Women’s Squash Week : Olivia delivers
Top seed wins the title in Calgary
Meghan Glenday reports
In the first game of Sunday’s final round, Nada came out strong against top seed finalist Olivia Blatchford-Clyne beating her 11-8.
Nada was quick to anticipate, would get herself ready and in great position to volley hard and low, and really kept the momentum of the rallies high. Her fierce execution forced Olivia to play on the defense that led to quite a few errors.
Nada’s boasts, both in the back and mid-court, were also a great strength in the first game, which she hit with authority and super low to the tin.
Olivia seemed to struggle a bit with Nada’s movement on court, which she had expressed a few times throughout the match.
Despite Nada’s strong assertiveness in the first, Olivia readjusted her strategy and stepped up her own performance for the second, third and fourth. Unwilling to give in to any further pressure from her opponent, she put her feisty game face on and let Nada make all the mistakes moving forward.
Although Nada still scrambled hard to volley as many shots before they hit the back wall, her eagerness to cut off the ball almost put her at a disadvantage. There were a few too many that she would cut off without focusing on proper delivery, often putting her shots in a vulnerable position for Olivia to put away.
Olivia’s shots were tight to retrieve, and she was also quick to return any of Nada’s winners up front. She was getting to everything, switching up her pace on the ball, playing unpredictably, and threw Nada off of her game entirely. Olivia’s strong desire to dominate each rally paid off big time in this final match, and she will take home the victory 3-1.
Thanks so much to all of the sponsors, billets, volunteers and refs. You all make this week a huge success. Thanks to all of the professional and amateur players who came out to participate in this year’s event. We hope you all join us again in 2020!
Semis: Blatchford and Abbas through to final
Meghan Glenday reports
Both played a fairly safe game in order to minimize risk. They focused on clean shots, deep and tight length, and quickly putting away any loose balls. Their hard-low attacks won out in most of their rallies, with a few winning drops here and there.
Olivia Blatchford-Clyne managed to push herself just a bit harder to gain the necessary edge over her opponent. She’s a driven and persistent player, and it shows. She’s also very quick and her footwork is phenomenal. She pulled off yet another solid 3-1 win against Olivia F which will take her to Sunday’s final round.
Nada hits the ball early and hard, not leaving much time for her opponents to react and prep for their next shots. Nevertheless, similar to her match with Rachael, Lucy’s reaction time against Nada was also very notable. She read Nada’s shots well and got herself into a good position to counter.
Despite Lucy’s ability to anticipate early, Nada’s cross-court drops and mid-court boasts were impeccably sharp this round, giving her the advantage needed to steal a 3-1 victory.
It’s going to be a thrilling final match tomorrow! We’re looking forward to the intensity that both finalists are going to bring with them to the court!
Top seed Olivia Blatchford Clyne through to an all-American semi-final against Olivia Fiechter, while England’s Lucy Turmel beats second seed Rachael Grinham in five and faces Nada Abbas in the semis.
Meghan Glenday reports …
Friday, we celebrated hard on International Women’s Day! It’s such a cherished moment each year to spend this special day, here at Women’s Squash Week, surrounded by such an amazing group of fierce female athletes.
Cristina Gomez put on yet another great show, this time against top ranked player Olivia Blatchford Clyne.
Cristina’s strength in this match was hitting perfect length. In fact, all of her shots were on point, even when she was scrambling to retrieve the ball. She’s been in this flawless zone all week.
Olivia seemed to be quite frazzled by Cristina’s immaculate performance at times, and her frustration would show when she was unable to maintain control over the rallies. Games 2, 3 and 4 were close ones, and we could all tell she was feeling the pressure.
However, only willing to give up one game this round, Olivia managed to adjust her rhythm just enough to match and exceed that of Cristina’s, which got her the win 3-1. Olivia will meet Olivia Fiechter in tomorrow’s semis.
The match between Danielle Letourneau and Olivia Fiechter was going to be a challenging one either way. They both play a similar style game with similar shots. Each balanced out the rallies with a nice combination of hard and low shots, soft and precise drops and well-calculated lob shots to the back of the court.
Evenly matched, it ultimately came down to Olivia’s ability to make a few less errors, and maintain a bit more focus and determination throughout. She pulled off a 3-1 win against Danielle, but all four games were very close.
Nada Abbas dominated in her quarterfinal match against Sarah Cardwell. She owned the court with her hard and deep length shots that were difficult to recover out of the back corners. Sarah couldn’t seem to get herself into a good enough position to retrieve and deliver winners. Nada took the well-deserved 3-0 win, not giving up more than 5 points in each game.
Lucy Turmel blew away the crowd tonight with her victorious 3-2 win against second seed Rachael Grinham. Lucy played impeccable squash. She read Rachael’s game well and switched directions quickly, always putting herself in a position to set up her next shot.
Although Rachael likes to switch up her pace on the ball, attack her shots quickly, and keep all of her opponents guessing until the very last millisecond, it didn’t seem to work this round. Maybe she wasn’t playing to her deceptive strengths enough, or Lucy just anticipated really well.
All in all, it was an intense battle to top off Day 3 of Women’s Squash Week. Lucy will face Nada in the semifinal round.
Best of luck to all four players making it through to Saturday!
Day Two, Round Two:
Spain’s Cristina Gomez joins the top seven seeds in the quarter-finals …
There was lots of energy down at the courts on Thursday, as the ladies amateur event kicked off.
A few highlights of today’s PSA matches:
Up against the #1 seed Olivia Blatchford Clyne, Tessa ter Sluis hit hard and low, playing at a fast pace in an attempt to throw the highest ranked opponent off her game. Tessa is able to really crack the ball, but her short game seemed to fail her this round, hitting quite a few into the tin.
Olivia held her own well, played confident and strong throughout the entire match. She seized every opportunity to jump on Tessa’s loose shots.
Cristina Gomez dominated the pace in her match with Jessica Turnbull. Her crisp and precise cross court length had forced Jessica to hang back too much, and often leaving her with only one option – to deliver a loose boast. Keeping that pressure on gave Cristina plenty of time to deliver a mean short game. Cristina will face Olivia Blatchford Clyne tomorrow.
She will be facing Calgary’s Danielle Letourneau in Friday’s quarterfinal round. Danielle also had an easy 3-0 victory against Sanne Veldkamp.
We’re looking forward to seeing how Olivia and Danielle’s match will go on Friday, they both seem to have a very similar style.
Nada Abbas and Marie Stephan had quite a tense match, running through each other’s paths a little too often. Their third game was a real battle, neither one of them would let up, which made for some crowd-pleasing rallies. Marie eventually stole that game 18-16, but the other three were conquered by Nada’s ability to keep the pressure high. Nada took her time coming off the court once the match was over. She was exhausted and relieved to say the least.
Sarah Cardwell breezed through her match with Charlotte Jagger 3-0. She will face Nada in her next round tomorrow. We’re excited to see more of what Sarah has to offer against a fast opponent like Nada who can really smoke it down the wall.
Lucy Beecroft played a solid round against opponent Lucy Turmel. Although they both played with high intensity, they also made a great effort to clear. They danced around each other well, allowing for a nice a smooth game.
Lucy B is quick to the ball and her deception is very impressive. There were quite a few long rallies played, and Lucy T managed to hold her end with just a bit more determination, taking the match in 4.
Ali is a strong fundamental player with good consistency and great endurance. Still, her ability to properly anticipate each shot was thrown by Rachael’s unconventional style and creative play. Rachel will meet Lucy Turmel on Friday, and we’re looking forward to it!
Very best of luck to the eight ladies who successfully made it through to the quarterfinals!!
After some late draw changes, Round One at the Calgary Winter Club was reduced to five matches, which saw Cristina Gomez, Sanne Veldkamp, Marie Stephan, Lucy Beecroft and Charlotte Jagger progress to round two.
The toughest match for Day One of Women’s Squash Week was the first one. In 40 minutes, Cristina Gomez beat Alicia Mead 3-1, but the rest of Wednesday’s matches were won in three.
As expected, the higher ranked players seemed to dominate the court in this first round, except for Sanne Veldkamp who managed to beat Jelena Dutina 3-0. We wish her luck in round two of the main event tomorrow, hopefully she can continue to move her way up the ranks.
Marie Stephan took her win against Zahab Kamal Khan in the third match, beating her 3-0 in only 15 minutes. Zahab seemed to be quite limited with her movement and delivery today, and Marie easily put away all of her loose shots.
The fourth match of the evening was won by Charlotte Jagger against Bruna Marchesi Petrillo. Charlotte played a much steadier and cleaner game, with strong left forehand drives, and a soft touch up front. Bruna was left scrambling quite a bit throughout each rally, hitting a few too many shots into the middle of the court, which ultimately lost her the match 3-0.
The final match of the night was played by Canadian wildcard Hannah Blatt against Lucy Beercroft. Although Hannah put in a solid effort to keep up, Lucy’s racquet skills and efficiency on court were on a whole other level.
She anticipated well, and owned the pace for the whole match. We look forward to watching her in the next round against Lucy Turmel. Good luck, Lucy!
To top off the evening, the Sponsor-Player meet and greet was another great hit. Wonderful atmosphere and fabulous spread once again. A huge thanks to Elizabeth and Enzo for welcoming us into their home, and all of those who helped out. What a fantastic night!
WSW returns to Calary
The 6th annual Calgary CFO Consulting Services Women’s Squash Week will be kicking off at the Calgary Winter Club on March 6, 2019, with the first match set to begin Wednesday afternoon.
The new PSA Challenger Tour 20 format will mean increased prize money, increased international competition, and a whole new level of performance from the PSA players.
This year we are very excited to welcome our top seed Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA), currently ranked #19 in the world. This will be her first appearance at this tournament and a highly anticipated one.
Our second seed is a returning favourite, Rachael Grinham (AUS), always offering up an exhibitionist style performance.
Third seed we welcome back U19 player Nada Abbas (EGY). She made it through to the quarter finals in 2017 where she was then beat out by Rachael 3-0.
Fourth seed we have our local Calgarian Danielle Letourneau who went from being the tournament wildcard in 2015, a finalist in 2017 and a quarter finalist in 2018. We’re eager to watch Danielle make her mark again this year and push her way through the draw!
A big welcome to all of the new and returning players, and hopefully a ‘warm’ one as well. Last month happened to be the fourth coldest February in Calgary’s history, but March does have a significantly better forecast, starting with this week!
Running alongside the PSA event is our Women’s Squash Week Amateur Tournament, Thursday through Sunday. We have 50+ amateur women signed up to play. It will be another exciting week of squash!