Squash: Horner's rapid response

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The Independent Online
SUZANNE HORNER, told by her coach that she would never again be the player she was, upset the seedings to reach the quarter- finals of the World Open here yesterday. A member of the last two world title-winning teams but omitted from England's squad to defend the title next week, Horner played as well as ever to bring down the seventh-seeded Australian, Liz Irving, 9-0, 9-6, 9-5.

The 29-year-old from Wakefield, who suffered a serious knee injury last season, agreed her coach, Mark Hornsey, might have been goading her. 'I am a little bit stubborn, so when he told me I wouldn't get back, I guess it made me more determined,' she said.

Horner's work during the summer with Hornsey also looks to have made a difference. There was no sign of restricted movement with the knee and her speed and scrambling, always an important feature of her game at its best, were as startling as ever.

This put pressure on Irving, who for the first half of the match found it difficult to see the ball on the all- transparent court. When the British Open finalist from Brisbane recovered slightly, to 5-3 in the third game, she injured an elbow trying to scrape the ball out of a corner. 'That was a relief because I remembered she beat me from two games down in the world championship before,' Horner said.

Three other English players, the former world champion Martine Le Moignan, the world junior champion Cassie Jackman and the British champion Sue Wright, also made the quarter-finals. Although the former British Open champion Lisa Opie ended in tears after a 9-5, 9-6, 9-5 loss to New Zealand's Susan Devoy, the title-holder, it was probably the Guernsey woman's best performance since her Wembley triumph 18 months ago.

Jansher Khan has asked the Pakistan federation to oppose the International Squash Players' Association's plans to bring in a point-per- rally scoring system.

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