PHOENIX, Arizona, CMC – Caribbean champion Nicolette Fernandes failed in her bid for a second WISPA Tour title on Saturday, when top-seed Latasha Khan of the United States beat 3-1 in the Final of the Southwest Open.
The fifth-seeded Guyanese could not prevent Khan from claiming her ninth WISPA Tour title in their near hour-long battle.
Fernandes gave her American opponent a scare, when she won the first game 11-7, but Khan, playing in her 18th WISPA Tour final, did not allow the World No.46 to dictate terms the rest of the way.
The 28-year-old Fernandes, playing in only her fourth WISPA Tour final, lost the next three games 11-7, 11-9, 11-3, suffering defeat for the second time this year with a title beckoning.
It followed her loss to World No.32 Victoria Lust of England in the Final of the Alicia Hagedorn last May.
Fernandes had reached the Final in the Southwest, following a series of hard-fought matches in the first three stages.
She toppled World No.74 Yathreb Adel of Egypt 11-8, 7-11, 3-11, 11-9, 11-9 in the first round, then stopped World No.30 and second seed Manuela Manetta of Italy 11-4, 11-9, 11-8, and prevailed in another fierce battle in the semi-finals, when he held off World No.51 and eighth seed Siyoli Waters of South Africa 5-11, 3-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-7.
Fernandes maintained her position in the top-50 in the World this year, despite enduring another topsy-turvy season.
She lost to World No.76 Salma Hany of Egypt, after reaching the quarter-finals of the Swiss Open in March, and a few weeks later, lost in the first round to World No.10 Vanessa Atkinson of the Netherlands at the Atwater Cup.
Fernandes also had mixed results in April, when she failed to make it out of the first round of the Texas Open, where she fell to World No.6 Kasey Brown of Australia before losing to Lust in the quarter-finals of The Racquet Club Invitational.
She restored some confidence last month in the Cayman Islands, where she repelled previous champion Karen Meakins of Barbados in the Women’s Final of the Caribbean Championship.