Fiona Geaves (Eng) bt  Stephanie Brind (Eng) ) 6-9 1-9 9-7 9-2 9-3
MONTE CARLO TITLE
Fiona Finally succeeds ...
Andrew Shelley reports
England's Fiona Geaves fought back from 2-0 and 5-6 down to claim the $17,000
Women's Monte Carlo Squash Classic title for the first time after beating
compatriot Stephanie Brind 6-9 1-9 9-7 9-2 9-3 in the 61-minute final in
It was the world No10 from Gloucester's first WISPA World Tour title success
for more than two years - and achieved just ten days after her 33rd birthday.
Furthermore, the final victory, watched enthusiastically by His Serene
Highness Prince Albert of Monaco, was against a lower-ranked opponent who was
selected ahead of her by England for last month's World Team Championships.
"I didn't think that I would win when I was 2-0 down - I haven't felt that
tired in a match for ages, but fortunately Steph made enough mistakes to help
me through at the end," said the new Monte Carlo champion.
"I beat Steph last week, so the match was there to be won. The year couldn't
have finished any better for this mature player!" added Geaves.
 Fiona Geaves (ENG) bt  Suzanne Horner (ENG) 9-3 5-9 9-3 2-9
 Stephanie Brind (ENG) bt  Rachael Grinham (AUS) 9-1 10-8 9-3
 Suzanne Horner (ENG) bt  Natalie Grinham (AUS) 9-0 9-1 9-5
 Fiona Geaves (ENG) bt  Vicky Botwright (ENG) 9-7 9-2 9-7
 Stephanie Brind (ENG) bt  Pamela Nimmo (SCO) 9-5 8-10 9-4 9-1
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt  Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) 9-6 9-6 9-7
 Suzanne Horner (ENG) bt Lisa McKenna (SCO) 9-2 9-2 9-1
 Natalie Grinham (AUS) bt Shabana Khan (USA) 9-0 9-2 9-4
 Fiona Geaves (ENG) bt Wendy Maitland (SCO) 9-0 6-9 9-4 9-0
 Vicky Botwright (ENG) bt Cheryl Beaumont (ENG) 9-1 9-2 9-1
 Pamela Nimmo (SCO) bt Janie Thacker (ENG) 4-9 5-9 9-5 9-4 9-1
 Stephanie Brind (ENG) bt Elin Blikra (NOR) 9-1 9-6 9-7
 Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) bt Kate Allison (ENG) 9-4 9-1 9-1
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Corinne Castets (FRA) 9-3 9-3 9-3
FIONA FINALLY SUCCEEDS
Andrew Shelley reports on the Monte Carlo
If the Monte Carlo Classic proved one thing
it is that patience really is a virtue. Not only had Fiona Geaves played in
each of the five Classics but also in the European Champion of Champions
95 which preceded it. Now for the first time she left Monaco a winner.
Initial seeds progress in the Principality
was as serene as the December weather. Fifth placed Pamela Nimmo, with
boyfriend Del Harris on hand to support her between games, had a bumpy ride
before finally emerging the winner against Janie Thacker. But then with the
strong Englishwoman returning after a knee injury she always expected it to
Even the quarter finals went with seeding,
although Nimmo herself made it difficult for 4th ranked Stephanie
Brind before going down 3/1. That said, Vicky Botwright could have presented
more problems for 3rd seed Geaves had she not developed a strong
liking for the tin when ahead in the 1st and 3rd
The local squash enthusiasts were pleased to
see French top player Isabelle Stoehr reaching the last eight, after
evergreen Corinne Castets had bowed out to 2nd seed Rachael
Grinham on day one. But she too was despatched by Grinham, whose languid
style was not quite undone by Stoehrs combination of Gallic flair and
conventionally strong accurate placement, and won on a flattering 3/0
After one of the event trademark social
evenings with players that makes the event one of the most friendly and
relaxed on the circuit this time joining with the Federation committee
over plates of pasta it was back to the courts for the semi finals. It
was in this round that the wheels of progress failed to rotate for the top
Brind had not met Grinham on court for
getting on for 3 years but clearly knew how to counteract what she called
her opponents unique style. I had to hit it hard as she likes it
floated around she said. I stopped doing it for a while in the second
game and nearly lost it. That was at the point when the Australian had
leapt to 8/3 up before being pegged back by more solid play in only one
hand. The third game was easier and after 32 minutes Brind was through to an
The other semi between top seed Suzanne
Horner and Geaves was a much longer see-sawing affair. After the first four
games were shared Geaves raced to 8/2 up in the decider and looked for all
the world to have beaten her 37 year old opponent. But then Geaves relaxed
state allowed her to donate a handful of points to her grateful opponent.
How often this happens.
Then with the score standing at 8/7 Geaves
realised that the next rally would need to be longer. It certainly was. Back and forth down the backhand wall upward of thirty times
until a let was called. Then it was the same again until after something
like 40 strokes Horner put an attempted cross court drop down and it was all
Tired after the 48 minute match, Geaves was
enlivened to know that she would be playing the final in front of His Serene
Highness Prince Albert of Monaco.
The squash playing royal visitor couldnt
have wished for a better match. Both players clearly wanted the title badly
and it showed. Initially it seemed certain that Brind, a member of the
England team which won the world title in November would comfortably dispose
of a player left out on age grounds, as indeed Horner had been. Brind was
two games up after 27 minutes, and afterwards Geaves reported that at that
point she did not think that she could win. However she tenaciously clawed
her way back using great width, aided it must be said by an increasingly
error-ridden response by Brind.
The 33 year old just kept going and going to
eventually emerge as a 6/9 1/9 9/7 9/2 9/3 winner after 61 minutes. I
havent felt this tired playing a match in a long time she exclaimed.
There was no hint of weariness when she
returned to the court to receive the trophy and royal congratulations. The
patience had finally been rewarded.