Cassie Hits The Jackpot In Monte Carlo
24 Oct 2004
After finishing as runner-up in five successive ranking event finals in 2004, it was a welcome first title victory this year for Cassie Jackman when the English favourite beat compatriot Jenny Tranfield in the final of the Women's Monte Carlo Classic to lift the Monaco title for the third time since 1999.
Despite being world No1 for six months of this year, Jackman had only lifted the WISPA World Grand Prix Finals trophy, a non-ranking title, before recording her Monte Carlo Classic hat-trick.
Her third-seeded opponent had reached the final without having to endure a sapping semi - after her prospective opponent Fiona Geaves had been forced to withdraw due to a knee injury sustained in the previous round. But Tranfield does have two Tour titles to her name this year, the Salt Lake City Open and Las Vegas Open.
Former world champion Jackman set about her task with characteristic venom, jumping into the ball and driving fiercely. These pile-drivers were laced with drops and lobs to ensure that direction would not be too predictable. Tranfield, also a former world champion, but at lower university level, scurried like a ferret on speed.... but it proved to be mission impossible. For all her efforts, the first game could not be taken, despite her creeping up towards Jackman's initial lead.
Watched by her parents and boyfriend, Tranfield was by now using all her coursework from the element of her PhD which covered coping with stress at high performance level. It may have helped, but when Jackman is firing on all cylinders the problems are difficult to solve. She was being forced deep, and when a defensive lob was not high enough Jackman was in the air and putting it away overhead. A great sight indeed.
The second game was not short, eleven minutes in fact, but 29-year-old Tranfield, from Milton Keynes, ended it without a point for her efforts.
Norfolk-based Jackman moved into a 3-0 lead in the third, only to be pegged back by some obdurate resistance that turned into a 4-3 lead for her opponent. From here, she could get little further, gamely though she tried - and the title went for the third time to Jackman 9-6 9-0 9-5 in 42 minutes.
Trophies were presented by a local squash player, His Highness Prince Albert of Monaco. The Prince (pictured with Cassie) is an IOC delegate and was particularly interested in hearing from Jackman that the WISPA Tour is going to Shanghai next month. When it was explained that a glass court will be erected on the waterfront, and international TV will feature the final stages, he was genuinely enthused.
Afterwards Jackman was satisfied with her week: "I knew that the final would not be easy, and to win 3/0 is a bonus. Monaco is a really nice place to come to - there are so many familiar faces here, they are so welcoming," added the 31-year-old who now boasts 27 WISPA World Tour titles.
Tranfield admitted that she was caught between being pleased to have reached the final but wanting to have done better in it: "I didn't take my chances. I needed to go for it more but Cassie controlled the match from the tee and when I wasn't inch perfect she cut me out."