18, 2002 from Martin Bronstein at the Herlev Club in Copenhagen
AUSTRALIA STILL CRUISING
It must seem like a holiday
for the Australian squad. Not that the miserable rainy weather and
grey skies will put them in their bikinis and sandals, but the lack
of any real hard work and sweat - except perhaps in their training
sessions - must give that them that day-off –work feeling. Despite
Egypt’s burgeoning talent, their players are not yet ready to
take on the likes of Sarah Fitz-Gerald and the Grinham sisters. So
once again we were treated to some interesting patches of squash played
within a foregone conclusion.
Egypt (photo ©2002, courtesy Danish
It started with Rachael
Grinham, who now lives in Cairo and trains with the Egyptians, facing
Eman el Amir, a young lady with the face of an angel. Or at least
how I think an angel would look. She can play good squash and hit
the nick with enough grace that you want to make a full-length ballet
around just one shot.
But Grinham, small as
she is, can whack that ball and gets round the court like a rabbit
fed on spinach and rocket fuel. She was able to put pressure on
El Amir simply by the pace of her shots. As soon as she hit a loose
or half-power shot, El Amir would put the ball away for a winner.
But there weren’t many of those and Grinham had the first
game in five minutes, 9-1. There is not much more to write about
this match: Grinham is ranked seven in the world and rapidly improving,
having played 12 tournaments in the last 12 months while El Amir
is still in her teens and just starting to bloom. It was really
no contest and Grinham took the next two games in about 15 minutes
for the loss of four points.
Sarah Fitz-Gerald kept her record (not losing a game during the
entire championship) intact in her match against Omneya Abdel Kawy,
although she came slightly close in the third game when Kawy kept
to her intelligent approach to the game while Fitz-Gerald was finding
the tin with attempted winners. Sarah won the first two games and
it was good to see Kawy trying to make a game of it, unlike yesterday
when she virtually walked away from competing. So there were some
interesting rallies and a few smiles as this ultra talented Egyptian
put the ball away with just a flick of the wrist.
In the third game Fitz-Gerald
was 7-1 when Kawy started her run, helped by a pile of errors from
the Australia – more than she normally makes in an entire
5-game match. Still hand in at 7-7 , Kawy was denied a let, which
finished her run and Fitz-Gerald finished it off 9-7, securing the
game, match and the tie, putting Australia into the final against
England, which we expected all along.
The final rubber was
played best of three with Robyn Cooper having a good work out with
Salma Shabana, who insisted on taking her six month old son on court
with her when the teams were presented before play began. It ended
in Cooper’s favour, but the interest had long evaporated.
A FIGHTING FINAL.
Australia will be looking for revenge against England tomorrow.
Two years ago in Sheffield, they were defending champions but through
the withdrawal of Carol Owens and Rachel Grinham, were beaten by
England in the final. They have every right to be confident about
tomorrow’s clash: Fitz-Gerald will almost certainly beat Linda
Charman and Rachel Grinham beat Tania Bailey 3-0 last time they
met in the Singapore Open in August, which will make the third string
redundant. But I have a feeling that Bailey will not be easy to
beat tomorrow. We shall see.
Goodnight from Copenhagen….back
in Odense tomorrow for the 1500hrs final.
McWil Courtwall World
Australia 3 Egypt 0
1 Sarah Fitz-Gerald bt Omneya Abdel Kawy 9-2 9-4 9-7 (35 min)
2 Rachael Grinham bt Eman El Amir 9-1 9-3 9-1 (30 min)
3 Robyn Cooper bt Salma Shabana 9-3 4-9 9-3 (28 min)