Dunlop British Open 2006
Nick Matthew from
England claims major British Open Title against Frenchman Thierry
Celebrates Historic Dunlop British Open Success
Yorkshireman Nick Matthew upset Frenchman Thierry Lincou
in tonight's (Monday) nail-biting men's final of the Dunlop
British Open Squash Championships at the University of
Nottingham to become the first home-grown champion of the
world's most prestigious event for 67 years.
both finalists were seeking their maiden men's title, Malaysia's
Nicol David beat Australia's two-times champion Rachael
Grinham in the other main final to successfully defend her
Matthew, the 26-year-old sixth seed from Sheffield, came into the
final knowing that his opponent had endured a marathon semi-final
encounter less than 24 hours earlier – in which he had had to save
five match balls before surviving against David Palmer, the
world champion from Australia.
the Englishman, loudly supported by a packed crowd swollen by
supporters from both his home club Hallamshire and adopted
Derbyshire club Duffield, also knew that he had only once before
beaten the former world champion from Marseille in 11 meetings over
the past five years.
Lincou twice levelled the match after the local hero forged game
leads. And in the decider, the third-seeded Frenchman moved 4-0
Matthew bravely stuck to his task and clinched eight points in a row
to move within three of the title. Long and tense rallies ensued
before Matthew flung his racket in the air in jubilation to claim
his sensational 11-8, 5-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6 victory after 82
"The enormity of it hasn't sunk in yet – but most of my thoughts at
this moment are for the people who have helped me get here,
including my clubs (Hallamshire and Duffield), my family, and the
England Squash team including coaches and physios," said an
emotional Matthew afterwards.
When asked about his opponent, Matthew said: "The respect that the
whole world has for Thierry is incredible. He's very proud and very
strong – not just in his fitness, but in his mind. What an effort
by him tonight!
"How he dug out that performance was remarkable. Only Peter Nicol
was capable of that – and now he's taken over the mantle.
rang Peter last night and asked him a couple of things. He's been a
real mentor to all of us," explained the first home-grown champion
since Jim Dear won the title in 1939.
learned a lot about myself after losing (to Wael El Hindi) in Cairo
a few weeks ago – and worked hard with my coaches when I got back.
You can learn more from defeat than from a win.
"This has to be the pinnacle of my achievements," added the 2006
British Open champion.
Lincou was remarkably upbeat following his exhausting battle: "I
tried not to think about all the energy I used up last night – I
tried to stay focussed. It was very close, but I was just a bit
flat at the end.
"But it's been a fantastic week with three good wins, including the
world champion (David Palmer), Greg (Gregory Gaultier) and Lee
would have been the icing on the cake to win tonight – but I am
really pleased with the squash I produced," added the runner-up.
Nicol David extended her unbeaten record since the Commonwealth
Games in March when she beat Australia 's two-times champion
Rachael Grinham in an hour-long women's final. The match took 41
minutes, but top seed Nicol was ahead from the outset before
clinching her 9-4, 9-1, 9-4 win over the third-seeded Australian.
"She's just so dangerous and keeps changing her game – I had to
really fight my way through," said David of her opponent after
winning her fourth WISPA World Tour title in a row.
world number acknowledged the great help Australia 's record
five-times British Open champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald - who
today won the British Open Over-35 title for the second time - had
been to her in an eve-of-event training session in Manchester last
"Just being on court with Sarah is so inspiring," said the
23-year-old from Penang . "She works the ball so well, no-one plays
the way she does. She was a fantastic help – I can't think of a
better way of preparing for an event like this.
"Winning the British Open again is another important step up for
me," added David.
Grinham was not unduly unhappy with her performance: "I feel I
could have been a little faster tonight, but I'm happy with the way
"But Nicol is looking better than I've ever seen her before – she
was clearly really up for this tournament.
fact, I hope she's peaked for this – I don't want to see her like
this next time!" added the 29-year-old Queenslander.
Lincou Comeback Drama as Palmer Chokes
In the most dramatic British Open semi-final ever
Frenchman Thierry Lincou, came back from 2/0 down and form 8-3 in the
fifth game to save five matchballs and put World Champion David Palmer
out of the British Open. It was an heroic performance in a sporting
spectacle that will live in the memories of all those that watched it
and stood and clapped and cheered to a man (and a woman) to honour
both players and acknowledge Lincou’s achievement.
Palmer chocked. Memories of his failure at Liverpool earlier this year
when Lincou came back from 2/0 down came to haunt him. At times the
world champion was his strong imposing self, driving powerfully and
striking incisively for winners. He felt good yesterday, almost frisky
on the boards and was looking forward to improvement as he played on.
He established leads in both the first two games, 10-5 in the first
and 7-3 and 9-6 in the second, only to stumble as he tried to finish
them. Perhaps it was that rashness in his finishing, the lose of his
keen focus and then the faltering in his confidence that followed that
was the key his demise. Perhaps it was this early in the match that
the fears of a collapse from the traumatic experience of Liverpool
came back to haunt him. All his experience (and no doubt the tactical
advice he was receiving from his coach Shawn Moxham) told him to drive
his opponent back and then attack at the openings, and to use a little
more margin for error when he did attack. However he did not. He
speculated in high-risk shots and as his opponent closed in on his
lead there were the first signs of panic.
Palmer however did play well. The drama of what was about to unfold
should not detract from the fact that this was brilliant compelling
encounter. Palmer’s hard driving and volleying pressurised Lincou and
although the Frenchman got back to 10-all in the second he tinned and
tragically slipped when retrieving a backhand drop to screams of
frustration. Two down and no one would have given Lincou a chance.
Palmer, the world champion, had survived his impetuousness and started
to look good for adding the British Open title to his world crown.
Palmer’s early lead in the third was soon turned around however and at
8-all he started to rattle the tin – a forehand drop , a forehand
volley another forehand volley in the tin to give his opponent the
chance to play the final crosscourt volley kill that gave the
Frenchman the game 11-9. Palmer’s game had again fallen apart and this
time he did not escape.
Palmer looked shaky and played shakily to loose the fourth 11-4 as
Lincou, who had taken 80 minutes to subdue his opponent Gregory
Gaultier the night before, kept resurrecting himself while Palmer
banged away on the tin.
At two all Palmer desperately needed to get back into his game. He
did, he rallied, rallied strongly but at the back of this observers
mind was the nagging question of whether Palmer’s game would implode
Lets marred the contest. Three in a row at 2-all, another three, at
3-2 and all the while Palmer was building rallies properly, finishing
with volleys and piling the pressure on his opponent as he pulled
away. He was clear. He had made a mess of this match and that would
damage his British Open title chances, for he should have been off 3/0
but he had survived. 6-2 and he was making good progress, there was
applause for his winners and his confidence was back. Lincou, the
desperately tired Lincou, stopped running for a shot at 8-3. Palmer
was almost home. Then Lincou hit a forehand volley nick, an
unbelievable nick virtually unplayable and so started one of the most
brilliant comebacks in Open history. 4-8 and Lincou stopped to claim a
stroke for a high loose ball to be rewarded with a let over his vocal
protests. Referee Gingell rewarded him a moment later however with a
stroke on a less certain infringement from Palmer - this in a charged
atmosphere. Then another two before Palmer desperate to finish tinned
to level the scores at 8-all.
Then in some of the most climatic moments in squash history Palmer
struck with a deceptive backhand crosscourt kill that sent Lincou the
wrong way and then pumped his fist and shouted “Yes” as his opponent
slipped and he won matchball. But after the three successive strokes
there were three not lets for Palmer as he desperately tried to
convert a matchball. Five were squandered amongst acrobatic
retrievals, all with much grunting and great agony from Lincou and a
headlong dive from Palmer that did not earn a let. Lincou was warned
as his struck Palmer with the ball going for the front wall but he
earnt the point.
Palmer’s last play, his fifth matchball was a desperate intercept of
Lincou’s frontcourt drive that ended up in the bottom of the tin. That
leveled the scores at 13-all. Palmer tinned, again a high risk shot
off the backhand wall and then desperately tinned a clinging ball off
the forehand to put an exhausted Lincou in the final as the crowd
stood in a standing ovation in the squash night of there lives.
“Each time he hit the tin it was a gift from God,” said Lincou. “I was
exhausted but it was a mental battle.
“This is one of my greatest moments – to achieve a win like that and
to live this moment.”
Miracles do happen, and it will be another one if Lincou can follow
that draining performance with a British Open win. Nick Matthew will
have a smile on his face.
Matthew in final
In the first semi-final Nick Matthew earnt the chance to add the Open
title to the National one he holds with a convincing semi-final win
over the Egyptian Karim Darwish 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6 in 61 minutes.
This was an intreging battle, scrappy at times, with a little edge,
full of incisive shots and for a long time in doubt.
Matthew took the first 11-9 after Darwish had established a 6-3 lead
in the long rallies, three unforced errors having ended in the tin
following attacking backhands but he got it back with dying drives to
level, and then take the lead 7-6 with a backhand drop that this time
scored. He hung onto that miniscual lead as Darwish came back at him,
disputed a no let and then as the Egyptian struck out with a
crosscourt forehand volley nick off a nearly clinging ball that
fortunately sat up, he caressed in a beautiful straight drop to take
the vital first game.
Darwish’s clever front court play took the second despite falling foul
of Referee Clayton with a series of no lets.
It was scrappy, Matthew admitted it afterwards, and the frustration
Karim felt affected his performance. He faded markedly after a dispute
with Mathew ahead 3-4 and errors and mishits marred with play
thereafter. There were many fine rallies but Matthew now had the edge,
went 9-4 ahead and secured the third 11-6.
“At one all I new the third was crucial,” said Matthew. “I upped the
pace and got on top again.”
The fourth was competitiive again but from 2-3 Matthew was through to
7-3 in a hand and a no let and a conduct warning compoundd Darwish’s
frustration. He went out 11-6 and immediately exited the venue.
Matthew was off in 61 minutes and with his brief foraries against
Stewart Boswell and Willstrop will be able to compete in the final
without depleted reserves.
“I have the advantage of the other guys playing tonight,” he explained
of his afternoon semi-final. “After this I have three week off.
Everything has to be left on the court.”
. Shabana Out
. Giant Killer White falls
Barker & Grant
Parke Overcomes Hurdle
Palmer In Double Bid
. White Home
representative Alison Waters upsets former world no.1 Atkinson while her
team-mate Jenny Duncalf falls to Grainger
|Ong Beng Hee puts out
titleholder Anthony Ricketts in first round
Dunlop British Open
9-17 October 2005
 Amr Shabana (Egy)
7-11, 10-11 (3-5), 9-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-5 (75m)
John White (Sco)
11-8, 11-8, 11-4
11-6, 11-6 (61m)
11-8, 5-11, 11-4, 9-11,
 Karim Darwish (Egy)
11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5 (57m)
[Q] Peter Barker (Eng)
 James Willstrop (Eng)
11/4, 11/10(2-0), 8/11, 11/8
Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
11-7, 11-5 ret (33m)
 Nick Matthew (Eng)
11/7, 11/4, 11,7 (45m)
[Q] Stewart Boswell (Aus) 12.00
[Q] Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
11-6, 11-3, 12-10
 Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
9-11, 11-7, 11-6 (80m)
8-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-4,
Lee Beachill (Eng)
5-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-10 (3-1)
 Thierry Lincou (Fra)
[Q] Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
11-10 (2-0), 11-10 (2-0, 11-8 (56m)
 Anthony Ricketts (Aus)
Ong Beng Hee
Chris Simpson (Eng)
11-5, 11-1, 11-4
 David Palmer (Aus)
Beng Hee (MAS) bt Davide Bianchetti (ITA) 11-10
(2-0), 11-6, 10-11 (0-2), 11-5 (63m)
Mohammed Abbas (EGY) bt Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 11-7, 11-5, 11-9
Barker (ENG) bt Adrian Grant (ENG) 11-6,
11-10 (3-1), 2-11, 2-11, 11-7 (96m)
Stewart Boswell (AUS) bt Alex Gough (WAL) 11-7,
11-5, 10-11 (0-2), 4-11, 11-4 (76m)
Women's qualifying finals:
Natalie Grainger (USA) bt Tegwen Malik (WAL) w/o
Briggs (ENG) bt Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG) 8-10, 9-6, 9-2,
Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) bt Manuela Manetta (ITA) 6-9,
9-3, 9-1, 9-3 (58m)
Annelize Naude (NED) bt Rebecca Botwright (ENG) 9-4, 9-1,
Hee (MAS) bt Simon Parke (ENG)
11-7, 11-7, 11-8 (46m)
Bianchetti (ITA) bt Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK)
11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 10-11 (0-2), 11-4 (77m)
Abbas (EGY) bt Joseph Kneipp (AUS) 11-6,
11-7, 11-5 (26m)
Jan Anjema (NED) bt Alister Walker (ENG) 11-5,
7-11, 11-9, 11-10 (2-0) (69m)
Barker (ENG) bt Mansoor Zaman (PAK)
11-9, 11-7, 11-4 (35m)
Grant (ENG) bt Joey Barrington (ENG)
11-10 (2-0), 11-5, 8-11, 11-8
(WAL) bt Daryl Selby (ENG)
11-1, 11-1 ret. (16m)
Boswell (AUS) bt Lee Drew (ENG)
11-5, 11-3, 11-7 (30m)
Women's 2nd qualifying round:
Grainger (USA) bt Georgina Stoker (ENG)
9-5, 9-3, 9-4 (26m)
Malik (WAL) bt Laura Hill (ENG)
9-4, 9-6, 9-4 (40m)
Lloyd-Walter (ENG) bt Runa Reta (CAN) 9-3,
9-3, 6-9, 7-9, 9-0 (84m)
Briggs (ENG) bt Soraya Renai (FRA)
9-3, 9-1, 9-2 (22m)
Manetta (ITA) bt Tricia Chuah (MAS)
9-6, 4-9, 9-7, 10-8 (75m)
Stoehr (FRA) bt Jenna Gates (ENG)
9-2, 9-0, 9-3 (27m)
Botwright (ENG) bt Line Hansen (DEN) 9-2,
9-2, 9-5 (34m)
Naude (NED) bt Sarah Kippax (ENG)
9-1, 9-2, 8-10, 9-7 (54m)
Ong Beng Hee
(MAS) bt Shawn Delierre (CAN) 11-8,
11-4, 11-4 (25m)
(ENG) bt Scott Handley (ENG) 11-5,
11-7, 11-5 (40m)
Khan (PAK) bt Wael El Hindi (EGY) 7-11,
8-11, 11-10 (3-1), 11-10 (2-0), 11-7 (77m)
Bianchetti (ITA) bt Tom Pashley (ENG)
11-8, 11-4, 11-3 (33m)
Abbas (EGY) bt Laurence Delasaux (ENG) 11-3, 11-3, 11-6
Kneipp (AUS) bt Andrew Whipp (ENG)
11-6, 11-9, 10-11 (0-2), 11-7 (48m)
Anjema (NED) bt Jethro Binns (WAL) 11-4, 11-5,
Walker (ENG) bt Jonathan Harford (GBR)
11-2, 4-11, 11-3, 11-1 (40m)
Zaman (PAK) bt Joe Lee (ENG)
11-2, 11-2, 11-4 (21m)
(ENG) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 11-6,
11-7, 11-6 (37m)
Barrington (ENG) bt Jesse Engelbrecht (ZIM)
11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (38m)
(ENG) bt Shaun le Roux (ENG) 11-4,
11-2, 11-5 (32m)
(ENG) bt Stacey Ross (ENG)
Alex Gough (WAL)
bt Bradley Ball (ENG) 11-6,
11-5, 11-10 (3-1) (40m)
(ENG) bt Shahid Zaman (PAK)
11-2, 8-11, 11-10 (3-1), 11-9 (36m)
Boswell (AUS) bt Alex Stait (ENG)
11-7, 11-7, 5-11, 11-3 (48m)
1st qualifying round:
Grainger (USA) bt Aisling Blake (IRL)
9-2, 9-10, 9-6, 9-6 (46m)
Stoker (ENG) bt Laura Mylotte (IRL)
7-9, 9-7, 9-6, 10-9 (69m)
(WAL) bt Celia Allamargot (FRA) 9-0,
9-1, 9-3 (20m)
(ENG) bt Suzie Pierrepont (ENG)
9-3, 10-9, 9-4 (40m)
Lloyd-Walter (ENG) bt Kirsty McPhee (ENG) 9-3, 9-2, 9-1
(CAN) bt Susannah King (ENG) 9-4,
9-4, 9-6 (31m)
Briggs (ENG) bt Emma Beddoes (GBR) 9-2,
9-1, 9-2 (23m)
(FRA) bt Camille Serme (FRA) 9-4,
9-7, 9-5 (33m)
Manetta (ITA) bt Adel Weir (RSA)
9-1, 9-4, 9-6 (34m)
(MAS) bt Daniela Schumann (GER) 9-5, 9-2,
(ENG) bt Jenny Wright (WAL)
9-6, 9-7, 9-2 (36m)
Stoehr (FRA) bt Amnah El Trabolsy (EGY) 9-1,
9-2, 9-5 (23m)
(DEN) bt Leonie Holt (ENG)
9-3, 5-9, 10-9, 9-4 (51m)
Botwright (ENG) bt Harriet Ingham (ENG) 9-0,
9-0, 9-0 (11m)
(ENG) bt Milja Dorenbos (NED) 9-2,
9-3, 9-2 (26m)
Naude (NED) bt Lauren Siddall (GBR) 9-2,
9-3, 9-5 (36m)
 Nicol David (Mas)
9-6, 9-1, 9-5 (44m)
Shelley Kitchen (Nzl)
9-4, 9-0, 9-0
9-3, 9-3, 9-5
9-4, 9-1, 9-4 (41m)
 Vicky Botwright (Eng)
9-6, 9-2, 9-3 (35m)
[Q] Lauren Briggs (Eng)
 Natalie Grinham (Aus)
9-1l 9-1, 9-5 (39m)
[Q] Isabelle Stoehr (Fra)
9-4, 9-7, 7-9, 9-1 (60m)
 Tania Bailey (Eng)
9-1, 9-0, 9-4 (26m)
[Q] Annelize Naude (Ned)
[Q] Natalie Grainger (US)
9-3, 9-5, 9-0 (31m)
 Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
9-2, 9-1, 9-1 (26m)
9-7, 9-0, 9-2
Laura Lengthorn (Eng)
5-9, 9-2, 4-9, 10-9, 9-4 (83m)
 Rachael Grinham (Aus)
Engy Kheirallah (Egy)
8-10, 9-4, 7-9, 9-5, 9-4 (83m)
 Madeline Perry (Irl)
8-10, 9-7, 9-2,
Alison Waters (Eng)
8-10, 9-6, 9-1, 4-9, 9-7 (71m)
 Vanessa Atkinson (Ned)
Grainger (USA) v Tegwen Malik (WAL)
Lloyd-Walter (ENG) v Lauren Briggs (ENG)
Stoehr (FRA) v Manuela Manetta (ITA)
Naude (NED) v Rebecca Botwright (ENG)
GIANT-KILLER WHITE OUT
John White, the giant-killer who put out the
top seed Amr Shabana in the first round failed to convert a two game lead in
the quarter-finals when his old enemies ¬¬– unforced errors, wavering
concentration and a fading physical performance saw the opportunity of a
semi-final place and another chance at a major title slip away from him.
White’s high risk strategy paid off in the first two games – there
were errors aplenty but also glorious winners and his opponent Karim
Darwish could not live with him for a game and a half. White took the
first 11-6 and saw out the second 11-9 but then his intensity
slackened as Darwish came onto his game.
White got to 8-all in the third, but lost it 11-8. Disappointed he
fell away in the fourth as Darwish established a 10-2 lead but the
Egyptian did not see it out as his opponent came back to 8-10. White
dominated the rally forcing Darwish to retrieve desperately and then
gamble with a nick from nowhere, achieve an outright winner and level
the game scores. White’s tried challenge faded in the fifth.
Darwish won 6-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4.
David Palmer, the second seed, who has moved into the favourites
position following John White's distruction of Amr Shabana, had to
come back in both the first two games to dispatch Ong Beng Hee but he
did so to win 11-9, 12-10, 11-6 and that win puts him in a strong
I had a slow start but I was enjoying it. I felt sharp but was happy
to get off 3/0.
All the hard work I put in over the winter back in Australia has
played off. He was tired at the end of the second and third but the
fact that he beat Anthony Ricketts was in the back of my mind.
Palmer may be fresh but Lincou will not be. He had to come back from
2/1 down against his compatriot Gregory Gaultier in a distracting and
concentration sapping performance but did so. Gaultier played well
stinging in low kills unexpectedly and sudden drops. Only at the end
of the fifth, a game that levelled at 4-all did Lincou look assured of
victory winning 11-1, 5-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6 in 80 minutes.
I'm relieved, he said. I had to try to fight and stay in the game, I
was chasing the score and in the end my experience paid off.
Matthew was through comfortably. His opponent James Willstrop had not
recovered fully from the gastro interitus he suffered in Cairo and
withdrew after the second game.
Willstrop Wilts As Matthew Marches
Into Dunlop British Open Semi-Finals
The battle between England team-mates James Willstrop and Nick Matthew
in today's (Saturday) quarter-finals of the Dunlop British Open Squash
Championships at the University of Nottingham proved to be a match too
far for England number one Willstrop, who retired after two games when
it was clear that he was still suffering from the effects of the
illness which prevented him from competing in the World Open in Egypt
earlier this month.
Struck down by a severe bout of food-poisoning, the 23-year-old world
No4 from Pontefract was hospitalised in Cairo and ultimately laid low
for ten days.
But, in the Yorkshire pair's tenth tour meeting in five years,
Willstrop admitted that he just couldn't cope with "one of the best
players in the world at the moment", and conceded the match at 11-7
"I've been feeling fine generally, but it's the first time I've had to
push myself against somebody of Nick's calibre," said a tired-looking
"I felt weirdly tired during some points of the match, which just
wasn't right. There was no way I was going to win it," explained the
It was coach Malcolm Willstrop, his father, who advised James not to
go on. "He's so good at things like that," said the younger Willstrop.
"I'm absolutely devastated – this event's really buzzing and it's
awful to be missing out. Events with an atmosphere like this don't
come along too often."
Matthew will face Karim Darwish for a place in the final after the
eighth-seeded Egyptian came back from 2/0 down to beat local hope John
White, the former world No1 who was based at the University for nearly
Darwish's victory immediately followed a surprise win by his fiancée
Engy Kheirallah over England's Alison Waters, ranked five places
higher in the world.
"Usually, if I win, she loses, or the other way round, so it's one of
the happiest days of my life that we have both won – especially in a
British Open, which has such great importance in our country," said
Darwish after his 6-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4 victory over White in
On the match, the 25-year-old from Cairo added: "I just couldn't live
with the pace of the match for the first game and a half – he played
so well – but then I was able to slow down the pace."
A despondent White rued the missed opportunity of not capitalising on
his sensational first round win over another Egyptian, the world
number and top seed Amr Shabana. "I shouldn't have let him get back in
the third game.
"But overall I am playing better that I have for a long time – so at
least I can take that away with me," added White as he made plans to
head back to his new home in Philadelphia, USA.
Engy Kheirallah's earlier 8-10, 9-7, 9-2, 3-9, 9-6 triumph in 74
minutes over Waters makes her the first Egyptian woman to reach a
British Open semi-final.
"I don't think I've ever played that well in my life," said the
ecstatic 24-year-old from Alexandria. "Doing well in the British Open
is something you dream about."
Kheirallah will now face Australia's Egypt-based third seed Rachael
Grinham in the semi-finals. In a battle between two former world
number ones, the two-times British Open champion crushed USA qualifier
Natalie Grainger 9-2, 9-1, 9-1 in 26 minutes.
Younger sister Natalie Grinham later set up the possibility of an all-Grinham
final when she booked herself a place in the semi-final in the top
half of the draw, by beating England's seventh seed Tania Bailey 9-4,
9-7, 7-9, 9-1. Bailey, from nearby Lincolnshire, was a finalist four
years ago – but was unable to prevent Commonwealth Games gold
medallist Grinham from beating her in the event for the second time in
Australia's David Palmer continued his relentless charge towards a
fourth British Open crown with a hard-fought 11-9, 11-10 (2-0), 11-6
win over Malaysian qualifier Ong Beng Hee in 51 minutes.
The second seed is in buoyant form after winning the World Open title
for a second time earlier in the month – and happy to have gained
revenge for his loss to the world No14 from Kuala Lumpur last year.
"It was nice to give him a pay back," said the 30-year-old from New
When asked about his success in Egypt, Palmer said: "I was happy to
win the Worlds, but it would be good to do the British again as well.
"These are the two titles you're remembered by."
Palmer will face Thierry Lincou after the third seed maintained his
100% PSA Tour record against his French compatriot Gregory Gaultier.
The former world number one from Marseille raced to a first game lead
for the loss of just a single point, but Gaultier – runner-up in this
year's World Open – recovered to forge a two-games-to-one lead.
"I'm relieved – I was chasing the score for most of the time, just
trying to stay in the game," admitted the 30-year-old former world
number one after his 11-1, 5-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6 victory in 80
Shabana Crashes Out
Former world number one John White marked his homecoming
to Nottingham in perfect style in today's (Friday) first round match in the
Dunlop British Open Squash Championships when he fought back from 2/1 down
to beat Egypt's reigning world number one Amr Shabana, the event favourite,
at the University Sports Centre.
The unseeded Scot, who was based at the University for almost five years
until moving to the USA last year, won the first game on the all-glass court
- and had a game-ball in the second to go 2/0 up.
But Shabana's racket wizardry took the top-seeded Egyptian on to a
two-games-to-one lead, then two points away from victory in the fourth game.
White dug deep, however, to win the game after a tie-break - then thrilled
the packed partisan crowd in the decider to claim a stunning 11-7, 10-11
(3-5), 9-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-5 victory in 75 minutes.
"I had a game-plan and stuck to it – which I haven't done for a long time,"
said the delighted 33-year-old after his dramatic upset. "That's the best
I've played for a long time – and it's good to do it here at the University.
"I had to try and keep Amr away from the front of the court – he's just too
good, his rackets skills are one of the best out there."
White's final preparation for the match was a workout with the University's
Director of Sport Vaughan Williams. "It was just like old times, back in the
old training room we used to use – it brought all the memories flooding
"And just before the fifth game, Vaughan came up to me and said 'you can do
it – give it 100%, do it for me' – and that was really inspiring," added
White, who now plays another Egyptian, eight seed Karim Darwish, for a place
in the semi-finals.
Showing little sign of the illness which prevented him from playing in the
World Open in Egypt earlier in the month, James Willstrop successfully led
the English assault on the British Open title with an 11-4, 11-10 (2-0),
8-11, 11-8 victory over Malaysia's Mohd Azlan Iskandar in 51 minutes.
"It was a hard battle with Azlan – as I expected it to be – and I'm very
happy to have beaten him 3/1," said the fourth seed who was hospitalised in
Cairo after contracting food poisoning. "To be able to play like that after
ten days of inactivity is better than I could have hoped for.
"But I'm just trying to put that out of my mind, hoping that the reserves I
built up over the hard summer of training will carry me through," added the
England number one from Pontefract in Yorkshire.
"One thing you learn about having time off is how much you love playing
Willstrop was full of praise for the 2006 staging of the historic event with
roots back to the early 1920s. "It’s the best presentation of the British
Open I've ever seen, here at the University," said Willstrop. "We're used to
seeing squash staged in some pretty spectacular venues around the world, but
some places just naturally create a great atmosphere – like here.
"You can't beat the British Open in terms of prestige – I'm desperate to do
well," added the 23-year-old
National interest in the semi-finals is guaranteed as Willstrop faces
England team-mate Nick Matthew in Saturday's quarter-finals. The sixth seed
from Sheffield beat Australian qualifier Stewart Boswell 11-7, 11-4, 11-7.
"It won't have been easy for him, playing the last match of the qualifiers
last night on one of the back courts – especially a five-setter – then
coming on here first thing in the morning on the glass court. All the
factors were against him," said Matthew.
Another notable Australian casualty followed when title-holder Anthony
Ricketts fell to Ong Beng Hee. The Malaysian qualifier saved game balls in
the first two games before going on to record a notable 11-10 (2-0), 11-10
(2-0), 11-8 win over the fifth seed from Sydney who won the event for the
first time last year.
There were a host of upsets in the women's event, led by the opening match
of the day when USA qualifier Natalie Grainger beat England's sixth seed
Jenny Duncalf 9-3, 9-5, 9-0. "I'm just happy to be on court playing again
and having some fun out there," said Grainger, in her first tournament for
almost six months.
English hopes were restored later when Londoner Alison Waters claimed the
biggest upset in the women's event by beating second seed Vanessa Atkinson
8-10, 9-6, 9-1, 4-9, 9-7 in 71 minutes. It was Waters' second British Open
upset in a row over the former world number one from the Netherlands,
following the 22-year-old's straight games win in the first round of the
Waters will meet fellow non-seed Engy Kheirallah after the 24-year-old
Egyptian upset Ireland's eighth seed Madeline Perry 8-10, 9-4, 7-9, 9-5, 9-4
in 75 minutes. It was Perry's fifth successive first round defeat in the
"I can't believe it - I've never won a match in the British Open," conceded
the 29-year-old from Ulster. "It's not because it's the British Open, but
the fact that it always takes place at the beginning of the season."
A major upset was averted when Australia's two-times champion Rachael
Grinham, the third seed, saved a matchball against Laura-Jane Lengthorn to
beat the unseeded 22-year-old from Preston 5-9, 9-2, 4-9, 10-9, 9-4 in 83
"I was gutted afterwards," said Lengthorn, ranked 11 in the world. "I've
never played a match like that before, with so much intensity."
Marathon Open Qualifier
England team selection over Adrian Grant in this year's
European Championships when he beat his fellow left-hander in a
96-minute marathon in today's (Thursday) qualifying finals of the
Dunlop British Open Squash Championships at the University of
Barker, the world No26
from Upminster in Essex , took the opening two games – but Londoner
Grant, ranked nine places higher, stormed back to draw level for the
loss of only four further points.
Barker regained the
initiative, however, and clinched his first ever win over Grant 11-6,
11-10 (3-1), 2-11, 2-11, 11-7 in the longest clash in the event so
"That was a bit of a
pressure match," conceded Barker. "He seemed a bit more tense than I
When asked how he
rated the win, 22-year-old said: "That certainly ranks up with the
best of them. He's in the top 16 after all, and it's nice that he
hasn't become a bogey player for me.
"But, to be honest,
the significance of beating him for the first time ever hasn't really
sunk in yet," added Barker, who now meets Egypt 's No8 seed Karim
Darwish in the first round on Friday.
Welshman Alex Gough
came near to pulling off an upset over Stewart Boswell, the
world No13 from Australia . After Boswell took the opening two games,
the former Nottingham stalwart fought back to level the match.
Boswell took command of the encounter in the fifth game and clinched
an 11-7, 11-5, 10-11 (0-2), 4-11, 11-4 victory in 76 minutes.
Showing few signs of
the effect of her 84-minute marathon encounter 24 hours earlier,
Harrow's Dominique Lloyd-Walter took the opening game in her
women's qualifying final against fellow Englishwoman Lauren Briggs.
But the world No25
from Chingford in London bounced back to beat Lloyd-Walter 8-10, 9-6,
9-2, 9-2 in 75 minutes to earn herself a place in the main draw
against compatriot Vicky Botwright, the fifth seed from
There were Manchester
links in the easiest victory in the women's event when USA 's
Natalie Grainger, the Manchester-born former world No1, claimed a
place in the main draw after Welsh champion Tegwen Malik
conceded the match as the result of a sore Achilles tendon.
29-year-old world No13 from Washington DC , has suffered mixed
fortunes since topping the world rankings in June 2003.
"But I am really
enjoying my squash now and feeling on top form," said Grainger, on the
eve of her first WISPA World Tour event since April.
"All I can say now is,
bring on my first round opponent – I'm ready for whoever it is!"
Grainger, runner-up in
the event two years ago in Nottingham, has been drawn to face
England's sixth seed Jenny Duncalf, from Harrogate in
Yorkshire, in the first round.
Barker & Grant Qualifying Bid
and Peter Barker,
the only two Englishmen to survive the second qualifying
round of the Dunlop British Open Squash Championships,
meet each other in today's (Thursday) qualifying finals for a
place in the main draw of the blue riband event which is being staged at
the University of Nottingham for the first time.
Barker, the world No26
from Upminster in Essex, despatched fellow left-hander Mansoor Zaman,
of Pakistan, 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 in 35 minutes, while Londoner Grant, the
world No17 now based in Halifax, Yorkshire, defeated compatriot Joey
Barrington, from Somerset, 11-10 (2-0), 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 in 57
Nottingham hero Simon Parke failed in his bid to earn a 14th
appearance in the sport's most prestigious event. The 34-year-old
Yorkshireman from Leeds – a former world No3 – battled for 46 minutes
before bowing out 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 to the world No14 from Malaysia .
Welshman Alex Gough,
also a former Nottingham stalwart, is now one place away from a tenth
appearance in the
event in which he has made the quarter-finals on three occasions. The
35-year-old from Fleet in Hampshire dropped just two points against
Daryl Selby before the 23-year-old from Essex was forced to retire
with injury with the score at 11-1, 11-1.
Gough now faces
Australian international Stewart Boswell, who beat England
Colchester , 11-5, 11-3, 11-7.
Domestic interest is
being led by three English players in the women's qualifying event.
Essex's Lauren Briggs claimed the swiftest second round win of
the day, while Harrow 's Dominique Lloyd-Walter survived the
longest – and the pair now meet each other for a place in the main
Briggs, the world No25
from Chingford in London , crushed France 's Soraya Renai 9-3,
9-1, 9-2 in just 22 minutes.
In what turned out to be
the longest ever match in her career on the WISPA World Tour,
Lloyd-Walter battled to a 9-3, 9-3, 6-9, 7-9, 9-0 win over Canada 's
Runa Reta in an 84-minute marathon.
is one match away from the chance of joining her illustrious sister
Vicky Botwright in the main draw of the Dunlop-sponsored
championship. The 24-year-old from Manchester beat Denmark 's Line
Hansen 9-2, 9-2, 9-5 and now takes on world No17 Annelize Naude
after the Netherlands player overcame England 's Sarah Kippax,
from Cheshire , 9-1, 9-2, 8-10, 9-7 in 54 minutes.
winner of this qualifying final match could face Botwright senior, the
world No5, in Friday's first round.
World Champion Palmer
In Rare Double Bid
Australia's David Palmer arrives in Nottingham this week for the
Dunlop British Open Squash Championships with a double in his
30-year-old from Lithgow in New South Wales won the World Open
crown earlier this month, and now aims to be the first man since 1996 to
also win the British Open title in the same year. Palmer would
be only the fourth player in squash history to achieve this, after
compatriot Geoff Hunt and legendary Pakistanis Jahangir Khan
and Jansher Khan.
at the University of Nottingham for the first time, the historic
British Open – with roots back to the early 1920s and including
world-class men's, women's and masters events – gets underway on Friday
(15 September) leading to finals next Monday (18 September). The
prestigious event will feature the first all-glass court ever to be seen
at the University.
a three-times winner of the British Open crown (in 2001, 2003 and 2004 –
the second two also in Nottingham), survived the most dramatic final in
the history of the World Open, coming back from two games down, and
saving five match balls, to beat young Frenchman Gregory Gaultier
in one of the longest finals on record.
always seem to struggle in finals, and didn't play that well in the
final – but thought I played exceptionally well in my earlier matches
against Anthony Ricketts and Thierry Lincou," explained the two-times
world champion on the eve of the British Open.
I played well on the big points. I wasn't going to hand it over – it's
not over till the last point's won! It's not about playing good squash,
but winning the points – and I guess that's what champions are made of.
very proud of my performance, considering that I took three months off,
and only had 10 days working with my coach Shaun Moxham. Normally it
takes a few tournaments to work your way back into it," explained the
world number two, the second seed in Nottingham.
enjoyed a life-changing experience in June with the birth of his first
child, daughter Kayla, at home in Australia.
had a huge impact on my life – for the past ten years squash has been my
whole life. People say I'm more relaxed, and perhaps I am," suggested
many of his fellow players were probably admiring the Pyramids during
the World Open in Giza, Palmer could be found staring at the computer
screen in his room, hooked up to a webcam focussed on his baby daughter
on the other side of the world.
being away from her – but today's technology helps. I can see her every
day, wherever I am, just by switching on my laptop and looking at her on
the webcam. It really relaxes me and takes the pressure off," explained
the squash star.
Palmer's wife Mel and Kayla will be in Nottingham during the British
Open: "Having Kayla with me will be a huge advantage – it'll be the
first time she's been to an event. Being able to go back and relax with
her after my matches will be fantastic."
begins his bid to win a third British Open title in the East Midlands
city with a first round match against England's 19-year-old Chris
Simpson, the British Junior champion from Guernsey who has been
given a wild card into the event.
guess I should consider myself lucky, facing the wildcard player in the
first round. It'll be a big match for him, no doubt - but I won't
underestimate him," said the Australian who celebrated his 40th
PSA Tour final appearance in Egypt.
I've got a tough draw – I think the bottom half of the draw is much
stronger than the top, with players like Anthony Ricketts, Thierry
Lincou, Lee Beachill and Gregory Gaultier.
got a few days to freshen up before the British Open, and I'm really
looking forward to going for the double – which hasn't been done since
the Jansher/Jahangir days. It would definitely be good to get close to
confident – and winning the Worlds takes the pressure off me – I've got
nothing to lose. If I won a fourth title, it would really put me
amongst an elite group of former champions – and that would be
won it a few times before – but most of the other guys haven't. I just
hope I can reproduce the form I had in Egypt," concluded Palmer.
Parke Overcomes First Hurdle
formerly based in Nottingham for almost two decades, made a successful
return to the city when he beat Oxfordshire's Scott Handley 11-5,
11-7, 11-5 in the first qualifying round of the Dunlop British Open
Squash Championships, being staged at the University of Nottingham
for the first time.
Yorkshireman from Leeds – a former world No3 - will now take on Malaysia's
Ong Beng Hee in his bid to make a 14th appearance in the
sport's most prestigious event, which has roots back to the early 1920s.
Beng Hee, who stopped
Parke in last year's first round, brushed aside Canada 's Shawn
Delierre 11-8, 11-4, 11-4.
Six other Englishmen will
compete in today's (Wednesday) second qualifying round matches – including
Alister Walker, the Leeds-based 23-year-old from Gloucestershire;
Peter Barker, the world No26 from Upminster in Essex; Joey
Barrington, son of six-times British Open champion Jonah Barrington,
from Glastonbury in Somerset; Londoner Adrian Grant, the world No17
based in Halifax in Yorkshire; Daryl Selby, 23, from Witham in
Essex; and Cornwall-born Lee Drew, from Colchester.
Drew, ranked 75 in the
world, pulled off one of the notable upsets of the first qualifying round
when he beat Pakistan's Shahid Zaman, the world No27 from Quetta,
11-2, 8-11, 11-10 (3-1), 11-9.
Laura Hill recorded an outstanding upset in the women's event when she
beat English compatriot Suzie Pierrepont – ranked more than 100
places higher in the world - 9-3, 10-9, 9-4 to earn a surprise place in
the second round. The 30-year-old part-time player from Duffield will now
take on Welsh No1 Tegwen Malik who beat France 's Celia
Allamargot 9-0, 9-1, 9-3.
The longest women's battle
saw Merseyside's Georgina Stoker overcome Ireland 's
Stockport-based Laura Mylotte 7-9, 9-7, 9-6, 10-9 in 69 minutes.
The reward for the 20-year-old world No51 is a clash with the qualifying
event's top seed Natalie Grainger, the former world No1 from the
USA who also beat an Irish opponent Aisling Blake 9-2, 9-10, 9-6,
Stoker and Hill are joined
by five other English women in the next round, including Dominique
Lloyd-Walter from Harrow in Middlesex; Lauren Briggs from
Chingford in London; Jenna Gates from Brighton; Rebecca
Botwright from Manchester; and Sarah Kippax from Cheshire.
The 2006 Dunlop British
Open - featuring world-class men's, women's and masters events – gets
underway with main draw first round action on Friday, leading to finals on
Monday (18 September).
White Relishes Home-Coming
the hard-hitting Scottish number one squash player who lived in Nottingham
for five years until last year, returns to his training base at the
University this week for the first time since moving to the USA to compete
in the Dunlop British Open Squash Championships, which get underway
on Friday (15 September).
the University of Nottingham for the first time, the historic
British Open – with roots back to the early 1920s and including
world-class men's, women's and masters events – will feature the first
all-glass court ever to be seen at the University, leading to finals next
Monday (18 September).
been a magnet for the world's leading squash players, most are attracted
to the thriving Nottingham Squash Club, which now has the
England Squash Gold Charter.
White, now based in Philadelphia with his wife and four young children,
moved to Nottingham to work with the University's Director of Sport and
Physical Recreation Vaughan Williams. A highly successful
partnership ensued which led White to the top of the world rankings in
March 2004, following two major PSA Tour title victories the previous year
(English Open and PSA Masters) and success in the British
National Championships the previous month.
going to be great to be in Nottingham again - back at my old training
ground – I'm really looking forward to it," said White, on his return to
the UK after competing in the World Open in Egypt.
kept in touch with Vaughan since I've been in the States, and when he told
me there was a chance of the British Open coming to the University, I
assured him that, if so, mine would be the first entry!
first met, we'd talked about hosting a major squash event at the
University. So, to get the British Open - one of the most prestigious
tournaments on the international circuit – is fantastic and I'm really
excited about it for Vaughan.
a great venue, the courts are excellent - and Vaughan and his team will
really do a good job."
will be joined by wife Susie on his return to the East Midlands city:
"We're looking forward to catching up with a lot of our old friends," said
the 30-year-old, currently ranked 11 in the world.
soon as I arrive in Nottingham, I've arranged to meet up with Vaughan to
have a 'refresher' training session with him."
unseeded in the 5-star PSA Tour event, faces top seed Amr Shabana,
the world No1 from Egypt, in the first round on Friday afternoon.
time we met, he took me out in four games in the PSA Masters in Bermuda in
April - but that was just after the Commonwealth Games, and I'd gone
straight on to New Zealand for an exhibition series."
White boasts a 3/2 lead over Shabana in their head-to-head tally on the
PSA Tour. "I beat him in three in Chicago last year, in the final of the
Windy City Open. We've both got an attacking game – I like playing him,"
explained White, who holds the world record for hitting a squash ball – at
acknowledges that one aspect of the move to the USA is not ideal for his
squash: "The move to the states has been great for the family, and
training is not a problem – but what you lack is match fitness, as you
haven't got the same opportunity to hit with fellow world top 20 players
like you have here in Europe."
reached the second round of the World Open earlier this month after
beating rising Dutch star Laurens Jan Anjema 11-6, 11-6, 7-11,
8-11, 11-8 in 68 minutes.
thought I played extremely well against Anjema in the World Open – it was
as if the old John White came out that day!
after the World Open, I went to Dubai to play a series of exhibition
matches with Peter Nicol for our racket brand Prince – and that provided a
good workout and helped me sharpen up my game."
will be White's ninth appearance in a British Open – and his third in
Nottingham, after disappointing performances in the previous two in 2003
and 2004 at the Albert Hall.
"Being at the University is really going to inspire me, I'm sure. I just
can't wait to get my matches underway."