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USA top Demark on Final Day
  [last update was 19-oct-02 ]   All content © 2002 Squashtalk


2002 SquashTalk coverage will feature live
updates throughout the event from Martin Bronstein

October 19, 2002 from Martin Bronstein

After the disappointment of yesterday’s lost to Spain, the US squad finally gelled as a team and beat Denmark to finish in 15th place. This was below their 12th seeding but better than two years ago when they finished 18th.

It was another close one against the Spaniards, seeded 16, Shabana Khan losing in five and Julia Beaver having a very bad off-day where she could do no right. Latasha Khan had a good win over Elizabet Sado and continued her good form in the final match against Denmark, withstanding the vocal barrage of the highly partisan Danish crowd to beat Ellen Hamborg-Petersen in straight games. Petersen is ranked nine places above Latasha but could have been ranked ten places below. This was by far the best performance by the younger of the Khan sisters and while she chastised herself for her error count, today she was prepared to put the work in on the rallies and wait for the right time to slot in the winner.

IGNORE THE PRESSURE, PLAY THE BALL
She seemed oblivious of the pressure on her to win this rubber to even the tie. The first rubber was lost as Julia Beaver playing at three, again let herself down, playing below her capabilities to lose 3/1 despite holding a 6-3 lead in the first game and a 7-3 lead in the second . There were too many errors and impatient, snatched volleys.

On the other hand, Latasha was devastating with her forehand kills and controlled the game on the left wall on the strength of her wonderful backhand. Her court coverage was leisurely, but effective and finally she ground Petersen’s confidence down. The grinding started in the first game when Petersen served for the game three times, the first time at 8-5. Khan’s expression did not change and she kept to her game of fine length, sapping boasts, and, when her opponent left anything loose on the right court, she would put it away with absolute certainty.


Khan won that first game 10-8 and gradually imposed her game on Petersen, who found no way to win easy points. Even when right out of position Khan used her long arms and talented wrist to get the ball back, having the ability to boast from anywhere on the court, confident that if she left the ball up, Petersen could not put it away.

Khan won the second and third game 9-6 and 9-7 and earned the accolades of her team-mates after the 44 minutes victory. She was not, however, thrilled with her own performance.

“I didn’t play too badly. But I hit ‘way to many mistakes this whole tournament. If there was no tin, I would be champion,” she laughed.

SENIOR KHAN VERSUS JUNIOR HANSEN
Sister Shabana couldn’t wait to get on court for the deciding rubber against the well-built Line Hansen, who surely must just out of the junior ranks with her shots, errors and screams of anguish. Shabana likes to win at the front of the court without putting in the length play and she can hit some beautiful winners. He soft boast from the back is winner every time – it seems as though the ball will never reach the front wall, but it always does. She won in 25 minutes, 9-2, 9-1, 9-5 and even that scoreline flatters her opponent who has a lot to learn in the senior game.

Shabana got high fives from her team-mates, but the celebrations were muted. The close match against both Canada and Spain could have gone the other way and given them a higher place finish. But as Sharon Brady, the coach said, it’s all a learning experience.

USA 2 Denmark 1
1 Latasha Khan bt Ellen Hamborg-Petersen 10-8 9-6 9-7 (44 min)
2 Shabana Khan bt Line Hansen 9-2 9-1 9-5 (25 min)
3 Julia Beaver lost to Julie Dorn-Jensen 7-9 7-9 9-5 5-9 (42 min)

FINAL PLACINGS

1 Australia (1)
2 England (2)
3 New Zealand (3)
4 Egypt (4)
5 Netherlands (6)
6 Scotland (5)
7 Malaysia (7)
8 South Africa (8)
9 Canada (9)
10 Germany (10)
11 Hong Kong (13)
12 Ireland (15)
13. France (14)
14. Spain (17)
15. USA (12)
16. Denmark (11)
17. Japan (18)
18. India (16)
19. Austria (19)

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