[1] Carol Owens (Nzl) bt [7] Natalie Grinham (Aus)  9/6, 9/3, 9/1 (35m)
[6] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned) bt [3] Rachael Grinham (Aus)  9/1, 9/0, 3/9, 10/8 (43m)
[4] Cassie Jackman (Eng) bt [5] Linda Charman (Eng)  9/5, 5/9, 9/3, 9/1 (52m)
Nicol David (Mas) bt [13] Fiona Geaves (Eng)  9/4, 9/1, 2/9, 9/3 (28m)
Thu 11th Dec, Quarter-Finals:
David reaches Asian high

Colin McQuillan reports from Hong Kong

First Asian Semi-Finalist
The Credit Suisse Privilege Women’s World Open Championship in Hong Kong has an Asian semi-finalist for the first time in the 24 year history of the event, with the added possibility of Malaysia’s unseeded 20-year-old Nicol David continuing a run that tonight removed the 13th seeded Fiona Geaves 9-4 9-1 2-9 9-3 from a 28 minute quarter-final all the way to becoming the youngest winner of the game’s top title.

Last night the slightly built but technically adept Malaysian youngster defeated the second seed, Natalie Grainger of the USA, and tomorrow she is due to meet England’s fourth seeded Cassie Jackman, whom she defeated when they met in last month’s Dutch Open quarter-finals.

Against the 36-year-old Geaves tonight she was a bundle of carefully directed energy, relaxing from a crisp and well directed deep attack only in a third game in which she allowed her opponent to introduce the short attacking style on which she has built a long career, but soon returning to a dominating style in which she chased down every ball with enthusiasm and delivered every drive with severe intent.

David, the undisputed Malaysian, Asian and World Junior Champion, fell into a dull period after moving from her home base in Penang to Kuala Lumpur last year, but has recovered her senior momentum since joining the professional group based under the coaching guidance of former Australian international Liz Irving in Amsterdam.

Since then the fast and increasingly effective Malaysian youngster has included a win over England’s Cassie Jackman in the Dutch Open among statistics that have raised her to 13th place on the world list.

Jackman looking for second title
Jackman suggests she was not too well when she was beaten in Maastricht, but is in good health in Hong Kong and not suffering one of her occasional spells of discomfort relating to double spinal surgery over the past couple of years.

Tonight she defeated Linda Charman 9-5 5-9 9-3 9-1 in a 52 minute all-England quarter-final, losing control only during a second game period when she began to merely hit the ball instead of hitting shots. “I just had to get my concentration going again,” said the 30-year-old British National Champion, acknowledging that the unexpected removal of Grainger from the bottom half of the draw had improved her chances of reaching a fourth World Open final and her prospects of adding to the win she achieved in Seattle in 1999.

Bad day for the Grinhams
In the top half of the draw Carol Owens, the top seeded World No1 from New Zealand, was smiling pretty broadly tonight, and it was not just because she had just defeated Natalie Grinham of Australia 9-6 9-3 9-1 in a 35 minute quarter-final.

It was the earlier 43 minute 9-1 9-0 3-9 10-8 removal of the third seeded Rachael Grinham, the elder sister of Natalie, by Vanessa Atkinson of The Netherlands that brought the 32-year-old World No1 to high humour at the prospect of a semi-final against Atkinson, who she defeated for a couple of points the last time they met in the World Team Championship in Denmark last year.

“When I first heard about Rachael losing I became surprisingly tense,” Owens said. “I came into this tournament knowing that I probably had to beat both the Grinham sisters to reach the final, and remembering that it was the stress of dealing with Rachael in the Qatar semi-finals last week that left me too beat up to play decently in that final.

“Suddenly, just as I was about to go on for the first half of the Grinham double, I heard that Rachael was no longer there. It took me half a game or so to relax and realise that, with the bottom half of the draw falling apart a bit also, things had actually became a whole lot simpler. And once I relaxed I started to play pretty well.”   End of the road for Owens ???

In truth, Atkinson played pretty well also. She opened at very high pace against one of the fastest movers in the game, running the ball high and deep to keep Rachael Grinham out of the front court area from which the fast footed little Cairo based Australian likes to invent unpredictable assaults.

“We played last week in Qatar and Rachael beat me even though I thought I was playing pretty well. Here I had a game plan developed out of that defeat and I stuck to it most of the time. I was a bit lucky to get a penalty stroke on matchball instead of a let, but I thought I was back in charge by that time after fighting back from 3-7 down.”

Grinham, who had been hoping to add a Word Open title to the British Open Championship she collected last June after beating Owens in the semi-finals, admitted: “I just couldn’t get hold of things at all. Vanessa slowed down a bit in the third game and I managed to put a few rallies together, but at 7-3 in the fourth I started to get a stitch and , while I was just working to keep things rolling until the problem passed, Vanessa started firing in long drops and picked up the pace again. When she got it back ton 8-8 I knew I was back in trouble.”

Back to the Mainland
The World Open action now moves from Hong Kong Island across the Harbour to the mainland where the semi-finals will be played outdoors on the Piazza of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, adjacent to the Harbour, with Hong Kong's distinctive skyline of towers, all lit for Christmas, providing a stunning backdrop.

It will be the first time that the Women's World Open has been staged outdoors.

Nicol David
beats Fiona Geaves



Jackman wins the
all-English tussle


Rachael falls victim
to Vanessa ...


... then Owens powers past Natalie

England's ninth seed Rebecca Macree returned to the arena today after being released from hospital where she received treatment for badly sprained ligaments.

Supported by crutches, Macree reported that, though there are no broken bones, she will be out of action for at least two months.