Grainger, Atkinson, Brind, Bailey look strong in First Round Wins
INAUGURAL SAN FRANCISCO EVENT
The San Francisco Bay Club, and Pro Jennifer Monck, have created a great new tournament. Create a fine tournament in a great city and they will come: The inaugural WISPA San Francisco International Challenge drew the heart of the WISPA players and a varied complement of qualifiers, each with their own goals and motivations.
It was a picture-perfect spring day in San Francisco, not a cloud or breath of fog in the air, but the Bay Club buzzed all day with a revolving crowd of spectators and interesting contests.
MACFIE'S CREATIVE ENERGY
Senga Macfie can never be accused of being boring or lacking creativity. She was in good form this evening, in the marquee match against top seed Natalie Grainger. The tournament field has, in their words, all but conceded the tournament to Natalie Grainger. But Senga was determined to show her stuff. After a few costly errors provided Natalie the opening she needed to finish the first game at 9-6, Grainger sailed away in the second game, taking a six to one lead. At which point, Macfie came alive, playing the crowd, the ref, and her opponent.
Some wonderful shot variety, lobs and pinpoint volley drops kept Grainger struggling to create a rhythm. Macfie took the game at 10-8 but she was already looking pretty tired by midway through the game. "It was my football team." Macfie explained after the match. "I had to go out and watch Arsenal play the EUFA Cup yesterday noon, and I hadn't fully recovered from that today." No matter - she played well, pressed Grainger, and came away with a respectable loss.
Latasha Khan made it look deceptively simple against Laura Keating this afternoon. Khan wisely pushed Keating back into the backcourt with a driving game, and mixed it up with good touch. Keating, who was ready for a battle in which she could take advantage of her youth and fitness was left wondering what had happened.
Keating's compatriot, Melissa Vacca came back with a smooth win over Latasha's sister Shabana Khan.
VANESSA MAKES IT LOOK SMOOTH
Vanessa Atkinson, shaking off her first round loss to Senga Macfie in Las Vegas last week, looked sharp and smooth in dispatching Canadian champion, Melanie Jans.
Atkinson was all over the court, showing off her fast move to the ball and devastating volley drop, against with Jans could only struggle and smile.
"Yes, some of my shots were working today," conceded Atkinson. "I'll have to play better though. If I do, I have a pretty good shot at the finals. But there's always more pressure when you know you should be able to make it to the later rounds."
The two Natalie's clash tomorrow, one the established star, Natalie Grainger, relaxed and confident; the other, the eager Natalie Grinham from Australia. This has the making of the match of the day, with Grinham's compact speed and stamina certainly having the potential of stretching Grainger's rhythm. And with Geoff Hunt in Grinham's corner - anything's possible.
On the other side of the draw, Jenny Tranfield and Tania Bailey will collide in a toss up. With the two totally familar with each other's game and equally determined, it will be an exciting all-England battle.
In the other two matches, Latasha Khan tries to stop Vanessa Atkinson and Melissa Vacca tries to topple Stephanie Brind.