Guyana’s Nicolette Fernandes allowed chances of another upset win over a world ranked player to slip from her grasp on Tuesday.
Playing in the second round of the Cayman Islands World Open championships against the number three seed Laura Massaro of England Fernandes put up a great showing but lost in straight games 9-11, 9-11, 7-11.
According to the squash website WISPA, Fernandes “Played out of her skin” before bowing out the y the much higher ranked player.
But even though she lost Fernandes was not outclassed despite being ranked some 37 places below Massaro and according to reports Fernandes matched the World number three all the way but inexperienced cost her the match. In the first game Fernandes and Massarro battled neck and neck until the score read 5-5 at which point Fernandes crept into an 8-6 lead.
But just when it appeared as if Fernandes would take the first game, Massaro battled back and took five of the last six points to win the first game.
Fernandes rushed into a 4-1 lead in the second set but Massaro fought back to level the score at 7 before going on to win as Fernandes put two volleys into the tin.
In the third set, Massaro took a 3-0 lead but Fernandes fought back to level the match at 3-3. The scores were subsequently tied at 4, 5 and six before Massaro won five of the next six points to take the match.
“Nicolette’s had a fantastic tournament and that just shows you what a bit of a home support can do for you,” said Massaro after the match.
“She pushed me all the way in each game, it just shows you can’t take anything for granted the level is so close these days,” she added.
Fernandes too was delighted with her performance despite the defeat.
“It didn’t feel as though I was the number 40 playing the number three, it was just a couple of points in each game, that’s what it felt like to me anyway.
“I’m thrilled with my tournament, disappointed it’s over obviously but I’ve never had support like this anywhere, a lot of the girls have told me they’re jealous. They believed in me and made me believe in myself, it’s been amazing – I’m going to take this experience and run with it.
I’ve had to cancel my flight so I don’t even know if Ill get home for Christmas but it’s been well worth it, she told the website.