Pilley Puts Paid To Dutch Double Hopes In Amsterdam
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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:
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.
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
"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.
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
The event also marked the European Tour debut of
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