Khan Last American Standing in Richmond

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Latasha Khan was the only American to reach Friday’s quarterfinals.

The Women’s Squash Association Richmond Open quarterfinals saw all four seeds advance to Friday’s semifinals in closely-contested matches at the Country Club of Virginia.

Follow @RVAOpenSquash on Twitter for updates throughout the tournament.

Follow results on the 2014 Richmond Open tournament page.

Kristen Lange reports from Richmond:

Kristen Lange vs Siyoli Waters
It was a great day of matches in Richmond as all the seeds were stretched to their limits by the respective 7, 6, and 5 seeds as well as the Colombian. Starting off the day was the imposing South African Siyoli Waters and the feisty American Kristen Lange. Lange started out the match strong, going for shots, finding her targets and aiming for some great nicks, she took the game 11-4. However, in the second game Waters struck back imposing her will and aggressive style of play taking the game 11-4. The third game was much the same as the second with Waters taking the loose cross courts thrown over by Lange and forcing the ball down. The fourth game saw an epic battle with Lange finally straightening out her shots and finding the proper length followed by accurate drops to take the game in a tight 13-11. However, in the fifth game it was all over for Lange as the more experienced Waters took control, volleyed everything into the front corners or pounded the ball to the back thus taking the fifth game 11-3, earning Lange the opportunity to ref the next match also going to five and surpassing the one hour mark.

Waters df Lange 4-11 11-4 11-5 11-13 11-3

Latasha Khan vs Sarah Cardwell
Up next was Latasha Khan, the experienced and wily veteran of the game, against the young jackrabbit who flies and throws herself across the court, Sarah Cardwell. The match was close from the beginning with both players playing a steady-paced game not wanting to make the error first. At 9-9, Latasha squeaked by to take the game 11-9. In the second, however, with both players sprinting and making some amazing gets, Cardwell was the one to just squeak ahead winning 11-9. The third game saw the experienced Khan create some amazing opportunities for herself going for some incredible winners that even the speedy Cardwell could not return. She took that game 11-3. Cardwell never one to back down continued to fly across the court, wowing the crowd with hip breaking splits, pushing Khan to her limits once again and won the fourth 11-9. The fifth game was all Khan, she once again opened up the court beautifully and created the opportunity to use her experience and incredible hands to push some amazing winners into the front two corners. Cardwell never stopped fighting and had a last minute comeback to gain a couple more points, however the accuracy of Khan’s shots were too much and she won 11-4 in the fifth.

Khan df Cardwell 11-9 9-11 11-3 9-11 11-4

Rachel Grinham vs Sabrina Sobhy
The evening continued in spectacular fashion as the former world number one Rachel Grinham took centre court against the reigning U.S. Champion Sabrina Sobhy. The first game saw a lot of amazing retrievals from both players and incredibly accurate shots from Grinham with Sobhy never giving up , pushing, forcing a few crucial errors out of Grinham and taking the game 12-10. The next game saw Grinham come out shooting, taking everything in short or throwing in deadly lobs, which Sobhy could simply not return. She took the game 11-4. In the third game, both players came out moving amazingly well across the court with Sobhy pushing forward and pounding Grinham’s shots back or holding and misdirecting the extremely agile Grinham. However, holding steadier in the latter stages of the game, the veteran took it 11-8. To start the fourth, both players came out shooting and sprinting around the court, keeping the first few points tight, but at 4-4, the experienced Grinham pulled ahead with her ability to move the ball around the court whilst disguising the shot so well that at times Sobhy seemed stuck in place. After some incredible squash and a last minute dive by Grinham, the Australian went on to win the match 11-5 in the fourth.

Grinham df Sobhy 10-12 11-4 11-8 11-5

Catalina Palaez vs Joshana Chinappa
The fourth and final match of the night saw the senior attending Trinity and hailing from Colombia, Catalina Palaez, take on the number two seed Joshana Chinappa from India. As expected, this was a match showcasing both players’ abilities to take the ball into the front court as well as an extraordinary amount of holding and hitting. The cat-like Catalina took pace off the ball to bring her shots in short, however, the long and tricky Joshana did well at counter attacking her shots, and pushing the pace of the game to a level where Palaez could not play her game as much as she willed. Chinappa took the first and second games in similar form 11-5 and 11-5. Starting the third, the young Colombian came out strong taking a 4-2 lead mainly built on tight drop shots and some amazing cross court nicks. She maintained her lead the entire game through very smart changing of pace and some beautiful shot making, putting Chinappa on the run. Palaez took the third game 11-9 off of an unforced error brought on by a beautiful backhand drop shot. The fourth game started out with both players moving the ball around the court. At 3-3, Chinappa moved ahead briefly to a 5-3 lead. After that, Palaez fought hard but the more consistent Chinappa went on a run winning the next six of eight points and earning six match balls. After saving three match balls, and another dive at the front court by Palaez, Chinappa closed off the match 11-7.
Chinappa df Palaez 11-5 11-5 9-11 11-7

The sheer athleticism displayed in all the games today made for quite an amazing day of squash for both the players watching and the members. Excited to see the matches tomorrow, as this has been some of the best quarterfinal round matches I have seen in quite awhile.

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