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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)

 

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TODAY in Cayman: Friday 8th, Day SIX                            
Semi-Finals at Camana Bay

Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt Richard Chin (Guy)               11/7, 11/4, 11/8 (25m)

[2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) bt [3] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
             15/13, 10/12, 4/11, 11/7, 12/10 (76m)

[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt [Q] Donna Urquhart (Aus)
             11/6, 11/8, 11/5 (30m)


XTRAS: Ramy goes airborne over Camana Bay

Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt Richard Chin (Guy)               11/7, 11/4, 11/8 (25m)

Ramy's the Boss

Even if you're the Caribbean Champion, it's probably not a good idea to hit a nick and then gesticulate to the crowd to brag about it, claiming it was worth two points ... not when you're playing Ramy Ashour, anyway.

They'd been having a good game until then, gentle, friendly stuff. Ramy Ashour was two games to the good and a point of two behind in the third, but he slammed the next four or five balls into the nick, just to let Richard Chin know who was boss.

As if to rub it in, Ramy managed to hit the match-winning shot with Richard sitting on his backside at the court door ...

It was a good introduction to the evening's proceedings, and Ramy marches on to meet Alister Walker in tomorrow's final.
 

[2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) bt [3] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
             15/13, 10/12, 4/11, 11/7, 12/10 (76m)

What a cracker ... part seven

We are truly blessed in this tournament, we really are. There have been three or four absolutely fantastic matches at the South Sound Club, and last night we had two truly compelling quarter-finals. Any of these matches would be worthy of a final on the biggest stage, and yet, tonight, we had another one.

It was a bit of a slow burner this one, in contrast to the Perry/Urquhart fast and furious model of last night. But then, Jenny Duncalf and Rachael Grinham know each other's games well, very well. They've played competitively plenty of times, and in training countless times, so no-one was going to come up with too many surprises.

They've had some cracking matches, they've had some duds too, but the early signs were encouraging as both looked to be moving well, the error count was low and the rallies were intricate and well-contested. Of course Rachael was the one instigating most of the attacks, and with that came a slightly higher error rate, but it was good, quality, watchable stuff and the crowd were certainly enjoying it.

Rachael got a good start, 5-1 in the first, but Jenny soon caught up, and from 6-all there was rarely more than a point in it. Jenny was first to game ball, finishing off the longest rally of the game with a tremendous pickup and dropshot, but from there they traded quality rallies, each one won rather than lost, all the way to 14-13 to the Englishwoman. Finally an error came and Jenny was one up.

The second was much of the same. I'm sure some of the rallies they played were exact replicas of earlier ones, a theme that continued throughout the match - after I hit shot A she's going to hit shot F so I have to go to point C and I usually play those to point B so I'll ... you get the idea.

Anyway, up went the scores pretty much together, Jenny got to 10-8, again couldn't finish it and at 11-10 Jenny tinned a counter drop and made sure her racket reached the court door well before she could. She got a conduct warning for that.

It looked like Jenny's head had gone, and the third did nothing to dispel that rumour as Rachael took it 11/4 with Jenny becoming less interested by the point. First game 15 minutes, second game 20 minutes, third game 6 minutes.

In days of old Jenny might have continued in that mode, but not now, she's not world number two for nothing. A quick 4-0 lead put her head back in order, and in 8 minutes she was back on terms.

It was the fifth when things started to get really interesting. If they'd been almost playing by number up until now, in this game they started to get really serious. The running was harder, the volleys were hit with more venom, the drops were tighter, now they were going for it. They were both desperately tired, but they were really going for it.

Long story short, from 6-all Rachael played some brilliant squash, particularly a leaping flying volley off her chest into the nick to go 10-7 match ball.

Three chances she had, and she was going to go for them, no doubt about that. Crosscourt drop clipped the tin, 10-8. Crosscourt volley intercepted by Jenny 10-9. Ambitious long crosscourt dropshot ... tin, 10-all.

Huge, huge rally, both players performing retrieving miracles ... Rachael can't go on any more as Jenny plops a volley into open space. 11-10 but that was the match. Rachael tins on the next rally and two very soggy people embrace as the crowd goes wild ...

"That's just ridiculous, I'm drowning here, it's as if I just got out of the swimming pool!

"It's about time we had a good one. I played well and I had a chance tonight, but she's not world number two for nothing, she's an alright player!

"It's annoying getting so close and not winning, but at least I don't have to play a junior now!"



"It's all a bit of a blur right now! Coming here tonight there seemed to be a bit of a breeze, I hoped it might be cooler but it was just as hot as yesterday.

"I really enjoyed the game, but that second last rally, 10-all in the fifth, it's the first time I've ever felt queasy on court, I was seeing stars during that rally. I'm so glad that she tinned on the next one, I'm not sure I could have gone on any longer.

"When I was match balls down it was just about not panicking, but it could have gone either way.

"You always like to play humdingers for the crowd, especially in settings like this, and hopefully the crowd enjoyed it all.

"It's matches like these that you remember after you've finished ..."

[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt [Q] Donna Urquhart (Aus)
             11/6, 11/8, 11/5 (30m)

One too many for Donna

Two qualifying matches, both 50 minutes plus. Then in the main draw she beats the world number five, then the world number three, both in five games, 52 and 72 minutes those ones.

"I've had a good week, a great week," said Donna Urquhart after losing to top seed, world number one, etc etc etc Nicol David, "but tonight was one match too far. I went for my shots from the start, I knew that was the only way I could do anything, but I just couldn't keep going."

She gave it a good go though, did Donna. Nicol took a 6-1 lead in the first but Donna got back as close as 6-5 before the world champion closed it out.

She gave the world number one a run for her money in the second, leading 4-1, 5-3 and 8-7, but Nicol closed it out with four points in a row.

She battled gamely in the third, but it was never going to happen. Nicol's too good to allow that sort of thing and the Commonwealth champion moved into her third successive Cayman Open final.

She may have dropped her first game on Caymanian soil last night, but she's going still going to take some stopping tomorrow, that's for sure.

As for Donna, she managed to rearrange her flight to Texas, but some of her preparation may not have been the best: "After I finished last night all the restaurants were closed, so I asked the shuttle bus driver if there was anywhere I could get something to eat. 'Oh yes' he said, and took me to a Kebab House! Not the ideal preparation for a semi-final, but it was very nice!"
 

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