Nivea Body Irish Open 2003
03-06 Apr, Dublin, Ireland, $20k

[3] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned) bt [2] Cassie Jackman (Eng)
     3/9, 9/4, 9/5, 4/9, 9/7 (58m)


Vanessa Atkinson claimed the Irish Open title, her biggest success so far, at Dublin's Fitzwilliam Club, beating England's Cassie Jackman in a thrilling final.

It was the Dutch Champion's third successive five-game victory in the tournament, and an unexpected success given the relative ease with which British champion Jackman had progressed to the final.

The thrilling 58-minute final was a fitting climax to the first Women's Irish Open since 1991, when Jackman reached the semi-finals.

Jackman had been relentless and focussed all week, and started the final in that vein, taking the first game after a number of enforced errors by the Dutch No1. 

The tide then began to turn in Atkinson's favour - perhaps helped by advice between games from her father Jim, taking a holiday from his work in Pennsylvania, USA, in a rare opportunity to see his daughter in action.

"Too many errors," bemoaned Jackman as she tinned a drive to give Atkinson the third game and a 2/1 lead.

After drawing level by taking the fourth game, Jackman forged 6-1, then 7-2, ahead in the decider and looked certain to clinch the title.

But Atkinson found another gear and mounted a comeback as she pushed her English opponent to the back of the court, then slotted in some superb drops.
Soon it was seven-all and after a few further great exchanges, Jackman ended the matter when she was unable to keep an Atkinson drive in play - a winner which brought tumultuous and sustained applause from the delighted Irish crowd.

Jackman was philosophical: "Vanessa ground out points in spells and I made too many errors. I didn't win, but I can't be too disappointed as she played the best I have seen from her."

The new Irish Open champion was ecstatic after claiming her fifth WISPA World Tour title: "I just can't believe I've won. My parents have the chance to see me play so rarely and they were here today. That's great. When I was down in the last, I knew I had to keep her on court and make her win it. It was obviously the right thing to do!"

The finalists with Michelle Butler of Nivea
and tournament director Hugh Fitzsimons

Irish Open 2003
03-06 April, Dublin, $20k
1st Round
Thu 3rd
Fri 4th
[LL] Alison Waters (Eng)
9/1, 7/9, 9/6, 9/2
Isabelle Stoehr (Fra)
Isabelle Stoehr
5/9, 9/5, 9/4, 9/5
Fiona Geaves
Fiona Geaves

2/9, 9/5, 9/4, 3/9, 9/2

Vanessa Atkinson

Vanessa Atkinson

3/9, 9/4, 9/5, 4/9, 9/7

Cassie Jackman




[5] Fiona Geaves (Eng)
9/1, 10/8, 9/0
Annelize Naude (Ned)
[3] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned)
9/5, 10/8, 9/5, 9/4
[Q] Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Eng)
Vanessa Atkinson
9/3, 9/0, 0/9, 1/9, 9/3
Madeline Perry
[7] Pamela Nimmo (Sco)
9/7, 9/2, 9/3
Madeline Perry (Irl)
[8] Vicky Botwright (Eng)
9/5, 9/10, 9/7, 9/0
[Q] Wendy Maitland (Sco)
Vicky Botwright
9/1, 9/7, 9/0
Rebecca Macree
Rebecca Macree

9/0, 9/5, 9/4

Cassie Jackman

[4] Rebecca Macree (Eng)
6/9, 9/6, 9/1, 10/9
[Q] Tegwen Malik (Wal)
[6] Jenny Tranfield (Eng)
9/6, 9/7, 9/0
Shelley Kitchen (Nzl)
Jenny Tranfield
6/9, 9/3, 9/0, 9/1
Cassie Jackman
[2] Cassie Jackman (Eng)
9/0, 9/1, 9/4
[Q] Laura Lengthorn (Eng)

Qualifying Finals, Wed 2nd:
Laura Lengthorn (Eng) bt Sharon Wee (Mas)  7/9, 9/6, 5/9, 9/7, 9/7
Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Eng) bt Farrah Sterne (Rsa)  9/7, 6/9, 9/4, 10/8
Tegwen Malik (Wal) v Carla Khan (Pak)  9/7, 9/0, 9/3
Wendy Maitland (Sco) v Alison Waters (Eng)  9/7, 10/9, 10/9

Following the withdraw of top seed Linda Charman, Alison Waters was granted a 'Lucky Loser' spot in the main draw.

Round One, Tue 1st:
Sharon Wee (Mas) bt Milja Dorenbos (Ned)  9/4, 9/6, 5/9, 9/2
Laura Lengthorn (Eng) bt Aisling Blake (Irl)  9/1, 9/7, 9/0
Farrah Sterne (Rsa) bt Kate Allison (Eng)  w/o
Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Eng) bt Aisling Mcardle (Irl)  9/1, 9/4, 9/1
Tegwen Malik (Wal) bt Frania Gillen-Buchert (Sco)  9/0, 9/1, 9/3
Carla Khan (Pak) bt Karen Kronemeyer (Ned)  4/9, 9/5, 9/7, 8/10, 9/1
Alison Waters (Eng) bt Tanya Owens (Irl)  9/0, 9/2, 9/1
Wendy Maitland (Sco) bt Rebecca Botwright (Eng)  9/4, 9/1, 9/4

RESULTS & Reports

[3] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned) bt [5] Fiona Geaves (Eng)  2/9, 9/5, 9/4, 3/9, 9/2 (44m)
[2] Cassie Jackman (Eng) bt [4] Rebecca Macree  9/0, 9/5, 9/4 (37m)

England's former world champion Cassie Jackman, the second seed, and Dutch No1 Vanessa Atkinson, the third seed, will meet in the final after contrasting semi-final wins at the Fitzwilliam Club in Dublin.

Jackman, the 30-year-old world No7 from Norwich, was in devastating form as she overwhelmed compatriot Rebecca Macree, ranked just two places lower in the world, 9-0 9-5 9-4 in a repeat of the victory which gave her a record-equalling fifth British National title in February.

"Rebecca played well, but Cassie was rampant," said a spokesman for the Fitzwilliam Club. "She was light, mobile and using weight of shot coupled with sliced forehands across the court to devastating effect."

It seems that Jackman has now completely recovered from the effects of the second career-threatening back operation she underwent last September. "I was pretty pleased with that performance," said the England No1 after her 37-minute win. "There were only a few lets and I was focussed all the way through."

Vanessa Atkinson, the 27-year-old England-born world No6 from The Hague, reached the final after beating England's fifth seed Fiona Geaves 2-9 9-5 9-4 3-9 9-2 to survive her second successive five-game encounter.

The seesaw battle was summed up by Geaves: "Whoever got the better length dominated the rallies and it switched all the time," said the world No11 from Gloucester. "We are both similar players and try to disrupt each other's rhythm."

Geaves looked in control for the first couple of rallies in the fifth game - "but then looked like she was running on empty as she stretched ineffectively at several shots," said the event spokesman. "The tin was rattled and so was she!"

Despite being seeded to win and coming out on top in their recent encounter in last month's Las Vegas Open semi-finals, Jackman is ranked one place below Atkinson in the latest WISPA World rankings. The final will no doubt resolve the discrepancies.



[5] Fiona Geaves (Eng) bt Isabelle Stoehr (Fra)  5/9, 9/5, 9/4, 9/5 (44m)
[3] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned) bt Madeline Perry (Ire)  9/3, 9/0, 0/9, 1/9, 9/3 (41m)
[4] Rebecca Macree (Eng) bt Vicky Botwright (Eng)  9/1, 9/7, 9/0 (42m)
[2] Cassie Jackman (Eng) bt [6] Jenny Tranfield (Eng)  6/9, 9/3, 9/0, 9/1 (45m)


Local hero Madeline Perry was on the verge of a major upset in the quarter-finals of the Nivea Women's Irish Open Squash Championship when third-seeded Dutch No1 Vanessa Atkinson recovered her composure to claim the fifth-game decider and her anticipated place in the semi-finals at the Fitzwilliam Club in Dublin.

Atkinson, the world No6 from The Hague, stormed to a 2-0 lead against Perry, then completely fell apart as her unseeded Irish opponent stormed through to level the match for the loss of only one further point!  Despite the local crowd willing Perry on, the 26-year-old world No20 from Banbridge was unable to stem a courageous fightback by Atkinson, who eventually secured a 9-3 9-0 0-9 1-9 9-3 victory to fight another day.

Atkinson now meets England's Fiona Geaves for a place in the final. Geaves, the fifth seed from Gloucester, fought back from a game down to beat unseeded French woman Isabelle Stoehr 5-9 9-5 9-4 9-5.

The other semi-final will be an all-English affair - and the first meeting between England team-mates Cassie Jackman and Rebecca Macree since the British National Championships' final in February, won by Jackman. London-based Macree, the fourth seed, overwhelmed eighth-seeded compatriot Vicky Botwright 9-1 9-7 9-0, while Jackman, the second seed who is now favourite following the withdrawal of No1 seed Linda Charman, overcame a first game deficit to beat world number ten-ranked compatriot Jenny Tranfield 6-9 9-3 9-0 9-1.

First Round  

Smooth Run For English
Players In Nivea Irish Open
England are already guaranteed a finalist in the Nivea Women's Irish Open Squash Championship after the completion of the first round at the Fitzwilliam Club in Dublin - despite the last-minute withdrawal of top seed Linda Charman, the world No3 from Sussex.

While Charman continues to recover from an infection, second-seeded compatriot Cassie Jackman raced to a 9-0 9-1 9-4 win over English qualifier Laura Lengthorn in just 24 minutes to reach a quarter-final clash with another English opponent Jenny Tranfield, the sixth seed.

The adjacent quarter-final pairing will also be an all-English battle between fourth seed Rebecca Macree and eighth seed Vicky Botwright - a clash which, like the Jackman/Tranfield encounter, will feature one player selected this week to represent England in next month's European Championships, and the other who just missed out.

Macree, who will make her debut in the forthcoming European Championships, was fully extended by Welsh qualifier Tegwen Malik before eventually triumphing 6-9 9-6 9-1 10-9 in 75 minutes, while Botwright also needed four games to overcome Scottish qualifier Wendy Maitland 9-5 9-10 9-7 9-0 in 47 minutes.

On an adjacent court, Scottish No1 Pamela Nimmo became the only seeding casualty - much to the delight of the local crowd. Unseeded Irish star Madeline Perry, ranked five places below, beat world No15 Nimmo 9-7 9-2 9-3 in 37 minutes to set up a meeting in the last eight with third-seeded Dutch No1 Vanessa Atkinson.

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