Monday, 30 November -0001
WORLD SQUASH NEWS RESULTS: Nivea Irish Women's Open Squash Championship, Dublin, Ireland Final:  Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt  Cassie Jackman (ENG) 3-9, 9-4, 9-5, 4-9, 9-7 (58m) Vanessa Victorious In Irish Open Dutch champion Vanessa Atkinson, the third seed, claimed the biggest title of her career - and achieved her stunning win after a gruelling third successive five-game encounter - when she beat England's second seed Cassie Jackman 3-9 9-4 9-5 4-9 9-7 in the final of the Nivea Irish Women's Open Squash Championship at the Fitzwilliam Club in Dublin. Whilst the seeding suggested an upset, the latest world rankings predicted the outcome - with Atkinson, 27, from The Hague, ranked six in the world - one place above Jackman. It was a disappointing result for the former world champion and world No1 from Norfolk who, since making her comeback early this year after spinal surgery in September, had hitherto only lost to Natalie Pohrer, the world No2. The thrilling 58-minute final was a fitting climax to the first Women's Irish Open since 1991, when Jackman reached the semi-finals. Jackman had been relentless and focussed all week, and started the final in that vein, taking the first game after a number of enforced errors by the Dutch No1. The tide then began to turn in Atkinson's favour - perhaps helped by advice between games from her father Jim, taking a holiday from his work in Pennsylvania, USA, in a rare opportunity to see his daughter in action. "Too many errors," bemoaned Jackman as she tinned a drive to give Atkinson the third game and a 2/1 lead. After drawing level by taking the fourth game, Jackman forged 6-1, then 7-2, ahead in the decider and looked certain to clinch the title. But Atkinson found another gear and mounted a comeback as she pushed her English opponent to the back of the court, then slotted in some superb drops. Soon it was seven-all and after a few further great exchanges, Jackman ended the matter when she was unable to keep an Atkinson drive in play - a winner which brought tumultuous and sustained applause from the delighted Irish crowd. Jackman was philosophical: "Vanessa ground out points in spells and I made too many errors. I didn't win, but I can't be too disappointed as she played the best I have seen from her." The new Irish Open champion was ecstatic after claiming her fifth WISPA World Tour title: "I just can't believe I've won. My parents have the chance to see me play so rarely and they were here today. That's great. When I was down in the last, I knew I had to keep her on court and make her win it. It was obviously the right thing to do!"