|SquashTalk>Melbourne International Squash Festival> Fitz-Gerald earns World Title #4!|
Sarah Fitz-Gerald - Record Tying Win
WOMEN'S OPEN - SARAH FITZ-GERALD
FULFILLS LIFETIME DREAM
"Ever since I knew three years ago that the tournament was to be here I set my goal on victory," said a delighted and emotional Fitz-Gerald. "It made me work 110%, and now it feels bloody fantastic to be standing here the winner tonight. "I was nervous at the start, but I was lucky to find my rhythm early on, got control and to win the first game easily really settled me down.
"I am probably playing the best squash of my career. The injuries have certainly made me a smarter player; you learn about yourself and now my training has more purpose."
For Joyce, who lost the world no 1 ranking to Fitz-Gerald at the start of the month, it was the second time in a row that she had to settle for second best. Last November, she lost to Carol Owens in five games in the final in Edinburgh, Scotland. The 27-year-old actually hit her best form of the tournament, and the score didn't really reflect how well she played.
"But Sarah was mentally very strong and she was awesome out there," she said. "I threw everything I possibly could at her but she was just too good. "But I'll learn from this experience, and I just hope that I don't become too accustomed to being a World Open runner-up." Joyce is the only player to have beaten Fitz-Gerald this year, in the final of the Hong Kong Open in August. "But that loss gave me a kick up the backside," admitted Fitz-Gerald. "I knew I needed to become more focused, and it has worked this week." Devoy is the only other player to have won four World Opens, although that was before it was an annual event. Greeting news of Fitz-Gerald's win from her home in Auckland, Devoy said: "We only played every two years, so it could have been eight. "But for Sarah to come back from two knee operations shows what a great player she is. She's done an enormous amount for the game over the years and thoroughly deserves this success." For Fitz-Gerald, the next major goal is next year's Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England, when she will be aiming to turn silver from 1998 into gold. On this weeks form, no-one is likely to stop her. Results (seedings in brackets)
Final: (3) Sarah Fitz-Gerald (Aus) bt (1) Leilani Joyce (NZL) 9-0, 9-3, 9-2
WSF MEN'S WORLD CHALLENGE - PRICE GETS REVENGE
Egypt's Karim Darwish, the 1999 world junior champion, won a marathon five set quarter-final against a far from happy Australian, John Williams, in the WSF men's World Challenge in Melbourne. The match ended on a sour note when Williams alleged that Darwish had "cheated" as he ran out a 9-2, 8-10, 9-6, 3-9, 9-6 winner in 53 minutes to clinch his place in the penultimate round.
"Didn't you see that ball bounce three times," the irate Williams asked the referee. But he got no joy, and the no four seed was declared the winner, and went through to a semi-final against another local man, Paul Price. Price, the new favourite following the exit of top seed Thierry Lincou in the third round, cruised through 9-6, 9-2, 9-2 against the only unseeded player to reach the last eight, Pakistan's Shahid Zaman.
Ricketts, the conqueror of Lincou, claimed another great scalp in Olli Tuominen. It was another marathon encounter with the no nine seed upsetting the sixth-ranked Fin 9-4, 8-10, 6-9, 9-1, 9-2 in 54 minutes. "It's great to reach the semis, especially her in Australia," said Ricketts, at 22 one of the fast new rising stars of the game. In the semi-final, the man from New South Wales now meets the no three seed from Egypt, Omar Elborolossy. In his quarter-final, Elborolossy dropped the opening game - his first of the tournament - to South African Rodney Durbach, but he hit back to win 1-9, 9-6, 9-3, 9-4. Results (seedings in brackets)
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