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TOC: Pallikal meets Grinham at Grand Central

Dip for the top: Dipika Pallikal beats Jaclyn Hawkes to reach the final. Images courtesy of

The women’s final match-up will be a test of experience versus youth as 33-year-old Natalie Grinham and 20-year-old Dipika Pallikal play for the title.

Experience carried the day – just barely- in Grinham’s semifinal match against 16-year-old Nour El Sherbini. “It’s not fair,” Grinham said jokingly after the match. “She’s half my age and twice my height.”

After dropping the first game 6-11, the second seed found her stride, winning the next two games 11-5. But El Sherbini came back in the fourth, winning it 11-7. “Nour changed her game a little bit in the fourth,” Grinham reflected. “I let her dictate the points, thinking that I would let her lose the match rather than trying to win it. So in the fifth, I knew I had to go out to win it.”

Grinham faces another young challenger in the semifinals as a result of Dipika Pallikal defeat of New Zealand’s Jaclyn Hawkes in straight games.
The 20-year-old from India was especially effective when stepping in to take an early volley – a playing pattern that was the hallmark of her current coach Sarah FitzGerald.
After coming off the court Pallikal’s competitive instincts were evident. “I won’t be happy until I have finished my job and won the tournament,” she said.

Women’s Semi-final Results
[2] Natalie Grinham (NED) bt. Nour El Sherbini   6-11, 11-5, 11-5,7-11,11-4  45 mins
[7] Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt. [5] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL).11-5,14-12,11-9  40 mins
Schedule of Play
Thursday, January 26, 2012 in Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal
6:30 PM  Women’s Final [2] Natalie Grinham (NED) v. [7] Dipika Pallikal (IND)
8:00 PM  Men’s Final       [1] Nick Matthew (ENG) v. [2] James Willstrop (ENG)
Dipika Pallikal beats Donna Urquhart at Grand Central

WSA Tournament of Champions

The early rounds of the WSA Tournament of Champions wielded a number of surprise results as the WSA World Tour joined the PSA event in Grand Central Station, New York City.

Local hope Latasha Khan of the USA, dismissed No8 seed Nour El Tayeb, after the Egyptian put in a valiant comeback effort from two games down, only for Khan to see off the match 11/1 in the fifth.  El Tayeb was followed out of the competition by Mexican No1 and No3 seed Samantha Teran who, after reaching the Greenwich Open semi final earlier in the week, was unable to mount a challenge against promising 16-year-old prodigy Nour El Sherbini.

Victories for the other seeds in round one were fairly straightforward, except for top seed Rachael Grinham, who had to fight back from two games down to defeat Kanzy Emad El-Defrawy in a long five-game battle.

The quarter final round gave audiences at Grand Central Station another surprise result, as New Zealand international Jaclyn Hawkes ended hopes of an all-Grinham final after beating the elder sister Rachael in three games. However, her sibling Natalie progresses will progress after beating Sarah Kippax of England in three, despite a closely fought final game.

Nour El Sherbini won the battle of the unseeded players for a place in the semi-finals, as the teenager ended home hopes by beating Latasha Khan 3-0 in 26 minutes.

Reigning Indian champion then caused a final upset of the early rounds as the No7 seed got the better of No4 seed Donna Urquhart of Australia in an intense five-game battle lasting over an hour.

Semi final draw:

[5] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) vs [7] Dipika Pallikal (IND)

Nour El Sherbini (EGY) vs [2] Natalie Grinham (NED)

Quarter finals:

[2] Natalie Grinham (NED) bt. 6] Sarah Kippax (ENG) – 11/3, 11/4, 12/10

Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt. Latasha Khan (USA) – 11/6, 13/11, 11/3

[5] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) bt. [1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) – 11/5,11/8, 11/5

[7] Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt. [4] Donna Urquhart (AUS) – 11/9, 11/5, 7/11, 10/12, 11/9



[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Kanzy Emad El-Defrawy (EGY) – 5/11, 11/13, 11/9, 11/3, 11/5

[5] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) bt [Q] Lauren Selby (ENG) – 11/2, 11/2, 11/5

[4] Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt [Q] Maria Toor Pakay (PAK) – 11/7, 11/7, 11/3

[7] Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt Olivia Blatchford (USA) – 11/5, 11/3, 11/7

Latasha Khan (USA) bt [8] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) – 11/7, 13/11, 7/11, 9/11, 11/1

Nour El Sherbini bt [3] Samantha Teran (MEX) – 11/6, 11/9, 9/11, 11/7

[6] Sarah Kippax (ENG) bt [Q] Miranda Ranieri (CAN) – 15/13, 11/2, 11/5

[2] Natalie Grinham (NED) bt [Q] Lucie Fialova (CZA) – 11/8, 11/4, 11/2


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