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Squash - 23. February 2008.

Grainger & Brown To Contest Burning River Final

RESULTS: Women's National City Burning River Squash Classic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Quarter-finals:

[1] Natalie Grainger (USA) bt [5] Latasha Khan (USA) 9-3, 9-0, 9-1

[4] Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG) bt Aisling Blake (IRL) 9-1, 9-6, 9-0

[7] Lauren Briggs (ENG) bt Suzie Pierrepont (ENG) 9-4, 9-2, 9-5

[2] Kasey Brown (AUS) bt [8] Line Hansen (DEN) 9-4, 9-5, 9-2

Semi-finals:

[1] Natalie Grainger (USA) bt [4] Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG) 9-0, 9-1, 9-1

[2] Kasey Brown (AUS) bt [7] Lauren Briggs (ENG) 9-1, 9-7, 9-6 (65m)


Top seeds Natalie Grainger and Kasey Brown will contest the final of the Women's National City Burning River Classic after securing straight games wins in the semi-finals of the $27,300 WISPA World Tour squash event at Cleveland Racquet Club in Cleveland in the US state of Ohio.

Favourite Grainger, the US National champion from Washington DC, progressed to the final for a second straight year by defeating world number 20 Dominique Lloyd-Walter in devastating fashion. At 9-0 and 7-0 in the second game, the fourth seed from England looked mightily relieved when she scored her first point. Grainger was playing with accuracy, power and more importantly with an aggressive use of the volley.

"Any time you are just thinking about winning a point, it is never a good sign," conceded Lloyd-Walter after the 9-0, 9-1, 9-1 drubbing which took Grainger into the 35th WISPA Tour final of her career.

Australian Kasey Brown was the first to make it into the final after a third successive straight games victory. However, the scoreline didn’t do the match justice as there were a number of times during the match that the world number 15 seemed to be just hanging in.

The second seed raced off to a 7-0 lead in the first before English opponent Lauren Briggs, seeded seven, was able to score a point. The second produced an incredibly physical battle with both girls retrieving some great pick ups. The score was tied at 4-4 for several rallies with Briggs working her opponent around the court but unable to find the finishing ball. A lucky bounce off the serve gave Briggs a 7-5 lead and it looked as though Brown was tiring. Even so Brown's retrieving was relentless as she chased down winner after winner in multiple court sprints. Finally the effort paid off as Briggs made two errors to the tie the game. A dying length and a volley winner later, Brown held a valuable 2/0 lead in what was surely the pivotal point of the match.

Briggs came out undaunted in the third and moved into a 3-0 lead. The resilient Brown kept running down shot after shot though not allowing her opponent any cheap points. Ten minutes later, after a lot of hard earned points from both players the score was once again tied at 6-6. The crowd could sense if Briggs could just edge one game the outcome could be very unpredictable, as Brown looked visibly to be slowing. It was not to be, however, as Brown progressed to match ball.

The Australian eventually ended the match with a wrong-footing straight forehand drive to win 9-1, 9-7, 9-6 in 65 minutes - which means that Brown, now in her 14th Tour final, has averaged almost an hour a match despite not dropping a game thus far!

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