Australian Open 2018 | Day 5

The women’s first semi-final saw top seed Claire Fahey play UK Junior Jess Garside. In an exhibition of controlled hitting and no requirement for forcing Claire demonstrated her floor shot abilities. Jess played determinedly and managed to win the first game of the second set to her delight. (6/0 6/1)

The second match saw the eagerly awaited battle between the world’s greatest ever player, Rob Fahey, and the world’s best amateur Kieran Booth. The first set was a tight forceful affair with Rob managing to win the important points and long fast rallies to the enjoyment of the crowd. The second set saw Kieran play more forcefully than Rob and take a 4/1 lead. Rob from the receiver’s end steadied and commenced to play Kieran’s backhand, which drew some errors. In an unusual strategy Rob stayed at the receiver’s end and drew back to 4/4. He then returned to his attacking style and closed out the set 6/4. In the final set Rob maintained a narrow lead of 1 to 2 games to take out the match. (6/4 6/4 6/4).

In the second men’s semi-final the in-form Nick Howell took on world number 4 Chris Chapman. The quick retrieving ability of Nick in the first two sets gave Chris little chance of putting the ball away and before Nick could believe it he was two sets to love in the lead. In a tense beginning to the third set Chris managed at 2 all to finally take a game lead and Nick lost the highly accurate forceful play that had won him the first two sets. He started to hit the tape and penthouses and in a dramatic reversal Chris took the next two sets identically to Nick’s first two (6/2 6/2) for the match to be level at the end of the fourth set. In the fifth set Chris continued his winning way and despite a huge tussle for the vital seventh game he went to a 5/2 lead. In another complete reversal Nick rediscovered his earlier game and clawed back to 5 all for a cliff-hanger finish at 30 all 5 all, with Chris serving for the match. In the second last point Chris saved a main wall boast and proceeded to serve a fault giraffe serve for the match point. His second serve, a bobble, managed to clip the bandeau and Nick could not return it. The match ended with equal games of 22 each, but Chris going through to the finals. (2/6 2/6 6/2 6/2 6/5).

In the women’s second semi-final the second seed, Saskia Bollerman, was pressed early in both sets by Irina Dublish with a great display of floor play by both players, however Saskia’s well timed forces were the decisive factor to allow her to take each set. The standard was exceptionally high with few errors and long rallies, which bellied the fact that both players were suffering some illness. The evening crowd enjoyed the match immensely. (6/4 6/2)

Graeme Bradfiel
ARTA Chair

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