Round Two:
[1] Carol Owens (Nzl) bt [11] Vicky Botwright (Eng)  9/2, 9/6, 9/3  (33m)
[7] Natalie Grinham (Aus) bt [12] Stephanie Brind (Eng)  9/2, 9/3, 9/2  (24m)
[3] Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt [10] Jenny Tranfield (Eng)  9/3, 9/1, 9/3  (37m)
[6] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned) bt [9] Rebecca Macree (Eng)  9/0, 3/9, 9/2, 4/9, 5/0 rtd  (44m)
[5] Linda Charman (Eng) bt Madeline Perry (Irl)  10/8, 9/1, 9/0  (22m)
[4] Cassie Jackman (Eng) bt [15] Shelley Kitchen (Nzl)  9/2, 9/0, 9/6  (32m)
[13] Fiona Geaves (Eng) bt Isabelle Stoehr (Fra)  9/10, 9/4, 9/5, 9/3  (34m)
Nicol David (Mas) bt [2] Natalie Grainger (Usa)  4/9, 9/3, 9/5, 9/7  (47m)
 

Wed 10 Dec, Round Two:
David Downs Grainger
Colin McQuillan reports from Hong Kong

Nicol David, the 20-year-old former World Junior Champion from Malaysia, made her first serious foray towards the same status in the senior game today in Hong Kong when she clinically removed the in-form second seed, Natalie Grainger, 4-9 9-3 9-5 9-7 from a 47 minute second round encounter in the Credit Suisse Privilege Womenís World Open Championship.

It was Davidís best win to date on the WISPA World Tour and arguably the finest seedings reversal seen in the Womenís World Open since it began in 1976.

Grainger, the 26-year-old US based former South African No1 who last year came close to the title losing to Sarah Fitz-Gerald 8-10 in the fourth game and just last week defeated the World No1, Carol Owens of New Zealand, in the richest final of the year in Doha, Qatar, was expected to seriously challenge for the world title made vacant by Fitz-Geraldís retirement at the start of 2003.

"My plan was to stop Natalie playing the short game with which she can be so strong," David said. "In the early part of the match I was not entirely successful but as I managed to lengthen the game and keep her in the back court more later on, I was able to force her into more errors than usual.

"This is absolutely my best win to date. I am so pleased that I stayed with the game plan and kept my discipline."

Certainly the discipline paid off at two vital stages in the match; when Grainger fought back to 4-4 in the third game and when she contested six matchball rallies from 8-6 in the fourth.

Superior racket skills that carried the diminutive Malaysian to junior success are now reinforced by increasingly powerful athleticism that today gave her almost complete command of the Hong Kong showcourt. Against an opponent regarded as one of the better technicians in the modern game, she span speedily in pursuit of the cleanest shots, conjuring considered responses from even the most unbalanced situations.

The performance takes her to a quarter-final against Fiona Geaves, at 36 the oldest player still on world circuit duty. Then it could be Cassie Jackman again in the semi-finals if the fourth seeded British national champion can overcome Linda Charman in an all-English quarter-final in the same half of the draw. Jackman dismissed New Zealandís Shelley Kitchen 9-2 9-0 9-6 in 32 minutes today as Charman was beating Irelandís Madeline Perry 10-8 9-1 9-0 in 22 minutes.

In the top half of the draw Englandís Rebecca Macree was forced to stop against the sixth seeded Dutch Champion, Vanessa Atkinson with the scoreline reading 9-0 3-9 9-2 4-9 5-0 retired after 44 minutes, and was taken by ambulance to the nearby Adventist Hospital with an ankle ligament injury that required overnight restriction in a cast and more investigation tomorrow.

The 32-year-old ninth seed seemed ill at ease when she took to the glass showcourt and Atkinson looked the likely winner from the start through her ability to occasionally disguise her shot direction both to the front court and the deep corners.

Trailing 0-5 in the fifth game after fighting hard to level the match at 2-2, Macree changed direction abruptly to chase a deceptive but poor length delivery towards the top right-hand corner, fell into the wall as she scooped the ball back into play with her foot angled unnaturally into the nick and, as she tried to spring upright again, sharply pressured the joint against itself.

Within seconds Macree was crying out in pain and immediate attention from Englandís travelling physiotherapist, Pauline Newton, could only provide superficial cooling until the ambulance men arrived, suitably masked against the possible injury contagion that has struck this championship on a daily basis so far.

Yesterday Tania Bailey was stretchered away with blood streaming from a racket abused nose, and the day before Tegwen Malik staggered from the court with a deep cut to the bridge of the nose. Obviously masks were required for padding if not inhalation protection.

Atkinson will now meet the third seeded Rachael Grinham of Australia, who took 37 minutes to relinquish seven points to Englandís Jenny Tranfield compared to the 24 minutes her younger sister, Natalie, allowed for the same consolidated points score in her straight games victory over Stephanie Brind in the adjacent quarter.

Natalie Grinham goes to the top seeded Carol Owens in the quarter-finals after the world number one dismissed England's Vicky Botwright in 33 minutes.

"This is the biggest win of my career. She won a major title just last week in Qatar and to beat a player like her is a big thing for me. I'm just thrilled."
Nicol David

"She played very well. She was very quick and made few errors. On my part, I tended to get too clever at times. I played some silly stuff when I should have just kept it simple."
Natalie Grainger


Nicol with Raymond Arnold

"It would be fantastic if I can meet my sister in the semi-final on the outdoor court with the Hong Kong harbour as the backdrop. Playing on a glass court, outside is the best thing possible. I hope I can make it through to the semis."
Natalie Grinham

"We are aiming for higher.
Hopefully one and two soon."
Rachael Grinham

"I have never seen them play against
each other. This is a rare occasion."
Davina Grinham (mother)

 So who will you support if
they meet in the semi-finals?
"I suppose neither one"

Quotes courtesy of the
South China Morning Post


Rebecca Macree carried off to hospital after retiring  against Atkinson.


Image of the day

The court being erected
ready for the final stages