Grinham Dominates "Not Sharp" Atkinston
Top seeded Rachael Grinham of Australia had the necessary mental focus to subdue Vanessa Atkinson of the Netherlands 9-2, 9-7, 9-3 while and second seed Cassie Jackman of England brushed aside Rachael's sister, fourth seed Natalie Grinham of Australia 9-0, 9-5, 10-8 last night to set up a final clash today in the Women's International Squash Professional Association Classic Championship at the Al A'ali Mall Complex's specially designed glass-back court.
In defence of her world number one ranking, Rachael Grinham kept the concentration she needed to prevent Vanessa Atkinson from getting going in a match which lasted 45 minutes.
In the first game, after some introductory rallies, Rachael captured the momentum she would really never give up in running off six unanswered points.
Vanessa Atkinson took leads of 4-1 and 7-3 in the second game, but couldn't consolidate her position, and surrendered the game and match 9-7.
Vanessa Atkinson had come to Bahrain on the back of a hat-trick of titles, one of which in Brunei had seen her beat the older Grinham sister 10/8 in the deciding game of a tumultuous final.
In Bahrain, however, Atkinson was less vibrant - and not helped by the world number one playing with fewer obvious patterns and not allowing the Dutchwoman to get comfortable. It seemed possible that an ebb and flow might be created for the match when Atkinson went 7-3 up in the second, but Grinham clambered out of the hole and ceased to be troubled again.
Assessing her lacklustre performance, Atkinson suggested: "I didn't feel that sharp and I didn't get forward enough. Mind you, Rachael wasn't missing anything, and as for her cross court volley drop - what can you say! But part of me is a little relieved to have finally lost, as I can now get myself motivated positively to get back," conceded the Dutch star.
WINS WITH A FLOURISH
Although the rallies in the second were more prolonged, Jackman scored a further five points before Grinham junior chalked up her first. The Perspex court suits Jackman's game and while Grinham was flailing around to get racket on ball, she was beginning to settle into a rhythm. The Dutch-based Queenslander managed a handful of points but Jackman was soon two games up.
In the third game, however, the second seed soon found herself 0-5 down as the elfin-like Grinham managed to take up residence in front of Jackman on a more regular basis. Though Jackman began to slam home a few winners, the Australian was managing a few ripostes. These took her to game ball, but a superb reaching backhand volley levelled up affairs for the 31-year-old from Norfolk.
A compelling drop set up match ball for Jackman, and when in the next rally Grinham had to hit a second consecutive back wall boast the coup de grace of a drop was delivered - and the English star was into her 55th WISPA World Tour final.
The victory was surprisingly comprehensive, given that Jackman had been sidelined for two months with an Achilles injury and had only returned to active play two weeks ago. "As a result of my injury problems I came here not knowing what to expect but I am playing pretty well. A 3/0 win over Natalie is very pleasing since we have had some real battles," admitted Jackman.
Grinham, meanwhile, was simply confused. "It went so fast I really don't know what happened in the entire match," she mused.
set up the first showdown of world #s one and two of the new season.
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