Prix Finals Hurghada - Finals by McQuillan
Keeps Australia atop WISPA Squash in her best win to take Grand Prix Finals
Colin McQuillan's News
Report and Analysis. 4/08/2000.
Ahram Grand Prix Finals, Hurghada Egypt
Carol Owen Scores Her Biggest Win Ever
They raised a concrete mermaid out of the Red Sea to mark the end of the
Al Ahram WISPA World Grand Prix Finals in Hurghada, Egypt.
It was a pleasing enough sound and
light show, but one was left wishing they had opted for a statue of Carol
Owens instead to mark her takeover of the resort. They kept introducing
the Governor of the Red Sea before the playing sessions. This writer at
least was constantly expecting Owens to step up for the applause. Cassie
Campion's hopes of adding the World Grand Prix title to the World Open
Championship she won in Seattle last year were dashed in tonight when
she became the final victim of an extraordinary run of form from the Australian
world number five.
Owens, a 28-year-old from Melbourne
who now plays out of Auckland in New Zealand, defeated the 27-year-old
Halifax based world champion 9-1 5-9 5-9 9-2 9-2 in the 62 minute final
of the Al Ahram WISPA World Grand Prix play-offs on a wind-buffeted Perspex
court on the beach front of the Marriott Hotel at the Red Sea resort.
Campion may have assumed her biggest
battle was behind her with the 84 minute 10-9 8-10 9-5 3-9 9-0 semi-final
revenge she visited upon New Zealand's Leilani Joyce, the Maori player
who unexpectedly defeated her in the British Open final last December.
But Owens was inspired in Egypt, her favourite competition venue, and
was convinced after the final that she had started a move towards the
top of the game. "I always play well in this country, but I have never
been able to go all the way with my performances," she said. "I reached
the final here last year and the final of the Al Ahram International in
September, but I lost both times. "Now I feel I have established my winning
credentials and, if I can do it outside Egypt as well, I could move up
on the number one spot."
This was the Australian's finest victory,
in fact her first major win on the WISPA World Tour. It gives her a 5-2
edge over Campion, with four of the victories in Egypt After preparing
for the play-offs by contesting the men's weekend squash circuit in New
Zealand for eight weeks, Owens ran straight through the Hurghada women's
field undefeated. She started the week by catching Campion napping in
the first qualifying round and went on to defeat the world number four,
Natalie Grainger, and the World Over-35 Champion, Suzanne Horner, in her
other qualifying matches, and the world number three , Linda Charman,
in the semi-finals.
It was a tour-de-force based on all-court
action, fearless shotmaking in the frontcourt and crisp driving attack.
"I felt pumped up every time I came on court. I just couldn't wait to
get into action all week," she said.
Campion was also in good form after
her poor start to the tournament, producing one of her best positive performances
to defeat Joyce and working her way into the final with diligent early
ball rallying after the tough little Australian ripped away the opening
game for a single point in just eight minutes.
The world champion played with such
determined confidence through the following two games, finishing one with
as fine a forehand volley drop as she has ever manufactured and the next
in three hands of measured brilliance. But when Owens bounced back into
the attack for the fourth Campion was noticeably off the pace. In the
last game she served nine times but could garner only a couple of points.
Al Ahram Womens World Grand Prix
Carol Owens (Aus) bt Cassie Campion (Eng) 9-1 5-9 5-9 9-2 9-2
Third Place Playoff:
Leilani Joyce (NZ) bt Linda Charman (Eng) 9-2 9-5