There was no such thing as home comforts for Sarah-Jane Perry, as the Birmingham native was beaten by Gina Kennedy in the semi-finals of the women’s squash singles at the Commonwealth Games.
Fellow English athlete Kennedy kept her head despite repeated interruptions and complaints from Perry to clinch a 3-1 victory at the University of Birmingham.
Perry looked to have dragged herself back into the match having lost the first game, but Kennedy pulled ahead in the third before keeping her nerve in a tight fourth to book her place in the final.
“There was such a minute difference there today and unfortunately, I was on the wrong end,” reflected Perry, who will play New Zealand’s Joelle King for the bronze medal on Wednesday, in a replay of the 2018 gold medal match.
“She is an incredible athlete and there's absolutely no shame in losing that match today.
“I left it all out there, I’ve had a really good training block and I knew I was in a physical and mental squash position to win that match today and such fine margins show that I was.”
This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 400 athletes, all vying for medal success.
Perry looked unsettled by the diminutive 25-year-old in the first game, remonstrating with the referee on several occasions and at one point being told to ‘get on with it’ by a heckler in the crowd.
But the 32-year-old fought back and showed why she was won the silver medal in 2018 to take the second game 11-8.
However, Kennedy was at the top her game and bounced back to win the third 11-5 before a nail-biting fourth saw the Harvard graduate win out 14-12 despite wasting five match balls.
“It was a fantastic match,” added Perry. “That is what we live for, to play those matches, with a big crowd in this fantastic venue at the Commonwealth Games.
“That's absolutely what we play for, and I loved every second.
“Gina played fantastically well today, she really gave me nothing and unfortunately, I just made a couple too many loose shots and errors.”
Perry now must shelve her disappointment as she bids for a second Commonwealth medal, to add to her silver from four years ago.
And the hometown hitter is in no mood no go home empty-handed.
“I’m gunning for that bronze medal tomorrow,” said Perry.
“Winning a medal at the Commonwealth Games is incredibly difficult and tomorrow I've got a chance to do that.”
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