Squash: Cairns is pleased to make mark

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The Independent Online
MARK CAIRNS, who was a doorman the last time he was at the Hi-Tech British Open here, became a surprise quarter-finalist when he beat the 12th seed, Sami Elopuro, last night. Cairns, the England No 13, continued the best form of his career with a 9-2, 6-9, 9-5, 9-6 victory over the man who led Finland to the world bronze medal in 1990.

In the first round on Wednesday the 24-year-old from Oxfordshire beat the third- seed, Rodney Martin, and even though the former world champion was struggling with a hip problem by the end of the match, no one could deny Cairns' strength and courage as he saved two match points.

Yesterday the match seemed to be tilting towards Elopuro at 3-5 in the third game but Cairns used his superior physical strength to hold on, and even though he went 2-6 down in the fourth, he was often in charge of the rallies.

A heavy collision at 3-6 caused Elopuro to roll on the floor in agony. He needed treatment to his right knee and took four minutes to resume, but there was no stopping Cairns. Later he said: 'It's hard to believe. In fact I couldn't believe I didn't have to open the door for him.'

There will be at least one British semi-finalist, today Cairns plays England No 2 Chris Walker, who overcame Craig Rowland the Australian qualifier who upset one of the main British hopes, Peter Nicol, in the first round.

The British champion Peter Marshall, won 9-0, 9-6, 9-6 against the former British champion Del Harris and today meets Anthony Hill, the Australian who came through on a disqualification after being head-butted by Mir Zaman Gul. Hill yesterday beat the sixth seeded former world champion, Ross Norman, 9-2, 9-2, 9-3.

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