01-06 November 2004 Nottingham, England


  British Open Squash  2002  



Men's Final:
[1] Peter Nicol (Eng) bt  [6] John White (Sco) 
      15-9, 15-8, 15-8  (46m)

Women's Final:
[1] Sarah Fitz-Gerald (Aus) bt [15] Tania Bailey (Eng) 
       9-3, 9-0, 9-0  (34m)

Nicol & Fitz-Gerald Net
Second British Open Titles

England's Peter Nicol and Australia's Sarah Fitz-Gerald, both top seeds, claimed their second British Open Squash Championships titles tonight after straight games victories in the finals at the National Squash Centre in Sportcity, Manchester.

Nicol, who last year switched his international allegiance from Scotland to England, cruised to a 15-9 15-8 15-8 win over Scotland's John White in the first all-British men's final for more than 60 years.  The 46-minute victory also marked the 40th PSA Tour title of Nicol's career.

Nottingham-based White, who removed Canada's unofficial favourite Jonathon Power in a sensational five-game semi-final, attacked solidly throughout the match, striking the ball with ferocious power.  But Nicol, 29, from London, produced a performance of near-immaculate squash.  He was simply too fast and too precise, producing breathtaking retrieving to return so many of White's attempted winners.

"It's a fantastic feeling to claim another British Open title," said the 1998 champion.  "I can't wait to come back to this magnificent venue in the summer to go for another gold medal in the Commonwealth Games."

Sarah Fitz-Gerald powered to a second successive British Open title in dazzling fashion when she outclassed England's Tania Bailey 9-3 9-0 9-0 to retain the title without conceding a single game.

Australia's world champion took just 34 minutes to overwhelm 22-year-old Bailey, from Stamford in Lincolnshire - the 15th seed who was appearing in her first British Open final after recently returning to action following a year out of the game with knee injuries sustained in a car crash.

Bailey made a spirited response to Fitz-Gerald's confident opening surge and pulled back from 5-1 to 5-3, but she failed to win another point as the world number one dominated proceedings.

"I am pleased to have got another British Open out of the way and I am looking forward to the summer's Commonwealth Games," said the world No1 from Melbourne.  "Tania is a very good young player and I am sure we will see much more of her at the final stages of main events in the future."


Men's semi-finals:
[1] Peter Nicol (Eng) bt [4] Thierry Lincou (Fra) 15-6, 15-9, 17-14 50m
[6] John White (Sco) bt [3] Jonathon Power (Can) 11-15, 15-13, 15-12, 9-15, 15-13 100m

Women's semi-finals:
[1] Sarah Fitz-Gerald (Aus) bt [9] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned)  9-2, 9-4, 9-5 35m
[15] Tania Bailey (Eng) bt [3] Cassie Campion (Eng)  9-2, 3-9, 9-4, 3-9, 9-7 67m

Power Struck By White Hot Scot
Whilst both top seeds will contest the men's and women's finals of the British Open Squash Championships following tonight's (Sunday) semi-finals in Manchester, their surprise opponents are players who were not expected to reach the last four.  England's world champion and former Scot Peter Nicol will face Scotland's 6th seed John White in the first all-British men's final for more than 60 years - and Australia's title holder Sarah Fitz-Gerald will take on England's 15th seed Tania Bailey.

John White, the only player in his second successive men's semi-final, went one better than last year, spectacularly putting out third seed and tournament favourite Jonathon Power to reach his first British Open final. Power let slip a 10-4 lead in the first game as White came back to 11-all, but the Canadian took the next four points in one hand to go one game up.

The Queensland-born Scot fought back to win the next two games to forge a 2-1 lead - and then "fell asleep" in the fourth to let Power level the match. White raced to a 7-1 lead in the decider, but Power surged back to go 11-8 up.  At 13-all, both players crashed to the floor after a clash.  White then struck a low backhand winner to get to matchball, and a stroke then gave him the match 11-15 15-13 15-12 9-15 15-13 in 100 minutes.

"That's the best I've played for a good few months," said an ecstatic White after inflicting the first defeat on Power in three tournaments.  "Making the final is very special - but doing it by beating Jonathon is even better."

In the other men's semi-final, 1998 champion Nicol beat fourth seed Thierry Lincou in 50 minutes to reach his fourth final.  In the third game, the determined Frenchman saved three matchballs from 14-11 down, before Nicol claimed his 15-6 15-9 17-14 victory.

In the first women's semi-final, Lincolnshire's Tania Bailey registered her third successive upset when she overpowered third-seeded compatriot Cassie Campion to reach her maiden British Open final.  Tania began in positive fashion, taking the first game 9-2 but Cassie turned the tables in the second, playing in a far more positive fashion to win the game 9-3.  Tania came out fighting in the third, stepping up the pace again to win 9-4. Cassie took the fourth 9-3 but could not maintain her dominance as Tania raced to a 5-1 lead in the fifth.  But Cassie hit back to lead 7-5 before Tania turned the tables again and won the next four points to claim her historic 9-2, 3-9, 9-4, 3-9, 9-7 win in 67 minutes.

"I've only ever beaten Cassie when she was really injured - I don't think I believed I could beat her until yesterday's match (against world No2 Carol Owens), which gave me lots of confidence," said Bailey afterwards.  "I'm pretty much back to where I was before the lay-off, but I'm a better player in my head now.  I don't care who I play tomorrow - I am just delighted to be there."

Defending champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald, playing in her 16th successive British Open, cruised to her fifth final when she ended Dutch No1 Vanessa Atkinson's giant-killing run in a 9-2 9-4 9-5 scoreline in 35 minutes.

[1] Peter Nicol (Eng) beat [8] Chris Walker (Eng) 15-8, 15-11, 15-8 45m
[4] Thierry Lincou (Fra) bt Martin Heath (Sco) 15-13, 11-15, 15-7, 15-10 60m
[3] Jonathon Power (Can) bt Lee Beachill (Eng)  15-8, 15-10, 15-10  65m
[6] John White (Sco) bt Alex Gough (Wal)  15-13, 15-8, 15-9  70m

[1] Sarah Fitz-Gerald (Aus) bt Jenny Tranfield (Eng) 9-5, 9-1, 9-1 27m
[9] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned) bt [4] Fiona Geaves (Eng) 2-9, 9-4, 9-3, 7-9, 9-1 45m
[3] Cassie Campion (Eng) bt [7] Rachael Grinham (Aus)  9-4, 10-8, 9-4  49m
[15] Tania Bailey (Eng) bt [2] Carol Owens (Nzl)  9-2, 9-7, 9-2  33m

Bailey Bounces Out Owens
England's 15th seed Tania Bailey scored the best win of her career when she blasted New Zealand's world number two Carol Owens off court in just over half an hour to reach the women's semi-finals of the British Open Squash Championships in Manchester.

After two rounds in London, the world's longest-established event is now staging its quarter-finals onwards at the National Squash Centre in Sportcity, Manchester - the brand new venue which will host the Commonwealth Games action in July/August this year.  An additional note of squash history was marked by the fact that there was no Australian representation in the men's quarter-finals for the first time for 40 years.

Bailey, 22, dominated from the start, with Owens always struggling to keep with the former world junior champion from Lincolnshire.  "I think I played really well," said Bailey after her 9-2 9-7 9-2 win in 33 minutes.  "I hadn't even thought about the next match because Carol is such a fantastic player, although she made a lot of errors today.  This is my best win and my first British Open semi-final."

Bailey meets third-seeded compatriot Cassie Campion in the semi-final to guarantee an English finalist on Monday.  The former world champion from Norfolk reached her first British Open semi for three years after beating Australia's Rachael Grinham 9-4 10-8 9-4 in a 49-minute match which included a courageous fightback from 8-3 down in the second game.

The other women's semi-final will feature Australia's top seed and defending champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald and 9th seed Vanessa Atkinson, the first Dutch player ever to reach the last four of the British Open. The favourite swept aside Dr Jenny Tranfield, the unseeded English player who earlier this year received a PhD in Sports Psychology, 9-5, 9-1, 9-1 in 27 minutes, while English-born Atkinson fought back from a game down to upset England's 4th seed Fiona Geaves 2-9 9-4 9-3 7-9 9-1 in 45 minutes.

Canada's 1999 champion Jonathon Power was the first to book himself into the men's semi-finals. Known for his incredible racket skills and inventive nature, Power also revealed a new maturity and stability to his game as he stormed to a 15-8 15-10 15-10 victory over England's unseeded British national champion Lee Beachill in 65 minutes.  "Beachill did not play badly," said a British Open spokesman.  "Power was simply immaculate, his court coverage incredible and his retrieving simply phenomenal."

Power now faces Scotland's hard-hitting 6th seed John White, who ended Welshman Alex Gough's impressive 2002 British Open run in 70 minutes in a 15-13 15-8 15-9 scoreline.

Another second round hero bowed out on the new all-glass Manchester court when Scotland's unseeded Martin Heath fell to France's fourth seed Thierry Lincou in four games.  The French ace screamed with delight as he capped a fine recovery in the fourth game to win 15-13 11-15 15-7 15-10 in 60 minutes to reach his first British Open semi-final.

Lincou will meet top seed Peter Nicol, the 1998 champion and top seed, who put out fellow left-hander and English compatriot Chris Walker, runner-up last year, 15-8 15-11 15-8 in 45 minutes.  It was 34-year-old Walker's 13th appearance in a British Open since 1987.

Second Round:

Gough Shocks
Defending Champion Palmer 

Unseeded Welshman Alex Gough pulled off the biggest upset on the second day of action in the British Open Squash Championships when he dismissed Australia's defending champion David Palmer, the second seed, 15-13 8-15 15-8 15-9 in a 110-minute battle at Lambs Club in London. 

The welsh wizardry came just 24 hours after Gough's compatriot David Evans, the 2000 champion, crashed out at the first hurdle.  While Gough's court coverage was superb, Palmer occasionally looked laboured in his movement.  He was slow moving back out of the front corners and Gough ran into him three times in the fourth game, first of all giving him a dead leg and then hitting him again in the same place a few minutes later. The pain forced Palmer's voice to rise a few octaves as he complained about the contact, but the referee told the Australian that "he was a bit static". The Welshman's controlled, intelligent squash was rewarded with a place in the quarter-finals in Manchester on Saturday.   

Gough, who explained that he had been feeling much better recently after suffering from back spasms in recent months, now meets Scotland's 6th seed John White, who demolished Englishman Mark Chaloner 15-7 15-10 15-10 in a dazzling 43-minute display of attacking squash. 

In-form Scot Martin Heath also removed one of the event's fancied players, Australia's 5th seed Stewart Boswell.  Heath raced to a 2-0 lead, but surrendered the third tamely, and fell 9-5 and 7-11 behind in the fourth. From there on though, the flying Scot didn't drop another point, going on to win 15-11 15-9 4-15 15-11 in 86 minutes.  "I was a bit fortunate in the fourth that Stewart hit a few tins from winning positions, but I could tell he was tiring and thought 'just hang in there'." 

Unseeded Englishman Lee Beachill, who two months ago became the first man ever to retain the British National title, unseated Malaysia's 7th seed Ong Beng Hee 15-11 15-12 15-13 in 68 minutes.  The Yorkshireman goes on to meet 1999 champion Jonathon Power, the third seed from Canada who needed 84 minutes to quash Australia's Paul Price 15-8 15-13 17-15.

 England's 15th seed Tania Bailey, still fighting back to full fitness following a knee injury, led the upsets in the women's event with a 55-minute dismissal of compatriot Linda Charman-Smith.  The 5th seed from Sussex took a two-game lead, but Bailey fought back to take the third, before the pair collided at 3-0 in the fourth.  Charman-Smith failed to respond to physio treatment after an hour, and conceded the match to her opponent. Perhaps the biggest shock in the women's draw was the demise of England's Natalie Pohrer, the US-based former world No4 whose rapid return to form after a six-month layoff included winning last month's Hurghada International in Egypt after successive victories over the world numbers 2 and 4.  

Vanessa Atkinson, the 9th seed from the Netherlands, recovered brilliantly from 6-0 down to take the first game, but "went to sleep" in the second. The pattern repeated itself, with Atkinson going 2-1 up, Pohrer levelling, but it was Atkinson who stayed the pace the better to claim a magnificent 9-6 2-9 9-3 4-9 9-5 victory in 57 minutes. "That's by far and away my best win," said the delighted Newcastle-born victor afterwards.  "When I beat Cassie two years ago she was injured, and I've never even got close to Natalie before."

Men's Second Round:
[1] Peter Nicol (Eng) bt Paul Johnson (Eng)  15-8, 15-11, 15-4  59m
[8] Chris Walker (Eng) bt [Q] Peter Genever (Eng)  7-15, 17-15, 15-10, 13-15, 15-14  114m
[4] Thierry Lincou bt Omar Elborolossy (Egy)  13-15, 15-9, 15-9, 15-6  66m
Martin Heath (Sco) [5] bt Stewart Boswell (Aus)  15-11, 15-9, 4-15, 15-11  86m
Lee Beachill (Eng) bt [7] Ong Beng Hee (Mas)  15-11, 15-12, 15-13  68m
[3] Jonathon Power (Can) bt Paul Price (Aus)  15-8, 15-13, 17-15  84m
[6] John White (Sco) bt Mark Chaloner (Eng)  15-7, 15-10, 15-10  43m
Alex Gough (Wal) bt [2] David Palmer (Aus)  15-13, 8-15, 15-8, 15-9  110m

Women's Second Round:
[1] Sarah Fitz-Gerald (Aus) bt [11] Rebecca Macree (Eng)  9-3, 9-0, 9-2  30m.
Jenny Tranfield (Eng) bt Sharon Wee (Mas)  9-0, 9-4, 5-9, 9-2  35m
[4] Fiona Geaves (Eng) bt [13] Shelley Kitchen (Nzl)  9-0, 9-6, 9-4  29m
[9] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned) bt [11] Natalie Pohrer (Eng)  9-6, 2-9, 9-3, 4-9, 9-5  57m
[7] Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt [12] Natalie Grinham (Aus)  9-7, 9-2, 10-8  50m
[3] Cassie Campion (Eng) bt  [14] Vicky Botwright (Eng)  9-2, 9-7, 10-8  39m
[15] Tania Bailey (Eng) bt [5] Linda Charman-Smith (Eng) 6-9, 8-10, 9-3, 3-0 ret 55m
[2] Carol Owens (Aus) bt [16] Nicol David (Mas)  9-4, 9-0, 9-10, 9-1  40m

First Round:

Former Champion Evans Ousted
In Early British Open Upset 

Welshman David Evans, the 2000 champion, became the first major upset on the opening day of the British Open Squash Championships when he crashed out in straight games to English qualifier Peter Genever at Lambs Club in London. 

One of a record four former champions in the men's event, Evans went down 15-9 15-10 15-9 in 61 minutes. "Peter played well," said Evans afterwards. "I wasn't moving too well, but that's no excuse. He was dominating the rallies and I was going for things I shouldn't have," said the 27-year-old from Pontypool who has been troubled with an Achilles injury over recent months. Genever, from Sussex, now faces last year's surprise finalist Chris Walker in the second round.  

Englishman Walker, the 8th seed and at 34 the oldest player on the PSA Tour, dismissed qualifier Nick Matthew, also from England, 15-7 8-15 15-5 15-11 in 67  minutes. Another all-English second round clash will take place between left-handers Paul Johnson and top seed Peter Nicol.  Johnson clinched his surprise place after only 17 minutes when higher-ranked compatriot Del Harris retired after losing the first game, suffering from food poisoning. 

By contrast, Nicol had a narrow escape against French qualifier Renan Lavigne.  It took the world champion and 1998 British Open champion 86 minutes to overcome the 27-year-old from Paris 12-15 15-11 15-4 11-15 15-8 in the final match of the day. 

Reigning champion David Palmer began the defence of his British Open title with an emphatic straight games victory over Finland's Olli Tuominen.  The powerful Australian looked entirely comfortable as he won 15-13 15-12 15-11 in 67 minutes.  Palmer, the No2 seed, said afterwards:  "It was a nice hard game and I was pleased to get on and off court in three games rather than let it drag on longer."  

Palmer now meets Welsh champion Alex Gough, who beat former Irish champion Derek Ryan 3-0. Australia's Sarah Fitz-Gerald, top seed and defending champion in the women's event, marked her return to the circuit after a month's layoff following a calf injury with an emphatic 9-1 9-2 9-0 victory over Scottish qualifier Wendy Maitland in 20  minutes.  

At the other end of the draw, arch rival Carol Owens, Fitz-Gerald's second-seeded former compatriot now playing in New Zealand colours, took two fewer minutes crushing Ireland's Madeline Perry 9-1 9-1 9-0.

Men's First Round:
[1] Peter Nicol (Eng) bt [Q] Renan Lavigne (Fra)  12-15, 15-11, 15-4, 11-15, 15-8  86m
Paul Johnson (Eng) bt Del Harris (Eng) 15-8, rtd  17m
[8] Chris Walker (Eng) bt [Q] Nick Matthew (Eng)  15-7, 8-15, 15-5, 15-11  67m
[Q] Peter Genever (Eng) bt David Evans (Wal)  15-9, 15-10, 15-9  61m
[4] Thierry Lincou (Fra) bt Karim Darwish (Egy)  11-15, 15-6, 15-11, 15-5  68m
Omar Elborolossy (Egy) bt Anthony Ricketts (Aus) 16-17, 17-15, 17-16, 17-14 87m 
[5] Stewart Boswell (Aus) bt Joseph Kneipp (Aus) 10-15, 15-10, 15-4, 16-17, 15-10  97m
Martin Heath (Sco) bt Graham Ryding (Can)  15-13, 15-12, 15-7  62m

Lee Beachill (Eng) bt Tommy Berden (Ned)  15-10, 15-10, 15-8  51m
[7] Ong Beng Hee (Mas) bt [Q] Jean-Michel Arcucci (Fra)  15-17, 15-10, 15-9, 15-13  85m
Paul Price (Aus)  bt [Q] Nick Taylor (Eng) 16-17, 15-10, 15-9, 15-4 77m 
[3] Jonathon Power (Can) bt [Q] Mohammed Abbas (Egy) 15-12, 15-2, 15-7 40m
Mark Chaloner (Eng) bt [Q] Wael El Hindi (Egy) 15-8, 14-17, 15-12, 8-1 rtd  77m
[6] John White (Sco) bt Simon Parke (Eng) 15-13, 15-11, 9-15, 15-9  75m
Alex Gough (Wal) bt [Q] Derek Ryan (Irl)  15-6, 15-13, 15-4  49m
[2] David Palmer (Aus) bt Olli Tuominen (Fin)  15-13, 15-12, 15-11  67m

Women's First Round:
[1] Sarah Fitz-Gerald (Aus) bt [Q] Wendy Maitland (Sco)  9-1, 9-2, 9-0  20m
[10] Rebecca Macree (Eng) bt Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)  9-7, 6-9, 9-2, 9-7  45m
[Q] Sharon Wee (Mas) w/o v [6] Stephanie Brind (Eng) withdrawn
Jenny Tranfield (Eng) bt [Q] Louise Crome (Nzl)  9-7, 9-7, 9-3  38m
[4] Fiona Geaves (Eng) v Rebecca Chui (Hkg) 9-5, 9-0, 9-5  32m
[13] Shelley Kitchen (Nzl) bt Maha Zein (Egy)  9-3, 9-5, 9-4  32m
[9] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned) bt Liz Irving (Aus) 9-1, 9-0, 9-4  23m
[11] Natalie Pohrer (Eng) bt Ellen Petersen (Den)  9-1, 9-0, 9-1  21m

[12] Natalie Grinham (Aus) bt [Q] Farrah Sterne (Rsa) 7-9, 2-9, 9-1, 9-1 9-4  
[7] Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt [Q] Kate Allison (Eng)  9-3, 9-2, 9-4  26m
[14] Vicky Botwright (Eng) bt [Q] Laura Lengthorn (Eng)  9-0, 9-5, 9-2  34m
[3] Cassie Campion (Eng) v [Q] Engy Kheirallah (Egy)  9-0, 9-0, 9-1  28m
[15] Tania Bailey (Eng) bt Senga Macfie (Sco)  9-4, 9-6, 9-6  40m
[5] Linda Charman-Smith (Eng) bt [Q] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)  9-2, 9-0, 9-0  21m
[16] Nicol David (Mas) bt Pamela Nimmo (Sco)  9-7, 9-5, 9-4  40m
[2] Carol Owens (Nzl) bt Madeline Perry (Irl)  9-1, 9-1, 9-0  18m







Official site of the British Open Squash Championships ... by Squash Player