Squash: Jackman wins fierce final: English champion takes US Open title

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CASSIE JACKMAN, the English national champion, yesterday took an important step towards recovery from a career crisis by capturing the US Open title with a 9-3, 10-8, 9-6 win over Suzanne Horner, the England No 1, in a fiercely contested, sometimes contentious final, writes Richard Eaton from Philadelphia.

Jackman, burdened with predictions of being a future world champion but suffering a depressing quarter-final loss in last month's World Open, attacked boldly, driving the ball heavily from the wings, creating pressure with her fierce forehand, and retaining the initiative through much of the match.

Nevertheless Horner, who won the Singapore Open and reached the British Open final this year, was resilient under pressure, often retrieving well and looking to counter-attack. Her best chance of getting back into the contest disappeared after she had recovered from 2-6 to 7-7 in a hotly disputed climax to the second game.

Twice in succession Jackman was given no let by Vicki Cardwell, the referee, in positions where perhaps interference was marginal. Jackman shouted down Cardwell's explanation, bellowing: 'I just don't want to hear you - it's so bad.'

Horner, investing yet more physical effort to contain Jackman's aggression, recovered to 4-2 in the third game with a penalty point because Jackman had obstructed her. But the 20-year-old recovered to set up another attack which took her to the title.

Paul Lord, the English qualifier who beat three men in the world's Top 30 on his way to the final, did not look outclassed in his defeat by Rodney Eyles. The world No 7, a member of Australia's world title-winning team, won 15-7, 15-11, 7-15, 15-11.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 31