ECHO Arena Liverpool, Liverpool, England
David Palmer & Nicol David Foil English British Open Double
Hopes of an English double were foiled in the finals of the
Dunlop British Open - Liverpool 2008 squash championships
when Australia's David Palmer clinched the men's title
for the fourth time and Malaysian Nicol David the women's
crown for a third time at the ECHO Arena in Liverpool.
In what will go down as one of the most dramatic men's finals in
the prestigious event's 80-year-old history, fifth seed Palmer
squandered a 2/0 lead against England's
then saved two championship balls in the decider to beat the
fourth seed 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 6-11, 11-10 (3-1) in a 111-minute
Underdog Palmer, who had reached the final after his semi-final
opponent Karim Darwish conceded the match he was leading
after sustaining an Achilles injury, was in commanding form in the
first two games and well into the third.
But Willstrop, 24, from Leeds, showed true
Yorkshire grit by fighting back to level the match and moving 9-6
Both players were clearly exhausted, but fought for every point -
causing gasps of amazement from the capacity Arena crowd as
irretrievable balls were retrieved.
The Englishman had match balls at 10-9 and 11-10 - but it was the
New South Wales who ultimately prevailed in the longest match of
the tournament - and the longest British Open final since 1997.
"You've got to take your hat off to him," said British National
champion Willstrop afterwards. "I didn't have an answer in the
first two games - but then I dug in. He's a true champion - it's
no disgrace, I've just got to accept it!"
Palmer admitted that he thought he was 'home and dry' at 6-4 up in
the fourth. "I then got a bit slow - and he took advantage.
James is a great guy and a great ambassador for the sport."
After a seesaw last half of the final game, Palmer reached match
ball at 12-11, then noticed that his racket was cracked and walked
off court to replace it. Amazingly, the winning shot that
followed was a miss hit off the frame, which ended in the sidewall
"We both had a few lucky bounces - I don't know what happened in
the final shot, it came off my frame for a cross-court nick.
'I'll take that', I thought."
Earlier, Nicol David, in her fourth successive women's final,
faced final debutante Jenny Duncalf, the fifth seed from
Harrogate who beat
Australia's defending champion Rachael Grinham en-route to
David, eager to make up for the disappointment of her shock defeat
in last year's final, romped to a first game win in just eight
minutes - then forged a 7-2 lead in the second.
But Duncalf, buoyed by a near capacity home crowd at the brand new
ECHO Arena, fought back to level the game then moved to within a
point of taking the game.
However, the 24-year-old from
Penang rallied to save the game-ball and went on to win the match
9-1, 10-8, 9-0 in 40 minutes to secure her third title in four
"She's a very special player," said Duncalf of her opponent
afterwards. "I just couldn't make any headway. I certainly could
have done with that second game - it would have given me a lot of
Nicol David, now celebrating her fifth successive WISPA World Tour
title and her 17th in 20 events, admitted that losing
the title last year hit her hard: "I was really devastated - it
was there for the taking.
"But you get stronger - you learn what you have to do. You don't
let anything get in your way.
"I knew she was going for it in the second game - she had nothing
to lose. I had to make sure I didn't let her in."
When asked about her feelings about the new 'Pro Scoring' system
which will be in place by the time she seeks to reclaim her
World Open title in
Manchester in October, David said: "It'll be interesting. We'll
see what happens."
Nick Matthew Withdraws From British Open
pictures to go to match report
Malaysia's Mohd Azlan Iskandar knocks out 2nd seed Ramy Ashour
2nd Round Exit For Egypts Ramy Ashour
Nicol David Looking For
Revised 30th April after Nick Matthew
 Amr Shabana (EGY)
11-5, 11-8, 11-5
Davide Bianchetti (ITA)
11-9, 7-11, 11-5,
11-10 (2-0) (52m)
11-6, 3-11, 11-5, 11-8 (49m)
11-7, 3-11, 4-8
8-11, 6-11, 11-10 (3-1) (111m)
 John White (SCO)
11-4, 11-7, 11-5
[Q] Aaron Frankcomb (AUS)
 David Palmer (AUS)
11-3, 11-5, 11-6
[Q] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
11-6, 11-8, 9-11,
 Adrian Grant (ENG)
11-2, 4-11, 11-9 (49m)
[Q] Tom Richards (ENG)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
11-8, 11-3, 11-8
Mansoor Zaman (PAK)
11-4, 11-4, 11-5
11-9, 11-7, 11-3 (39m)
 Olli Tuominen (FIN)
11-9, 3-11, 11-7 (77m)
Joey Barrington (ENG)
 Karim Darwish (EGY)
11-8, 11-7 (40m)
Jonathan Kemp (ENG)
11-7, 11-5, 11-10
Laurens Jan Anjema
 Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
11-6, 11-2 (36m)
[Q] Jesse Engelbrecht (RSA)
 Lee Beachill (ENG)
Daryl Selby (WAL)
11-9, 4-11, 11-10
(2-0), 9-11, 11-8 (83m)
11-9, 4-11, 11-9, 11-8 (61m)
11-7, 11-3, 11-7
 Peter Barker (ENG)
Tom Pashley (ENG)
 Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (85m)
[Q] Farhan Mehboob (PAK)
Ong Beng Hee
11-9, 11-9, 11-7
 James Willstrop (ENG)
11-8, 11-2 (53m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK)
 Alex Gough (ENG)
11-1, 0-11, 11-9 (60m)
[Q] Scott Arnold (AUS)
11-6, 11-3, 11-5
11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (50m)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar
 Thierry Lincou (FRA)
11-5, 11-3 (33m)
[Q] Jonathan Harford (ENG)
 Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS)
[Q] Wade Johnstone (AUS)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar
11-1, 5-11, 11-8,
 Ramy Ashour (EGY)
11-10 (2-0), 11-7 (65m)
Alister Walker (ENG)
Men's qualifying finals:
Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) bt Ben Ford
(ENG) 11-4, 11-6, 7-11, 11-7 (57m)
Jonathan Harford (ENG) bt Robbie Temple (ENG) 11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5 (61m)
Wade Johnstone (AUS) bt Mark Fuller (ENG) 11-6, 11-9, 11-10 (3-1) (38m)
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Shaun le Roux (ENG) 11-4, 11-9, 11-9 (46m)
Jesse Engelbrecht (RSA) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 4-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-10
(5-3), 11-3 (68m)
Scott Arnold (AUS) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 (51m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Scott Handley (ENG) 11-3, 11-4, 11-10 (3-1) (30m)
Farhan Mehboob (PAK) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL) 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-4 (45m)
Men's 1st qualifying round:
Frankcomb (AUS) bt Eddie Charlton (ENG) 11-10 (2-0),
11-9, 11-9 (53m)
(ENG) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-7, 5-11,
11-6, 11-6 (53m)
Harford (ENG) bt Stephen Siveter (ENG) 11-8, 11-9, 10-11
(0-2), 11-7 (56m)
Temple (ENG) bt John Rooney (IRL) 11-7 ret.
Fuller (ENG) bt Julien Balbo (FRA) 11-8,
11-5, 11-9 (41m)
Johnstone (AUS) bt Lewis Walters (ENG) 6-11, 11-5,
Roux (ENG) bt Ritwik Bhattacharya (IND) 11-7, 4-11, 11-9,
7-11, 11-9 (65m)
Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Adam Murrills (ENG) 8-11, 11-9, 11-6,
Coppinger (RSA) bt Rob Sutherland (WAL) 11-9, 11-3, 7-11,
Engelbrecht (RSA) bt Jens Schoor (GER) 11-7, 7-11,
11-10 (2-0), 11-5 (44m)
Castagnet (FRA) bt Jethro Binns (WAL) 10-11 (0-2),
11-4, 11-7, 8-11, 11-3 (71m)
Arnold (AUS) bt James Snell (ENG) 11-8,
11-10 (3-1), 11-9 (46m)
Richards (ENG) bt Romain Tenant (FRA) 11-5,
11-4, 11-6 (27m)
Handley (ENG) bt Andrew Widdison (ENG) 11-5, 11-7,
Grayson (NZL) bt Khawaja Adil Maqbool (PAK) 11-1, 11-6 ret.
Mehboob (PAK) bt Chris Fuller (ENG) 11-2, 11-10
(3-1), 11-6 (37m)
| Nicol David (MAS)
9-0, 9-4, 9-4 (37m)
[Q] Madeline Perry (IRL)
7-9, 9-7, 9-5, 9-2 (63m)
9-5, 9-1, 9-0 (27m)
9-1, 10-8, 9-0 (40m)
| Shelley Kitchen
8-10, 9-3, 9-4, 9-2 (57m)
Vanessa Atkinson (NED)
| Natalie Grainger
9-5, 9-3, 9-7 (36m)
[Q] Kasey Brown (AUS)
9-3, 10-9, 9-6 (46m)
| Vicky Botwright
9-6, 2-9, 4-9, 9-6, 9-6
Laura Lengthorn-Massaro (ENG)
| Jenny Duncalf
4-9, 9-2, 10-8, 9-1 (59m)
Alison Waters (ENG)
9-5, 1-9, 9-6, 9-1 (54m)
4-9, 9-3, 9-6, 9-6 (73m)
| Rachael Grinham
9-6, 9-1, 9-2 (38m)
[Q] Engy Kheirallah (EGY)
| Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)
9-2, 2-9, 9-6, 9-6 (66m)
[Q] Isabelle Stoehr
6-9, 9-4, 1-0 ret. (28m)
| Natalie Grinham
9-4, 9-0, 6-9, 9-4 (72m)
Rebecca Chiu (HKG)
Women's qualifying finals:
Perry (IRL) bt Emma Beddoes (ENG) 9-0,
6-9, 3-9, 9-1, 9-2 (69m)
Kheirallah (EGY) bt Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG) 5-9,
9-4, 9-2, 9-4 (67m)
Stoehr (FRA) bt Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) 10-8,
9-0, 5-9, 9-0 (54m)
Brown (AUS) bt Annelize Naude (NED) 9-3,
9-2, 9-0 (35m)
Women's 2nd qualifying round:
Madeline Perry (IRL) bt Joshna
Chinappa (IND) 9-4, 10-8, 9-1 (25m)
Emma Beddoes (ENG) bt Lauren Briggs (ENG) 9-1, 9-6, 3-9, 10-8 (64m)
Engy Kheirallah (EGY) bt Delia Arnold (MAS) 9-5, 3-9, 9-3, 10-8 (85m)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG) bt Sarah Kippax (ENG) 9-0, 9-1, 9-2 (43m)
Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) bt Lauren Siddall (ENG) 10-9, 9-2, 9-0 (46m)
Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) bt Louise Crome (NZL) 9-5, 9-3, 4-9, 9-1 (56m)
Annelize Naude (NED) bt Suzie Pierrepont (ENG) 9-6, 10-8, 4-9, 9-2 (67m)
Kasey Brown (AUS) bt Dipika Pallikal (IND) 9-2, 9-0, 9-1 (24m)
Women's 1st qualifying round:
Perry (IRL) bt Kylie Lindsay (NZL) 9-4,
9-1, 9-3 (23m)
Chinappa (IND) bt Kirsty McPhee (ENG) 10-9, 0-9,
9-2, 9-7 (42m)
Briggs (ENG) bt Vicky Hynes (ENG) 10-8,
9-4, 9-4 (38m)
Beddoes (ENG) bt Emma Chorley (ENG) 9-7, 9-3,
Kheirallah (EGY) bt Birgit Coufal (AUT) 9-6,
9-4, 9-4 (29m)
Arnold (MAS) bt Fiona Moverley (ENG) 9-3,
9-0, 9-5 (37m)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG) bt Carrie Hastings (ENG) 9-7,
9-0, 9-0 (24m)
Kippax (ENG) bt Joelle King (NZL) 0-9,
9-6, 9-2, 9-1 (46m)
Siddall (ENG) bt Lauren Selby (ENG) 9-4,
9-2, 9-3 (25m)
Stoehr (FRA) bt Rebecca Botwright (ENG) 9-1, 9-7, 10-8
Crome (NZL) bt Leonie Holt (ENG) 9-6,
9-1, 5-9, 9-2 (40m)
Hawkes (NZL) bt Olivia Blatchford (USA) 9-1, 9-1,
Pierrepont (ENG) bt Luz Etchechoury (ARG) 9-1, 9-3,
Naude (NED) bt Jeannine Cowie (ENG) 9-3, 9-1, 9-1
Pallikal (IND) bt Kerri Shields (IRL) 9-4,
9-1, 9-3 (23m)
Brown (AUS) bt Belen Etchechoury (ARG) 9-0, 9-2,
Historic British Open Double For Willstrop &
ensured that there will be English interest in both finals of the
Dunlop British Open - Liverpool 2008 squash championships
for only the second time in 44 years when he overwhelmed
Frenchman Thierry Lincou in straight games in Sunday's
men's semi-finals at the ECHO Arena in Liverpool.
The 24-year-old world No3 from Leeds avenged his recent defeat by
the former world number one in
Kuwait, winning 11-7, 11-3, 11-7 in 50 minutes to reach the final
for the second time.
Earlier Jenny Duncalf - also from
Yorkshire - beat French qualifier Isabelle Stoehr to claim
a maiden place in the women's final.
Willstrop, now in his sixth PSA Tour final in seven events, was in
stunning form against Lincou. The British national champion had
answers for everything that the experienced Frenchman could throw
After winning the first two games, Willstrop returned to the court
knowing that only two weeks earlier he had been in a similar
position in the Kuwait Open - yet lost in a five-game
"Kuwait was a good lesson for me - tonight I kept it simple and
had to be as positive and tough as I could," said the Englishman.
"For a squash player to be in the British Open final is a bit
When asked to comment on the comparison with his 2005 British Open
final appearance, the now 24-year-old said: "My little muscles
have become a bit stronger since then. Hopefully I've got a
bigger engine now - and I hope I'll be able to use it!"
A forlorn Lincou admitted that his opponent never showed any signs
of fatigue nor gave him any easy points. "He was just too good -
he played amazing squash," said the 32-year-old from Marseille.
"I think he's in good shape to win it if he wants it."
Willstrop will face
Australia's three times champion David Palmer in Monday's
final. The fifth seed, appearing in his seventh semi-final in
nine years, led throughout the opening game against Karim
Darwish, the No7 seed from Egypt who knocked out France's
defending champion Gregory Gaultier in the previous round.
But it was all-change in the second as the 26-year-old from
Cairo claimed the upper hand and took the game for the loss of
just three points.
And Darwish continued to press home his advantage in the third
until referee Wendy Danzey stopped the game, instructing
the Egyptian to leave the court to have a 'blood injury to the
knee' attended to.
Amazingly, it was only seconds after walking back on court that
the former world junior champion turned back - signalling that he
could no longer continue. It later transpired that he had also
strained his Achilles tendon earlier in the match.
"It feels great to be in the final - but a little strange," said
the 31-year-old Australian who was also taken aback by the abrupt
curtailment of the match.
"I thought he'd caught his knee - I didn't realise it was anything
to do with his ankle. But I was in trouble at that point in the
match - I'd played pretty well in the first game but he totally
turned it round in the next."
Jenny Duncalf, the world number eight who had never before lost to
Stoehr, admitted that she was "a little bit edgy" in the early
part of the match against her lower-ranked opponent - and dropped
the first game.
The 25-year-old fifth seed from
Harrogate fought back and finally converted her fourth match ball
to record a 4-9, 9-3, 9-6, 9-6 triumph after 73 minutes.
"I'm ecstatic to be in the final - this has to be the best result
of my life," added Duncalf.
Malaysia's top seed Nicol David put in a powerful
performance to beat Natalie Grainger, the Manchester-born
fourth seed from the USA.
Grainger led 5-2 in the first game - but only scored one further
point in the match as David took control and stormed to a 9-5,
9-1, 9-0 victory in just 27 minutes.
"I got my momentum midway through the first game and started
playing a much more attacking game," said the two times champion
who suffered a shock defeat in the 2007 event.
Willstrop & Duncalf Provide English Interest In British Open Semis
be English interest in both the men's and
women's semi-finals of
the Dunlop British Open - Liverpool 2008 squash
championships after Yorkshireman James Willstrop
survived a 61-minute battle against England team-mate Peter
Barker in the men's quarter-finals at the ECHO Arena
England's chances of a finalist in the women's event were
massively boosted when Jenny Duncalf, also from Yorkshire,
upset defending champion Rachael Grinham 9-5, 1-9, 9-6,
25-year-old fifth seed from Harrogate, who had never before beaten
the three times champion from Australia, will now face Isabelle
Stoehr in the semi-finals after the French qualifier earlier
ousted Rachael's sister Natalie Grinham, the second seed.
hard-fought and relentless encounter, 24-year-old Willstrop
recovered from a swift second game loss to defeat left-handed
Londoner Barker 11-9, 4-11, 11-9, 11-8.
"It was an
absolute scrap," said the England number one, who now reached the
last four for the second time in four years. "I didn't feel
either of us controlled the game well - but it was a good game and
an honest one against a good guy whose game has really come on.
more motivated as the rounds go on," added the world number three
came up against Willstrop countless times as a junior and senior,
said: "I'm very, very disappointed. But it was no disgrace. I'd
be happy for James to go through to the final - and I know he'd
have felt the same about me."
event produced two successive shocks in the afternoon session when
the defeat of defending champion Gregory Gaultier was
followed by the surprise exit of top seed and world number one
Gaultier, the world number two who last year became the first ever
French winner of the men's trophy, crashed out 11-9, 11-7, 11-3 to
Egypt's Karim Darwish, the No8 seed.
the best win of my career," said the 26-year-old from Cairo who
was also a semi-finalist two years ago. "I knew I could do it -
but I had to stay focussed as Greg is one of the best players
thinking about the last time we played - in Kuwait, where I was
ahead in all of the games but he won 3/0," explained Darwish,
ranked eight in the world.
focussed then, but I was today - I had to believe in myself."
It was a bad
day at the office for Shabana, one of the game's most gifted and
mercurial talents. After dropping the first game, the favourite
came back to level the match.
making his 12th appearance in the event since 1997 and
champion three times, maintained the pressure to come through an
11-6, 3-11, 11-5, 11-8 winner after 49 minutes.
happy to play at this level still - I've nothing to prove
anymore," said the 31-year-old from New South Wales who recently
settled in Boston, USA.
think either of us played particularly well - but maybe I wanted
it a bit more," added Palmer, now in his seventh semi in nine
half of the women's draw was thrown into disarray when Jenny
Duncalf defeated Rachael Grinham, the reigning world champion and
former world number one.
25-year-old fifth seed from Harrogate had never before beaten the
three times champion from Australia: "I don't know what
happened," said a seemingly startled Duncalf later. "I had to
keep reminding myself to stay focused - you can't afford to relax
for a moment with Rachael, she's so good with the racquet."
In the first
British Open semi-final of her career, Duncalf will face
Isabelle Stoehr after the French qualifier earlier ousted
Rachael's sister Natalie Grinham, the second seed.
junior, a record three times Commonwealth Games gold
medallist, won the opening game - but, at 4-0 in the second, took
a lunge which caused pain in her left thigh.
for the physio at 6-4. In the break, he said I could go back on
but it might make sit worse," explained the 30-year-old from
Queensland who now flies the Dutch flag.
pain just goes away, but when I tried a similar lunge at the
beginning of the third game, the pain was so sharp I just had to
stop. Nothing like that has ever happened to me before."
mixed feelings about claiming her maiden appearance in the
semi-finals: "50% I'm happy and 50% I'm not," said the
28-year-old from Montpellier, who survived three qualifying
matches before the first round.
'Isabelle is not fit'! This is a good reply to those who say
is now a bonus to me."
Later in the
day, Malaysia's world number Nicol David recovered from a
game and 5-2 down to beat difficult opponent Shelley Kitchen
7-9, 9-7, 9-5, 9-2. The win avenged a shock second round loss to
the New Zealander in last year's World Open in Madrid.
British Open Exit For Ashour
Malaysia's Mohd Azlan Iskandar
pulled off a sensational upset in the Dunlop British Open -
Liverpool 2008 when he beat second-seeded Egyptian Ramy
Ashour in four games to take an unexpected place in the
quarter-finals of the PSA Super Series Silver event
at the ECHO Arena in
It was clear from the outset that the 20-year-old world number
Cairo - wearing full length white surgical stockings - was
suffering in some way when the Malaysian outsider romped to a
first game win in just five minutes.
Despite severely restricted movement, the sport's rising star was
able to use his sensational racquet skills to win the second game
- but it always looked unlikely that Ashour could win the match.
"It was hard dealing with that situation - but I must admit that I
found it a bit intimidating when he came onto court wearing
tights!" said the delighted 11th seed Iskandar after
his 11-1, 5-11, 11-8, 11-8 victory. "You think he's injured, then
he gets the ball back with interest!
"But when you win the first game 11-1, what do you do? I got a
bit excited, I admit, but I had to remind myself to go back to
fundamentals: the player who makes the most errors loses the
"Six months ago, I would have bottled it - so I'm glad I was able
to concentrate on the job in hand."
It was a deeply downhearted Ashour that was finally able to
explain what had happened. "My injuries include both my ham
strings, as well as my ankle and my lower back.
"I feel that I'm abusing myself - abusing my body. I think I
should rethink what I do - if I keep on like this, I won't keep
going for another two years."
will meet career-long rival and
England team-mate Peter Barker in Saturday's quarter-finals
to ensure home interest in the semi-finals of the
longest-established and most prestigious event in world squash.
In the second round match at the
Liverpool Cricket Club,
England number one Willstrop despatched Malaysian Ong Beng Hee,
the tenth seed, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 in 47 minutes to reach the last
eight for the fifth time in the past six years.
The adjacent second round match which produced the fourth seed's
next opponent featured the two team-mates who fought alongside him
England's victory over France in last week's European Team
Championships final. It was close and seesaw encounter
between the two closest seeds in the last sixteen, in which
left-handed Londoner Peter Barker, the eighth seed, ultimately
prevailed 11-9, 4-11, 11-10 (2-0), 9-11, 11-8 over ninth-seeded
Yorkshireman Lee Beachill in 83 minutes.
"Lee's probably moving better than he has done for a long time -
and as his ball-striking is the best in the world, I feel
delighted to have won," said Barker after the longest match of the
"But I have mixed emotions about beating him, as we have become
close friends over the past year and he has become a massive
influence to me. He was a major factor in helping me win the
deciding match in last year's World Team Championship final.
"But at the end of the day, it's just a game of squash," concluded
the 24-year-old Londoner.
Top seed Amr Shabana survived a tough - but entertaining -
match against US-based Scot John White, beating the game's
hardest-hitter 11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 11-10 (2-0) in 52 minutes. In
fact, 13th seed White came off court midway through the
fourth game thinking he'd won it to force a decider. However, the
referee ruled a let and asked the players to return to the court.
The favourite went on to save two game balls before converting his
first match ball to secure a place in the quarter-finals for the
second successive year.
"John and I always have fun matches - in fact, it was tough to
concentrate, I was enjoying it so much. I had to keep reminding
myself that the point of the match was to win - not just have
fun," explained the 28-year-old from
Cairo who has topped the men's world rankings for the past two
"I had to raise my game in the fourth to win the match - and I'll
now have to get myself prepared for my quarter-final against David
Palmer, "added Shabana, who has won major PSA Tour titles all over
the globe, including three World Open crowns, but never the
"It's the one I haven't won. When I was a junior, I used to dream
about winning the British Open. It would be great to win it now -
then I would have the complete set!"
White, a veteran of the Tour for more than 17 years, revealed
later that this would be his last British Open. A
quarter-finalist in his debut in 1996, the Australian-born
34-year-old has taken up the role as Director of Squash at
Franklin & Marshall College in the USA.
"I've had great memories of the British Open, including my best
win over Canadian Jonathon Power in the 2002 semi-finals which
took me to the final for the first time," said the 13th
seed, a former world number one.
"But I couldn't have planned a better way to go out than with a
match against Amr Shabana. Since going through qualifiers
together some 15 years ago, we've become great friends and always
have really enjoyable matches.
"He's really picked up his game over the past few years and become
an unbelievable player. I hope he goes on to win the title here -
I'd be delighted for him," concluded White.
The event's first upset took place in the women's event when
Isabelle Stoehr, a qualifier from
France, beat eighth-seeded Egyptian Omneya Abdel Kawy
9-2, 2-9, 9-6, 9-6 in 66 minutes.
Abdel Kawy - fresh from victory in last month's Hurghada
International in her home country, where she beat world
champion Rachael Grinham in the final - was playing her
opening match of the tournament, whereas Stoehr had already
battled through three qualifying rounds.
"It was her first match, so I knew I had capitalise on the fact
that I'd played three times on the courts - and get a strong
start," said the 28-year-old from Montpellier. "I tried to play
it really tight - she's got such good racquet skills. But I also
knew she could give me a few easy points.
"Even when I lost the second game, I still felt strong - and just
had to push, push, push.
"I'm pleased with my game - I'm feeling confident and I'm happy in
my life," added Stoehr, who now faces second seed Natalie
Grinham in the quarter-finals on the all-glass court at the
"A few years ago I would have approached tomorrow's match
expecting to lose - but now my confidence is high. It's all about
being relaxed and happy."
The longest women's match was an all-Lancashire bout between
Manchester Vicky Botwright, the No7 seed, and unseeded
Preston. It was the pair's sixth meeting this year - and
eventually the fifth upset by Lengthorn-Massaro over her
higher-ranked county compatriot.
"I feel I've been playing really well recently - and felt I
deserved to get into the quarter-finals," said 24-year-old Laura,
ranked 12 in the world, after her 9-6, 2-9, 4-9, 9-6, 9-6 victory.
British Open action now moves to the brand new ECHO Arena
Liverpool where quarter-finals matches on the all-glass showcourt
kick off at midday on Saturday.
Ramy Tested In British Open Debut In
Second seed Ramy Ashour, the 20-year-old 'wonder kid' from
Egypt who has already netted three PSA Tour titles this
year, was severely tested by unseeded Englishman Alister Walker
in the men's first round of the Dunlop British Open - Liverpool
2008 at Liverpool Cricket Club.
The 'Wimbledon' of squash - being held in
Liverpool for the first time - will be staged at the new ECHO
Arena Liverpool from 10-12 May, following qualifying and early
rounds at the Cricket Club.
Walker, a Botswana-born 25-year-old raised in Gloucestershire and
now based in
Leeds, led in all four games, winning the second. But Ashour -
the world number two who, amazingly, was making his debut in the
event - dug deep to win the first, then fought back from 10-5 down
to take the third.
It took the squash star 65 minutes to finally overcome Walker
11-8, 7-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-7 and claim a place in the second
the third seed who last year became the first ever Frenchman to
win the title, successfully began his defence with an 11-8, 11-3,
11-8 win over
Pakistan's Mansoor Zaman in 37 minutes.
Surprisingly described in a British national newspaper as "the
biggest name in squash", unseeded Zaman was the first of three
Pakistanis to exit at the first round stage.
It was a decisive win by Gaultier - only five days after cramp
caused him to writhe in agony on a court in
Amsterdam at the end of the match which led to England's triumph
in the European Team Championships.
The 25-year-old world number two from
Aix-en-Provence proclaimed before the event that he was going to
ignore the fact that he was title-holder - and prepare as if he
were going for the title for the first time.
"I didn't come here with any pressure," said Gaultier. "Of
course, I've got targets and it would be nice to win it again, but
it's wide open."
About his first round win over Zaman, the Frenchman explained:
"It was 3/0, so I'm not complaining. It's good to win my first
match, but now I want to relax and try to be ready for tomorrow."
is the only other former champion in the men's field. The
fifth-seeded Australian - three times winner of the title between
2001 and 2004 - despatched Malaysian qualifier Mohd Nafiizwan
Adnan 11-3, 11-5, 11-6 in 32 minutes.
"I was happy to get through that - it was a good run and not too
hard," said the 31-year-old from
New South Wales who is now based in Boston, USA.
"But I'm expecting a tough game tomorrow - so I need to get ready
for that," added the former world champion and world number one
who now plays Englishman
The 12th seed is one of two left-handers from
London who made it through to the last sixteen. Grant, the
27-year-old world No15 who is now based in Leeds, beat Surrey
qualifier Tom Richards 11-10 (2-0), 11-2, 4-11, 11-9 -
while Peter Barker, the eighth seed who kicked off
England's victory trail last week by beating higher-ranked
Frenchman Thierry Lincou for the first time, defeated
Sussex wild card opponent Tom Pashley 11-4, 11-9, 11-8.
England's bid for success in the
event is being led by James
Willstrop, the fourth
seed. But the world No3 expressed surprise at the lack of 'home'
support from the crowd after his 11-5, 7-11, 11-8, 11-2 victory
over Pakistan's 17-year-old Aamir Atlas Khan.
"I always thought that if you played in your home country, you'd
get the bulk of the support - but the crowd seemed to be full of
Pakistanis, all cheering every good shot by my opponent. I felt
there was very little coming my way," said the perplexed
England number one.
"But it was hard work - which I knew it would be, as Aamir is one
of the most talented prospects to come out of
Pakistan for a good few years. He's still young - and he's going
to be very tough to beat in the future."
Barrington name will not live on in the 2008 staging of the event
after England rising star Joey Barrington crashed out after
a five-game marathon. The son of squash legend Jonah
Barrington - who established a six British Open title record
in the early 1970s - Joey failed to repeat his recent upset over
Olli Tuominen, losing 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 3-11, 11-7 to the
Finn in 77 minutes.
A major upset seemed on the cards when
Pakistan qualifier Farhan Mehboob romped to a 2/0 lead over
Ong Beng Hee, the tenth seed.
But the Malaysian, who has achieved quarter-final berths in the
event on five occasions, fought back to claim a 6-11, 9-11, 11-8,
11-9, 11-7 win after 85 minutes.
"When you play someone who has no pressure, who's fresh, and
hungry, it's never going to be easy," the 28-year-old from
said afterwards. "In the first two games he was just too good,
attacking with no fear and hitting some great shots.
"I just needed to wake up mentally, I went 2/0 down so quickly,
and even in the third it was eight-all. I always knew he was very
talented and fast - definitely one to watch for the future."
In the qualifying finals of the women's event, Madeline Perry
led the charge to claim places in the main draw. Since reaching
the quarter-finals of the event last year, the 31-year-old from
Ireland suffered a life-threatening head injury in a mugging in
Italy late last year and has been fighting back to full fitness
since recovering from her ordeal.
The former world No6 from
Belfast, who has slipped to 15th place, came back from 2/1 down to
beat English qualifier Emma Beddoes 9-0, 6-9, 3-9, 9-1, 9-2
to make it through to the main draw for the seventh time in her
However, Perry's reward is a first round clash with Nicol David,
the top seed from
Malaysia who is in her third year as world number one.
Egypt's Engy Kheirallah was also seeking to return to the
event in which she has starred before - after achieving a
semi-final berth two years ago. The 26-year-old from Alexandria
recovered from a game down to beat England's Dominique
Lloyd-Walter 5-9, 9-4, 9-2, 9-4 in 67 minutes - and will now
face Australia's defending champion Rachael Grinham - who
is also based in Egypt - in the first round.
Third Time Lucky For Englishmen
Harford & Richards In Liverpool
It was third
time lucky for Jonathan Harford and Tom Richards in
the men's qualifying finals of the Dunlop British Open -
Liverpool 2008 at Liverpool Cricket Club when the pair
made it through to the main draw of the longest-established and
most prestigious event in world squash for the first time.
'Wimbledon' of squash - being held in Liverpool for the first time
- will be staged at the new ECHO Arena Liverpool from 10-12
May, following qualifying and early rounds at the Cricket Club.
from Stroud and now based in Leeds, Jonathan Harford was facing
fellow Gloucestershire-born Robbie Temple, ranked 23 places
lower in the world.
make up for the disappointment of failing to qualify for the past
two years, Harford battled for 61 minutes against his 21-year-old
opponent before coming through an 11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5 winner.
grew up together - I met him the first time when he was three,"
explained Harford. "He is such a talented player. Did you see
the shots he got - from behind him, from everywhere? He really is
one of the players I want to see do well.
I lost 3/2 in the finals of the qualifiers, so I’m so happy to
qualify this year for my first British Open, and so looking
forward to tomorrow," added Harford, who meets Frenchman
Thierry Lincou, the sixth seed.
Richards, a former England Junior International from Surrey, is
fighting back to full fitness after undergoing knee surgery a year
ago. The 21-year-old world No64 despatched compatriot Scott
Handley - a 33-year-old from Oxfordshire making his eighth
attempt to qualify - 11-3, 11-4, 11-10 (3-1) in 30 minutes.
"He was just
awesome," said Handley, a former world No41, after the quickest
men's match of the day. "He's the best player I've played in a
have had him in the third when I had a game ball - but he stepped
up the pace and won the important shots."
acknowledged that he's now back to the level he was before his
surgery: "In fact, I'm probably stronger now - all the hard work
I have done has finally kicked in," said the 21-year-old from
Walton-on-Thames, who failed to qualify in both 2005 and 2006
fantastic to be in the British Open for the first time. I
remember watching the event, years ago in Cardiff - it's difficult
to believe that I'm now in it!
"The knee is
much better than I expected. I'm now just ten positions away from
my best world ranking - and this result today will be a great
help," said Richards, who faces fellow countryman Adrian Grant,
the 12th seed.
history was achieved today when Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan beat
England's Shaun le Roux, from Yorkshire, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9
to ensure that three Malaysians will compete in the first round of
the men's event for the first time.
"I am so
happy to make it into this world-famous event for the first time,"
said the 22-year-old from Kuala Lumpur, who joins 10th
seed Ong Beng Hee and 11th seed Mohd Azlan
Iskandar in the main draw.
Beddoes pulled off the
most notable upset in the women's qualifying event when she downed
Essex's world No25 Lauren Briggs 9-1, 9-6, 3-9, 10-8 in 64
minutes to earn a place in the qualifying finals.
Warwickshire 22-year-old will now face Madeline Perry for a
place in the main draw after the Irish number one dismissed
India's Joshna Chinappa 9-4, 10-8, 9-1 in just 25 minutes.
Surprisingly, the longest match of the day was played out by two
women - when Engy Kheirallah battled to a 9-5, 3-9, 9-3,
10-8 win over Malaysian Delia Arnold in an 85-minutes
Homecoming Fails To Lift Siveter In Dunlop British
Years after representing the club in the local leagues,
Merseysider Stephen Siveter returned to the Liverpool
Cricket Club to compete in today's first qualifying round of
the Dunlop British Open - Liverpool 2008 squash
championships - but was unable to progress through to his maiden
appearance in the longest-established and most prestigious event
in world squash, which is being held in Liverpool for the
St Helens, and a Merseyside county player for many years, Siveter
faced fellow Englishman Jonathan Harford. It was a David v
Goliath encounter, with 289 world ranking positions separating the
two - 32-year-old Siveter having only recently joined the
Professional Squash Association (PSA) and currently ranked
The local hero, who now lives in
Stafford, pushed Harford all the way - and took the third game on
a tie-break. But the 24-year-old from Leeds ultimately prevailed
after 56 minutes to record an 11-8, 11-9, 10-11 (0-2), 11-7
Stephen, I’ve played in the leagues up here a few times, he is a
very good non professional player," Harford said. "I’m lucky to
win that one 3/1 - he was 7-1 up in the first, and the second was
pretty tight too. He was the local player, with nothing to lose -
me, a top eight qualifying seed, a bit of pressure. He played very
well, it was tough the whole way."
English outsider Mark Fuller pulled off a notable upset,
beating French international Julien Balbo in straight
games. Unranked either in
England or the world, the 23-year-old from Northamptonshire was
making his first ever appearance in the event.
But, undaunted, Fuller despatched the Frenchman - who helped his
country through to last week's European Team Championships'
finals - 11-8, 11-5, 11-9 in 41 minutes.
"That wasn’t expected to happen," conceded the English debutant.
"I think we play both a similar type of game, up and down the
wall, steady, not too much with the ball, no flashy shots… And
today, that’s what I stuck to, trying not to do too many mistakes.
"I just need to say a big thank you to my training partners, and
my little brother," added Fuller.
Sadly, his 'little brother' failed to make it a Fuller double
later in the day. Chris Fuller, the reigning British
National U17 champion, went down 11-2, 11-10 (3-1), 11-6 to
Pakistan's Farhan Mehboob.
Women's qualifying also got underway at the Liverpool Cricket
Cheshire's Sarah Kippax making a strong start against New
Zealand's Joelle King.
Kippax, a multi-talented sportswoman who has represented her
county in netball, hockey, football, cross-country and squash,
eventually chose to focus on squash and is now ranked 30 in the
The 24-year-old, now based in
Halifax, recovered from a game down to defeat her Kiwi opponent
0-9, 9-6, 9-2, 9-1 - and will now face compatriot Dominique
Lloyd-Walter for a place in the qualifying finals.
The Dunlop British Open -
will be staged at the new ECHO Arena Liverpool from 10-12
May, following qualifying and early rounds at the Liverpool
Withdraws From British Open
England's Nick Matthew has
been forced to withdraw from next month's Dunlop British Open –
Liverpool 2008, to be staged in
from 8-12 May.
The 27-year-old from
Sheffield made an indelible mark on squash history in 2006 when he
became the event's first home-grown champion for 67 years.
Matthew, who became
England's highest-ranked player at the end of last year after
winning the US Open in October, sustained a shoulder
ligament tear whilst leading England to their successful defence
of the Men's World Team Championship in Chennai - and was hopeful
of making his return to the World Tour at the British Open
following corrective surgery in January.
"I'm absolutely gutted to be missing the British Open," said the
sixth seed. "The Dunlop British Open – Liverpool 2008 was
always my target and not being able to play in the championships
is disappointing. However, I have to look at the bigger picture
and it is essential that I do not push too hard too soon. My
surgeon has told me that the operation was successful and overall
my rehabilitation has gone very well. I am confident that with the
continued support of the English Institute of Sport (EIS) in
Sheffield that I am very close to being back to full fitness,"
added the world No6.
England team-mate Peter Barker is the prime benefactor in
the revised draw - rising to No8 seed and now lining up against
wildcard Tom Pashley in the first round.
Welshman Alex Gough is elevated to the position of 16th
seed - while Englishman Daryl Selby now avoids the
qualifiers to earn a place in the main draw.
Nicol David Looking For
Revenge In Dunlop British Open – Liverpool 2008
World number one
Nicol David will be after revenge when she takes on a qualifier in the
opening round of the Dunlop British Open - Liverpool 2008 squash
championships in Liverpool next month, according to the
longest-established and most prestigious event in world squash, the
Dunlop British Open - Liverpool 2008 will be staged at the city's new
ECHO Arena Liverpool from 10-12 May following qualifying and
early rounds at the Liverpool Cricket Club from 6 May.
David, who is in her
third year at the top of the world rankings, is expected to reach the
final for the fourth successive year. The 24-year-old two times champion
from Malaysia will be eager to make up for the disappointment of a shock
loss to Australian Rachael Grinham in last year's final in
Nicol David notched
up her 40th WISPA World Tour final appearance when she
won last month's KL Open on home soil. In a remarkable run since
winning the British Open title for the first time in October 2005, Nicol
David has competed in 25 Tour events - reaching the finals on all but
Rachael Grinham is one of three players making their 12th
consecutive appearances in the event since debuting in 1997. Winner of
the prestigious trophy in 2003, 2004 and 2007, the 31-year-old former
world number one from Queensland enjoyed a stunning return to form last
year - when she also won the World Open title, for the first time,
Rachael, the third
seed who is also drawn to face a qualifier in the first round, will be
joined in the field by her younger sister Natalie Grinham. The
second seed will be competing in the event for the first time as a Dutch
player after switching allegiance to the country in which she has lived
for more than ten years in February. Grinham junior, who in October
battled with Rachael in the first World Open final featuring two sisters,
is looking for her first British Open title after finishing as runner-up
the world No6 from Harrogate, leads British interest in the women's draw.
The 2007 British National champion and the reigning European Champion, is
the event's fifth seed - and leads the domestic attack in the absence of
England number one Tania Bailey, the world No5 from Lincolnshire
who underwent surgery this month to repair a tear in the cartilage in her
But Duncalf faces a
formidable first opponent in England team-mate Alison Waters, the
24-year-old world number 11 from London who succeeded 25-year-old Duncalf
as British champion in February.
The draw for the
first staging of the British Open in Liverpool has - remarkably - thrown
up an all-Lancashire first round clash between two England team-mates.
Vicky Botwright, the 30-year-old No7 seed from Manchester, will face
unseeded Laura Lengthorn-Massaro, a 24-year-old from Preston who is
ranked just four places lower.
dominated the early exchanges between the pair, Lengthorn emerged
victorious in four of their five meetings so far this year. The pair's
career head-to-head tally in national and international meetings stands at
8-6 to Botwright: County, national and international pride will be at
stake when the two next meet in Liverpool!
Willstrop Eager To Get Hands On
Dunlop British Open Trophy
number one James Willstrop heads to Liverpool this week to
compete in the Dunlop British Open - Liverpool 2008 squash
championships after leading England to success in last week's
European Championships - and admits that he would love to get
his hands on the trophy of this "massive event".
Yorkshireman, who rose to three in the world rankings this month,
leads home interest in the 'Wimbledon of Squash' which will be
staged for the first time in the city at the new ECHO Arena
Liverpool from 10-12 May, following qualifying and early
rounds at the Liverpool Cricket Club from 6 May.
Saturday's European Team Championships' final in Holland,
Willstrop fought back from 2/1 down to overcame career-long rival
Gregory Gaultier, the world number two, in a 101-minute
marathon as England forged a hard-fought 3/0.victory over France
to clinch the title.
a tournament with a big win like that behind you can only boost
your confidence," said the 24-year-old from Leeds. In the opening
match in Amsterdam, team-mate Peter Barker achieved a
career-first win over world No5 Thierry Lincou, the former
world number one.
think it's just going to happen - but it's not. Greg and Thierry
are formidable opponents - both ranked higher than us. It was a
hard task for both of us.
"But now we
have to start all over again, and come down from the high and be
ready for Liverpool. Hopefully we'll take confidence from the
achievements," explained Willstrop
National champion is enjoying his best ever run on the PSA Tour.
In his seventh successive final appearance in March, Willstrop
claimed his sixth major title win at the ISS Canary Wharf
Classic in London - and went on to notch up 15 matches without
with my recent form - but I don't feel I'm playing spectacularly
well. I've had some spectacular wins, but other times I've just
had to grind it out. I couldn't be going into the British Open in
any better form - but I don't want to get carried away with it!"
longest-established and most prestigious event in world squash,
the British Open was first held more than 80 years ago and
attracts elite international fields from all over the world.
Open is a massive event with huge prestige and lots of history.
Winning it is part of every squash player's hopes and aspirations
- it's certainly part of mine," said the English star.
"Furthermore, it's in my home country - which makes it even more
"I'd be very
happy to get my hands on that trophy - so I just hope I can stay
focussed and relaxed," added Willstrop. "And just enjoy it!"
the runner-up in 2005, is seeded to reach the semi-finals. He
faces Pakistan teenager Aamir Atlas Khan - at 17, the
youngest competitor in the main draw - in the first round.
England team-mates will all be in action in the first round of the
Dunlop British Open - Liverpool 2008 at Liverpool Cricket
Club. Peter Barker, the No8 seed from Essex, faces wild
card player Tom Pashley, from Sussex, while ninth-seeded
Yorkshireman Lee Beachill - Willstrop's Pontefract
club-mate - takes on Essex's Daryl Selby.
Grant, the left-hander
from London who won the deciding match in the European final,
faces a qualifier in the opening round, and England debutant
Joey Barrington, meets Finland's 14th seed Olli
Champions Return To Defend Dunlop
British Open Masters Titles In Liverpool
defending champions will compete in the Dunlop British Open
Masters - Liverpool 2008 in one of the strongest entries in
the history of the world's largest annual Masters squash event.
age-group events, ranging from men's and women's Over-35
categories to men's Over-70, will run in conjunction with
Dunlop British Open – Liverpool 2008 men’s and women’s
championships which will be held at the city's new ECHO Arena
Liverpool from 10-12 May, following qualifying and early
rounds at the Liverpool Cricket Club from 6 May.
been the demand for places in the Masters draws in the event's
first ever appearance in Liverpool that
Crosby Northern Sports Club
have agreed to support the championships as a hosting partner,
alongside the ECHO Arena Liverpool and Liverpool Cricket
Northern Sports Club will host Masters matches on Thursday 8th and
Friday 9th May 2008 from 9.00am to 10.00pm.
just like to say how pleased we are at Crosby Northern Sports Club
to have been selected to host the first two days of the Dunlop
British Open Masters Tournament," said the club's Squash Chairman
Roy Grainger. "As this is the premier event in the squash
calendar, we are eagerly looking forward to seeing some of the
best squash in the country being played on our own doorstep."
Performance Coach David Campion is top seed in the Men's
Over-35 championship. Runner-up in the 1990 World Junior
Championship, the Yorkshireman is appearing in his first Masters
Lucas Buit is seeded to retain his title in the Over-40
event. The nine-time national champion is expected to face
Manchester's Yawar Abbas, the British National Over-40
champion, in the final.
Gloucestershire's 2006 champion Mark Woodliffe is expected
to reclaim the Over-45 crown he lost last year. It could be a
Woodliffe family double - as father John Woodliffe is also
seeded to reach the Over-70 final. But the reigning World
Masters champion will have stiff opposition from fellow Surrey
veteran Pat Kirton, the defending champion who is seeded to
win his ninth Masters title!
Alexander, the Over-50
title-holder from Suffolk, is seeded to reach the 2008 final - but
it is Lancashire's Ian Bradburn, the reigning National
champion in the age-group who is seeded to win.
Ian Parke is returning from his home in Brno, in the
Czech Republic, to defend his title in the Men's Over-55 event.
Philip Ayton is the overwhelming favourite in the Over-60
championship having followed his victory in last year's British
Open event by winning the National title too in February.
Yorkshire success is also expected in the Men's Over-65 event
where Hull-based Mike Clemson is expected to retain the
champion is predicted in the Women's Over-35 championship where
National champion Jeannine Cowie, from Wigan, is expected
to face last year's runner-up Claire Walker, from
Yorkshire, in the final.
Over-40 event, former Dutch international Nicole Beumer is
favourite to win her maiden British Masters crown in a final
featuring last year's winner Ellie Pierce, from the USA.
Women's Over-45 champion Victoria King, from Middlesex, is
also expected to reach the 2008 final - but the event's top seed
is Lincolnshire's Fran Wallis, the National champion in the
Over-50 National champion Helen Gould, from Avon, is
expected to add the British Open crown to her collection in
It is a
similar tale in the Over-55 championship where National champion
Averil Murphy is the favourite. But the Essex veteran will
undoubtedly have still opposition from Worcestershire's defending
champion Bett Dryhurst.
Champion Gaultier Set To Win
Maiden Dunlop British Open Title In Liverpool
champion Gregory Gaultier will arrive in Liverpool
next month preparing to win the men's title in the Dunlop
British Open Squash Championships for the first time!
longest-established and most prestigious event in world squash,
the Dunlop British Open - Liverpool 2008 will be staged at
the city's new ECHO Arena Liverpool from 10-12 May,
following qualifying and early rounds at the Liverpool Cricket
Club from 6 May.
In some ways
it seemed typical that the Frenchman had not thought much about
the psychology of defending the sport's most prestigious title.
world No3 from Aix-en-Provence will approach this year's
championships knowing better than anyone that mind games influence
the destiny of major titles - so blanking it may have been skilful
thought intently about winning the World Open and twice got
as far as the final hurdle. His approach was more relaxed leading
up to last year's British Open in Manchester - and he became the
first French winner in its 80-year history.
British was a dream of mine - it's my biggest win ever," Gaultier
said. It was also a dream he had previously experienced, as a
junior, which helped take some of the tension away.
feeling of trying to win a big title is not at all like the
feeling of defending it, so whilst acknowledging that the
difference between the two needed addressing, he wasn't going to
get too focused on it.
think about how I will take it,” he said. “I don't know. There are
not many tournaments that I win and have to defend titles!
coach and I will talk about it. But I won't be thinking about
defending something. I'm going to try to win something, you know.
I'll try to think it's a new thing to win.”
just a mental device, it's an accurate description in quite
specific ways. This time he will be competing in May, not
September, and in a quite different ambience at the hugely
impressive ECHO Arena Liverpool - and the opposition will likely
be different too.
Gaultier overcame Englishmen Jonathan Kemp and Adrian
Grant; Egyptian Amr Shabana; and France's Thierry
Lincou. It was a great effort to get the better of his more
senior compatriot in the final and the world number one in the
though there will be another Egyptian, Ramy Ashour, the
reigning ATCO Super Series Finals champion and the
brightest new star in a decade, contending for the title.
he rule out some of the other usual suspects - two former British
Open champions, David Palmer and Nick Matthew; one
nearly champion in James Willstrop; and one still-could-be
champion in Karim Darwish.
fight them off? Much will depend on his recovery from a wrist
injury which spoiled the first three months of his year. He took
two weeks off but the pain returned and he then took another three
weeks off which he believes may have solved the problem.
been injury problems too for Ashour, who nevertheless won the
Tournament of Champions in New York, PACE Canadian Classic
and Hurghada International - while Shabana, who finished
2007 with five successive titles and exhaustion, has looked
generally unimpressive and his form is very much an unknown
doesn't win again, his eight-month tenure will have made him the
briefest British Open champion, but don't count on that being the
Frenchman's latest record - it is already a tournament where he
has repeated his dreams.
Champion Gaultier Gets Zaman In
Dunlop British Open Draw
Gregory Gaultier will begin the defence of his men's title in
next month's Dunlop British Open Squash Championships in
Liverpool against Pakistan number one Mansoor Zaman,
according to the draw for the PSA Tour Super Series event.
longest-established and most prestigious event in world squash,
the Dunlop British Open - Liverpool 2008 will be staged at
the city's new ECHO Arena Liverpool from 10-12 May
following qualifying and early rounds at the Liverpool Cricket
Club from 6 May.
beat compatriot Thierry Lincou in last year's Dunlop
British Open final in Manchester to become the first French
champion in the 80-year history of the event. The 25-year-old
from Aix-en-Provence is the event's third seed - and would expect
to meet Egypt's world number one Amr Shabana in the
semi-final in the top half of the draw.
won the World Open crown for the third time in December, is
seeded to win the British Open for the first time. The
28-year-old from Cairo faces Italy's highest-ranked player
Davide Bianchetti in the opening round.
will be on the sport's rising star Ramy Ashour, the
20-year-old Egyptian who shot to second place in the world
rankings last year in only his third year on the World Tour. The
No2 seed - who beat Shabana for the second time this year in last
week's Hurghada International final in his homeland - will
meet Gloucestershire's up-and-coming Alister Walker, the
25-year-old England No7 who is based in Leeds.
it will be Ashour's maiden appearance in the 'Wimbledon' of
interest in the world’s most prestigious championships will focus
on Yorkshireman Nick Matthew who will make an emotional
return to British Open action in Liverpool. Two years ago in
Nottingham, the world No6 from Sheffield became the first true
Englishman for 67 years to become British Open champion. Matthew
underwent shoulder surgery in January and will be making his Tour
comeback on Merseyside, where he will face fellow Englishman
Tom Pashley, the wild card entrant from Sussex, in the opening
Yorkshireman James Willstrop, the runner-up in 2005, is
seeded to reach the semi-finals and will take on Pakistan teenager
Aamir Atlas Khan - at 17, the youngest competitor in the
main draw - in the first round.
former world champion David Palmer will be making his 12th
successive appearance in the event when he steps onto the court to
face a qualifier in the first round. The 31-year-old from Lithgow
in New South Wales - now based in Boston, USA - is a three times
winner of the British Open trophy and one of five former world
number ones competing in the event.
Egyptian Stars Ashour & Shabana To Compete In Dunlop British Open
stars Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour - ranked one and two in
the world, respectively - have confirmed their participation in the 2008
Dunlop British Open Squash Championships, the longest-established
and most prestigious event in world squash which will take place first
time in Liverpool next month.
Widely regarded as
the 'Wimbledon' of Squash, the Dunlop British Open - Liverpool 2008
will be staged at the city's new Echo Arena from 8-12 May following
qualifying and early rounds at the Liverpool Cricket Club.
Shabana and Ashour have become the most sought-after spectacle on the
international squash circuit. The pair contested the final of the 5-star
Hurghada International in Egypt - and did not disappoint the
capacity crowd surrounding the all-glass court on the promenade of the
country's Red Sea resort.
Shabana, who this
month celebrated his 25th successive month at the top of the
men's world rankings, twice levelled the match after his
prodigiously-talented 20-year-old opponent took early leads. But it was
Ashour who ultimately prevailed, upsetting his 'elder statesman' opponent
11-10 (2-0), 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-10 (2-0) in 79 minutes in their fourth
successive meeting in a PSA Tour event final.
Ashour will make his
maiden appearance in the British Open in Liverpool: "Injury prevented me
from playing last year and therefore this year's British Open will be
extra special," said the Cairo-based Egyptian. "English crowds have
always given me a lot of support, and having not played in England since
winning the ATCO Super Series Finals last August, I'm really looking
forward to playing two back-to-back events," added Ashour, who will
contest the British Open in Liverpool before defending his ATCO Super
Series Finals title at the Broadgate Arena in London from the 19-23
enforced two-month injury break, Ashour capped a successful return to the
Men's World Tour in January by capturing the Tournament of Champions
title in New York, then the Canadian Classic in Toronto in
February. The inclusion of the young Egyptian will ensure that the
Dunlop British Open - Liverpool 2008 will be one of the most exciting
and eagerly contested championships in its illustrious history.
Shabana, who won his
third World Open title in December, has yet to win the British Open
crown - the only major trophy to have eluded him so far in his illustrious
"I’m really looking
forward to the British Open,” said the 28-year-old. “For some reason, I’ve
never really performed to my best at the event and I’m determined to give
it my best shot this year. Its amazing when you look back at the great
players who have won the British Open and it would be fantastic to have my
name on the trophy alongside the likes of Jonah Barrington, Geoff Hunt,
Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan,” added Shabana.
month at the top of the world rankings celebrated the longest unbroken run
as world No1 since the legendary Pakistani Jansher Khan more than
ten years ago.
Amr’s record over
the past three years has been incredible and it is therefore even more
surprising that he still has not won the British Open.
"Like all of the
Egyptian players, Amr has a real respect for the history of the sport and
it will be fascinating to see how he is able to translate that into his
challenge for the title this year. Not only is he the most consistent
player on the Men’s World Tour, but he is arguably the most exciting to
watch and certainly one of the most charismatic. His entry in this year’s
championship will undoubtedly prove a major attraction for all spectators
in Liverpool and is further testament to the highest regard that the
players hold for the championships.".
will include three Egyptians, Amr Shabana, Ramy Ashour and Karim
Darwish; two Frenchmen, Gregory Gaultier, the defending
champion, and Thierry Lincou; an Australian, David Palmer,
and England's Nick Matthew, the 2006 British Open Champion, and
Dunlop British Open Unveils International
Sport At Liverpool Echo Arena
British Open Squash Championships, the longest-established and most
prestigious event in world squash, comes to Liverpool for the first
time next month - and will become the first international sporting event
to be staged in the city's new Echo Arena.
Widely regarded as
the 'Wimbledon' of Squash, the British Open was first held more than 80
years ago and attracts elite international fields from all over the
British Open - Liverpool 2008 boasts a galaxy of squash stars, led by
the world's top ten men and women - and also features the world's largest
and most successful annual Masters Championships, with 13 events ranging
from men's and women's Over-35 age group categories to en's Over-70.
With the qualifying
competitions and early rounds of the main events getting underway at the
Liverpool Cricket Club from Tuesday 6 May, action moves onto the
spectacular all-glass show court in the Echo Arena from Friday 9 May
through to the finals on Monday 12 May.
Arena is a state-of-the-art
10,000-seater arena, situated in the Kings Dock on the River Mersey.
Opened in January this year, the arena hosted the opening ceremony of the
Capital of Culture Year.
Due to unprecedented demand for places in the Masters Championships,
Crosby Northern Sports Club will become a hosting partner alongside
the ECHO Arena Liverpool and Liverpool Cricket Club -
staging Masters matches on 8th and 9th May.
World number ones
Amr Shabana and Nicol David will head the distinguished casts
in Liverpool. Shabana, from Giza near Cairo, celebrated 25 consecutive
months at the top of the men's world rankings this month, thereby becoming
the longest-serving number one since Pakistan's legendary Jansher Khan
more than ten years ago.
Now in her third
year as women's world number one, Nicol David has become Malaysia's most
successful international sportsperson of all-time - and last December was
voted the 'Asian Sportswoman of the Year'.
Men's Over 35
 David Campion (Yorks) bt [5/8] Jamie
Goodrich (Norfolk) 9-3, 9-7, 10-8 (42m)
[3/4] Simon Frenz (Germany) bt Mike Lomas
(Cheshire) 9-1, 9-1, 9-2 (23m)
[3/4] Kevin White (Derbyshire) bt Predi
Fritsche (Germany) 6-9, 9-2, 9-0, 9-5 (58m)
 Steve Richardson (Ireland) bt [5/8]
Jason Foster (Essex) 9-0, 9-3, 9-4 (25m)
 David Campion (Yorks) bt [3/4] Simon
Frenz (Germany) 9-0, 9-5, 9-1 (28m)
 Steve Richardson (Ireland) bt [3/4]
Kevin White (Derbyshire) 9-5, 9-0, 9-4 (32m)
 David Campion (Yorks) bt  Steve
Richardson (Ireland) 3-9, 9-10, 9-5, 9-5, 9-4 (83m)
Men's Over 40
 Lucas Buit (Netherlands) bt [5/8]
David Youngs (England) 9-3, 5-9, 9-1, 9-0 (31m)
[9/16] Cliff Martindale (Surrey) bt [9/16]
Steve Evans (Wales) 2-9, 9-3, 7-9, 9-7, 9-2 (72m)
[5/8] Stephen McLoughlin (Hants) bt [3/4]
Peter Gunter (Middx) 9-4, 9-2, 5-9, 4-9, 9-7 (98m)
 Yawar Abbas (D & C) bt [5/8] Gary
Clarke (Warwicks) 9-3, 9-3, 9-1 (26m)
 Lucas Buit (Netherlands) bt [9/16]
Cliff Martindale (Surrey) 9-3, 9-0, 9-1 (22m)
 Yawar Abbas (D & C) bt [5/8] Stephen
McLoughlin (Hants) 9-0, 9-7, 9-3 (34m)
 Lucas Buit (Netherlands) bt  Yawar
Abbas (D & C) 9-0, 9-0, 9-3 (30m)
Men's Over 45
 Mark Woodliffe (Glos) bt Steve Martin
(Yorks) 9-3, 9-0, 9-2 (21m)
[3/4] Greg Pearman (Surrey) bt [5/8] Chris
Harland (Yorks) 9-3, 9-2, 9-1 (22m)
[3/4] Steven Calvert (Northumbria) bt
[5/8] Greg Loach (Derbyshire) 9-2, 9-2, 5-9, 9-0 (59m)
 Alan Thomson (Middx) bt [9/16] Mark
Hurd (Dorset) 9-6, 10-8, 9-5 (29m)
 Mark Woodliffe (Glos) bt [3/4] Greg
Pearman (Surrey) 5-9, 9-10, 9-6, 9-4, 9-1 (61m)
 Alan Thomson (Middx) bt [3/4] Steven
Calvert (Northumbria) 9-1, 9-7, 9-2 (32m)
 Mark Woodliffe (Glos) bt  Alan
Thomson (Middx) 9-7, 9-4, 9-4 (37m)
Men's Over 50
 Ian Bradburn (Lancs) bt [5/8] Stuart
Hardy (Wilts) 9-0, 9-5, 4-9, 9-0 (27m)
Colin Shields (D & C) bt Martin Ballands
(Kent) 9-4, 9-0, 9-4 (23m)
[3/4] Peter Upton (Lancs) bt Sergio Orduna
(Switzerland) 9-2, 9-5, 9-4 (45m)
[5/8] Peter Carey (South Africa) bt 
Peter Alexander (Suffolk) 7-9, 10-9, 9-3, 9-4 (47m)
 Ian Bradburn (Lancs) bt Colin Shields
(D & C) 9-0, 9-2, 9-2 (21m)
[5/8] Peter Carey (South Africa) bt [3/4]
Peter Upton (Lancs) 10-8, 5-9, 9-1, 9-3 (45m)
 Ian Bradburn (Lancs) v [5/8] Peter
Carey (South Africa)
Men's Over 55
[5/8] Ian Holmes (Northants) bt [9/16]
Andrew Larkin (Surrey) 9-5, 4-9, 9-4, 9-1 (33m)
[5/8] Bruce Turner (Australia) bt [3/4]
John Duckworth (Cheshire) 6-9, 9-4, 9-6, 10-9 (44m)
[3/4] Geoff Redfern (Warwicks) bt [9/16]
Bob Robinson (Yorks) 9-4, 9-1, 9-3 (23m)
 David Lumsden (D & C) bt [5/8] Paul
Reader (Hants) 10-9, 6-9, 9-3, 9-5 (40m)
[5/8] Bruce Turner (Australia) bt [5/8]
Ian Holmes (Northants) 1-9, 9-1, 9-6, 9-3 (34m)
[3/4] Geoff Redfern (Warwicks) bt 
David Lumsden (D & C) 9-1, 9-7, 9-7 (36m)
[3/4] Geoff Redfern (Warwicks) bt [5/8]
Bruce Turner (Australia) 9-2, 10-9, 9-3 (35m)
Men's Over 60
 Philip Ayton (Sussex) bt [5/8] Geoff
Howes (Surrey) 9-4, 10-8, 9-1 (27m)
[3/4] Howard Cherlin (Middx) bt [5/8] Mike
Taylor (England) 9-3, 9-10, 9-5, 9-4 (38m)
[3/4] Barry Featherstone (Hants) bt [5/8]
John Smith (Northumbria) 9-0, 6-9, 9-4, 9-4 (40m)
 Brian Cook (Australia) bt [5/8] Chris
Ansell (Berks) 9-6, 9-2, 9-5
 Philip Ayton (Sussex) bt [3/4] Howard
Cherlin (Middx) 9-1, 9-0, 4-9, 9-7 (33m)
 Brian Cook (Australia) bt [3/4] Barry
Featherstone (Hants) 9-5, 9-2, 7-9, 9-7 (48m)
 Philip Ayton (Sussex) bt  Brian
Cook (Australia) 9-4, 9-1, 9-1 (27m)
Men's Over 65 quarter-finals:
 Mike Clemson (Yorks) bt John Preston (Herts)
9-1, 9-3, 9-0 (15m)
[3/4] William Wilson (Cheshire) bt Myron
Evans (Ireland) 9-1, 9-0, 9-4 (25m)
[3/4] Len Froggitt (Herts) bt Brian Dobson
(England) 9-3, 9-7, 10-8 (24m)
 Adrian Wright (Leics) bt Neil Thomson
(Scotland) 9-1, 9-6, 9-4 (23m)
 Mike Clemson (Yorks) bt [3/4] William
Wilson (Cheshire) 9-1, 8-10, 9-1, 9-1 (37m)
 Adrian Wright (Leics) bt [3/4] Len
Froggitt (Herts) 10-8, 6-9, 4-9, 9-5, 9-5 (51m)
 Mike Clemson (Yorks) bt  Adrian
Wright (Leics) 4-9, 9-2, 9-6, 10-9 (30m)
Men's Over 70
 Pat Kirton (Surrey) bt Gordon Ross (Middx)
9-2, 9-0, 9-1 (17m)
[3/4] Lance Kinder (Hants) bt Alex
Richardson (Ireland) 3-9, 9-6, 8-10, 9-7, 9-4 (49m)
Anthony Seare (Sussex) bt [3/4] Malcolm
Gilham (Suffolk) 9-1, 9-3, 9-5 (21m)
 John Woodliffe (Glos) bt Malcolm
McArthur (D & C) 9-0, 9-2, 9-1 (17m)
 Pat Kirton (Surrey) bt [3/4] Lance
Kinder (Hants) 9-4, 9-7, 9-5 (35m)
 John Woodliffe (Glos) bt Anthony Seare
(Sussex) 9-3, 9-3, 9-5 (21m)
 Pat Kirton (Surrey) bt  John
Woodliffe (Glos) 9-4, 9-4, 5-9, 9-5 (45m)
Women's Over 35
 Jeannine Cowie (Lancs) bye
[3/4] Vaso Karasava (Cyprus) bt Linda
Winder (Cumbria) 9-6, 9-3, 8-10, 10-9 (49m)
[3/4] Bea de Dreu-Spitse (Netherlands) bt
Nicola Fowler (Cheshire) 9-4, 9-7, 9-4 (28m)
 Claire Walker (Yorks) bt Isabelle
Tyrrell (Notts) 3-9, 9-6, 9-2, 9-1 (30m)
 Jeannine Cowie (Lancs) bt [3/4] Vaso
Karasava (Cyprus) 4-9, 9-1, 9-0, 9-5 (33m)
 Claire Walker (Yorks) bt [3/4] Bea de
Dreu-Spitse (Netherlands) 9-5, 9-2, 9-1 (22m)
 Jeannine Cowie (Lancs) bt  Claire
Walker (Yorks) 9-3, 9-7, 6-9, 9-0 (40m)
Women's Over 40
 Ellie Pierce (USA) bt [5/8] Ashley
Mears (Scotland) 9-10, 9-1, 9-4, 9-4 (52m)
[3/4] Bea de Dreu-Spitse (Netherlands) bt
[5/8] Linda Winder (Cumbria) 5-9, 9-3, 9-0, 9-3 (39m)
[3/4] Vaso Karasava (Cyprus) bt [5/8] Jo
Cooper (Leics) 9-6, 9-7, 5-9, 9-7 (49m)
 Samantha Willis (Northants) bt [5/8]
Fiona McLean (Berks) 9-7, 9-1, 9-4 (28m)
 Ellie Pierce (USA) bt [3/4] Bea de
Dreu-Spitse (Netherlands) 9-1, 9-1, 9-4 (28m)
 Samantha Willis (Northants) bt [3/4]
Vaso Karasava (Cyprus) 4-9, 9-6, 9-0, 9-1 (25m)
 Ellie Pierce (USA) bt  Samantha
Willis (Northants) 9-2, 6-9, 9-3, 9-0 (33m)
Women's Over 45
 Fran Wallis (Lincs) bt Jacky Gregory
(Essex) 9-5, 9-1, 9-4 (24m)
[3/4] Heather Tweedle (Merseyside) bt
[5/8] Susan Pynegar (Notts) 9-2, 9-3, 9-0 (17m)
[3/4] Mandy Akin (Kent) bt [5/8] Fiona
McLean (Berks) 9-3, 9-1, 9-2 (17m)
[5/8] Lesley Sturgess (Derbyshire) bt 
Victoria King (Middx) w/o
[3/4] Heather Tweedle (Merseyside) bt 
Fran Wallis (Lincs) 9-6, 9-6, 9-6 (36m)
[3/4] Mandy Akin (Kent) bt [5/8] Lesley
Sturgess (Derbyshire) 9-4, 9-2, 5-9, 4-9, 9-7 (98m)
[3/4] Mandy Akin (Kent) bt [3/4] Heather
Tweedle (Merseyside) 9-4, 8-10, 9-7, 9-4 (40m)
Women's Over 50
 Helen Gould (Avon) bye
[3/4] Jacky Gardner (D & C) bt Carolyn
Roylance (Lincs) 9-2, 9-3, 9-0 (17m)
[3/4] Karen Hume (Kent) bt Kath Kemp
(Essex) 9-5, 9-1, 6-9, 9-4 (37m)
 Juliet O'Neill (Avon) bt Jane Law
(Cheshire) 9-4, 9-3, 9-3 (23m)
[3/4] Jacky Gardner (D & C) bt  Helen
Gould (Avon) 9-5, 5-9, 9-4, 9-5 (38m)
[3/4] Karen Hume (Kent) bt  Juliet
O'Neill (Avon) 0-9, 2-9, 9-4, 9-3, 9-7 (49m)
[3/4] Jacky Gardner (D & C) bt [3/4] Karen
Hume (Kent) 9-6, 9-2, 9-5 (45m)
Women's Over 55 final:
Maggie North (Surrey) bt Bett Dryhurst (Worcs)
9-5, 9-6, 2-9, 9-4 (45m)