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Artemis Edinburgh Open   26-29 Jan 2012  Edinburgh Sports Club  

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Day Three, Sun 29th Jan 2012                                              
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Two new Artemis champions crowned

FINALS:

[1] Lauren Briggs
(Eng) bt [2] Orla Noom (Ned)
             11/3, 11/9, 11/8 (32m)

 [3/4] Shaun Le Roux (Rsa) bt [2] Andy Whipp (Eng)
            11/6, 11/3, 7/11, 11/7 (47m)
 

Briggs bags Artemis title

Top seed Lauren Briggs claimed victory in the Artemis Edinburgh Open with a straight-games win over second seed Orla Noom in the final of the WSA $5k event at Edinburgh Sporting Club.

Unlike he earlier matches this weekend, Briggs came out firing on all cylinders from the word go, attacking strongly and keeping the pace high. Noom struggled to come to terms with it, subsiding 11/3 in pretty quick time.

The Dutchwoman found her footing from the start of the second though, slowing the pace effectively and finding some winners of her own. Briggs still led though, but never by much and when Noom levelled at 9-all with a backhand volley drop we had a real contest. It was Briggs who took the next two point though, both with winners driven deep, for a two-game advantage.

An early 3/0 lead for Orla in the third didn't last long as the top seed took seven points in a row to move within sight of the title. Another fightback from Orla made it 9/7, but a dropshot from Lauren with Orla stranded at the back brought up match balls 10/7.

A lob that dies at the back saved one, but a trademark drive deep into the back corner consigned Orla to a second successive runners-up spot, and the title was heading down to London.

"I went on with the intention of taking the game to her and put as much pace into it as possible. I got a good start, volleying when I could and putting her under a lot of pressures.

"In the second and third she got used to it, and slowed the pace a lot. You always have to be alert against her, she can turn her intensity on at any time and hit some good winners out of the blue, then her confidence really grows.

"It's good to be back playing tournaments again, even better that after four matches my body is still in one piece! I'm off to Winnipeg tomorrow, it will be even colder than here !!"

 

"She didn't let me in at all in the beginning, so I tried to relax and slow it down as much as I could. I got into it but I wasn't moving as well a I would have liked, and in the end she was just too steady and too fast today.

"I guess I'll have to come back next year to see if I can make it third time lucky!"




Le Roux denies Mister Whippy

Bidding to win the Artemis Edinburgh title for the first time, Andy Whipp probably started his third final here the favourite over Shaun Le Roux, appearing in his first, and even when the South African international took the first, many probably thought it was just one of Whipp's customary slow starts.

Thing is, Le Roux not only matched his opponent in the hard hitting game, as you would expect, but also in the slower-paced, mixed-up periods too, which you - or at least I - wouldn't.

From 3-all Le Roux steadily pulled away, taking the first 11,/6, and continued to dominate in the second, taking it 11/3 and looking well in control.

He carried that momentum into the third too,, [pulling clear from 3-all to lead 7-4, still getting the better of most aspects of the game, but now Whipp, grunting and groaning as he put in a big effort, took seven points in a row to pull one back 11/7.

Had the tide turned? Not really. The fourth was competitive, but again from 5-all it was Le Roux who built the advantage, going ahead 9/5 and urging himself on loudly.

In truth, Shaun had been a little 'intense' for much of the match, engaging the officials in sporadic discussion, earning himself rebukes and warnings, and when Andy hit a lucky winner for 9/6 he bounced his racket off the floor earning himself a conduct stroke for 9/7.

That could have been a turning point, but rather than lose it - as, to be fair, Shaun has been known to do - he buckled down, took the next two points and with it the title.

"In the first two I played the best game against him I possibly could, I tried to nullify his high pace and play as straight as I could, it worked very well, almost perfect.

"He came out quicker in the third, but in the fourth I just told myself to get back to what I was doing and thankfully I managed to take it first time.

"It's been a good weekend, the club, the supporters and of course the sponsors look after us well, and it's nice to get my name on that trophy with some of the other big names who have won it."

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