Geaves' first British title

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The Independent Online


Fiona Geaves, unlucky not to win a place in England's World Championship team earlier in the season, enjoyed a major consolation when she won the British national title for the first time at the Abbeydale Club in Sheffield yesterday.

Geaves, the conqueror of World Open finalist Cassie Jackman, overcame Linda Charman, who had beaten the third-seeded former British national champion, Sue Wright, and also survived the semi-final when the world No 2, Suzanne Horner, retired injured, in a final of four games, 55 minutes and two very different halves, winning 9-6, 9-10, 9-2, 9-0.

The sixth-seeded Charman started with solid drives and by dominating the centre of the court, had advanced to 6-1 before suddenly losing the first game with eight mistakes in the next nine rallies. She recovered to lead 8-6 in the second game, to save two game balls and to avoid a two-game deficit at 8-9 before sneaking an equalising backhand cut-off volley.

From one game all, however, Geaves took command. The 27-year-old fourth seed was the more seasoned campaigner. She varied the pace cleverly and had a better touch at the front, particularly in the front right, where Charman often found herself in trouble.

From 5-2 in the third game Geaves took 13 points in a row for victory and Charman served only four more times. She had covered more of the court and was tiring, but had done enough to remain this country's most improved player. Geaves, however, is the one who at last has made the breakthrough.

n Jansher Khan, the world champion, could be charged with bringing the sport into disrepute after accusations of lack of effort in a British Super League play-off match in Bristol at the weekend.