Martin puts Horner `back in her corner'

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Jane Martin pulled off an astonishing victory at the Leekes British Open in Cardiff yesterday when she defeated the third seed Liz Irving in the quarter-finals.

The former British junior champion triumphed 9-2, 6-9, 5-9, 9-7, 9-2 in 71 minutes to qualify for a semi-final against the defending champion, Michelle Martin, Irving's Australian team-mate.

Jane Martin, seeded 10th, revealed a level of mobility and tactics that England observers had been awaiting for some years.

From 6-7 down in the fourth game, she emerged as the stronger competitor, making just one error in two dozen rallies compared to 10 from the experienced Irving.

Michelle Martin, the top seed, had earlier removed Suzanne Horner, the British national champion, 9-6, 9-1, 9-3 in a 39-minute match that reversed the result of their recent meeting in the Abshot Open.

Horner, seeded six, was unable to deal with the athletic determination of an opponent who dismissed their Abshot match, in which the Yorkshire woman beat her for the first time, as just another game.

"It was nice to get quick revenge," the Australian said. "I have put Mrs Horner back in her corner."

The men's second seed, Rodney Eyles, won an all-Australian battle with Anthony Hill 15-10, 15-9, 15-7 in just half an hour.

Mark Chaloner - Jane Martin's training colleague - lost 15-6, 13-15, 15-8, 15-9 in the men's quarter-finals to Brett Martin, the elder brother of Michelle.

Martin, despite a weak ankle suffered 10 days ago was plainly intent on avenging Chaloner's victory over him in last November's World Open Championship.

The inventive Australian powered through the opening game, had to give way as Chaloner counter-attacked in the second but steadily took command of the court through the closing stages.