Michelle Martin won her third successive British Open title when she beat her Australian compatriot Liz Irving 9-4, 9-7, 9-5 at the Cardiff International Arena yesterday.
The top-seeded championsnuffed out recoveries by Irving from 2-7 to 7-all in the second game and from 2-6 to 5-8 in the third at which point Irving saved three match points during some long and well crafted rallies.
Although Irving has now lost all three finals in which she has played, she contributed greatly to a fluent contest. Martin, who had been so shaky in going two games to one down in Saturday's semi-final against Sarah Fitz-Gerald this time struck the ball more firmly, often pressurising her opponent from the central T position.
Peter Marshall's achievement in becoming the first home man to reach a British Open final since Jonah Barrington more than 20 years ago may have prevented the Martins enjoying finals day as a family occasion as they did last year, but it did suggest that the British national champion might one day become the world No 1.
The Leicestershire man's four-game win over Brett Martin prevented the Australian from joining his sister Michelle in yesterday's finals but earned Marshall a meeting with Jansher Khan in a repeat of the World Open final six months ago. Then, the double-handed Englishman took the great Pakistani to four games.
Marshall showed with his 15-7, 15-7, 6-15, 15-12 win over Brett that he is maturing. For two games he ran down most of Martin's flamboyant strokes and for the next two he kept his head as the Australian began a recovery.
Results, Sporting Digest, page 28