Cayman World Open 2012
presented by BDO
Tue 18th Dec, Round Two, Bottom:
 Natalie Grinham (Ned) 3-2  Joelle King (Nzl) 8/11, 11/3, 8/11, 11/8,
 Low Wee Wern (Mas) 3-0  Kasey Brown (Aus) 11/5, 11/8, 12/10 (35m)
 Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Nicolette Fernandes (Guy) 11/9, 11/9, 11/7 (51m)
 Raneem El Weleily (Egy) 3-1  Dipika Pallikal (Ind) 7/11, 11/9, 11/6,
World Open course
Four time World Open finalist Natalie Grinham - undeterred by the Haka performed
right in front of her at the opening of the match - set her sights on more than
just a fifth final - after beating fifth seed Joelle King in a five-setter
lasting just short of an hour the Dutchwoman declared “I’d rather win my first
title than just make a fifth final!”
The match was a rather scrappy affair with both contenders playing well in
patches, then succumbing to errors, not helped by the hot humid conditions and
the frequent intervention of the court sweeper. “My hands never sweat, and look
at the floor,” said Grinham at the end of the match.
For the most part it was Grinham’s shots that dictated the match - when they
were going in she was on top, when King could run them down the Kiwi would
frequently take the point.
Suffice to say that the first four game were shared, only the second not being
in doubt, but Grinham always had the edge in the decider, winning it on her
second match ball.
“That was very tough,” she said, “I’ve come here from frezing conditions and
it’s soooo hot here!
“I made the World Open semis last year, but my results hve been up and down, I’m
just happy that I’m playing well. I like being the underdog, there’s no pressure
on me then, so I’ll take that scalp.”
getting closer ...
Low Wee Wern joined Malaysian team-mate Nicol David in the quarter-finals, but
the seventh seed had a much harder time of it tonight against Kasey Brown.
The rallies were always competitive, but the Aussie suffered from too many
mistakes in the first two games, much to her own frustration and Low’s gratitude
as the Malaysian took the lead 11/5, 11/8.
Brown started the third better, leading 3/0 and holding the slight edge all the
way to a 9/8 and 10/9 lead. The errors returned at the wrong time though as a
tin wasted the game ball, a loose return resulted in a stroke for match ball to
Low, and a scuffed return off a tight drive spelt the end.
“It’s always tough against Kasey, she never gives up and was getting closer all
the time,” said Low. “The pace seemed to get faster and faster but you can’t
afford to slow down against any of the top girls.
“I’m used to playing in conditions like this which might have been an advantage
to me. I can play fine with my leg strapped [after a hamstring injury in Hong
Kong], but I’m glad to be able to get through in three.”
Out of her
skin, but ...
What a great performance from Caribbean Champion Nicolette Fernandes, who pushed
world number three Laura Massaro so, so close for three games that delighted the
Cayman crowd but also left them with a bit of ‘what might have been’ feeling.
She played out of her skin, did Nicolette, matching her illustrious opponent all
the way, even if she did get a little overexcited at times.
From 5-all in the first Nicolette edged into the lead 8-6, but Laura kept to her
steady, solid game, and took five of the last six points to take the lead.
Nicolette started the second even better, a 4-1 lead accompanied by a few fist
pumps and “C’mon” cries. Laura worked her way back into it, levelled at 7-all,
but Nicolette wouldn’t let her get away, and at 9-all it was in the balance. Two
volleys into the tin spelt bad news for the crowd though as Laura doubled her
Roles were reversed in the third - 3-0 for Laura but Nicolette levels at 3-all,
4-all, 5-all, 6-all. Despite some serious heroics from Nicolette Laura will take
five of the next six points to end the Caribbean dream, but what an effort, from
Nicolette and her crowd, well played indeed.
“Nicolette’s had a fantastic tournament, and that shows you just what a bit of
home support can do for you,” said a relieved winner. “She pushed me all the way
in each game, it just shows you can’t take anything for granted the level is so
close these days.
“Nicol will be tough for anyone to beat, but until you get through to play her
you just have to take each match as it comes.”
Nicolette was delighted with her World Open, but her instant reaction was
“I’m thrilled with my tournament, disappointed it’s over obviously but I’ve
never had support like this anywhere, a lot of the girls have told me they’re
jealous. They believed in me and made me believe in myself - I’m going to take
this experience and run with it.
“It didn’t feel as though I was the number 40 playing the number 3, it was just
a couple of points in each game, that’s what it felt like to me anyway.
“I had to cancel my flight, so I don’t even know if I’ll get home for Christmas,
but it’s been well worth it,” concluded Nicolette.
The final last sixteen match promised for a while to deliver the third upset of
the round as India’s Dipika Pallikal led second seed Raneem El Weleily by a game
and a few points.
As you would expect with these two players, rallies were generally short, with
both going for their shots and both scoring outright winners at regular
intervals, with a few errors from both sided thrown in for good measure.
Dipika’s shots held sway for the early part of the match but Raneem slowly but
surely found her range, levelled in a close finish to the second game and began
to take control from the outset of the third.
“We have very similar games and it’s always close between us,” said the winner,
“she had me all over the court for a while so I’m pleased to be able to come
through to win it like that, it was far from an easy win.”
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