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Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 19:37 GMT 20:37 UK

Owens to face Fitz-Gerald

By Clive Lindsay
BBC Sport Online in Manchester

Former Australian Carol Owens stands between Sarah Fitz-Gerald and her dream of winning Commonwealth Games gold for their homeland.

Owen, now representing New Zealand, defeated England's Cassie Jackman 3-9 9-5 9-1 9-5 to set up an Antipodean finale to the women's singles on Wednesday.

Fitz-Gerald had earlier extended her winning streak to 54 matches by defeating team-mate Rachael Grinham 9-2 9-2 9-6 in double quick time.

Now she faces the Melbourne-born Owens, the world number two.

"There was a lot of pressure out there"
Carol Owens

Owens - like Peter Nicol in the men's game - switched allegiances because she felt she did not get enough financial support from her homeland.

So she will be looking to prove a point against Fitz-Gerald, who, at 33, is two years her senior.

Owens said: "I hope to stick with her and try not go for shots too early and think about setting up rallies.

"That's when I was winning today.

"I was behind Cassie a lot in the first game and I was really tentative, but there was a lot of pressure out there."

Jackman, who reached the world number one spot in 2000, had taken Owens to five games in their two meetings in tournament finals.

But Owens had won convincingly the five times they had met at an earlier stage.

That is how it proved in the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

The Englishwoman started brightly, controlling the first game from the start and running out a 9-3 winner.

But the second game was the crucial one, with the score stuck at 6-3 for the New Zealander for some 10 minutes.

Owens' resolve won the day as Jackman started to make the more regular mistakes.

Some excellent disguise shots swept the New Zealander to an easy 9-1 third game .

And, although Jackman put up stubborn resistance in the fourth, it was the world number two who reached the final.

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