Wright moves, wrong result

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Sue Wright, who ended the run of the great New Zealander Susan Devoy in the semi-finals in 1991, went close to another golden moment at the British Open before going down in four sets to Sarah Fitz-Gerald in the semi-finals of the Leekes-sponsored event in Cardiff yesterday.

The British national champion has had to live with the mental luggage of the blistered feet that handicapped her effort in the final six years ago. When she took the second game from Fitz-Gerald yesterday, it seemed she might finally be able to cure herself of the mind games she has endured since and, in doing so, advance to her second final.

But the Australian is a more mature player than the one who for a long time was unable to do justice to her talent as the circuit's best striker of the ball. Fitz- Gerald ended her compatriot Michelle Martin's run of three World Open titles last year, and her hour-long 9-2, 7-9, 9-2, 9-2 victory over Wright suggests she is the favourite to stop Martin's run of four British Open titles as well.

Fitz-Gerald's thumping drives and sudden changes of direction in her attacks threatened to hustle the Kent player out of the match early on. "But she changed her game and I let her do it," said Fitz-Gerald. Wright slowed the rallies and used her speed to fight her way back before succumbing in the fourth set.