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Francis makes it a hat-trick at the Victorian Open
Melody Francis continued to show why she is player to watch on the WISPA
tour, by lifting her third title in a row at the Tour 4 Victorian Open this week.
The 22 year old, playing in her home city of Melbourne, had the pressure
of being the top seed and having a host of international players trying to stop her, but she stayed strong, even when she was pushed to the brink.
The week started with a stunning upset when Korea's Ahn Eun Chan beat
number two seed Samantha Cornett in the second round. The win was not
too surprising considering Chan's recent run of good form, including
picking up her maiden title at the City of Perth Open, defeating
Francis and Lisa Camilleri. The rest of the seeds moved through to
the quarter finals without too many problems.
Francis was the only Aussie to make the semi final, being joined by Wales'
Deon Saffrey, Liu Tsz-Ling from Hong Kong and Chan. Francis and Chan
both scored comfortable wins, whilst Saffrey put on a master class to
dispose of third seed Sarah Cardwell. Ling won the all Hong Kong
battle in her quarter final, the nineteen year old managed to fend
off a comeback from her more experienced compatriot and come through
in four games.
The crowd at the Victorian Open were treated to two tremendous semi
finals, both going the full distance. Ling was looking for her first
tour final appearance and after a nervy start managed to peg Chan
back to two all. Chan though wasn't to be denied and she closed an
extremely tight decider 11-9 to move into her second tour final. The
other semi saw Francis pushed to the limit by Saffrey. The Welsh
number one moved ahead two games to one and the crowd feared that
their girl could be on her way out. Francis though had other ideas
and the hard work she put in during her off season showed as she
ground out an energy sapping five game win in over an hour's play.
With Chan's victory over Francis in Perth, many were expecting the final
to be closely contested. However Chan's semi final appeared to have
drained her and Francis took advantage of this to race away to a
comfortable straight game win.
Francis is only the second player this year to win three tournaments in a
row, along with Lauren Briggs, a feat Nicol David hasn't even
The world number 44, now has a week off before she travels up to play in
the Queensland Open, where she will be the red hot favourite for the
title and she will look to continue her 13 match winning streak.
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