Breakthrough win as Emily Whitlock beats Rachael Grinham for the first time
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent
England’s 21-year-old Emily Whitlock claimed the biggest WSA World Tour squash title of her career when she upset top-seeded Australian Rachael Grinham, the defending champion, in the final of the Calgary CFO Consulting Services WSA Women’s Squash Week, the WSA Challenger 15 event at Calgary Winter Club in Calgary, Canada.
Third seed Whitlock, ranked 27 in the world, made her breakthrough in the semi-finals where she defeated Denmark’s No.2 seed Line Hansen for the first time.
The four-game win took Macclesfield-born Whitlock into the 16th Tour final of her career – and her first meeting with the experienced former world number one and world champion Grinham.
In the other semi-final, 38-year-old world No.13 Grinham battled for four games to overcome fellow countrywoman Donna Urquhart, the fourth seed from New South Wales who last week celebrated her first Tour win since making her comeback after foot surgery.
The domestic duel heralded Grinham’s 70th appearance in a WSA Tour final, since her first in March 1998!
Whitlock won the opening game in the final, but the title-holder from Queensland regained the advantage to open up a 2/1 lead.
Defying the 14 ranking positions separating the pair, the ever-improving Whitlock recovered to take the fourth, then surged ahead to close out the match 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6 to claim the highest-ranked scalp of her life!
“What ultimately got Emily the winning title was not only her resilience to go for every winner that Rachael dished out, but to then put them all away herself,” said a spokesman for the event. “Truly world class squash played by both!”
Whitlock was delighted to win the 11th WSA Tour title of her career: “I got to Calgary 10 days before the tournament started so I could prepare properly for the altitude – and I felt that I improved as the tournament went on.
“The match against Rachael was extremely demanding mentally and physically but I stuck to my game plan, gritted my teeth and chased everything down! The first game gave me a lot of confidence that I could compete with a player of Rachael’s reputation, although at 2/1 down things didn’t look great!
“But I just kept going and made a few adjustments which helped me in the last two games.”
Calgary CFO Consulting Services WSA Women’s Squash Week, Calgary, Canada
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [WC] Danielle Letourneau (CAN) 11-6, 11-9, 11-5
[Q] Jackie Moss (CAN) bt  Milou van der Heijden (NED) 11-8, 12-14, 13-11, 11-8
 Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt Nikki Todd (CAN) 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-5
 Lucie Fialova (CZE) bt Lotte Eriksen (NOR) 11-9, 11-5, 11-6
[Q] Fiona Moverley (ENG) bt  Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) 12-10, 11-6, 10-12, 4-11, 11-3
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 11-2, 11-8, 11-4
 Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt [Q] Milnay Louw (RSA) 10-12, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8
 Line Hansen (DEN) bt [Q] Cyrielle Peltier (FRA) 8-11, 12-14, 11-7, 11-8, 11-4
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [Q] Jackie Moss (CAN) 11-2, 11-4, 11-5
 Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt  Lucie Fialova (CZE) 12-10, 11-8, 11-6
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt [Q] Fiona Moverley (ENG) 11-9, 11-3, 11-6
 Line Hansen (DEN) bt  Nadine Shahin (EGY) 11-9, 12-10, 3-11, 11-8
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt  Donna Urquhart (AUS) 3-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt  Line Hansen (DEN) 11-4, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt  Rachael Grinham (AUS) 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6
Picture by WSA