Squash: Horner is humbled by Martin: England No 2 a shadow of former self as previous exertions catch up with her in British Open final

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The Independent Online
SUZANNE HORNER'S hopes of becoming only the second British woman to win the Hi-Tec British Open in more than three decades disappeared in just 39 minutes at Wembley yesterday. The England No 2 from Yorkshire, who had defied all sorts of odds to reach her second final, was comprehensively beaten 9-7, 9-0, 9-4 by Michelle Martin, the world No 1 from Australia.

Though Horner took the award for the player of the tournament, she showed only brief flashes of her skill and tenacity in what was a disappointing final.

Horner's quarter-final exertions against Liz Irving made her feel tired during a marvellous comeback in the semi-final against another Australian, Sarah Fitz-Gerald, and now she looked distinctly sluggish. When she came back from 3-7 to 7-7 in the first game, it seemed she just might take advantage of the favourite's nerves, but a great chance to reach game point disappeared when, with the court open, Horner chose to play a cross-court backhand drive instead of a drop, and saw it go straight to her opponent.

After the loss of the second game in only five minutes, the match was almost over. Horner battled hard in the third game and won 10 rallies but Martin knew that if she dug in she must surely win. 'I was a bit shocked to win the second so quickly and a bit relieved,' Martin said.

So Lisa Opie remains the only Briton to take the British Open since the early 1960s. At the age of 30, Horner may not get another chance.

Later, the other top seed also won. Jansher Khan kept the British Open men's title in Pakistan for a 12th year when he beat the world No 2 from Australia, Chris Dittmar, 9-6, 9-5, 6-9, 9-2.

(Photograph omitted)

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