10:48 am
16 Apr 2024

Bailey Hounded By Hawkes In Madrid World Open

23 Oct 2007

England's fourth seed Tania Bailey looked close to providing the only upset on the opening day of main draw action in the Madrid Women's World Open when she squandered a 2/0 lead against unseeded Jaclyn Hawkes to face three game-balls which would have taken the match into a fifth game decider at Club Palestra in the Spanish capital.

It was clear that something was amiss with the 28-year-old England No1 in the third game after taking the first two for the loss of just five points. Bailey, suffering with sinusitis, was struggling to respond to the Hawkes advance as the world No24 from New Zealand gained the upper hand in games three and four.

But the plucky Lincolnshire lass fought back in the fourth to save game-balls at 6-8, 8-9 and 9-9 before finally winning her second match-ball - converting it with the luckiest shot of the match!

"I felt fine in the first two games, but as soon as I soon as I started to run around in the third, the infection kicked in and I just couldn't breathe. My legs and arms felt dead - you can't think straight when all you're trying to do is breathe!" said world No4 Bailey.

"I've had sinus problems all my life - I've had it all, including three operations and laser treatment, but I still can't shake it off. I feel fine in everyday life, but you never know how you're going to feel on court. I feel as if I'm as good as anyone, but this lets me down. I'll have to take it easy tonight and hope that I'll be fine tomorrow."

Bailey was joined in the last sixteen by all four England team-mates - Vicky Botwright, the sixth seed; Jenny Duncalf, the ninth seed; Laura Lengthorn-Massaro, the 11th seed and 12th seed Alison Waters. Indeed Bailey faces Lancashire's Lengthorn-Massaro for a place in the quarter-finals after the 23-year-old from Preston beat Italian qualifier Manuela Manetta 9-4, 9-3, 9-7.

Botwright and Duncalf will line up in another all-English second round encounter after Manchester-based Botwright despatched Malaysia's Sharon Wee 9-2, 9-5, 9-2 in 26 minutes and Duncalf, from Harrogate in Yorkshire, recovered from a game down to beat seven times US champion Latasha Khan 6-9, 9-3, 9-1, 9-0 in 56 minutes.

"I knew it would be tough - Latasha's a good player and if you give her time on the ball, she'll cut it away," said the 24-year-old British National champion. "I felt comfortable towards the end, but I had to be patient. We'd all rather play on the all-glass court - so I'm sure there'll be some gruelling matches here (at Club Palestra) tomorrow.

"The last time I played Vicky she beat me in the British Open - but I won the time before, so I'm sure it'll be a good match."

It only took former World Open champion Vanessa Atkinson 17 minutes to earn a place in the second round of the sport's biggest-ever women's event when she beat Spanish wild card player Alicia Alvarez Riaza 9-0, 9-0, 9-1.

"Because the courts are so bouncy, I was able to get a good run-around - which was ideal for a first round match really," said Atkinson, the No8 seed from the Netherlands who won the title in 2004. "But it was amazing that we finished our match at the same time they finished the first game on the next court!

"I'm feeling good - my training's going well and I'm injury-free. And I'm happy with the way I'm playing. Nowadays, because of my relationship with James (Willstrop), I'm spending more time in England, in Yorkshire - which is great for my game. Whereas in Holland, I have to plan practice sessions with other players, there are so many players I can hit with at Pontefract - it may be girls like Kirsty McPhee or Lauren Siddall, or guys like Lee Beachill, Saurav Ghosal and of course James. And the atmosphere at the club is fantastic."

Alicia Alvarez Riaza, a 21-year-old from Madrid, was making her maiden appearance in the world championship - and knew she was not expected to win: "I felt very good - I know Vanessa is a very good player, and it's very difficult to play at that level. Technically, she plays at a very high standard and she's very fit and physically well-prepared.

"I didn't expect to win, but playing in my first World Championship was a fantastic experience. I was determined not to let the pressure get to me - I wanted to make sure I enjoyed myself."

Only an hour after being reunited with the bag which contained her racquets, squash kit and make-up, fifth seed Natalie Grainger recorded a 9-6, 9-0, 9-3 win over Mexican number one Samantha Teran. The bag had failed to materialise on her arrival at Madrid airport two days earlier from Luton in England.

"Thanks to Jenny Tranfield, whose colleague coaches the Managing Director of Luton Airport, the whole airport was searched today for my missing bag - and finally they assured me it was definitely in Madrid! How could it have gone missing on a direct flight from Luton to Madrid?

"I finally got the bag at about 5.00pm and was here at the club for my match at six. I'd had to borrow a racquet for my practice session this morning - so when I got on court for the match with my own 'Harrow Natalie Grainger' racquet, it felt a bit heavy - and it took me at least the first game to get used to it!

"I couldn't find my length in the first game and made lots of errors. But I think I can relax now - I've been on edge since I arrived - but it's done now: Onwards and upwards!"

Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia who is seeded to win her third world title in a row, eased to a 9-7, 9-3, 9-0 win over France's Isabelle Stoehr in 39 minutes.

"I think these courts may be even faster than the ones at home - but I haven't played on courts like these for a while," said the 24-year-old defending champion from Penang who is expected to win her seventh WISPA World Tour title of the year.

"It took me a game and a half to get used to the bounce. Isabelle took the ball well and had a good start. I had to really hang in there until she started making a few errors and I then took my chance. Isabelle is a tough player to play - I'm glad I pulled it off.

"Once I get the timing right, I can hit the ball hard - but perhaps these courts make it sound harder than it is. It's great to have my parents here - and my sister and her boyfriend arrive later in the week, so it's going to be happy families!"

1st round:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) 9-7, 9-3, 9-0 (39m)
[10] Shelley Kitchen (NZL) bt [Q] Lauren Briggs (ENG) 9-2, 9-4, 9-2 (35m)
[5] Natalie Grainger (USA) bt Samantha Teran (MEX) 9-6, 9-0, 9-3 (36m)
[13] Engy Kheirallah (EGY) bt [Q] Runa Reta (CAN) 9-3, 9-4, 9-3 (34m)
[3] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [Q] Louise Crome (NZL) 9-3, 10-8, 9-5 (34m)
[12] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [Q] Suzie Pierrepont (ENG) 9-0, 9-3, 9-3 (28m)
[6] Vicky Botwright (ENG) bt Sharon Wee (MAS) 9-2, 9-5, 9-2 (26m)
[9] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt Latasha Khan (USA) 6-9, 9-3, 9-1, 9-0 (56m)
[15] Kasey Brown (AUS) bt [Q] Aisling Blake (IRL) 9-2, 9-6, 9-2 (55m)
[8] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt Alicia Alvarez Riaza (ESP) 9-0, 9-0, 9-1 (17m)
[11] Laura Lengthorn-Massaro (ENG) bt [Q] Manuela Manetta (ITA) 9-4, 9-3, 9-7 (45m)
[4] Tania Bailey (ENG) bt Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) 9-4, 9-1, 6-9, 10-9 (69m)
[16] Annelize Naude (NED) bt Raneem El Weleily (EGY) 9-3, 9-4, 7-9, 5-9, 9-3 (64m)
[7] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt [Q] Orla Noom (NED) 9-4, 9-2, 9-3 (27m)
[14] Rebecca Chiu (HKG) bt [Q] Line Hansen (DEN) 9-5, 9-6, 9-2 (47m)
[2] Natalie Grinham (AUS) bt Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG) 9-3, 9-6, 9-5 (43m)