South Africa, who had reached the semi-finals for the first time, were saved from a humiliation by their No 1, Claire Nitch, who took the first game from the British national champion, Suzanne Horner, led 2-0 in the second game and went 3-0 up in the fourth before going down in four games, 6-9, 9-3, 9-2, 9-3.
This gave the home country a winning 2-0 lead but Horner, despite the presence again of her husband Richard, had looked unusually tense. He had flown home last week because of the team's policy of having no spouses or partners in their accommodation, but was given permission to return to coach his wife.
Earlier Sue Wright, the former British national champion, had had no such problems, winning
9-3, 9-2, 9-1 in 18 minutes against the 17-year-old Natalie Grainger, and the third match, in which Cassie Jackman conceded only one point to Chantel Clifton-Parks, was little more than a formality.
Australia had reached the final in little more than an hour and a half. They won 3-0 against New Zealand, their opponents in the final last time in 1992 after the Kiwis had brought about a major upset in overcoming England.
But New Zealand, who are rebuilding their team after the retirement of the four-times world open champion Susan Devoy, were unable to cause problems for Australia this time.Reuse content