Guyanese star encouraged by her solid return

HARROGATE, England, CMC – Guyana’s world squash star Nicolette Fernandes is encouraged by her solid return to the sport but is a trifle disappointed she fell short of title success.

Off the pro circuit for almost two years because of career-threatening knee trouble, Fernandes reached the semi-finals of the Eindhoven Open in her first tournament earlier this month, and then went all the way to the final of the Swiss Open last weekend.
“I feel really good, I can’t really complain but at the same time I had opportunities to do better, so I am not fully satisfied,” Fernandes told CMC Sport yesterday.

Tackling her first tournament since the Qatar Classic in April 2007, the 25-year-old Fernandes toppled seeded players en route to reaching the last four of the Eindhoven Open in the Netherlands.

With a current world ranking of 215th, a considerable plunge from No.27 on the Women’s International Squash Players Association (WISPA) list two years ago when she was active, Fernandes was forced to play qualifiers to get into the main draw at both her comeback events. She defeated several Top-100 players at the two tournaments and is set to claim a huge rankings boost when the April ratings are released early next month.

Fernandes started her campaign in the main draw in Eindhoven by defeating the sixth seed Carin Forstadius, of Sweden.
Forstadius, ranked 81st in the world, was outplayed by Fernandes and the reigning Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games champion marched to victory in straight games.

The win advanced Fernandes to a quarter-final match against the fourth seed Celia Allamargot, a French player ranked 63rd in the world, which she won in five games. The Guyanese star lost in the semi-final to England’s Victoria Lust.
Fernandes had another solid run at the Swiss Open last week that included another win over Allamargot.
She won over Norway’s World No.70 Lotte Eriksen, the eighth seed, in straight sets and dismissed Allamargot 13-11, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9 in the quarter-finals. In the semi-finals, Fernandes met second seed and World No.40 Orla Loom and ousted the Dutch player 11-6, 11-9, 11-7 to reach Sunday’s final which she lost narrowly to France’s Camille Serme.

Ranked 39th in the world, Serme won a tense match 8-11, 11-5, 14-12, 12-10 and although her comeback has been impressive so far, Fernandes is peeved she fell short having gone so close in Geneva.

“I think in the third game it was pretty important who won the third, it was so close, so close. I have done well in my comeback, but having gotten a sniff of a title win there, I am disappointed I didn’t win,” said Fernandes, who is now back at her training base in Harrogate.

Fernandes is expected to play a local tournament in Wimbledon later this week before her next WISPA tournament in the USA next month.

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