Squash: Jackman enjoys her brief encounter: English women's squash champion shows signs of achieving success after altering her image

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CASSIE JACKMAN, the English national champion, dispelled fears that injury might prevent her from making a serious challenge for the Hi-Tec British Open title when she reached the quarter-finals with a crunching victory against the German No 1, Sabine Schoene, in London yesterday.

Jackman's 9-3, 9-0, 9-3 success was a 27-minute version of the far harder win she achieved over the same opponent in the world junior final two years ago. Given that an Achilles injury has prevented the 20-year-old third seed from playing a tournament for seven weeks and has restricted her preparation to three weeks, the brief encounter was highly encouraging. 'The injury might work in her favour,' commented Jackman's coach, Alex Cowie, the England manager. 'She's kept in shape and is as fit as a fiddle. Sometimes a break makes you play better.'

Jackman certainly moved quicker than before. She also had a slightly different image - slimmer, three- quarters of a stone lighter, and pig- tailed. Opponents had previously been complaining, she said, that as they tried to get past her in the middle of the court they would sometimes get a mouthful of hair.

She may have a tough test against the former British national champion, Sue Wright, on Saturday, by which time the tournament will have moved from the hot and bouncy plaster courts at Lambs Club to the cooler, transparent, all-glass construction at Wembley. Wright overcame the Irish No 1, Rebecca O'Callaghan, and the remnants of flu, thanks mainly to determination, a nose spray and a little luck when she seemed to be running into stamina problems.

The main danger in Jackman's half of the draw, Michelle Martin, was at least as impressive. The world No 1 from Australia required only 19 minutes to overwhelm the English national finalist, Fiona Geaves, 9-3, 9-2, 9-2.

Martine Le Moignan, the other main home hope, won 9-3, 9-3, 9-3 against England No 9 Senga Macfie, to earn a tough quarter-final with the Australian, Sarah Fitz-Gerald.

(Photograph omitted)

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