[last update was 15-nov-00 ]
Grainger, Owens, Fitz-Gerald charge ahead
Squashtalk News © 2000
11.15.00 by Martin Bronstein
Eye Group Women's World Open Squash Championship, Meadowbrook Center, Edinburgh, Scotland
GREAT, GREATER, GRAINGER Well, she kept her promise, and how! After her match yesterday Natalie Grainger said she improves as the tournament goes on and today she made good on that forecast as she steamrollered England's Stephanie Brind 3/0 in 26 minutes. Grainger was not just good, but great from the very start of the first rally. In previous rounds she had started miserably and constantly found herself playing catchup and in the process she made some amazing comebacks.
Today that wasn't necessary; she was cracking it to length and volleying (she loves to volley) with real venom. True, Brind was not in her class and simply did not have the tools to put pressure on her. The first game was over in 6 ½ minutes 9-2 for Grainger. We could only hope that Brind was nervous and she could muster some opposition in the second game.
She managed this to some extent only because Grainger suddenly started going short on a regular basis and not always successfully. Brind gladly accepted the errors to lead 4-3 which is when Grainger remembered how to play the game and once more she was pushing Brind into the back corners before using her overhead drops to stunning effect. From that point on she could not put a foot wrong and she won the nine minute game 9-5.
At 7-2 Grainger was sublime hitting a long drop from the back of the court that nicked. She won 9-3 in just over six minutes and smiled broadly at mother, brother and mother-in-law who were there to witness it. "I believed I could win because I've been there before. I lost to Michelle Martin in the semis of the last world open in Seattle, so this is not new. I went short in the second game because I got excited and she opened up the court. I felt good and happy with my game," Grainger told the press later. "I WANT TO WIN THIS TOURNAMENT"
Those were the words of Australian Carol Owens after her 29 minute victory over England's Tania Bailey. While Owens didn't have it quite as easy, there was still very little doubt about the outcome. Bailey gave a good account of herself - she is, in my estimation, a future world champion - but Owens wanted this and came out taking the ball early and never letting up the pressure.
Bailey managed to construct some very fine rallies to show her class, but they were few and far between. Owens was picking up everything and covering the court like a blanket. The only way for Bailey was to hit outright winners and she is not that sophisticated yet.
In the third game she gave up five strokes and gave away match point on a backhand error. "It wasn't a really tough match but it was better than yesterday," commentated Owens of her 9-5, 9-0, 9-1 victory. "Tania is tough and I had to concentrate, so it suited my preparation. I don't mind whether I play Sarah or Linda in the semis - I beat them both 3/0 the last time I played them." With Grainger and Owen showing such form, perhaps Joyce won't have it so easy.
For the latest results go to www.squashtalk.com/womensworld
Sarah Fitz-Gerald was in devastating form tonight!(file photo © 2000 Steve Line)
Linda Charman could only watch. (file photo © 2000 Ron Beck)
RESULTS: Eye Group Women's World Open Squash Championship, Edinburgh, Scotland
Quarterfinal matchups Wednesday:
Natalie Grianger (eng) bt Stephanie
Brind( Eng) 9-2, 9-5, 9-3. Carol Owens (Aus) bt Tania Bailey (Eng) 9-2,
Round of 16 results: