9:09 pm
19 Jun 2024

Geaves Gets Back At Botwright In Brunei

28 Jul 2004

England Tour veteran Fiona Geaves avenged her loss to younger compatriot Vicky Botwright in the Texas Open earlier this year, but it took the 36-year-old 72 minutes achieve her success in today's first round of the Women's Brunei International in the Brunei capital Bandar Seri Begawan.

Unseeded Botwright, the world No13 from Manchester, took the opening game against the fifth seed, but Geaves fought back to level the match, then go 2/1 ahead. The balance of power tilted one way and then the other throughout the longest match of the day, with the Gloucester girl just a little more in control as Botwright scuttled to stay abreast. Both had chances in the fifth, but on her third match ball, Geaves slotted an exquisite forehand volley drop to conclude matters in a 5-9 9-7 9-4 7-9 9-6 scoreline.

Geaves will now meet another England team-mate, the recently-married Linda Elriani, who beat Egypt's world junior champion Omneya Abdel Kawy 10-8 9-5 9-2 in 37 minutes. The Cairo teenager cruised ahead in the first game, and at 8-3 up, it seemed that an upset was on the cards. But Kawy contrived to lose her pattern, the game, and then the match to the fourth seed. When asked later what went wrong, the 18-year-old world No12 used no words, but simply tapped the side of her head.

The inaugural Brunei International Championship is being held for the most part at Jerudong Park, a sumptuous country club on the Borneo island. Amongst other superb facilities, it features two side-by-side all-glass courts that are being used for the early round of the tournament before play transfers to the National Stadium for the semis onwards to take advantage of the greater seating.

Earlier in the day, a large lizard the size of a juvenile crocodile fell out of a nearby tree and scuttled along the Jerudong Park Country Club patio - causing Linda Elriani to emit a scream which could probably have been heard back in her hometown of Eastbourne on the Sussex coast! The reptile shot down the stairs to the courts before being cornered by club staff and captured in a large dustbin before eventually being released in the grounds!

Australia's world no2 Rachael Grinham did what top seeds are supposed to in opening rounds - clinically wrapping up her match against Irish qualifier Madeline Perry. Grinham's 9-5 9-1 9-2 victory in 22 minutes takes her into the quarter-finals against England's seventh seed Rebecca Macree - who beat compatriot Tania Bailey 9-4 9-0 1-9 9-6 in a typically tumultuous performance that saw the qualifier creeping back in the fourth, having already taken one game when Macree went walkabout in the third.

Meanwhile, third seed Natalie Grinham found the going tough against England's fast improving Jenny Duncalf, now up to ten in the world. Duncalf took the first, but the younger Grinham sister came back to win 3-9 9-3 9-1 9-5 in 46 minutes.

"I love to play short but Jenny is very good at the front. I played the wrong game at the beginning," the winner explained. On the event in general, Grinham purred about Jerudong Park: "This is a perfect setting for a major event with two courts with an identical feel. And I love their feel, too!"