5:49 pm
10 Dec 2023

Waters Wipes Out Nimmo

10 Jul 2004

England's Alison Waters pulled off her second successive upset over Scotland's world No20 Pamela Nimmo to take up an unexpected place in the semi-finals of the Women's Hurghada International in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada in Egypt.

The 20-year-old former England Junior International from Southgate in north London overcame Nimmo, a former world No14, in the first round of last October's Atlanta Masters in the USA.

Supported by her holidaying mother Elizabeth, fourth seed Nimmo raced to a 2/0 lead in Hurghada. Waters came back to take the third and, as the fourth unfolded, Nimmo regained the initiative with a series of short winners and stood at match ball at 8-3.

Here the Scot tinned the ball and the dynamic slowly altered. As Waters commented afterwards: "At match ball, I said to myself 'let's get going', and picked up a few points and she got a little tense." The eventual outcome was a climb back to eight-all and the game snatched on the second time of asking with a flicked cross court drop.

Waters then moved on to 5-3 up in the fifth before Nimmo, now berating herself, clawed back to parity. But in the end, Waters was not to be denied and claimed her notable 1-9 7-9 9-4 10-8 9-6 upset after 68 minutes of compelling action.

Waters will now face top-seeded Australian Rachael Grinham. The world No2 was not only strong favourite, but afforded herself the luxury of playing close to her long term Cairo base. She had driven across the desert to reach the Red Sea, her only concern being that she could make out the road signs to Hurghada in Arabic.

Grinham relished the court time against her Egyptian opponent Engy Kheirallah and after 38 minutes secured a 9-3 9-3 9-2 victory over the eighth seed.

The third match featured the darling of the home crowd, the world junior champion and the event's third seed Omneya Abdel Kawy. "People are expecting me to do well, but playing in Egypt can make it more difficult," said the Cairo-based 18-year-old to journalists before her match.

Pitched against Tegwen Malik, a dangerous but relatively unknown quantity, only added to the pressure. Welsh champion Malik made a strong start, taking the opening game, before the Egyptian settled into a rhythm to go 2/1 ahead. Abdel Kawy had match-ball at 8-5 in the fourth, but Malik was still moving wonderfully freely, weaving patterns with the ball and causing the Egyptian concerns.

Much to the chagrin of the large and voluble crowd, Malik drew level to take the match into a fifth game decider. Both players continued to find great width and telling boasts, but Abdel Kawy was up 7-3 in the decider before the pendulum swung again. An exquisite drop from Malik levelled matters at seven all, but there was to be no sting in the tail for the third seed as an overhead backhand straight drop took Abdel Kawy to match ball and victory when a desperate Malik lunge onto the back wall fell short of the front.

The players hugged after Kawy's 3-9 9-6 9-4 8-10 9-7 80-minute win - and the local crowd and national TV audience went away happy. "I knew that it would be difficult," said Abdel Kawy, who heard later that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had watched the action on television. "Tegwen plays really well and runs so I was worried. I wanted to win to please the crowd," she added.

Kawy now plays Rebecca Macree, the second seed from England winning the battle of training partners by beating athletic Pakistani Carla Khan, just as she had done when they had met in the British Open, 9-2 9-7 9-3 in 45 minutes. Since then, Macree had overcome a serious-looking ankle injury and, having just turned 33, is playing as well as she has ever done.