Willstrop Shoulders Home Hopes In Prince English Grand Prix
Defeats by his three
England team-mates in the quarter-finals of the Prince English Grand Prix
Birmingham 2007 leaves home hopes in the inaugural 5-star PSA Tour
squash championship at the University of Birmingham
resting solely on the shoulders of England number one James Willstrop.
opening day of action on the all-glass court in the University's impressive
Great Hall, the fourth-seeded Yorkshireman from
recovered from a game down to beat compatriot and long-time rival Peter
Barker 6-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-3 in 56 minutes.
"I was very loose tonight in the first game - I don't know why, but I never
felt confident enough to play shots tonight," said 24-year-old Willstrop
always have to give 100%. I had a good record against Peter in the juniors
and I want to keep that going - a bit like Lee's (Beachill) good record
against me, you never want to lose in matches like that."
Willstrop, the British National champion, will now face
Australia's David Palmer, the World Open champion, for a place
in the final.
seed Palmer showed little sign of his 98-minute encounter 24 hours earlier
when he beat England's British Open champion Nick Matthew
11-10 (5-3), 11-4, 11-8 in 54 minutes.
frustrated at last night's match - all credit to Daryl (Selby) - but I think
I should have done better," said Palmer. "All day I got stuck into being
positive, and because Nick is someone who can win every tournament, the game
plan was to have a very good start - if possible, take the first game and
then put the pressure back on him."
other semi-final will be an all-French affair between second seed Gregory
Gaultier and third seed Thierry Lincou.
Gaultier battled for 68 minutes to overcome Italian qualifier
11-8, 10-11 (2-4), 11-8, 11-7, while Lincou prevailed in a see-saw encounter
with Lee Beachill, beating the sixth seed from England
11-6, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8 in 64 minutes.
the 31-year-old former world number one from Marseille, has enjoyed notable
success in England - winning three PSA Tour events in the country in 2006 -
while Gaultier, the four times European champion from Aix-en-Provence, has
yet score an English Tour title.
England Team-Mates Into Prince English Grand Prix Quarters
number one James Willstrop comfortably came through the
opening round of the Prince English Grand Prix Birmingham 2007
to join his three England team-mates Nick Matthew, Lee
Beachill and Peter Barker in the quarter-finals of the
inaugural 5-star PSA Tour squash championship
which is taking place at the Edgbaston Priory Club and
University of Birmingham.
Willstrop, the 24-year-old world No7 from
Leeds, survived a
tie-break first game before easing to an 11-10 (3-1), 11-8, 11-6
victory over compatriot Bradley Ball in 48 minutes.
The Yorkshireman now
takes on career-long rival Peter Barker, the 23-year-old from
Essex whom he regularly faced in junior competition finals around
the world. Barker, the No7 seed, beat fellow countryman Alister
Walker 11-6, 11-8, 11-8.
Top seed David
Palmer was taken the full distance by English qualifier Daryl
Selby in a dramatic 98-minute first round marathon. The
24-year-old outsider from
Essex stunned the
crowd by taking the first two games against the former world number
But Palmer, the
reigning world champion from
his way back into the game to beat Selby 7-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-4,
11-9 in one of the longest matches in both players' careers.
The only upset on
the opening day's play at Edgbaston Priory came when Italian
qualifier Davide Bianchetti defeated Alex Gough, the
No8 seed from Wales, 11-10 (2-0), 11-10 (2-0), 11-8 in 82 minutes.
world No33 from
Brescia, will now
face Frenchman Gregory Gaultier for a place in the
semi-finals. Second seed Gaultier had a trouble-free first round
win, claiming his quarter-final place when his teenage Egyptian
opponent Tarek Momen retired injured after two games.
continues on the all-glass court in the Great Hall at the
Home Hopes Led By Sole Survivor Selby In English
Grand Prix Qualifiers
Despite English presence in all four matches, Essex's Daryl Selby
was the sole domestic survivor in the qualifying finals of the
Prince English Grand Prix Birmingham 2007, the new 5-star
PSA Tour squash championship which is taking place
at the Edgbaston Priory Club and
University of Birmingham.
The 24-year-old from Essex despatched compatriot Shaun le Roux
11-9, 11-4, 11-3 in 37 minutes to earn a first round clash with top
seed David Palmer, the world champion from Australia who
arrives in the West Midlands fresh from his victory in last week's
Forexx Dutch Open in Amsterdam.
The 31-year-old from
New South Wales is a popular figure in Birmingham where he led
Edgbaston Priory in the English Premier League for three seasons.
Palmer, who boasts more PSA Tour titles than any other current
player, is looking to extend his career haul to 22 in Birmingham.
Despite having a comfortable 2/0 lead in his qualifying final,
Manchester-based Englishman Alex Stait went down 4-11, 2-11,
11-10 (2-0), 11-1, 11-7 to Jan Koukal. The Czech number one
England's Lee Beachill, the sixth seed from Yorkshire,
in the main draw.
But the luckiest player was Bradley Ball, the world No32 from
Ipswich. Top-seeded in the qualifiers, Ball crashed out to Egypt's
Tarek Momen after a 63-minute marathon. The 11-8, 11-4,
5-11, 10-11 (2-4), 11-9 victory takes 19-year-old Momen - now the
youngest player in the event - through to a first round clash with
France's No2 seed Gregory Gaultier.
But Ball was drawn as 'Lucky Loser' - and now has a second lease of
life following the last-minute withdrawal of
Australia's Stewart Boswell, the original sixth seed.
Boswell, who also has a strong following in Birmingham after
representing Edgbaston Priory for a number of years, is suffering
with a rib injury: "It flared up two weeks ago during training back
home in Australia, and I was hoping it would have cleared in time
for me to play - but it hasn't," said the disconsolate
"I love playing in
England and was looking forward to being back in Birmingham after
such a long time."
Thus Ball bounces back - and will face
England's leading player in the event James Willstrop, the
fourth seed from Leeds in Yorkshire.
World Champion Palmer Heads World-Class Prince English Grand Prix
Australia's World Open squash
champion David Palmer heads a world-class field
which will compete in the Prince English Grand Prix Birmingham
2007, a new 5-star PSA Tour championship which
will take place at the Edgbaston Priory Club and
University of Birmingham
from 6-9 September.
It will be popular return to the city for the world No3 from
New South Wales who represented Edgbaston Priory in the
English Premier League for three seasons, leading the team to
the 2004 final.
But the four members of the
England squad which won the European
Team Championship title for the 15th time in a row
this year will also be seeking individual glory on the all-glass
court in Birmingham. England number one
leads the home challenge: the 24-year-old from Leeds, seeded four,
is joined by fellow Yorkshiremen Nick Matthew, the British
Open champion from Sheffield who is seeded five, and Pontefract
club-mate Lee Beachill, the seventh seed; and Essex's
Peter Barker, the No8 seed who will arrive in Birmingham fresh
from his third successive PSA Tour win in the Colombian Open
Palmer, who faces a qualifier in the first round, is expected to
meet world No7 Willstrop in the semi-finals - en-route to a final
showdown with top-ranked Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the No2
seed. Gaultier, the four-times European champion from
Aix-en-Provence was runner-up in this month's ATCO Super Series
Finals in Manchester.
Gaultier is joined by compatriot Thierry Lincou in the
Birmingham draw. Like Palmer and Beachill, Lincou is also a former
world number one. Seeded three, the 31-year-old from Marseille
faces local hero Jonathan Harford in the first round.
Harford, a former student at the
University of Birmingham, led the University team to the Premier
League national play-offs in their debut season in the league this
year. The 24-year-old from Gloucestershire, now based in Leeds, has
been awarded the wildcard into the event.
Australian Stewart Boswell also provides further local
interest in the event. The sixth seed from
Canberra represented Edgbaston Priory with distinction in the
Premier League - establishing a league-record 25-match unbeaten run
over four seasons.
The Prince English Grand Prix Birmingham 2007 will boast a $50,000
prize fund and will be supported by a full programme of masters and
junior events which are expected to attract over four hundred