Francis Reclaims Australia Day Title in Seventh Home-Turf Win

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Photo credits to Iain Wyeth via Melody Francis.

Melody Francis claimed her seventh WSA World Tour title in the Tour 5 Australia Day Challenge in Brisbane yesterday.

The 24-year-old, along with the other top seeds, received a bye through the first round of play before making short work of teenager Natalie Newton in straight games. The quarter-final saw Francis win a closely fought tie with fifth seed Sally Skaarenborg of Denmark, whilst Zoe Petrovansky surprised onlookers by beating third seed Carmen Lee in four games.

The resulting semi-final clash was Francis’ closest of the tournament, as both Australians battled for a place in the final. The higher seed twice fought back from a game down to eventually take control of the contest, closing out the deciding game 11-9 against Petrovansky.

In the final, Francis would meet Lisa Camilleri, ranked at No.229 in the WSA World Rankings, but playing her first competitive event since the Malaysian Open in July 2011. The former world No.28 comfortably saw off the challenge of her second round opponent Lakeesha Rarere, before dispatching Samantha Davies in four games in the quarters. Her semi-final against fourth seed Christine Nunn lasted just 28-mintues, as the 29-year-old from Melbourne confirmed her 24th WSA World Tour final place.

No.2 seed Francis started the brighter of the pair in the tournament final. The lower seed took a first game lead, before the experienced Camilleri levelled proceedings with a dominant counter-effort.

Two narrow tie-break games were all that separated the finalists for the rest of the match, as Francis faired better towards the business end of the games, claiming a 13-11 third and a closer-still 14-12 fourth game win to close out the contest in 43 minutes.

The world No.55 Francis reclaimed the title she won back in 2011, adding to her haul of seven WSA World Tour titles, all of which have come on home turf in Australia.

[2] Melody Francis (AUS) bt [1] Lisa Camilleri (AUS) 11-6, 5-11, 13-11, 14-12 (43m)

[1] Lisa Camilleri (AUS) bt [4] Christine Nunn (AUS) 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 (28m)
[2] Melody Francis (AUS) bt [16] Zoe Petrovansky (AUS) 8-11, 11-5, 2-11, 11-8, 11-9 (40m)

[1] Lisa Camilleri (AUS) bt [7] Samantha Davies (AUS) 11-5, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5 (40m)
[4] Christine Nunn (AUS) bt [6] Larissa Huffer (AUS) 11-4, 13-11 ret. (19m)
[16] Zoe Petrovansky (AUS) bt [3] Carmen Lee (HKG) 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4 (29m)
[2] Melody Francis (AUS) bt [5] Sally Skaarenborg (DEN) 11-5, 7-11, 12-10, 11-8 (32m)

2nd round:
[1] Lisa Camilleri (AUS) bt [15] Lakeesha Rarere (AUS) 11-2, 11-4, 11-2
[7] Samantha Davies (AUS) bt Aimee Slatter (AUS) 11-5, 13-11, 11-9
[4] Christine Nunn (AUS) bt [9] Selena Shaikh (AUS) 11-6, 11-4, 11-4
[6] Larissa Huffer (AUS) bt [13] Maggy Marshall (AUS) 4-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4
[16] Zoe Petrovansky (AUS) bt [8] Jessica Turnbull (AUS) 11-6, 11-9, 11-8
[3] Carmen Lee (HKG) bt [14] Nicole Stoneham (AUS) 11-3, 11-5, 11-1
[5] Sally Skaarenborg (DEN) bt [12] Jennifer Brown (AUS) 11-9, 11-3, 11-0
[2] Melody Francis (AUS) bt [11] Natalie Newton (AUS) 11-5, 11-1, 11-3

1st round:
[1] Lisa Camilleri (AUS) bye
[15] Lakeesha Rarere (AUS) bt Rebecca Baum (AUS) 11-6, 11-3, 11-7
[7] Samantha Davies (AUS) bt Kristen Nightingale (AUS) 11-7, 11-4, 11-7
Aimee Slatter (AUS) bt [10] Grace McErvale (AUS) 12-10, 11-5, 11-3
[4] Christine Nunn (AUS) bye
[9] Selena Shaikh (AUS) bt Samantha Calvert (AUS) 12-10, 11-4, 11-7
[6] Larissa Huffer (AUS) bt Moana Gray (AUS) 11-8, 11-5, 11-3
[13] Maggy Marshall (AUS) bt Nathalie Sutter (AUS) 11-5, 11-5, 11-4
[16] Zoe Petrovansky (AUS) bt Stacey Cope (AUS) 11-7, 11-1, 11-3
[8] Jessica Turnbull (AUS) bt Eloise O’Connor (AUS) 11-7, 11-7, 11-9
[14] Nicole Stoneham (AUS) bt Kelly Fraser (AUS) 11-7, 11-4, 11-7
[3] Carmen Lee (HKG) bye
[12] Jennifer Brown (AUS) bt Iritana Gray (AUS) 11-2, 11-6, 11-2
[5] Sally Skaarenborg (DEN) bt Rachael Gibson (AUS) 11-4, 11-6, 11-2
[11] Natalie Newton (AUS) bt Jasmin Burnard (AUS) 11-6, 11-5, 11-5
[2] Melody Francis (AUS) bye


Nicol David, Founder
Squash Stars is a social media effort designed to support women squash with the ultimate aim of promoting the sport for the Olympics.Nicol David, Founder

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