Khan wins Southwest Open title 19th September 2011
Latasha Khan won her 8th WISPA title and second of the year this week in Phoenix at the Tour 8 Southwest Open. The event was back on the tour again after proving to be a huge success last year.
The tournament featured a truly international flavour to it, with ten nations making up the sixteen main draw places. Australia’s Sarah Cardwell and three extremely talented Egyptians took up the four qualifying spots in the main draw.
As the first round unfolded it was to be Cardwell providing the only upset, as all the other seeds moved on to the quarter finals. Fourth seed Orla Noom appeared to still be plagued by a leg injury that has hampered her recently, but she levelled at one game all against Cardwell before the Aussie capitalised on the Dutch girl’s restricted movement and eased through in four games. There were straight game wins for sixth seed Miranda Ranieri, third seed Victoria Lust and top seed Khan. Eighth seed Siyoli Waters dropped the second game to Alexandra Norman but managed to hold off the Canadian in a very close contest.
The three Egyptian qualifiers didn’t make it through but they were all mighty close. Merhan Amr Mahmoud took for the first game against second seed Manuela Manetta but the Italian had a bit too much variety and flair in the end. Salma Hany led seventh seed Tenille Van Der Merwe two games to one before the gritty South African eventually wore Hany down after sixty five minutes of play. The last match was three minutes longer in length and even closer. Recent Orange County finalised Yathreb Adel extended fifth seed Nicolette Fernandes to the limit but Fernandes’ experience saw her edge the fifth game 11/9.
The scheduling at the Southwest meant that the quarter finals and semi finals were played on the same day. The players would have liked to have saved as much energy as possible in their quarter finals to be fresh for the semis but unfortunately this didn’t quite go to plan. Waters continued her run of good form to end the chances of Cardwell. Cardwell came out and raced to the first game, before Waters began to find her rhythm in the second and took the next two games in commanding style before holding off a late run from the Aussie in the fourth game tie break. Fernandes made it into the semi finals after upsetting Manetta in straight games. The scoreline didn’t reflect the closeness of the match as the win took fifty minutes to complete. The top half of the draw featured two matches that went right to the wire. Top seed Khan was first through squeezing past Van Der Merwe in four extremely tight games that featured two tie breaks that could have gone either way. Ranieri was the last into the semi finals, taking seventy five gruelling minutes to edge third seed Victoria Lust 11/9 in the fifth.
The evening session saw two contrasting semi finals. Ranieri’s brutal quarter final marathon took it’s toll and the Canadian just couldn’t find the same level against Khan. Khan eased through in a relatively swift twenty four minutes to move into the final and preserved some precious energy. Fernandes appeared to be on her way into the final in equally impressive fashion, comfortably going two games ahead. Waters however upped the pace and cut out the unforced errors to draw the match level after a fourth game tie break went her way. It looked like it might be an almighty comeback for her but Fernandes managed to stay a few points ahead throughout the fifth to close out the match after sixty eight minutes.
The final was an eighteenth for Khan and just Fernandes’ third. It was also the third meeting between the two, with Khan winning the previous two. Fernandes started the better, using her speed and pace to take advantage. Khan is possibly the most experienced played on the tour though and her quality of shot and clever tactics allowed her to take a two game to one lead. Fernandes had been on court over three hours in her first three matches and this took it’s toll in the fourth as Khan managed to build a solid lead and never let her back in.
It was a popular home victory for the American, as she shows she is still a force to be reckoned with on the tour.
Final – Latasha Khan (USA) bt  Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 7/11 11/7 11/9 11/3 (58m)
Semi Finals – Latasha Khan (USA) bt  Miranda Ranieri (CAN) 11/2 11/5 11/7 (24m)
 Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) bt  Siyoli Waters (RSA) 11/5 11/3 9/11 11/13 11/7 (68m)
Quarter Finals – Latasha Khan (USA) bt  Tenille Van Der Merwe (RSA) 14/12 8/11 13/11 11/9 (60m)
 Miranda Ranieri (CAN) bt  Victoria Lust (ENG) 4/11 11/6 11/9 9/11 11/9 (75m)
 Siyoli Waters (RSA) bt [Q] Sarah Cardwell (AUS) 4/11 11/0 11/5 13/11 (35m)
 Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) bt  Manuela Manetta (ITA) 11/4 11/9 11/8 (50m)
1st Round – Latasha Khan (USA) bt Larissa Stephenson (NZL) 11/8 11/8 11/9 (25m)
 Tenille Van Der Merwe (RSA) bt [Q] Salma Hany (EGY) 11/9 6/11 11/13 11/7 11/6 (65m)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) bt Milou Van Der Heijden (NED) 12/10 11/9 11/8 (33m)
 Miranda Ranieri (CAN) bt Adel Weir (RSA) 11/7 11/9 11/2 (25m)
 Siyoli Waters (RSA) bt Alexandra Norman (CAN) 11/8 9/11 11/8 11/8 (40m)
[Q] Sarah Cardwell (AUS) bt  Orla Noom (NED) 11/9 9/11 11/3 11/2 (34m)
 Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) bt [Q] Yathreb Adel (EGY) 8/11 11/7 11/3 9/11 11/9 (68m)
 Manuela Manetta (ITA) bt [Q] Merhan Ahn Mahmond (EGY) 9/11 11/3 11/8 11/7 (40m)