11. Roundup

• Forexx Dutch Open Squash • 02 to 07 Sep 2008 • Amsterdam •

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Forexx Dutch Open 2008 ROUNDUP

Pilley Puts Paid To Dutch Double Hopes In Amsterdam

Semi-final Roundup from Howard Harding

Australian Cameron Pilley disappointed the packed crowd at the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam when he fought back from a game down to upset Dutch champion Laurens Jan Anjema to reach the men's final of the Forexx Dutch Open Squash 2008.


But Dutch hopes of success in the women's $53,500 WISPA World Tour Gold championship were kept alive when second seed Natalie Grinham avenged the defeat of her older sister Rachael by beating England's Alison Waters to reach her first Dutch Open final as a Dutch player.


Grinham made a slow start in the first semi-final of the day, but once she got into her stride the 30-year-old - who became a Dutch national in February - always looked the likely winner against the British National Champion.


Like Pilley, Grinham had to recover from a game down before beating Waters, the eighth seed, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8 in 51 minutes to reach the 31st WISPA final of her career, and her fourth this year.


"My legs felt heavy at the start, I really wasn't enjoying that first game, getting beaten," Grinham told the tournament website www.dutchopensquash.nl afterwards.  "She has a beautiful stroke, and her volley is so good, she can hit so many winners.  If you put it loose you just have to hope she hits the tin."


In the final, the 2003 and 2004 champion will face defending champion Nicol David, whose speed of movement and shot proved too much for Natalie Grainger, the fourth seed from the USA who twice came so close to taking a game but just fell short.


David, the world number one from Malaysia, won 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 to record her tenth successive win over Grainger since 2003 - and reach the 45th Tour final of her career, and the ninth in a row!


In the first semi of the day in the men's $30,000 PSA Tour event, Pilley found himself a game and 6-3 down in the second against the three times Dutch champion. The tall Aussie then proceeded to dictate the play against a tiring looking Anjema, despite the urging of the large crowd at the Frans Otten Stadion.


After 81 minutes of high quality squash, third seed Pilley prevailed over his new training partner, winning 5-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6 in 81 minutes to reach his third Tour final of the year - and the 22nd of his career.


"He played well in the first, came out at 100 miles an hour and dominated the game," said the 25-year-old from New South Wales.  "He started the same in the second too.  I had to change something.  I straightened up and kept it tighter at the back, stopping him from playing his winners.


"We've been training together for a few months now so we know each other's games well. Usually when we play, it's 3/2 - to get it 3/1 was a bonus!"


Pilley's final opponent will be top seed Nick Matthew, the Englishman who continued his return from injury against John White, the fourth seed from Scotland.  The world number eight from Sheffield pulled back a 6-1 deficit against the hard-hitting and entertaining ‘Whitey’ to clinch the opening game.


In the next two games Matthew showed no signs of his shoulder injury as he romped home to an 11-9, 11-4, 11-8 victory over the Amsterdam crowd favourite in 38 minutes - to notch up his 23rd appearance in a PSA Tour final.


Waters Wipes Out World
Champion In Amsterdam

Quarter-final Roundup from Howard Harding

England's Alison Waters produced the best win of her career when she upset Australia's world champion Rachael Grinham in straight games to reach the women's semi-finals of the Forexx Dutch Open Squash 2008 at the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam.  


It was the only upset on the second day of action in mainland Europe’s biggest squash tournament which ended with high entertainment and saw another seed stretched to the limit.


Waters, the recently-crowned British National champion from London, was in sparkling form as she despatched world number two Grinham 11-9, 11-6, 12-10 in 35 minutes in the quarter-finals of the $53,500 WISPA World Tour Gold championship.


"My hands are still shaking after that, it was getting very edgy at the end," the 24-year-old told the tournament website www.dutchopensquash.nl immediately after coming off court.


"I thought I was so close to winning at 6-0 in the third, then I made a few errors to let her back into it but still got to 8-4 and I was thinking 'I can't lose this now', but she came back and then gave me those last two points," added the eighth seed who celebrated a career-high world No8 ranking this month.


It was a surprisingly downbeat performance by the World Open champion from Queensland who arrived in Amsterdam fresh from victory in the last month's Alexandria Sporting Club Open in Egypt.


"I didn't feel I was properly there today, I wasn't able to focus well enough and was making wrong decisions," explained third seed Grinham.  "Even at the end I was able to rally more and get back into it by playing more defensively, then played those two stupid shots to lose it when I knew that type of shot wasn't working for me today.  It was clearly her day today."


There no such worries for Rachael's younger sister Natalie Grinham, however.  The second seed won her all-Dutch clash with Vanessa Atkinson, beating the former world champion 11-4, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5. 


Earlier, fourth seed Natalie Grainger, from the USA, brushed aside an out-of-sorts Jenny Duncalf, the fifth seed from England.


Defending champion Nicol David, the Amsterdam-based world number one from Malaysia, looked to be cruising to victory against Laura Lengthorn-Massaro - but the Englishwoman battled back to make it a very even contest as she levelled.  It took a good start in the fifth for the top seed to hold onto her title, ultimately needing exactly an hour to win 11-5, 11-4, 9-11, 9-11, 11-6.


In the men's $30,000 PSA Tour event, all the top seeds came through, including Dutch champion Laurens Jan Anjema, and Amsterdam favourite John White, who put on a fabulous late-night show with Miguel Angel Rodriguez - the sixth-seeded Colombian making his PSA Tour debut in Europe - to round off the day.


Earlier in the evening Anjema was made to work hard by Italian ace Davide Bianchetti before securing his place in the semi-finals, where he will face his training partner Cameron Pilley who recently moved to The Hague. The Australian overcame a shaky start to overcome Dutch number two Dylan Bennett in straight games.


Tournament favourite Nick Matthew secured a second comfortable win after a nine-month lay-off due to a shoulder operation. The Englishman proved too strong for South African Jesse Engelbrecht, romping home to a 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 win.


Matthew, the 28-year-old world number eight from Sheffield, will now take on 35-year old White for a spot in Sunday’s final.



Seeds Safely Through
In Amsterdam

Round One Roundup from Howard Harding

All the seeds progressed to the quarter-finals of the Forexx Dutch Open Squash 2008 on day one of main draw action at the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam.  But it wasn't plain sailing for all of them - with England's Laura Lengthorn-Massaro, the sixth seed in the women's event, needing the full five games to quell Hong Kong's Rebecca Chiu, and Jesse Engelbrecht, the men's eighth seed from South Africa, taking it into extra points in his decider against Canadian Robin Clarke.


There was plenty of success for the hosts on the opening day of mainland Europe’s biggest squash tournament, with Laurens Jan Anjema, Vanessa Atkinson and Natalie Grinham winning comfortably, and Dylan Bennett putting the Amsterdam faithful through the usual agony before winning through to a quarter-final berth against Australian Cameron Pilley.


Anjema, second seed in the men's $30,000 PSA Tour event, will face the experienced Italian Davide Bianchetti for a place in the last four, while Atkinson and Grinham face each other in an all-Dutch battle in the women's $53,500 WISPA World Tour Gold championship - something that former Australian Natalie Grinham is looking forward to:


"I train on this court so I know it well, and I've been training and playing really well lately so I felt good out there tonight," said the Queensland-born world No2 who switched allegiance to the Netherlands seven months ago.  "I know I can get a lot back so I can afford to play a lot short, like I was tonight - I enjoy playing that way.  Vanessa and I have had a few battles over the years, and if she plays well she's very dangerous, so hopefully I'll play well and it will be another good battle," said the second seed.


The final matches of the day saw women's top seed Nicol David start the defence of her title with a four-game win over France's Isabelle Stoehr, and former Amsterdam favourite John White, the US-based former world number one from Scotland, live up to his reputation as an entertaining hard-hitter as he and wildcard Piedro Schweertman gave the packed crowd an entertaining nightcap.


After being elevated to top seed in the men's event following the last-minute withdrawal of English compatriot James Willstrop with an ankle injury, Nick Matthew comfortably beat fellow Yorkshireman Shaun le Roux, a qualifier, 11-3, 11-3, 11-4.  The 28-year-old former British Open champion from Sheffield is competing in his first Tour event of the year after undergoing shoulder surgery in January.


"I was actually a bit nervous before going on, trying to remember the process I go through before the match.  Once I got the first couple of points out of the way though I started to feel more comfortable again.  You can play all the training matches in the world, it's just not the same a playing in a tournament," Matthew explained to the tournament website www.dutchopensquash.nl


"Physically I've worked hard for three months, but now I'm back the more matches I play the better I'll get and let's hope that takes me somewhere. 

"I've missed it - it's what I do and if you can't do what you do best it doesn't feel right.  All the people who have worked with me over the last eight months will be pleased to see me back in action I'm sure, if only to get rid of me for a while!


"Now I can smile and relax a little and enjoy the rest of the tournament."


The event also marked the European Tour debut of Miguel Angel Rodriguez, the 22-year-old from Bogotá who this week became the first Colombian to earn a world top twenty ranking.  Seeded five, Rodriguez needed 77 minutes to overcome Netherlands-based Australian qualifier Bradley Hindle 11-8, 4-11, 11-7, 11-9 and will now face John White for a place in the semi-finals.

Up ] [ 11. Roundup ] 10. Khan out ] 9. Last Wildcard ] 8. Draws Made ] 7. Men's Entries ] 6. Women's Entries ] 5. John White ] 4. Rachael Grinham ] 3. Nick Matthew ] 2. Nicol David ] 1. Dunlop ] 0. Europe's Biggest ]

11. Roundup

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