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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)

 

Up ] SEMIS ] [ QUARTERS ] Day FOUR ] Day THREE ] Day TWO ] Day ONE ]

TODAY in Cayman: Thu 7th, QUARTER-FINALS

The Last Eight

[2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) bt [7] Camille Serme (Fra)
              6/11, 11/6, 11/4, 11/7 (53m)

[3] Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt [Q] Sarah Kippax (Eng)
              11/7, 11/6, 11/7 (28m)

[Q] Donna Urquhart (Aus) bt [5] Madeline Perry (Irl)
              6/11, 11/13, 11/8, 12/10, 11/9 (72m)

[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt [Q] Natalie Grinham (Ned)
              11/4, 8/11, 11/8, 11/4 (47m)

Alister Walker bt Chris Binnie    11/4, 11/5, 11/4 (30m)

 

[2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) bt [7] Camille Serme (Fra)
              6/11, 11/6, 11/4, 11/7 (53m)

Duncalf has the best spell

Last year's runner-up #Jenny Duncalf was the first player to reach the semis after prevailing in a high-quality encounter with France's Camille Serme, strangely the only quarter-final not to feature a qualifier.

Both move neatly and quickly when needed, and strike the ball cleanly, if not with the absolute power that some of the girls can muster, and are adept at manouvering their opponent around the court.

Which all goes to say it was an evenly contested match, both enjoying spells of dominance.

Serme had the first good spell, scoring seven points in a row to go from 4-6 to11-6 in the first. It was an exact role reversal in the second, Duncalf taking seven in a row to level matters up.

It seemed Duncalf had taken charge as she took the third with some ease and then moved 5-1 ahead in the fourth. But now it was Camille's turn again, as she took six of the next eight points to draw level at 7-all.

Two crucial errors from the French racket though -  a dropshot at the front of the court into then tin, then one from an attempted drop from the back. That gave Jenny a bit of breathing space and with a dropshot that was too tight to retrieve, and a wrongfooting boast to finish she was into another Cayman semi-final.

"I'm just exhausted, it's so hot!

"I'm pleased with how I played tonight though, I wasn't happy with my game for a few months, but I'm playing better now I hope I can improve some more.

Tonight I just wasn't tight enough, I gave her too many opportunities to attack."



"I don't usually sweat so much, not until I come here, it's the sweatiest place I've ever been! You just have to deal with it though, it's the same for both of us.

"It was a tough match, but it's good to win the first one, I can relax and watch the others play now."

[3] Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt [Q] Sarah Kippax (Eng)
              11/7, 11/6, 11/7 (28m)

Rachael plays Normal ... almost

A little like the previous match, this one went in patches, but Sarah Kippax only enjoyed brief runs of points, it was third seed Rachael Grinham who was amassing the most.

He game is all about flicks, drops, lobs and winners - as MC Dan said to her afterwards, "wherever you are on court the plan seems to be hit it twice then hit a winner".

Rachael didn't exactly object to this description of her style, but she pointed out that tonight most of her winners came at the back of the court as she was employing a less risky gameplan than normal.

And that was true, it was a little less of a typical Rachael game, more of a 'normal' one, and that probably suited Sarah, who was 'in' pretty much every rally. Yes, it was Rachael most likely to finish it off, but Sarah was never out of contention.

An early lead for Rachael in the first, 10-5 was consolidated for an 11-7 win. From 5-all in the second she pulled clear to take it 11-6, and after a 3-0 start in the third she never let Sarah get back on terms, 5-4 and 8-7 was as close as it got.

After Sarah fluffed a dropshot attempt that could have brought her level Rachael took the necessary two points to finish it off. 

"I've played really well this year, and had a great event here last year, there's something about here that makes me play well!

"Rachael's very experienced and very skilful, it's always difficult to play her, but I thought I played well and I'm happy with my performances this week."



"I felt I played pretty well there tonight. Sarah's very quick and very fit, she can get everything back so I was having to make sure I put the ball into the corners. Most of my winners were in the back of the court, which is unusual for me, I played a less risky game than normal."


Where's the Ball ??????

[Q] Donna Urquhart (Aus) bt [5] Madeline Perry (Irl)
              6/11, 11/13, 11/8, 12/10, 11/9 (72m)

Brutal

There's no other word to describe it really. Seventy-plus minutes of top quality women's squash which went from fast and furious, to ferocious, then to savage, then tense, and eventually to exhaustion as Donna Urquhart and Madeline Perry both collapsed onto the floor at the end of a match that will linger in the memory of all those that saw it.

It was fast and furious at the start, with Perry, who survived a five-game thriller yesterday, forcing the pace, volleying everything and reaping the rewards. Donna Urquhart, who also survived a five-game thriller yesterday, was struggling to keep up with the pace.

Perry took the first 11/6 but the second was more even, 4-all then 7-all. Then came the ferocious phase, as they went at each other hammer and tong, smashing the ball and running after it as hard as they could for rally after punishing rally.

From 10-all it was simply savage, and when Perry finished off a particularly savage rally punching the ball deep for 13/11, it looked a long road back for Urquhart, a long road indeed.

It couldn't continue at that pace and intensity, not with two players who should be tired, not in these hot, humid conditions. The players in the earlier matches had talked about how hard it was in the heat, and they hadn't been playing like this, so imagine how the girls must have felt.

After it was all over both confessed to being absolutely shattered at that point. Perry, after MC Dan commented that she looked tired in the fifth, replied "I was gone after the second!".

Donna revealed that she had gone to her corner and told Kasey Brown "I can't do this, it's too ho, I can't breathe, I can't think." Kasey's advice was to slow it down, get herself back into it and see how it went.

It was a fair bet that they couldn't continue at the pace of the first two games, and it did calm down, but it never fell below the "very, very tough" mark. Donna held the lead most of the way through the third and took it 11/8. All the points in the second half of that game were won with winners, it was high quality stuff. Well, except Madeline's final volley into the tin, but she can be excused that one.

The fourth and fifth were the tense phase. Still tough rallies, still remarkably few unforced errors, and boy were the crowd getting wrapped up in it all now.

The fourth was even, from 8-all Madeline produced two match balls, but Donna took the next four points, the last two of them strokes, and we had a decider.

Donna opened up to 6/2, Madeline clawed, crawled her way back to 7-all. 9-7 Donna with a fierce crosscourt drive and a cry of "CMON". 9-all as Donna got a no let, got a let on an identical situation on the next rally, and Madeline finished a patient rally with a dropshot.

It was a pity that the match had to end the way it did, with two strokes to Donna, but that doesn't detract from the thrill of it, the sheer spectacle of it. Well played girls, well played, you put everything into that one.

"That was horrible! I was wrecked after two games to be honest. I took it early and put her under pressure in the first two games, but I couldn't keep it up. I don't know how I moved at all in the fifth!

"I should have won the fourth, I had two match balls but couldn't take them. I tried my best, but I guess I'm just too old now, I must be mad but I still really enjoy playing these matches!"





"No, I didn't feel nervous at all, I just didn't have the energy to think, let alone feel nervous. I've never played on a court so hot - I should have weighed myself before we started, I probably lost 5 kilos on there tonight, my dress was so heavy it was weighing me down!

"After two games Kasey came to talk to me and I told her 'I can't do this, it's just too hot, I can't breathe, I can't think.'

"I was dying but she seemed to be ok, I was asking myself 'how is she doing this', then when she talked to Dan at the end I knew she was hurting as much as me, but at the time I didn't know that.

"Kasey told me I had to slow it down completely, try to play my game instead of competing at such a fast pace. I did that, got my breath back and managed to get back into it.

"She was killing me at that fast game, but thankfully she couldn't keep it it, I know I couldn't have.

"I know I said it yesterday, but this is definitely my best win!"

[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt [Q] Natalie Grinham (Ned)
              11/4, 8/11, 11/8, 11/4 (47m)

Just like the old times

If you didn't believe yesterday's headline, "Nat's Back", then believe it now.

It was just like the old days of 2006 to 2009 when Natalie Grinham and Nicol David contested major final after major final. True, Nicol won the majority of them, as she did tonight, but they were always compelling, always long, and always full of top quality squash.

Much the same as tonight, really. Sometimes Natalie would attempt to simply outlast Nicol - Belfast 2006 World Open Final - but now she professes to be hitting the ball better than before Keiran, moving less well, but playing with greater freedom. And it certainly looked like that tonight.

Their first meeting since the 2009 World Open final in Amsterdam was every bit as good as that or many of their earlier encounters - Nicol led 23-7 before tonight.

The rallies were intricate, each trying to weave a web to entrap the other into before applying the finishing touch, and it was great to watch.

Nicol took the first comfortably enough, Natalie got a god start in the second and held on to equalise. The third was in the balance, Natalie was 8-7 up and playing confidently, but Nicol just nicked it away from her with four points in a row, and she was looking confident now.

At 3-all in the fourth Natalie hit the tin, told herself "oh stop that" but couldn't. Nicol was on top now, and Natalie's error count grew. The result became to look inevitable, but it didn't detract from a quality match.

And let's face it, Natalie's played eight days in a row now, Nicol's relatively fresh, and as one Cayman veteran said of the two time defending champion, "that's the first time I've seen Nicol lose a game!"

Footnote:

A couple of records may have been broken tonight. First, as proof of the fact that Natalie sorely tested the world number one, world champion, commonwealth champion etc etc etc ... Nicol David dived. I'll repeat that: Nicol David dived. Of course she got the ball and won the point with her shot from the floor, what else do you expect. Natalie was so impressed so jokingly threatened to throw the ball at her!

Nicol thinks she might have done it once before in Singapore, but no-one here can remember her even coming close to horizontal. Sadly the best I have is an image of her legs moving away from me, but hopefully Steve Line, who was on the correct side of the court, will let us have one of his!



Secondly, we had an injury timeout request ... after midnight. At 0:09 Natalie rather sheepishly asked if she was allowed a break because of blisters. The referee said yes, so a timeout it was. Ok, not as interesting as the first one, agreed.

"I'm happy with my match. She made me do a lot of running, which meant I had to sort out my blister towards the end. I feel like I'm playing really well, no pressure, and I'm hitting the ball better than before, even if I'm not moving quite as well."



"We've played so many times over the years, we have these monster matches. She's just won a tournament so I knew what to expect, I knew she'd be up for it and raise her game so I had to raise mine.

"The dive? I really needed that point, so I just had to really go for it!"

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