Atkinson and Anjema delight home crowd

20th November 2010

Dutch favourites Vanessa Atkinson and Laurens Jan Anjema secured home interest in both the men’s and women’s final at the Dutch Open Squash 2010 with two equally impressive performances on Saturday at the Victoria Squash club in Rotterdam.

34-year old Vanessa Atkinson delighted a packed gallery with an impressive performance against top seed Rachael Grinham to keep hopes for a home winner alive during the $25,300 WISPA tournament in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. The Dutch star sneaked the opening game, but had to succumb in game two with Grinham moving her around just a little too much for her liking. The third proved to be decisive with Grinham leading most of the way, but Atkinson taking the honours. The fourth followed the same pattern with Atkinson clinching the final points after some spectacular rallies: 11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 11-8.

In Sunday’s final Atkinson will face Ireland’s Madeline Perry who secured a hard-fought win over Dutch ‘mum’ Natalie Grinham. The Irish champion took the first with ease, but was unable to stop the attacking play of her opponent in game two with Grinham junior leveling the score. The third and fourth proved to be close affairs as Perry, the world number 6, and Grinham, the former world number 2 currently ranked 67, traded shot for shot until the end of each of each game with Perry closing them out just a little bit better than the 2009 European champion.

Whilst Grinham can be happy with her performance, showing enormous improvements from her first tournaments as a new-born mother, Perry can look forward to her first Dutch Open final. One that shapes up to be a cracker with Perry gunning for her first Dutch Open title and the third seeded Dutch ace looking for revenge after losing to Perry, seeded second in Rotterdam, in the Irish Open final just two months ago!

In the men’s event the home crowd, out in large numbers to support their heroes, witnessed a spectacular performance from their number one Dutch player with Laurens Jan Anjema playing the match of his life to reach the final of the Dutch Open Squash 2010. The 27-year old from The Hague was in total control from start to finish against Australia's Stewart Boswell and hardly put a foot wrong as he stormed to a 11-5, 11-5, 11-1 victory.

Earlier in the evening Cameron Pilley moved into his third consecutive Dutch Open final, fighting off a spirited challenge by England's Chris Ryder in the first men's semi final. The big tall Aussie was in blistering form, combining powerful kills, controlled drives and deft drops to deny the seventh seeded Ryder a place in Sunday's climax. Pilley won the first, a close fought game, then raced away with the second when he seemed to step up a gear halfway through the game. The third was close again, but a tired looking Ryder was unable to match the impressive front court play of the number two seed.

Anjema's win over Boswell not only secured him a place in Sunday's final, but it also means that the Dutch champion will find his name back in the world's top-ten for the first time when the next rankings are published on December 1st. Whether he can ‘celebrate’ it with a win is partly in the hands of his regular practice partner Cameron Pilley, the world number 14, who is looking to make it 'third time lucky' after losing out to Nick Matthew (2008) and Daryl Selby (2009) in the two previous Dutch Open finals!