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Semis Report II
  [last update was 19-oct-02 ]   All content © 2002 Squashtalk

2002 SquashTalk coverage will feature live
updates throughout the event from Martin Bronstein

October 18, 2002 from Martin Bronstein at the Herlev Club in Copenhagen


Team Egypt (photo ©2002, courtesy Danish Squash, www.wwtc.dk)
It must seem like a holiday for the Australian squad. Not that the miserable rainy weather and grey skies will put them in their bikinis and sandals, but the lack of any real hard work and sweat - except perhaps in their training sessions - must give that them that day-off –work feeling. Despite Egypt’s burgeoning talent, their players are not yet ready to take on the likes of Sarah Fitz-Gerald and the Grinham sisters. So once again we were treated to some interesting patches of squash played within a foregone conclusion.

It started with Rachael Grinham, who now lives in Cairo and trains with the Egyptians, facing Eman el Amir, a young lady with the face of an angel. Or at least how I think an angel would look. She can play good squash and hit the nick with enough grace that you want to make a full-length ballet around just one shot.

But Grinham, small as she is, can whack that ball and gets round the court like a rabbit fed on spinach and rocket fuel. She was able to put pressure on El Amir simply by the pace of her shots. As soon as she hit a loose or half-power shot, El Amir would put the ball away for a winner. But there weren’t many of those and Grinham had the first game in five minutes, 9-1. There is not much more to write about this match: Grinham is ranked seven in the world and rapidly improving, having played 12 tournaments in the last 12 months while El Amir is still in her teens and just starting to bloom. It was really no contest and Grinham took the next two games in about 15 minutes for the loss of four points.

Sarah Fitz-Gerald kept her record (not losing a game during the entire championship) intact in her match against Omneya Abdel Kawy, although she came slightly close in the third game when Kawy kept to her intelligent approach to the game while Fitz-Gerald was finding the tin with attempted winners. Sarah won the first two games and it was good to see Kawy trying to make a game of it, unlike yesterday when she virtually walked away from competing. So there were some interesting rallies and a few smiles as this ultra talented Egyptian put the ball away with just a flick of the wrist.

In the third game Fitz-Gerald was 7-1 when Kawy started her run, helped by a pile of errors from the Australia – more than she normally makes in an entire 5-game match. Still hand in at 7-7 , Kawy was denied a let, which finished her run and Fitz-Gerald finished it off 9-7, securing the game, match and the tie, putting Australia into the final against England, which we expected all along.

The final rubber was played best of three with Robyn Cooper having a good work out with Salma Shabana, who insisted on taking her six month old son on court with her when the teams were presented before play began. It ended in Cooper’s favour, but the interest had long evaporated.

Australia will be looking for revenge against England tomorrow. Two years ago in Sheffield, they were defending champions but through the withdrawal of Carol Owens and Rachel Grinham, were beaten by England in the final. They have every right to be confident about tomorrow’s clash: Fitz-Gerald will almost certainly beat Linda Charman and Rachel Grinham beat Tania Bailey 3-0 last time they met in the Singapore Open in August, which will make the third string redundant. But I have a feeling that Bailey will not be easy to beat tomorrow. We shall see.

Goodnight from Copenhagen….back in Odense tomorrow for the 1500hrs final.


McWil Courtwall World Team Championships
Australia 3 Egypt 0

1 Sarah Fitz-Gerald bt Omneya Abdel Kawy 9-2 9-4 9-7 (35 min)
2 Rachael Grinham bt Eman El Amir 9-1 9-3 9-1 (30 min)
3 Robyn Cooper bt Salma Shabana 9-3 4-9 9-3 (28 min)

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