Squash: Geaves battles to best victory: Women's World Open

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND is certain of a World Open finalist for the second time in less than a month after Fiona Geaves scored the best win of her career in the quarter-finals here, beating the second-seeded Liz Irving, of Australia, in five topsy-turvy games.

In Spain, three weeks ago, Peter Marshall became the first Englishman in a world open final and now Geaves, the England No 5, has made an English title tilt in Sunday's final a certainty after coming from 4-7 down in the last game to win 9-7, 2-9, 9-3, 0-9, 9-7.

This was not a complete surprise because Irving, who has had fitness problems, was recently beaten by Geaves in Malaysia, and the slow court perfectly suited the Gloucester woman's brilliant short game. But when Geaves lost 13 successive points to trail

0-4 in the decider, it seemed her chance was fading.

The crux of her recovery was to get in a good-length drive before trying anything short. When she did that, she earned herself more time for her skilful hand and velvet touch to caress disguised or clinging winners.

A refereeing decision upset her at 3-4 in the final game and a heavy blow on the knee during a collision at 5-7 required treatment afterwards, but these setbacks served to increase her resolve. Geaves reached match ball with a sequence of three fine winners and they were followed by a straight lob which brought a backhand volley drop-down from Irving.

'I feel as though I want to scream,' Geaves said after her magnificent victory.

Today, she meets Cassie Jackman, the former world junior champion from Norfolk, who needed to work hard to reach the semi-finals with a

9-6, 9-3, 9-5, 9-1 win over another Australian, Carol Owens. Jackman was marginally more calm and solid with her driving in a match that contained too many mistakes to be entertaining

Owens, the improving world No 6, was told by the referee, Graham Horrex, 'that's enough' after noisy complaints about his decisions in the third game. In the fourth, Owens yelled: 'What do I have to do to get a let in this country? You have to be English, I suppose,' but that was allowed to pass. By then, however, Jackman was already in control.

Later, England had a third semi-finalist when Suzanne Horner beat the world No 5 from Australia, Sarah Fitz- Gerald, 9-4, 10-8, 9-2 to earn herself a meeting today with another Aussie, the world champion, Michelle Martin.

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