

Chris Binnie (Jamaica) bt Micah Franklin (Bermuda)
         11/8, 11/9, 11/2 (25m)
Shawn Simpson (Barbados) bt Gabe Rabess (Cayman)
          11/2, 11/6, 11/5 (21m)
Cameron Stafford (Cayman) bt Van Rolle (Bahamas)
  
        11/3, 11/4, 11/5 (19m)
Alister Walker (England)
bt Alex Frazer (Cayman)
         
11/1, 11/1, 11/1 (18m)

Cayman Expects

With home representation in three of today's four men's matches, the South Sound crowd will expect at least one of their own to go through to the quarter-finals, even if a hat-trick seemed unlikely.

In the afternoon match Chris Binnie, the 2009 Senior Caribbean champion who currently studies at college top dogs Trinity in the States, was given a real test by Bermuda's Micah Franklin for two games, but Binnie took no prisoners in the third as he claimed a quarter-final place.

The man-mountain that is Shawn Simpson wasn't fazed by the home support for Gabe Rabess in the first of the evening matches.

The tall Bajan has awesome power and even more awesome reach - although he sometimes forgets to use the power - and it was all too much for Rabess in the first game. Rabess stayed competitive for the start of the next two games, but Shawn opened up and pulled clear in both.

Shawn's next assignment is against Ramy Ashour, and if he uses his assets to the full he'll present the Egyptian with a few challenges he doesn't meet much on the tour ...

Cameron Stafford duly delivered the home win, looking impressive against Bahama's Van Rolle.

"I always used to beat Cameron," said tonight's loser, "but he's improved a lot. It was a tough match but he deserved to win."

Cameron was happy with his performance too: "I just needed to play good length, if I left it loose he would jump on it. I've been training in Amsterdam for three months with the likes of LJ [Anjema]. I'm really enjoying it and hopefully it will improve my squash some more."

Last up was second seed Alister Walker against the last of the Cayman hopefuls, Alex Frazer. It was an entertaining 18 minutes to finish, the crowd, and Alex, enjoyed it, but there was never going to be an upset.
  

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