Dunlop British Open 2007

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18th-24th September 2007
National Squash Centre, Manchester

Colin
McQuillan
Reports

Gaultier & Grinham Win
Dunlop British Open Titles

 

In a dramatic conclusion to the Dunlop British Open Squash Championships - Manchester 2007, Gregory Gaultier beat compatriot Thierry Lincou to become the first Frenchman to win the men's title - and Australia's Rachael Grinham saved a match-ball to defeat overwhelming favourite Nicol David in the longest women's final on record.

 

After upsetting higher-ranked opponents in the semi-finals at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester, Gaultier and Lincou met in the first ever all-French final in the 77-year history of the world-renowned championship. 

 

And it was perhaps no surprise when third seed Gaultier, the 24-year-old world No4 from Aix-en-Provence, took the opening game.

 

But 31-year-old Lincou, the former world number one from Marseille who has built up a reputation as a slow starter, fought back in a dramatic second game to draw level. 

 

Despite spending most of his career as the country's number two, behind Lincou, Gaultier truly came of age after 63 minutes in Manchester when he triumphed 11-4, 10-11 (0-2), 11-6, 11-3 to claim his maiden British Open title.

 

"Winning the British was, with the World Open title, a dream of mine - itís my biggest win ever," said an emotional Gaultier to the official website said.  "This summer Iíve trained with Thierry, Wael (El Hindi), Renan (Lavigne), and it paid off. 

 

"Iím also happy that Thierry is back at his best, although you need a winner and a loser, and tonight I was the winner!

 

"Thierry was a big boost for my career, throughout my whole career, and Iím grateful for what he brought into my life.  Iím very happy."

 

The victory - surprisingly, his first Tour win of the year - brings Gaultier's career PSA Tour tally to 11 titles.

 

The earlier women's final proved to be one of the most dramatic of all-time - in which Malaysia's world number one Nicol David opened up a two-game lead en-route to an anticipated third successive title.

 

But third seed Grinham, the 2003 and 2004 champion who had upset her higher-ranked younger sister Natalie Grinham in the semi-finals, refused to bow to the dominant Malaysian who had won their previous 14 meetings since April 2005.

 
The 30-year-old former world number one from Toowoomba in Queensland reduced the deficit by winning the third, then saw the fourth go to eight-all - before David served for championship ball at 9-8.

 

But the Australian recovered to force the match into a fifth game decider - and immediately raced to 8-0, and her own first match-ball.  David took a further point - but the rampant Queenslander was not to be denied her shock victory as she clinched the title after 87 minutes in a 7-9, 4-9, 9-3, 10-8, 9-1 scoreline.

 

"Itís the best win I ever had.  I already won two titles, but that was a couple of years ago, and I havenít won any major tournaments since - and it was looking less and less likely that I would ever win another one," conceded world No3 Grinham.

 

"I felt quite focused, but I was a little slow in the beginning, not as good as yesterday.  Then I thought, come on, the pressure is on her, make her work for it, and I tried to make sure I didn't give anything away when she was serving.

 

"Winning the third gave me a lot of confidence, and she was not as quick as she was at the start.

 

"I lost a bit of motivation over the last couple of years.  I gradually started losing finals, then semis, then quarters Ė this year I had a couple of first round losses.  I thought 'c'mon, what are you doing?'

 

"I know it's a long time since I beat her, I knew I could beat her, but the way my career was going I knew it had to be soon!  But really, today, it was just unbelievable, it must be my most satisfying win ever."

 

The victory marks a notable milestone for Grinham who now boasts 25 WISPA World Tour titles.  The success also extends Grinham's lead over Nicol David as the current WISPA player with the most Tour titles.

 

 





No surprises as Amr Shabana (above) is seeded number one for this years
Dunlop British Open along with Nicol David (right) for the women's competition

 


PSALIVE.TV
To Offer Free Live Broadcast At British Open

 



Pictures coutesy of Squashpics.com


Gregory Gaultier beats world no 1, Amr Shabana, to reach his first British Open final.



Top seed Amr Shabana beats reigning champion Nick Matthew 3-1

Peter Barker, Eng, beats 7th seed Wael El Hindi, Egy, 3-2 in the first major upset of the tournament

Pictures coutesy of Squashpics.com

1st round victory for holder Nick Matthew with a 3-0 win over Daryl Selby


 

Dunlop British Open
Men's Draw  $77.5k
Round One
20-Sep
Round Two
21-Sep
Quarters
22-Sep
Semis
23-Sep
Final
24-Sep
[1] Amr Shabana (Egy)
11/7, 11/7, 11/8 (34m)
[Q] Davide Bianchetti (Ita)
Amr Shabana
11-5, 2-11, 11-10 (4-2), 11-3 (56m)
Lee Beachill
Amr Shabana
6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (69m) 
Nick Matthew
Amr Shabana
11-9, 5-11, 11-5, 11-9
Gregory Gaultier
Gregory Gaultier
11-4, 10-11 (0-2), 11-6, 11-3 (63m)
Thierry Lincou
[10] Lee Beachill (Eng)
 11/6, 11/4, 11/7 (36m)
[Q] Stacey Ross (Eng)
[6] Nick Matthew (Eng)
11/5, 11/7, 11/8 (50m)
[Q] Daryl Selby (Eng)
Nick Matthew
11-9, 11-5, 11-4 (48m)
Azlan Iskandar
 [14] Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
12/10, 11/4, 3/11, 11/7 (80m)
Borja Golan (Esp)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
 11/7, 11/4, 11/8 (30m)
[Q] Jonathan Kemp (Eng)r
Gregory Gaultier
11-5, 11-9, 4-11, 11-8 (69m)
Adrian Grant
Gregory Gaultier
11-7, 11-8, 11-3 (48m)
Peter Barker
[13] Adrian Grant (Eng)
11/13, 11/7, 11/1, 11/8 (60m)
Alister Walker (Eng)
[7] Wael El Hindi (Egy)
11/9, 10/12, 5/11, 11/7, 11/7 (81m)
Cameron Pilley (Aus)
Wael El Hindi
9-11, 3-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 (72m)
 Peter Barker
 [12] Peter Barker (Eng)
 11/5, 11/5, 11/6 (22m)
[Q] Farhan Mehboob (Pak)
 [16] Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
8-11, 11-5, 11-9, 10-11 (0-2), 11-9 (69m)
Alex Gough (Wal)
Ong Beng Hee
11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9 (58m)
Stewart Boswell
Ong Beng Hee
11-8, 11-2, 11-10 (2-0) (61m)
Thierry Lincou
Thierry Lincou
5-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7 (61m)
David Palmer
[8] Stewart Boswell (Aus)
11-8, 11-3, 11-9 (37m)
[Q] Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
 [11] Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
11-4, 6-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8 (70m)
Joey Barrington (Eng)
Mohammed Abbas
3-11, 11-3, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9 (60m)
Thierry Lincou
[4] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (26m)
Mansoor Zaman (Pak)
[9] Karim Darwish (Egy)
10-11 (1-3), 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 (46m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak)
Karim Darwish
11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9 (65m)
James Willstrop
James Willstrop
11-10 (2-0), 6-11, 11-10 (2-0), 6-11, 11-5 (100m)
David Palmer
[5] James Willstrop (Eng)
11-7, 11-5, 11-4 (32m)
[Q] John Rooney (Irl)
[15] Olli Tuominen Fin)
11-8, 11-10 (2-0), 11-5 (34m)
Andy Whipp (Eng)
Olli Tuominen
1-10 (2-0), 11-5, 11-9 (43m)
David Palmer
[2] David Palmer (Aus)
11-2, 11-8, 11-4 (33m)
[Q] Julien Balbo (Fra)

Qualifiers:

 
First Round,
Tue 18th
Finals,
Wed 19th
[1] Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
 bye
Q  Jonathan Kemp  Q
11/9, 6/11, 11/6, 11/3 (35m)
Yasir Butt
Yasir Butt (Pak)
9/11, 11/7, 11/9, 5/11, 11/3 (50m)
Stuart Crawford (Sco)
[5/8] Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
11/7, 11/7, 11/6 (33m)
Alan Clyne (Sco)
Q  Saurav Ghosal  Q
11/7, 11/8, 12/10 (55m)
Aaron Frankcomb
Aaron Frankcomb (Aus)
11/5, 11/3, 13/11 (55m)
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
[3/4] Davide Bianchetti (Ita)
11/3, 11/5, 11/4 (38m)
Eddie Charlton (Eng)
Q  Davide Bianchetti  Q
11/7, 11/4, 11/3 (35m)
Ritwik Bhattacharya
Ritwik Bhattacharya (Ind)
11/9, 15/13, 11/6 (42m)
Tom Hoevenaars (Ned)
Joel Hinds (Eng)
11/7, 11/4, 11/4 (37m)
[5/8] Stacey Ross (Eng)
Q  Stacey Ross  Q
9/11, 9/11, 11/8, 11/2, 11/7 (63m)
Jon Harford
James Snell (Eng)
11/2, 12/10, 11/6 (28m)
Jon Harford (Eng)
David Barnett (Eng)
11/4, 11/8, 11/7 (36m)
Julien Balbo (Fra)
Q  Julien Balbo  Q
9/11, 11/6, 11/9, 8/11, 11/8 (72m)
Dylan Bennett
Chris Fuller (Eng)
11/6, 11/1, 11/2 (26m)
[5/8] Dylan Bennett (Ned)
Tom Pashley (Eng)
11/6, 11/6, 11/3 (27m)
Simon Rosner (Ger)
Simon Rosner
11/5, 12/10, 7/11, 11/9 (54m)
Q  Daryl Selby  Q
Alex Stait (Eng)
11/5, 30 rtd (12m)
[3/4] Daryl Selby (Eng)
Shaun Le Roux (Eng)
10/12, 11/6, 11/4, 7/11, 11/9 (75m)
Bradley Hindle (Aus)
Bradley Hindle
9/11, 13/11, 12/10, 11/8 (58m)
Q  John Rooney  Q
John Rooney (Irl)
9/11, 11/1, 11/3, 11/4 (43m)
[5/8] Chris Simpson (Eng)
Lewis Walters (Eng)
11/3, 11/9, 11/7 (22m)
Farhan Mehboob (Pak)
Q  Farhan Mehboob  Q
9/11, 11/9, 11/4, 11/5 (43m)
Bradley Ball
bye
[2] Bradley Ball (Eng)

Dunlop British Open 2007
Women
's Draw $43.5k

Round One
21-Sep
Quarters
22-Sep
Semis
23-Sep
Final
24-Sep
[1] Nicol David (Mas)
9-5, 9-6, 9-4 (42m)
Laura Lengthorn-Massaro (Eng)
Nicol David
9-3, 9-3, 7-9, 2-9, 9-0 (53m)
Natalie Grainger
Nicol David
9-1, 10-8, 9-3 (41m)
Tania Bailey
Nicol David
7-9, 4-9, 9-3, 10-8, 9-1 (87m)
Rachael Grinham
[5] Natalie Grainger (Usa)
9-5, 9-1, 9-1 (28m)

[Q] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL)

[4] Tania Bailey (Eng)
9-4, 3-9, 9-1, 9-2 (50m)
Annelize Naude (Ned)
Tania Bailey
6-9, 10-8, 9-4, 2-9, 9-0 (69m)
Vicky Botwright
[6] Vicky Botwright (Eng)
9-4, 9-5, 9-5 (52m)
Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
Alison Waters (Eng)
9-7, 9-3, 9-6 (41m)
[8] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned)
Vanessa Atkinson
7-9, 9-7, 9-6, 9-0 (75m)
Rachael Grinham
Rachael Grinham
9-3, 10-9, 10-8 (54m)
Natalie Grinham
[Q] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA)
9-5, 9-3, 5-9, 9-2 (51m)

[3] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
[Q] Lauren Briggs (ENG)
9-3, 9-4, 9-5 (48m)  
[7] Madeline Perry (Irl)
Madeline Perry

9-3, 9-6, 9-7 (54m)Natalie Grinham

[Q] Laura Mylotte (IRL)
9-4, 9-3, 9-4 (24m)
[2] Natalie Grinham (Aus)

Qualifiers:

Finals

[1] Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl) bt [6] Sarah Kippax (Eng) 9/0, 9/5, 7/9, 9/6 (54m)
[8] Joshna Chinappa (Ind) v Laura Mylotte (Irl)
8-10, 9-5, 9-10, 9-6, 9-1 (60m)
[4] Lauren Briggs (Eng) v [7] Aisling Blake (Irl)
9-5, 10-8, 9-1 (64m)
[2] Isabelle Stoehr (Fra) v Tenille Swartz (Rsa)
9-10, 9-2, 9-0, 9-1 (54m)


Round One, Wed 19th Sep:
[1] Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl) bt Georgina Stoker (Eng)  9/4, 9/3, 9/1 (25m)
[6] Sarah Kippax (Eng) bt Suzie Pierrepont (Eng) 9/7, 9/7, 9/3 (34m)
Laura Mylotte (Irl) bt [3] Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Eng)   w/o
[8] Joshna Chinappa (Ind) bt Fiona Moverley (Eng) 9/7, 9/4, 9/1 (24m)
[7] Aisling Blake (Irl) bt Kirsty McPhee (Eng)  9/4, 9/6, 9/2 (41m)
[4] Lauren Briggs (Eng) bt Emma Chorley (Eng) 9/3, 9/6, 9/3 (31m)
[5] Becky Botwright (Eng) v Tenille Swartz (Rsa)
2-9, 10-8, 10-8, 9-2 (45m)
[2] Isabelle Stoehr (Fra) v Laura Hill (Eng) 
9-4, 10-8, 3-9, 9-4 (53m)
 

Reports
 

Dunlop British Open To Climax In First All-French Final

For the first time in the event's 77-year history, the British Open Squash Championships will climax in an all-French men's final, after Gregory Gaultier and Thierry Lincou both upset higher-ranked opponents in the semi-finals of the Dunlop-sponsored event at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester.

 

Malaysia's defending champion Nicol David will contest the women's final for the third successive year - and will face Australia's Rachael Grinham in a repeat of the 2006 climax.

 

Gregory Gaultier, the third seed from Aix-en-Provence, celebrated his maiden appearance in a British Open final after defeating Egypt's world number one Amr Shabana, the top seed, 11-9, 5-11, 11-5, 11-9 in 61 minutes.

 

"It's always been a kind of a dream of mine, getting to the final of the British - well, winning the British Open I mean," the delighted Frenchman said.  "I'm very happy with my game, I'm happy to be back after a bad injury - and tomorrow, I'm not going to give 100%, not 500%, but 1,000%," added the 24-year world number four.

 

"Amr and I have a lot of respect for each other, he is really a great guy, he is such a fair player.  I have learnt so much from him over the years, he is such an example for me and for the sport."

 

The later men's semi-final produced the dream outcome for French squash when fourth seed Thierry Lincou repeated his victory over Australian David Palmer at the same stage of the event last year - beating the reigning world champion 5-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7, also in 61 minutes.

 

World number three Palmer was clearly struggling with his movement and took a three-minute injury break midway through the third game.

 

"At 8-7 in the second, I pulled a muscle, and the match was over," explained 31-year-old Palmer, a three-time winner of the title.  "There was nothing I could do on my right leg, my dominating leg.  We put a cold spray on it, but it didn't make any difference."

 

Lincou, who is celebrating his second successive appearance in the final, sympathised with his opponent:  "I'm happy to win of course, but I'm unhappy for David, I've just come out of a long injury, I know what it is and what you feel.  We are both 31, and I know that the road doesn't stop there, for either of us - there's still plenty of time left.

 

"I find I'm playing better as the tournament is unfolding, because I'm getting more and more relaxed as the match goes on," added the former world number one from Marseille.

 

"When I heard the result on Greg's match, I sent him a text to tell him how happy I was, how this victory confirmed his ascendancy over Shabana, and how delighted I was that he was in the final.  As for tomorrow, we'll see. The moment is magic, and one must appreciate it as such. 

 

"With two Frenchmen in the final of the British, France is already a winner!"

 

Home interest in the 2007 British Open evaporated when England number one Tania Bailey went down 9-1, 10-8, 9-3 in 41 minutes to Nicol David - the dominant Malaysian who is now in her 17th WISPA World Tour final in a row since November 2005!

 

"A three-nil scoreline doesn't show what a good game we played," agreed David, who this month celebrated her 17th month at the top of the world rankings - thus becoming the fourth longest standing women's world number one of all-time!

 

"From our last few matches she got the hang of what to do, and I had to work hard in every rally.  It was a tough match, and I'm glad I pulled through.

 

"It was a great experience winning my first British Open title in Manchester two years ago on this court.  I hope I can do it again tomorrow and I hope everyone that's been giving me such great support comes back too!"

 

The other women's semi-final produced the 16th international meeting between Australian sisters Rachael Grinham and Natalie Grinham - and the second successive win for older sibling Rachael after three losses already this year. 

 

But Natalie, the record three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist who is based in the Netherlands, was clearly still suffering with the Achilles injury which has minimised her preparation for the event. 

 

"It was crucial to win the second, from 8/5 up," said third seed Rachael after her 9-3, 10-9, 10-8 upset over her second-seeded sister.  "I knew it would be a boost for me, and for her it would have meant she had to come back and win three games.  I know she's still not fully fit, just like when we played in Holland.

 

"It would be awesome to get a third title, it's one of the most important in the game and having two is already a great achievement for me.  I haven't had a good couple of years, haven't won many tournaments lately, so it would be great to do it now," added Rachael, the British Open champion in 2003 and 2004.


Champion Dethroned As Bailey Leads
Lone Home British Open Challenge

England's defending champion Nick Matthew crashed out of the Dunlop British Open Squash Championships - Manchester 2007, leaving Tania Bailey to lead a sole English challenge into the semi-finals of the world-renowned event at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester.

 

It was a quarter-final day of high drama on the all-glass court which staged the Commonwealth Games action five years ago.  All the top four seeds in both events survived - but only after lengthy battles, the last of which took 100 minutes and finished well after midnight!

 

Matthew, the sixth seed from Sheffield, faced top seed Amr Shabana - the Egyptian who has topped the world rankings for 18 months since April last year.  The 27-year-old Yorkshireman, who last year became the first Englishman for 67 years to win the sport's longest-established trophy, took the opening game - but Shabana fought back to take the match 6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 in 69 minutes.

 

"From when I won my British Open title, I'm definitely a better player," Matthew said afterwards.  "The third game was crucial - but at nine-all I put a lob out of court, and I can't say that I missed my chance, that I lost the match there, but it was such an opportunity, and after that, coming back from 2/1 was a different story.

 

"I just need to get better at what I'm good at, and add new dimensions to my game, to be able to challenge consistently for the titles."

 

Shabana, now in his second British Open semi-final, was full of praise for his opponent:  "Nick is an incredible player - I just beat him only 3/2 here in the Super Series Finals, so I knew that it was going to be so close. He has improved a lot, there is much more variation in his game, and having won the British Open gave him a lot of confidence.

 

"It's so different to have the crowd by you, and the English players, you can feel, they really love and are ready to play when they have the crowd by their side."

 

The 28-year-old from Cairo will now face Gregory Gaultier, the third-seeded Frenchman who beat England's surprise quarter-finalist Peter Barker, the No12 seed, 11-7, 11-8, 11-3 in 48 minutes.

 

There is also French interest in the other men's semi-final where fourth seed Thierry Lincou takes on Australia's three-time champion David Palmer, the No2 seed.

 

Lincou, runner-up last year, took out another surprise quarter-finalist - Malaysia's 16th seed Ong Beng Hee who upset eighth-seeded Australian Stewart Boswell in the previous round.  The Frenchman won 11-8, 11-2, 11-10 (2-0) in 61 minutes.

 

But the clash which kept the audience in their seats till after midnight was the longest of the tournament - in which Palmer avenged his loss to James Willstrop in the Prince English Grand Prix final earlier this month to beat the England number one 11-10 (2-0), 6-11, 11-10 (2-0), 6-11, 11-5 in 100 minutes.

 

"I gave it everything I had - when I play a match like that, I can't complain.  I thought it was a very good game of squash," explained a dejected Willstrop afterwards.  "Of course I'm extremely disappointed; I wanted to win that tournament desperately.

 

"To his credit, he played a top fifth game, and made it hard for me.  I just couldn't keep it up with it really.  He had a great 3-0 kick-start, and that's not a big help to find yourself down after all the work I had done for the whole of the match," added the 24-year-old Yorkshireman.

 

The victorious Palmer explained his determination to win:   "I said recently that there was one more British Open Championship in me, and I hope this is the one:  that's why I tried so hard tonight."

 

In the women's event, fourth seed Tania Bailey faced England team-mate Vicky Botwright - the sixth seed from Manchester who views the NSC as her 'home club'.  Bailey came back from a game down to win 6-9, 10-8, 9-4, 2-9, 9-0 in 69 minutes.

 

"We were both hitting the ball well and it was really hot on there, we were both picking stuff up really well," said Bailey.  "It was nip and tuck all the way in the first three, then Vicky played really well in the fourth Ė I don't think I did anything wrong, she just played better than me.

 

"I never really felt in control, but I really wanted to win - winning this title would be the best thing I can do, so I came out in the fifth determined to play my game and fortunately it all went well for me," added the 27-year-old from Stamford in Lincolnshire who was runner-up in 2002.

 

Bailey will face top seed Nicol David - but the world number one from Malaysia who is bidding for a third successive title was taken the full distance by Natalie Grainger, the fifth seed from Washington DC who is making the first appearance in the city of her birth since becoming a US citizen earlier this year.

 

David took the first two games, but Grainger struck back to draw level before the favourite upped her game to win 9-3, 9-3, 7-9, 2-9, 9-0 in 53 minutes. 

 

"I felt good in the first two games and went for it right from the start, but then she started going for her shots and hit some really good winners," said the 24-year-old from Penang.

 

"This event on its own is the highlight of the year, along with the worlds; you just have to give it your all however you feel and whatever's happening."

 

Grainger made no secret of her disappointment at losing - especially to 9-0 in the fifth game:  "But I'm glad I finally managed to impose myself on her.  In the fourth I could feel it, the aura had gone!"

 

The other women's semi-final will provide the latest chapter in the sibling rivalry between Australian sisters Natalie Grinham, the No2 seed, and Rachael Grinham, the third seed.

 

Natalie, the younger, and runner-up in 2005, defeated Ireland's No7 seed Madeline Perry 9-3, 9-6, 9-7 in 54 minutes, while Rachael, runner-up last year, outlasted Dutch number one Vanessa Atkinson, the eighth seed, 7-9, 9-7, 9-6, 9-0 in 75 minutes.

 

At 8-3 to Grinham in the third game, an accidental clash resulted in Atkinson taking more than an hour-long break to treat a cut to her racket hand. 

 

"I was just panicking in the break," admitted Grinham senior afterwards.  "Vanessa is playing very well at the moment; your best chance is to wear her down, which I'd started to do in the third. The last thing you want is a break where she can come back out fresh again.

 

"I totally expected her to come out attacking when we started again; she had nothing to lose and knew it would be mentally devastating for me if I'd lost that game from 8-3 up."


Barker Battles Into British Open Quarters

Essex's Peter Barker ensured that there will be English interest in all but one of the quarter-finals in the Dunlop British Open Squash Championships - Manchester 2007 after pulling off an impressive upset over No7 seed Wael El Hindi in the second round of the world-renowned event at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester.

 

The 23-year-old left-hander dropped the first two games against El Hindi.  But 12th seed Barker, who had never before beaten the Egyptian, fought back to take the match 9-11, 3-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 in 72 minutes to earn a place in the event's last eight for the first time.

 

"I took my time to get into each game, but I was particularly disappointed with the second," Barker commented.  "You can't give him anything on his forehand, he just flattens it, so I started to play everything on my forehand, his backhand, and it worked.

 

"It was a tough match - but I'm absolutely delighted."

 

Barker will now face Gregory Gaultier, the third seed from France who was taken to four games by Barker's England team-mate Adrian Grant before winning 11-5, 11-9, 4-11, 11-8 in 69 minutes.

 

Defending champion Nick Matthew comfortably made it through to his third successive quarter-final with an 11-9, 11-5, 11-4 defeat of Malaysia's 14th seed Mohd Azlan Iskandar.

 

"I was really wary of Azlan, he's one of the fittest players on the tour and he's had a few good scalps Ė including me Ė recently, so I'm very happy to get off three-nil," said the 27-year-old from Sheffield who last year became the first Englishman for 67 years to win the sport's longest-established trophy,

 

"He also beat me 3/0 the next tournament after I won the British last year, so I was never going to take anything for granted!"

 

Matthew now faces his toughest test - against top seed Amr Shabana, the world number one from Egypt.   The stylish left-hander defeated England's former world number one Lee Beachill 11-5, 2-11, 11-10 (4-2), 11-3.

 

Fifth seed James Willstrop became the last Englishman to win a place in the quarter-finals after beating Egypt's Karim Darwish 11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9. 

 

An all-English quarter-final clash will guarantee domestic interest in the last four in the women's event.  England number one Tania Bailey needed four games to quash Dutch opponent Annelize Naude 9-4, 3-9, 9-1, 9-2 - and will now face England team-mate Vicky Botwright

 

Botwright, the sixth seed from Manchester playing in front of a home crowd, despatched another England team-mate Jenny Duncalf 9-4, 9-5, 9-5.

 

Top seed Nicol David, the defending champion from Malaysia bidding to win her third successive crown, took 42 minutes to overcome England's unseeded Laura Lengthorn-Massaro 9-5, 9-6, 9-4.  The in-form world number one will now take on USA's Manchester-born Natalie Grainger, the fifth seed.

 

Grainger, runner-up in 2004, is making the first appearance in the city of her birth since becoming a US citizen in February, then winning the Pan American Games gold medal for her new country in July.  Grainger dismissed New Zealand qualifier Jaclyn Hawkes 9-5, 9-1, 9-1 in 28 minutes.

 

"I've been to the final before, it would be great to go one better and stand on that podium," said the former world number one from Washington DC.


Champion Matthew Eases Into
British Open Second Round

England's Nick Matthew successfully began the defence of his men's title in the Dunlop British Open Squash Championships - Manchester 2007 with a straight games win over compatriot Daryl Selby in the first round of the world-famous event at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester.

 

The 27-year-old from Sheffield, who last year became the first Englishman for 67 years to win the sport's longest-established trophy, took 50 minutes on the NSC all-glass court to quash his Essex opponent 11-5, 11-7, 11-8.

 

"It's nice to get the first one under my belt.  Whatever form you're in coming into the tournament, you feel like you're into it after that," the sixth-seeded title holder said.

 

"If I can put it all together, I definitely have a chance to retain the title.  I'm fitter and stronger than I was last year, but then so is everyone else."

 

Matthew will now face Malaysia's 14th seed Mohd Azlan Iskandar who battled for 80 minutes to overcome top-ranked Spaniard Borja Golan 11-10 (2-0), 11-4, 3-11, 11-7.

 

A dramatic upset looked on the cards when England's unseeded Joey Barrington took a two-games-to-one lead over No11 seed Mohammed Abbas.  The Egyptian fought back to level the match against the son of illustrious six times British Open champion Jonah Barrington - then played a series of stunning shots in a fightback in the decider to win 11-4, 6-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8 in 70 minutes.

 

Favourite Amr Shabana, the Egyptian world number one who has yet to win a British Open crown, despatched Italian qualifier Davide Bianchetti 11-7, 11-7, 11-8,  and will now face England's former world number one Lee Beachill - the tenth seed who beat compatriot Stacey Ross, a qualifier from Surrey, 11-6, 11-4, 11-4.

 

Australia's three-time champion David Palmer made a convincing start to his 11th British Open campaign with an 11-2, 11-8, 11-4 win over French qualifier Julien Balbo.  The Belgium-based second seed will now take on Finland's Olli Tuominen for a place in the quarter-finals.

 

Lauren Briggs added further English interest in the other main event after beating the Irish number two Aisling Blake 9-5, 10-8, 9-1 in the qualifying finals of the women's championship.  The 28-year-old from Essex was then drawn to face Irish number one Madeline Perry, the No7 seed, in the first round.

 

Meanwhile, Irish number three Laura Mylotte capitalised on her walkover in the first qualifying round by battling to an 8-10, 9-5, 9-10, 9-6, 9-1 win over India's Joshna Chinappa.  In her British Open debut, the 32-year-old from Galway will meet Australia's No2 seed Natalie Grinham.


Qualifying Trio Boosts English Hopes In British Open

A trio of Englishmen - Jonathan Kemp, Stacey Ross and Daryl Selby - boosted domestic chances of success in the Dunlop British Open Squash Championships - Manchester 2007 after coming through the men's qualifying finals of the world-famous event at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester.

 

Back on the circuit after knee surgery in the summer, Kemp defeated Pakistan's Yasir Butt 11-9, 6-11, 11-6, 11-4.  The 26-year-old Shropshire lad from Telford now faces top Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the No3 seed, in the first round.

 

Ross became the oldest player to qualify after recovering from two games down to beat compatriot Jonathan Harford 9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-7 in 62 minutes.  The 33-year-old from Surrey will face another Englishman Lee Beachill, the tenth seed from Yorkshire, in a bid to reach the second round for the first time.

 

Daryl Selby has earned his first appearance in the main draw of the British Open at this third attempt:  The 24-year-old from Essex needed 54 minutes to overcome Germany's 2006 European Junior Champion Simon Rosner 11-5, 11-10 (2-0), 7-11, 11-9 - and will now face England's defending champion Nick Matthew in his event debut.

 

John Rooney led a good day for the Irish when he defeated Australian Bradley Hindle 4-11, 11-10 (3-1), 11-10 (2-0), 11-8 in 57 minutes.  In his first appearance in the main draw, the 27-year-old from Galway - ranked 99 in the world - will take on top Englishman James Willstrop, the 24-year-old Yorkshireman who last week won the Prince English Grand Prix in Birmingham.

 

Italian Davide Bianchetti and Frenchman Julien Balbo also survived the qualifying finals - but received the toughest rewards:  World No33 Bianchetti, the highest-ranked qualifier, will face favourite Amr Shabana, the world No1 from Egypt - while 28-year-old Balbo will meet Australia's second seed David Palmer, a three-time winner of the prestigious title.

 

Qualifying in the women's event also got underway at Sportcity.  English hopes will rely on Cheshire's Sarah Kippax and Essex's Lauren Briggs.  Kippax defeated compatriot Suzie Pierrepont 9-5, 9-7, 9-3 and will now face New Zealand's Jaclyn Hawkes for a place in the main draw.

 

Briggs beat England's Emma Chorley 9-3, 9-6, 9-3 and now meets Aisling Blake in the qualifying finals.

 

Blake joined Laura Mylotte in providing a 100% success rate for Irish players at the National Squash Centre.  The Dublin-born 26-year-old from Sligo beat England's Kirsty McPhee 9-4, 9-6, 9-2, while Mylotte, the 32-year-old world No47 from Galway, was handed a walkover by England's Dominique Lloyd-Walter after the world No22 from Harrow failed to recover from a twisted ankle earlier in the week.
 

Mixed Fortunes For Locals In British Open Qualifiers

Only five Englishmen survived the first day of men's qualifying action in the Dunlop British Open Squash Championships - Manchester 2007, and two did so after receiving byes when three players failed to make the deadline after being held up in traffic on the way to the National Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester.

 

Experienced Surrey player Stacey Ross, looking to make his third appearance in the world-famous event, eased to an 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 victory over compatriot Joel Hinds - while Gloucestershire's Leeds-based Jonathan Harford despatched fellow Englishman James Snell 11-2, 11-10 (2-0), 11-6.  The pair will now meet in the qualifying finals to guarantee one further Englishman in the main draw.

 

The first winner of the day was Dylan Bennett, of the Netherlands, who beat 'local' Chris Fuller - immediately followed by the quickest win of the day for Daryl Selby after fellow Englishman Alex Stait decided, after three points of the second game, that the bug he started suffering from the previous evening had taken too much out of him!

 

Irishman John Rooney claimed the only upset of the day when he recovered from a game down to beat England's former European Junior champion Chris Simpson 9-11, 11-1, 11-3, 11-4.

 

Rooney, 27, from Galway, will now face Australian Bradley Hindle in a bid to make his British Open debut.  Hindle survived the longest match of the day, beating England's Shaun le Roux 10-11 (0-2), 11-6, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9 in 75 minutes in a match that was fiercely contested from start to end.

 

There was disappointment for the two English players that battled through five rounds of the pre-qualifying tournament to win places in the qualifying draw.  Eddie Charlton went down 11-3, 11-5, 11-4 to Italy's Davide Bianchetti, while James Snell lost out to Jonathan Harford.

 

Preview
Top Squash Stars In Manchester For Dunlop British Open

England's Nick Matthew and Malaysia's Nicol David will be in Manchester next week to defend their titles in the Dunlop British Open Squash Championships - Manchester 2007 at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity, from 20-24 September.

 

Boasting the highest prize fund for six years, the 'Wimbledon of Squash' has attracted star-studded fields - led by Egypt's world number one Amr Shabana in the men's PSA Tour Super Series Silver championship, and world number one Nicol David who will be seeking her third successive title in the women's WISPA World Tour Gold tournament.

 

The Dunlop British Open - Manchester 2007 will also feature the sport's most successful annual Masters Championships, comprising 13 age-group events from Over-35 to Over-70.

 

Sixth-seeded Yorkshireman Nick Matthew stunned the squash world last year in Nottingham when he stormed through the top-class men's field to win the title against the odds.  The 27-year-old from Sheffield became the first home-grown winner of the world's most prestigious event for 67 years!

 

Again the sixth seed in Manchester, Matthew will face a qualifier in the opening round before a likely quarter-final clash with favourite Amr Shabana, the 28-year-old from Cairo looking to win the crown for the first time.

 

Australia's David Palmer will be making his 11th appearance in the event since 1997.  Seeded two, the 31-year-old from New South Wales will be aiming to win the title for a fourth time, after triumphs in 2001, 2003 and 2004.

 

Women's favourite Nicol David is enjoying a rich vein of form.  Since winning the British Open in 2005, the 24-year-old from Penang has competed in 19 WISPA World Tour events - reaching the finals on all but one occasion!

 

David, who celebrated her 17th month as world number one this month, takes on England's Laura Lengthorn-Massaro in the first round - and is expected to go on to face long-time rival Natalie Grinham, the world No2 from Australia, in the final.  But the draw suggests that Grinham may first have to overcome older sister Rachael Grinham in the semi-finals - reversing the outcome of the siblings' last meeting in the Dutch Open earlier this month.

 

Domestic interest in the women's event is led by Lincolnshire's world No4 Tania Bailey, who faces Dutch opponent Annelize Naude in the first round.

 

MASTERS RESULTS

Men's Over-35 quarter-finals:

[1] Alex Gough (Wales) bt [5/8] David Heath (Scotland)                  9-2, 9-0, 10-8 (52m)
[3/4] Neil Frankland (Scotland) bt [5/8] Jamie Goodrich (Norfolk)     9-3, 10-8, 9-5 (50m)
[3/4] Peter Marshall (Notts) bt [5/8] Nick Wall (Yorks)                      9-1, 9-2, 9-0 (32m)
[2] Nick Taylor (Lancs) bt [5/8] Kevin White (Derbyshire)                  9-4, 9-5, 9-0 (33m)

    Semi-finals:

[1] Alex Gough (Wales) bt [3/4] Neil Frankland (Scotland)                9-2, 9-2, 9-4 (39m)
[2] Nick Taylor (Lancs) bt [3/4] Peter Marshall (Notts)                      9-2, 8-10, 9-4, 9-3 (57m)

    Final:

[2] Nick Taylor (Lancs) bt [1] Alex Gough (Wales)                           9-4, 10-8, 9-5 (70m)

 

Men's Over-40 quarter-finals:

[1] Lucas Buit (NED) bt Laurent Combaluzier (FRA)                         9-1, 9-0, 9-3 (33m)
[3/4] Jonathan Clark (Cheshire) bt Stefan Grasnick (GER)                9-4, 9-0, 9-1 (27m)
[3/4] Peter Gunter (Middx) bt [5/8] Frank Ellis (Avon)                       9-2, 10-8, 9-3 (44m)
[2] Fredrik Johnson (SWE) bt [5/8] Stephen McLoughlin (Hants)      9-3, 9-1, 9-3 (32m)

    Semi-finals:

[1] Lucas Buit (NED) bt [3/4] Jonathan Clark (Cheshire)                   7-9, 9-2, 9-1, 9-1 (48m)
[2] Fredrik Johnson (SWE) bt [3/4] Peter Gunter (Middx)                 9-1, 6-9, 9-2, 3-9, 9-0 (74m)

    Final:

[1] Lucas Buit (NED) bt [2] Fredrik Johnson (SWE)                         9-3, 9-0, 9-3 (41m)

 

Men's Over-45 quarter-finals:

[1] Philip Whitlock (Devon) bt [5/8] Ian Bradburn (Lancs)                 9-4, 9-0, 9-2 (16m)
[3/4] Greg Pearman (Surrey) bt [9/16] Robert Hickling (Dorset)        9-4, 6-9, 9-2, 4-9, 9-6 (64m)
[5/8] Martin Greenslade (Dorset) bt [9/16] Paul Smith (Devon)         9-7, 9-1, 9-1 (23m)
[2] Mark Woodliffe (Glos) bt [5/8] Chris Harland (Yorks)                  9-3, 9-2, 9-0 (28m)

    Semi-finals:

[1] Philip Whitlock (Devon) bt [3/4] Greg Pearman (Surrey)              9-5, 9-0, 9-5 (27m)
[2] Mark Woodliffe (Glos) bt [5/8] Martin Greenslade (Dorset)          9-1, 9-0, 9-7 (32m)

    Final:

[1] Philip Whitlock (Devon) bt [2] Mark Woodliffe (Glos)                  9-7, 9-0, 9-4 (39m)

 

Men's Over-50 quarter-finals:

[1] Peter Alexander (Suffolk) bt [9/16] Doug Waller (Cheshire)         10-8, 9-2, 9-0 (31m)
[3/4] Mo Sarwar (Warwicks) bt [5/8] Mark Cowley (Middx)                8-10, 9-4, 9-3, 9-7 (43m)
[3/4] Duleep Adhihetty (Middx) bt [5/8] Edward Razzano (RSA)       9-7, 9-2, 9-0 (23m)
[2] Peter Upton (Lancs) bt [9/16] Michael Riley (USA)                      9-2, 9-3, 9-3 (35m)

    Semi-finals:

[1] Peter Alexander (Suffolk) bt [3/4] Mo Sarwar (Warwicks)            9-8, 9-4, 9-1 (34m)
[3/4] Duleep Adhihetty (Middx) bt [2] Peter Upton (Lancs)               9-6, 10-8, 9-6 (32m)

    Final:

[1] Peter Alexander (Suffolk) bt [3/4] Duleep Adhihetty (Middx)       9-2, 9-7, 4-9, 9-7 (52m)

 

Men's Over-55 quarter-finals:

[5/8] Ronnie Bell (Cumbria) bt [1] Keith Jones (Berks)                     7-9, 9-3, 9-1, 9-4 (32m)
[5/8] Neil Nightingale (Derbyshire) bt [3/4] Abbas Kaoud (EGY)       9-3, 9-5, 9-4 (22m)
[5/8] Ian Parke (Yorks) bt [3/4] Howard Cherlin (Middx)                    9-2, 9-0, 9-7 (29m)
[9/16] Chris Grainger (RSA) bt [5/8] Bob Robinson (Yorks)              3-9, 4-9, 9-6, 9-7, 9-7 (55m)

    Semi-finals:

[5/8] Ronnie Bell (Cumbria) bt [5/8] Neil Nightingale (Derbyshire)     9-5, 5-9, 8-10, 9-2, 9-2 (40m)
[5/8] Ian Parke (Yorks) bt [9/16] Chris Grainger (RSA)                      9-0, 9-5, 9-0 (23m)

    Final:

[5/8] Ian Parke (Yorks) bt [5/8] Ronnie Bell (Cumbria)                      9-3, 9-3, 9-5 (28m)

 

Men's Over-60 quarter-finals:

[1] Philip Ayton (Sussex) bt [5/8] Nick Topman (Glos)                     9-3, 9-6, 9-6 (28m)
[3/4] Martin Pearse (Norfolk) bt Alistair McMeckan (Scotland)          9-0, 9-3, 9-0 (18m)
[5/8] Trevor Wilkinson (Surrey) bt [3/4] Chris Ansell (Berks)              8-10, 9-7, 9-1, 7-9, 10-9 (60m)
[2] John Smith (Northumbria) bt [5/8] Barry Featherstone (Hants)     5-9, 9-7, 9-4, 9-2 (41m)

    Semi-finals:

[1] Philip Ayton (Sussex) bt [3/4] Martin Pearse (Norfolk)                7-9, 9-1, 9-0, 9-4 (29m)
[5/8] Trevor Wilkinson (Surrey) bt [2] John Smith (Northumbria)        2-9, 9-2, 7-9, 9-6, 9-5 (34m)

    Final:

[1] Philip Ayton (Sussex) bt [5/8] Trevor Wilkinson (Surrey)             9-5, 9-5, 9-0 (22m)

 

Men's Over-65 quarter-finals:

[1] Adrian Wright (Leics) bt Len Williamson (Yorks)                         9-1, 9-5, 9-0 (14m)
[3/4] Len Froggitt (Herts) bt [5/8] Roy Bradley (Worcs)                    4-9, 9-7, 9-10, 9-4, 10-8 (62m)
[5/8] Chris Stahl (Surrey) bt [3/4] Mo Khalifa (Middx)                       9-5, 10-9, 9-7 (27m)
[2] Mike Clemson (Yorks) bt [5/8] John Shaw (D & C)                      9-7, 9-3, 9-3 (36m)

    Semi-finals:

[3/4] Len Froggitt (Herts) bt [1] Adrian Wright (Leics)                       8-10, 9-7, 10-8, 9-5 (43m)
[2] Mike Clemson (Yorks) bt [5/8] Chris Stahl (Surrey)                     6-9, 9-6, 10-8, 9-6 (35m)

    Final:

[2] Mike Clemson (Yorks) bt [3/4] Len Froggitt (Herts)                     3-9, 8-10, 10-8, 9-0, 9-5 (40m)

 

Men's Over-70 quarter-finals:

[1] Pat Kirton (Surrey) bt Douglas Alderton (Cumbria)                     9-0, 9-2, 9-1 (13m)
[3/4] Malcolm Gilham (Suffolk) bt Mike Parr (Lancs)                        9-0, 9-4, 9-4 (25m)
[3/4] Anthony Seare (Sussex) bt Ken Barrett (Kent)                         9-0, 9-4, 9-2 (15m)
[2] Lance Kinder (Hants) bt Malcolm McArthur (D & C)                    9-4, 9-2, 9-1 (18m)

    Semi-finals:

[1] Pat Kirton (Surrey) bt [3/4] Malcolm Gilham (Suffolk)                 9-1, 9-1, 4-9, 10-9 (43m)
[2] Lance Kinder (Hants) bt [3/4] Anthony Seare (Sussex)                9-5, 9-2, 9-5 (14m)

    Final:

[1] Pat Kirton (Surrey) bt [2] Lance Kinder (Hants)                           9-4, 9-7, 9-2 (26m)

 

Women's Over-35 quarter-finals:

[1] Sarah Fitz-Gerald (AUS) bt Cristina di Sacco (ITA)                     9-0, 9-1, 9-1 (20m)
[3/4] Helen Macfie (Scotland) bt Bea de Dreu-Spitse (NED)            10-8, 9-2, 7-9, 9-0 (52m)
Vaso Hambides (CYP) bt [3/4] Denise Sommers (NED)                  9-5, 10-8, 9-6 (26m)
[2] Claire Walker (Yorks) bt Jo Brown (Middx)                                 w/o

    Semi-finals:

[1] Sarah Fitz-Gerald (AUS) bt [3/4] Helen Macfie (Scotland)           9-1, 9-2, 9-1 (25m)
[2] Claire Walker (Yorks) bt Vaso Hambides (CYP)                          6-9, 9-3, 9-5, 9-2 (31m)

    Final:

[1] Sarah Fitz-Gerald (AUS) bt [2] Claire Walker (Yorks)                   9-3, 9-0, 9-3 (24m)

 

Women's Over-40 quarter-finals:

[1] Ellie Pierce (USA) bt Samantha Willis (Northants)                       2-9, 9-5, 9-0, 6-9, 9-0 (41m)
[3/4] Caroline Coyle (Ireland) bt [5/8] Jo Cooper (Leics)                   6-9, 7-9, 9-2, 9-6, 9-3 (51m)
[5/8] Linda Winder (Cumbria) bt [3/4] Fran Wallis (Lincs)                  9-3, 2-9, 3-9, 9-4, 9-3 (48m)
Vaso Hambides (CYP) bt [2] Bea de Dreu-Spitse (NED)                 8-10, 6-9, 9-3, 9-4, 10-8 (49m)

    Semi-finals:

[1] Ellie Pierce (USA) bt [3/4] Caroline Coyle (Ireland)                      7-9, 9-0, 9-3, 9-1 (41m)
[5/8] Linda Winder (Cumbria) bt Vaso Hambides (CYP)                   9-7, 10-9, 6-9, 9-0 (44m)

    Final:

[1] Ellie Pierce (USA) bt [5/8] Linda Winder (Cumbria)                     9-4, 9-0, 9-3 (23m)

 

Women's Over-45 quarter-finals:

[1] Victoria King (Middx) bt [5/8] Susan Pynegar (Notts)                 9-3, 9-5, 9-5 (29m)
[3/4] Heather Tweedle (Merseyside) bt [5/8] Carin Clonda (EST)       5-9, 9-5, 9-5, 2-9, 9-7 (50m)
[3/4] Tamsin Bennett (Surrey) bt Kim Ricks (Surrey)                        9-2, 9-0, 9-2 (20m)
[2] Lesley Sturgess (Derbyshire) bt [5/8] Jill Campion (Middx)         9-0, 9-10, 9-6, 9-3 (25m)

    Semi-finals:

[1] Victoria King (Middx) bt [3/4] Heather Tweedle (Merseyside)       9-7, 9-7, 9-7 (23m)
[3/4] Tamsin Bennett (Surrey) bt [2] Lesley Sturgess (Derbyshire)    9-0, 9-7, 9-10, 4-9, 9-0 (42m)

    Final:

[1] Victoria King (Middx) bt [3/4] Tamsin Bennett (Surrey)                4-9, 2-9, 9-7, 9-1, 9-2 (45m)

 

Women's Over-50 quarter-finals:

[1] Jan Miller (AUS) bt [5/8] Elke Rubsam (Herts)                            9-0, 9-4, 9-0 (19m)
[5/8] Karen Hume (Kent) bt [3/4] Carolyn Roylance (Lincs)               9-2, 9-4, 9-3 (23m)
[3/4] Jacky Gardner (D & C) bt [5/8] Sue Vine (Essex)                     9-3, 9-1, 9-1 (20m)
[2] Julie Field (Yorks) bt [5/8] Ann Windle (Middx)                           9-1, 9-0, 9-0 (18m)

    Semi-finals:

[1] Jan Miller (AUS) bt [5/8] Karen Hume (Kent)                               9-5, 9-5, 9-10, 9-1 (46m)
[2] Julie Field (Yorks) bt [3/4] Jacky Gardner (D & C)                      9-5, 9-1, 10-8 (32m)

    Final:

[2] Julie Field (Yorks) bt [1] Jan Miller (AUS)                                   9-5, 9-0 ret. (8m)

 

Women's Over-55 quarter-final:

Claire Bryars (FRA) bt Loretto Blackwood (Ireland)                          9-2, 9-5, 9-4 (18m)

    Semi-finals:

[1] Bett Dryhurst (Worcs) bt Danielle Maffre (FRA)                          9-0, 9-2, 9-2 (15m)
[2] Jean Grainger (RSA) bt Claire Bryars (FRA)                               9-7, 9-4, 4-9, 9-6 (39m)

    Final:

[1] Bett Dryhurst (Worcs) bt [2] Jean Grainger (RSA)                       9-5, 9-3, 9-0 (18m)

 

Overwhelming English Success In
Dunlop British Open Masters In Manchester

English players claimed ten out of the 13 Masters squash titles in the Dunlop British Open - Manchester 2007 at the National Squash Centre in Manchester this week.

The success of the pioneering partnership between internationalSPORTgroup and England Squash led to a massive 50% increase in entries to the Masters events over the past two years.

Almost 300 players competed in the 13 events, from the Over-35 Championships for men and women to the Over-70 Championship for men, at the seven-court venue which hosted the squash action in the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

"The sheer number of players meant that we had to utilise extra courts at Manchester Northern on the first day of Masters' action," said England Squash Competition & Events Manager Chris Nutley.  "All other matches were played at the NSC."

The popular Men's Over-35 event provided an unexpected 36th birthday present for Nick Taylor, the Manchester-based second seed who upset defending champion Alex Gough, the world No21 from Wales; 9-4, 10-8, 9-5 in the 70-minute final on the all-glass court.

In the Women's Over-35 event, Australia's record five-time world champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald, the reigning World O35 Masters champion, claimed her third successive title after beating England's British National Over-35 champion Claire Walker, from Yorkshire, 9-3, 9-0, 9-3 in the final.

In the only final which did not include domestic interest, former Dutch champion Lucas Buit, who only recently celebrated his 40th birthday, beat Sweden's 2004 champion Fredrik Johnson 9-3, 9-0, 9-3 in the Men's Over-40 final.

Devon's Philip Whitlock, last year's Over-40 champion now making his first appearance in the next age-group, defeated defending champion Mark Woodliffe, from Gloucestershire, 9-7, 9-0, 9-4 in the Men's Over-45 final.

The indefatigable Peter Alexander, from Suffolk, secured his third title in a row with a 9-2, 9-7, 4-9, 9-7 victory over last year's runner-up Duleep Adhihetty, from Middlesex, in the Men's Over-50 final.

Yorkshireman Ian Parke - the Czech Republic-based father of former world No4 Simon Parke - scored his first British Open Masters success when he beat Cumbria's Ronnie Bell 9-3, 9-3, 9-5 in the men's Over-55 final.

The British National champion in 1975, Sussex's Philip Ayton clinched the National Over-60 title for the first time at the beginning of this year - then added the Over-60 British Open crown when he beat Surrey's Trevor Wilkinson 9-5, 9-5, 9-0 in the final in Manchester.

Yorkshire's Mike Clemson made his debut on the Masters' podium when he beat Hertfordshire opponent Len Froggitt 3-9, 8-10, 10-8, 9-0, 9-5 in the Men's Over-65 final.

Two years after picking up the Over-65 trophy, Surrey's Pat Kirton stepped up to the most senior category to win the Men's Over-70 title after beating fellow veteran Lance Kinder, from Hampshire, 9-4, 9-7, 9-2 in the final.

There was USA success in the Women's Over-40 event where Ellie Pierce defeated Cumbria's Linda Winder 9-4, 9-0, 9-3.

An all-English final in the Women's Over-45 event produced a dramatic victory for Victoria King after the Middlesex player fought back from two games down to beat Surrey's Tamsin Bennett 4-9, 2-9, 9-7, 9-1, 9-2.

There was a disappointing upset in the climax of the Women's Over-50 event when Yorkshire's second seed Julie Field emerged triumphant after just eight minutes after top-seeded Australian Jan Miller retired injured with the score at 9-5, 9-0.

Worcestershire's Bett Dryhurst secured the most senior women's trophy when she beat South African Jean Grainger, mother of US star Natalie Grainger, the reigning Pan American Games champion, 9-5, 9-3, 9-0 in the Women's Over-55 final.

 

 

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