Squash Martin retains world crown

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The Independent Online
Squash

Michelle Martin recovered from losing the opening game to beat her fellow Australian, Sarah FitzGerald, and retain the women's world title in Hong Kong yesterday.

The top seed from Sydney became the first player to win the crown three times in succession with an 8-10, 9-2, 9-6, 9-3 final triumph over the fourth-seeded FitzGerald.

"It's tremendous to win three in a row. It was magnificent the first time but this one is the best of the lot," the 28-year-old Martin said.

"I went on the defensive in the first game and tried to play safe, which allowed her back in - she had nothing to lose. But I stuck with my game plan and experience helped me through."

Martin, whose brother, Rodney, is a former men's world champion, squandered five game points in a marathon first game. However, she produced a string of winners in the second to square the match.

Martin had survived a match point against FitzGerald in the semi-finals of last week's Malaysian Open, but she never looked in any danger of having to dig herself out of a similar hole. She came out on top in a series of hard-fought rallies in the third game and dominated the fourth at the front of the court to seal the match.

"Martin changed her tactics a bit after I won the first game," FitzGerald said. "She played the second game extremely well, but I thought I could have won the third."

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