Grinham Hits The Jackpot In Monte Carlo
10 Dec 2006
After winning a record three gold medals in the Commonwealth Games in March, Natalie Grinham rounded off the year in fine style by picking up the biggest WISPA World Tour title of her career at the Women's Monte Carlo Classic.
The 28-year-old No2 seed from Australia beat defending champion Vanessa Atkinson, the top seed from the Netherlands, 9-2, 9-6, 9-2 in the final of the established $31,000 WISPA event in Monaco.
The event's top two seeds had reached the climax at the Stade Louis II in the Principality of Monaco in contrasting ways - favourite Atkinson conceding games in each round, with Grinham making it to the final with a 'clean sheet'.
And while Atkinson boasted a 5/2 advantage in head-to-heads over her opponent going into the final, the former world number one from The Hague had hit a poor run of form over the previous six months - failing to get past the quarter-finals in four events since winning the Tournament of Champions in March.
Meanwhile, only two weeks ago, Grinham had extended world number one Nicol David to five games in a dramatic 95-minutes World Open final in Belfast.
Grinham seemed in control as she took the first game and raced to a 7-1 lead in the second. However, the title-holder fought back to within a point of her opponent - but after the Australian retrieved the service, she quickly closed out the game.
Grinham's domination continued in the third and, after 33 minutes and at her third match-ball attempt, celebrated her best-ever WISPA victory.
After receiving her trophy, along with a beautiful bracelet offered by jewellers Fred of Paris, Grinham explained what needed no explanation:
"I've had a really good week," said the Netherlands-based Queenslander who is now looking forward to a short break in her native Australia.
"I have been working with fitness coach Alistair McCaw and squash coach Lucas Buit, and combining their training has been really beneficial. I am happy with my training and it is showing in my squash," added Grinham.
Atkinson had nothing but admiration for her opponent: "She was just too good. She is playing very well, the court suited her and all in all it wasn't going to happen for me. But I was staying in there and competing, so it was okay from that standpoint."