It was the last day at South Sound Squash Club, and a busy one too, with eight matches each of two courts, starting at noon and finishing …. whenever (it’s the Caribbean, after all) …
16-Dec, Round One: Nicol David (Mas) 3-0 Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy) 11/8, 11/5, 11/5 (31m)
 Annie Au (Hkg) 3-1 Line Hansen (Den) 11/2, 11/5, 10/12, 11/8 (42m)  Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-0 Sam Cornett (Can) 11/6, 11/5, 11/5 (24m)
 Madeline Perry (Irl) 3-1 Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 11/6, 13/11, 6/11, 11/2 (44m)  Alison Waters (Eng) 3-0 Marlene West (Cay) 11/1, 11/4, 11/3 (19m)
 Samantha Teran (Mex) 3-0 Lauren Briggs (Eng) 11/7, 11/3, 11/7 (35m)  Jenny Duncalf (Eng) 3-1 Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) 11/9, 1/11, 11/5, 11/8 (45m)
 Camille Serme (Fra) 3-1 Emma Beddoes (Eng) 11/8, 10/12, 11/7, 11/6 (50m)  Kasey Brown (Aus) 3-0 Latasha Khan (Usa) 11/5, 11/3, 11/4 (25m)
 Low Wee Wern (Mas) 3-1 Sarah Kippax (Eng) 7/11, 11/8, 11/7, 11/5
Nicolette Fernandes (Guy) 3-2  Rachael Grinham (Aus) 3/11, 6/11, 12/10, 11/5, 11/9 (65m)
 Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-0 Catalina Pelaez (Col) 11/4, 11/4, 11/6 (19m)
 Joelle King (Nzl) 3-0 Joey Chan (Hkg) 11/0, 11/6, 11/5 (27m)  Dipika Pallikal (Ind) 3-0 Delia Arnold (Mas) 13/11, 11/9, 11/9 (42m)
 Raneem El Weleily (Egy) 3-1 Aisling Blake (Irl) 11/9, 5/11, 11/4, 11/8 (42m)
Nicolette’s at it again
If the first main draw match of the Cayman World Open provided double disappointment for the home fans as Cayman’s own Marlene West went down in straight games and then announced her retirement (more to follow on that one), the next match on South Sound’s court one more than made up for it as Caribbean Champion Nicolette Fernandes came from matchballs down in the third to beat former world champion Rachael Grinham!
Having come through an 83-minute marathon last night, the early signs weren’t good for Fernandes as Grinham’s tricky game left the Guyanan struggling for most of the first two games, and at 10/7 in the third it looked all over.
Five points in a row for Fernandes made all the difference though, and having taken the third she was on top for then next two games, running down everything Grinham could throw at her and reaching matchballs of her own at 10/6.
“I’m just so happy, and grateful, and thankful for everything,” was Nicolette’s immediate reaction.
“You have to believe you can win, even if you don’t expect to. I don’t even remember saving those match balls in the third, but when I got to 10/6 in the fifth and she started coming back I just told myself to keep playing the way I’d played to get to that point.
“Very happy, very thankful.”
Elsewhere in the early matches Low Wee Wern overcame a sluggish start to beat Sarah Kippax 3/1, two-time Cayman finalist Jenny Duncalf recovered from a second-game 1/11 blip to beat compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry, and Hong Kong finalist Camille Serme came through a tough four game opener against Emma Beddoes.
More English success came as third seed Laura Massaro ended the run of Colombian qualifier Catalina Pelaez in straight games.
It wasn’t quite as straightforward for Annie Au, Madeline Perry and Natalie Grinham, the 9th, 10th and 11th seeds having to work hard for their four-game victories over Line Hansen, Nour El Tayeb and Donna Urquhart, all taking, like Duncalf, three-quarters of an hour.
Weleily, playing her first ever match on the island, was given a good workout by Aisling Blake before winning in what seems to be today’s customary 3/1 in 40-odd minutes.
“I don’t recall playing Aisling before,” said the world number two, “but I know she’s been improving and getting some good results recently. She played really well and I had to work hard to win that.
“It’s great to finally get to play in Cayman and I’m looking forward to playing at Camana Bay in the next round.”
David faced the toughest possible first round draw in Egypt’s Omneya Abdel Kawy, who has been beating top ten players for fun since her return from injury. The first was nip and tuck and at 8-all it was anyone’s, but as is her wont it was Nicol who finished strongly taking the lead 11/8.
From 2/5 down in the second the Malaysian took nine points in a row to double her lead and wrapped up the match in just over half an hour.
“It was definitely a tough draw, for both of us,” said Nicol. “She’s all there now, and when she’s firing them in it really puts the pressure on you. If she’d taken that first game it could have gone any way, so I was pleased to finish that one, I really didn’t want to have a big struggle in the first round.
“Glad to take it in three, and really looking forward to playing on the glass court now, the setting looks really spectacular.”
Full coverage on the official site: www.worldopensquash.com