Las Vegas and squash. Hardly seems
a likely combination. Yet in 1946 when "Bugsy" Siegel, founded Las Vegas
by building the 105-room Flamingo Hotel in the middle of a hot, dry desert,
he installed squash courts (in addition to a 40-horse stable, golf course,
trapshooting range and championship swimming pool.) Unfortunately, "Bugsy"
ran with a tough crowd and caught a sniper's bullet the following year.
But his legacy survived and squash remains as part of the recreational
The Sport Club Las Vegas, the city's
premier fitness club and host to the $19,000 Bright Lights Las Vegas Open
continues in "Bugsy's" tradition. The club boasts four squash courts,
9,000 square feet of fitness equipment, indoor track and outdoor tennis
courts. Double rows of 24 palm trees line the drive approaching the club.
Their WISPA tournament, now in its third year, highlights the talents
of both 'bright' new players as well as veterans.
Call for Bailey
In the first quarterfinal match this
evening, 1999 World Open Champion Cassie C Campion, coached by her husband
David, took four games to close out raising star and fellow English compatriot
Tania Bailey 9-5, 7-9, 9-2, 9-7.
"It was a tough match," explained
Campion, the current World No. 1. "These courts are narrow (20', converted
racquetball) and the rallies tend to be longer. I lost my length in the
second game and she played a few good rallies." Bailey, an up and coming
player, "beat Leilani (Joyce) a couple of months ago and she's playing
well." Joyce upset Campion in last year's event to win.
Campion advances to face Natalie Granger
in the semis. "Natalie's had a day-off so it's going to be tough tomorrow.
With the courts being so hot and so narrow, the rallies are going to be
longer. I'm looking forward to it."
time for Macree
Grainger, seeded fourth, received
a walk over this evening against Rebecca Macree. Macree flew home to be
with her mother who is suffering from leukemia. Tournament Director Amy
Milanek received a call from Macree's sister at 2:00 A.M. saying that
her mother's health had taken a turn for the worst since deciding to stop
chemotherapy treatments. Macree, who is 90% deaf, is extremely close to
her mother who serves as coach and manager to Rebecca. All her fellow
WISPA friend wish her only the best on this Mother's Day weekend.
and the Sun
Linda Charman and a sunburned Stephanie
Brind played an up-tempo third match of
the evening. Brind found her way to the quarter-finals by beating Latasha
Khan last night in the first round despite suffering from sunstroke. At
match ball she got dizzy and couldn't see, but still managed to beat USA's
number one player in four.
Charman, twisting and turning Brind
around the tee tonight, punished Brind's loose balls into the middle with
deep, powerful cross-courts. Brind did not make it easy for Charman who
threw her racquet twice in anger. She countered with several exceptional
backhand volley boasts catching the nick and finding Charman flatfooted
at the tee. Brind lost, however, 10-8, 10-8, and 10-9.
"I couldn't close out the games,"
Brind said after the match. "I need to believe that I can beat the top
players. I'm getting better at the mental side. I used to be really nervous
playing them, but now I'm trying to concentrate on being patient instead
of finishing the rally by making some silly shot into the tin."
The 21-year-old Brind plans on taking
a break after the next tournament in San Francisco and start in again
with fitness training to increase her strength and power at Potters Bar
in Hartfordshire, England where she trains with coach Paul Carter.
The crowd of 70 or so players and
fans clearly recognized the mismatched playing levels with Macfie facing
World No. 2 Joyce. Macfie, who won the U19 British Junior Open in 1987,
arrived at the quarters after upsetting Vanessa Atkinson last night. "Vanessa
played terribly last night," admitted Macfie. "Very up and down." Atkinson
recently called off her engagement to Australian PSA player Billy Haddrell.
Joyce handily beat Macfie 9-2, 9-2,
9-2. "I'm pretty pissed off. I could have done a lot better. I hoped to
get more points against her," explained the 31-year old pro from the Edinburgh
Sports Club. "I got hacking with her. I went to her pace and the ball
is so bouncy from the heat it makes the rallies longer."
The ever-cautious Joyce however commented
"Senga is a tricky player so I took nothing for granted. She has upset
the top players before so in no way did I underestimate her." Joyce has
her eye on winning again this year, "but I'm going to take it one point
at a time."
Women's Bright Lights Las Vegas Squash Open, Las Vegas, USA