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Double Delight For Home Heroes In Malaysian Open

Men's Draw
Women's Draw

Women's Draw
CIMB Malaysian Open 2008
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 21-26 Jul, $53k
Round One
23 Jul
24 Jul
25 Jul
26 Jul
[1] Nicol David (Mas)
11/5, 11/5, 13/11 (20m)
Rebecca Chiu (Hkg
Nicol David
11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4 (45m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy
Nicol David
11-3, 7-11, 11-1, 11-6 (43m)
Rachael Grinham
Nicol David
11-1, 11-4, 11-6 (31m)
Natalie Grinham
[7] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)
11/6, 10/12, 13/11, 11/5 (20m)
[Q] Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
[3] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
11/3, 9/11, 11/4, 11/4 (33m)
[Q] Louise Crome (Nzl)
Rachael Grinham
12-10, 11-13, 12-10, 11-3 (48m)
Laura Lengthorn-Massaro
[8] Laura Lengthorn-Massaro (Eng)
11/4, 11/7, 13/11 (35m)
[Q] Madeline Perry (Irl)
Kasey Brown (Aus)
11/7, 14/12, 8/11, 11/6 (45m)
[6] Shelley Kitchen (Nzl)
Shelley Kitchen
11-7, 11-8, 11-4 (32m)
Tania Bailey
Tania Bailey
11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5 (41m)
Natalie Grinham
Alison Waters (Eng)
12/14, 11/8, 6/11, 11/4, 11/2 (55m)
[4] Tania Bailey (Eng)
Delia Arnold (Mas)
11/3, 11/3, 11/4 (20m)
[5] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
Jenny Duncalf
11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-6 (54m)
Natalie Grinham
[Q] Lauren Briggs (Eng)
11/2, 11/5, 11/2 (22m)
[2] Natalie Grinham (Ned)

21-Jul, Round One:
e Perry (IRL) bt Orla Noom (NED) 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 (21m)

Lauren Briggs (ENG) bt Annelize Naude (NED) 11-6, 11-5, 12-10 (26m)

Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt Line Hansen (DEN) 5-11, 11-3, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6 (37m)

Louise Crome (NZL) bt Sharon Wee (MAS) 11-9, 11-5, 2-11, 9-11, 11-5 (40m)

Men's Draw
CIMB Malaysian Open 2008
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 21-26 Jul, $52k
Round One
[1] Wael El Hindi (Egy)
11/6, 11/4, 11/9 (42m)
Chris Ryder (Eng)
Wael El Hindi
10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 11-4 (54m)
Saurav Ghosal
Wael El Hindi
11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 11-9 (78m)
Azlan Iskandar
Azlan Iskandar
11-6, 8-11, 4-11, 12-10, 11-8 (96m)
Ong Beng Hee
[8] Eric Galvez (Mex)
11/6, 11/8, 11/5 (27m)
[Q] Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
[3] Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
11/2, 11/6, 11/6 (28
Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
Azlan Iskandar
11-3, 11-5, 11-3 (18m)
Mansoor Zaman
[6] Mansoor Zaman (Pak)
10/12, 11/7, 6/11, 11/6, 11/4 (52m)
[Q] Wade Johnstone (Aus)
Kashif Shuja (Pak)
11/4, 8/11, 12/14, 11/3, 11/5 (65m)
[5] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
Omar Mosaad
26-24, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4 (87m)
Stewart Boswell
Stewart Boswell
5-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-5 (62m)
Ong Beng Hee
[Q] Tom Richards (Eng)
11/4, 11/5, 11/6 (38m)
[4] Stewart Boswell (Aus)
Tarek Momen (Egy)
11/6, 11/7, 8/11, 11/6 (44m)
[7] Farhan Mehboob (Pak)
Farhan Mehboob
14-16, 9-11, 11-1, 11-8, 11-8 (90m)
Ong Beng Hee
[Q] Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas)
11/3, 11/6, 11/0 (23m)
[2] Ong Beng Hee (Mas)

Wade Johnstone (AUS) bt Yasir Butt (PAK) 11-9, 8-11, 7-11, 11-7, 12-10 (54m)

Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Scott Arnold (AUS) 11-3, 11-7, 14-16, 11-8 (55m)

Tom Richards (ENG) bt Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) 7-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-4 (73m)

Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 6-11, 11-1, 11-9, 15-17, 11-8 (86m)


Double Delight For Home Heroes In Malaysian Open

It was a popular home double in the CIMB Malaysian Open when Malaysians Nicol David and Ong Beng Hee clinched the women's and men's titles, respectively, in the major Tour squash event at the Curve Complex in Kuala Lumpur.

No stranger to Squash history-making, Nicol David added a further entry to the records by becoming the first winner of a
WISPA World Tour title to be decided by the international player body's new 'Pro-Scoring' system. 

And, after taking four games to win her previous two matches, the world number one from Penang gave every indication that she is now fully comfortable with point-a-rally game scoring to 11 points by beating Tour rival Natalie Grinham 11-1, 11-4, 11-6 in just 31 minutes.

It was a battle between the two top players in the world - and David ensured that she will continue to hold the world number one ranking next month by extending her career head-to-head tally over the Australian-born world No2, now playing under the Dutch flag, to 13-6.

The victory, in her sixth successive appearance in the final, marked David's fourth Malaysian Open title in a row.  The win also notched up David's 30th consecutive match success on the Tour - and her seventh successive title since winning the Qatar Classic in November.

The final of the men's 5-star PSA Tour event produced a real treat for the KL crowd surrounding the brand new Malaysian all-glass court making its debut at the Curve Shopping Mall.  Second seed Ong Beng Hee faced national rival Mohd Azlan Iskandar, the defending champion who was seeded in third position.

With two titles each to their names, the final was sure to be close - and after Beng Hee took the first game, reigning champion Iskandar fought back to lead 2/1 - then came within two points of the title at 10-all in the fourth.

But Beng Hee - the first home winner of the crown in 2000, then the champion again in 2005 - regained the upper hand and went on to claim an 11-6, 8-11, 4-11, 12-10, 11-8 victory after 96 minutes.

Remarkably, it was the pair's third PSA Tour match which exceeded 95 minutes - the first lasting 102 minutes,
in the 2005 Malaysian Open semi-finals!

The victory takes Ong Beng Hee's career PSA Tour title tally to 12 - and is sure to see the 28-year-old return to the world top ten, and close in on the highest world ranking of seven which he established in December 2001.


Home Hopes For Malaysian Double In KL

Malaysia's defending champion Mohd Azlan Iskandar produced a stunning upset over Egyptian favourite Wael El Hindi in today's (Friday) men's semi-finals in the CIMB Malaysian Open to ensure that three of Saturday's four finalists in the major Tour event at the Curve Complex in Kuala Lumpur will be from the host nation.

Third seed Iskandar, the 26-year-old from KL in his fifth successive appearance in the 5-star PSA Tour event's semi-finals, battled for 78 minutes to subdue El Hindi - finally winning 11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 11-9 to earn his first PSA Tour victory over the higher-ranked Egyptian since prevailing in the 2004 final.

"I try my best to feel I am not at home - but playing here sometimes helps me and sometimes doesn't," explained Iskandar, winner of the title in 2004 and 2007.

"Today I didn't hear a thing until seven-all in the fourth! At that point I really didn't know what I was doing and froze a bit. But then I let my racket do its thing."

Fellow countryman Ong Beng Hee, the No2 seed, also took four games to secure his place in the final, beating fourth-seeded Australian Stewart Boswell 5-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-5 in 62 minutes.

Both finalists are celebrating their third Tour final appearances of the year, but while Iskandar is marking the 19th of his career, it is Ong Beng Hee's 20th since making his debut in the Milo Open final in 1996, also in KL.

But, but perhaps more remarkably, Saturday's clash will be the pair's sixth successive meeting in a major final - after contesting the KL Open, Asian Championship and Asian Games finals in 2006, then the Asian Championship and KL Open climaxes earlier this year.

The final of the women's $53,500
WISPA World Tour Gold event will feature the top two seeds, with local heroine Nicol David now just one win away from her fourth title in a row. But the top seed and world number one from Penang was pushed to four games for the second successive day before beating career-long rival Rachael Grinham, the world champion from Australia, 11-3, 7-11, 11-1, 11-6 in 43 minutes.

David will now face another Grinham, Rachael's younger sister Natalie Grinham. The second seed stemmed a spirited comeback display by
England's Tania Bailey before beating the fourth seed - playing her first event since undergoing knee surgery - 11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5 in 41 minutes.

The final will mark the third meeting this year between the world's top two players - and the 19th of their careers, with the Malaysian boasting a 12-6 head-to-head advantage. But while David is recording the 43rd WISPA final of her career, Natalie Grinham is celebrating her 30th!

Grinhams Tested In Malaysian Open

Australian sisters Rachael and Natalie Grinham were severely tested in the quarter-finals of the CIMB Malaysian Open before taking their anticipated places in the last four of the $53,500 WISPA World Tour Gold squash event at the Curve Shopping Complex in Kuala Lumpur.

Third seed Rachael Grinham, the world champion from
Queensland, was taken to tie-breaks in her first three games against Laura Lengthorn-Massaro before finally getting the better of the eighth seed from England 12-10, 11-13, 12-10, 11-3 in 48 minutes.

The women's event is the first being played under WISPA's new Pro-Scoring system, where - as has been the case on the men's PSA Tour for some years now - games are scored 'point-a-rally' to 11 points.

"The scoring is on my mind at the moment," Grinham senior conceded. "It's like you are in control but suddenly you are second guessing yourself when you have a chance to put the ball away.

"You approach it differently because of the consequences - it is not comfortable yet," added the Cairo-based world number three. "Practicing is one thing, but it is only in pressure situations in tournaments that you get used to dealing with the different mental thing - which is such a big part of the game."

Rachael Grinham now goes on to face local favourite Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia who also dropped a game before clinching an 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4 victory over long-time rival Omneya Abdel Kawy, the seventh seed from Egypt.

Natalie Grinham, the world No2 who now competes under the Dutch flag, battled for five games before overcoming England's fifth seed Jenny Duncalf 11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-6 in 54 minutes.

The second seed will now take on Duncalf's England team-mate Tania Bailey. Playing in her first event for four months, after undergoing knee surgery, Bailey again scored a notable triumph by beating New Zealand's sixth seed Shelley Kitchen 11-7, 11-8, 11-4.

"I was stiff this morning, but not quite as achy as I expected," explained the fourth seed. "I iced my knee, sat on ice too and had a massage.

"Luckily I was able to control the ball, hit it down the line because it clings so well on this court and try and keep it away from Shelley's racket. But I got a bit nervy at the end as I couldn't believe I could actually be winning!"

There were contrasting victories for the two Malaysians in the men's 5-star
PSA Tour event. While defending champion Mohd Azlan Iskandar needed just 18 minutes to despatch Pakistan's Mansoor Zaman 11-3, 11-5, 11-3, compatriot Ong Beng Hee - the second seed who, like Iskandar, is also a two-time champion - battled for 90 minutes against Farhan Mehboob, recovering from two games down to beat the seventh-seeded Pakistani 14-16, 9-11, 11-1, 11-8, 11-8.

But the toughest game of the day was the first fought out by Stewart Boswell and Omar Mosaad - the fourth-seeded Boswell ultimately earning the early lead by virtue of a 26-24 game score - a near record points total!

Mosaad, the fifth seed from
Egypt, then struck back to take the lead going into the fourth game.

But Boswell, the Canberra-based 29-year-old who is also on a comeback trail after a back injury, restored his advantage to record a 26-24, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4 win after 87 minutes.

Boswell faces Beng Hee in one semi-final, whilst - in a repeat of the 2004 final - Iskandar takes on event favourite Wael El Hindi in the other.

Bailey Battles To KL Comeback Win

In her first Tour outing since undergoing surgery on her right knee in April, Tania Bailey battled for 55 minutes to overcome England team-mate Alison Waters in opening round of the CIMB Malaysian Open to claim her place in the quarter-finals of the $53,500 WISPA World Tour Gold squash event in Kuala Lumpur.

"To be honest, I surprised myself how well I played," said the fourth seed after her 12-14, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4, 11-2 victory. "I got back on court four weeks ago after the operation and then it went bad for a while so I have only had a week of training.

"Because I wanted to only concentrate on myself, I didn't even look at the draw - so I only knew who I was playing a couple of days ago when one of the girls let it slip by mistake!

"I was so looking forward to playing a match again, and I amazed myself - it just showed how much the work I have done over the years has helped. I've still got a lot of work to do and I am not sure how I will feel in the morning."

Bailey acknowledged that WISPA's Pro-Scoring - the new point-a-rally scoring system being used for the first time in the Malaysian Open - probably helped her cause:

"I have point-a-rally to thank, as well, as I am not sure how I would have coped physically if the match had been even longer," explained the 28-year-old world No5 from
Lincolnshire. "In normal circumstances, I may have been a little more defensive, but after the layoff I had to be more attacking."

Bailey will now face sixth seed Shelley Kitchen after the New Zealander beat Australian Kasey Brown 11-7, 14-12, 8-11, 11-6.

"I have been practicing pro-scoring for six weeks now so I've got comfortable with it," said Kitchen, from
Auckland. "I might think a little differently playing somebody lower-ranked, but it is always a close tough match with Kasey so I just concentrated on playing my game."

Local star Nicol David made a confident start in her bid to win the title for a fourth successive time. The top seed defeated Asian rival Rebecca Chiu, from Hong Kong, 11-5, 11-5, 13-11 and will now face Egypt's seventh seed Omneya Abdel Kawy for a place in the last four.

Australian Stewart Boswell was also making an injury comeback in KL in the men's 5-star PSA Tour event. Like Bailey, the fourth seed from Canberra last played at the KL Open in March - before seeking treatment for a back injury back in his homeland.

Boswell comfortably overcame English qualifier Tom Richards 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 and goes on to face fifth seed Omar Mosaad after the Egyptian fought back from 2/1 down to beat New Zealander Kashif Shuja 11-4, 8-11, 12-14, 11-3, 11-5.

Two all-Malaysian encounters concluded with the favoured players prevailing: Second seed Ong Beng Hee, the event's first home champion in 2000, defeated KL-based qualifier Muhd Asyraf Azan 11-3, 11-6, 11-0, while third seed Mohd Azlan Iskandar, the defending champion, beat Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan 11-2, 11-6, 11-6.

But Indian qualifier Saurav Ghosal produced the day's biggest upset by removing eighth seed Eric Galvez. Fresh from his home-town triumph in the Chennai Open earlier this month, Ghosal - who gained a first class honours degree in Economics from Leeds University in the UK this summer - despatched the Mexican 11-6, 11-8, 11-5.

Ghosal will now meet Wael El Hindi, the top seed from
Egypt who is competing in the championship for the first time since finishing as runner-up for the second year in a row in 2005.

Perry Powers Into Malaysian Open Draw

Ireland's Madeline Perry powered her way into the women's main draw of the CIMB Malaysian Open after despatching Dutch opponent Orla Noom in today's qualifying finals of the $53,500 WISPA World Tour Gold squash event in Kuala Lumpur.

Twice a quarter-finalist in the event, the former world No6 from Banbridge, near Belfast, took just 21 minutes to overcome Noom 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 in the first WISPA Tour event to use 'Pro-Scoring' - ie, point-a-rally games up to 11 points (or two clear).

Perry's reward is a first round clash with fellow Briton Laura Lengthorn-Massaro, the eighth seed from England.

New Zealand's Louise Crome survived the longest qualifying battle, disappointing home hopes by beating Malaysia's Sharon Wee 11-9, 11-5, 2-11, 9-11, 11-5 in 40 minutes. The 30-year-old Aucklander now faces world champion Rachael Grinham, the third seed from Australia.

After a four-month lay-off - during which she underwent knee surgery - Tania Bailey will make her comeback at the event in which she finished as runner-up for the past two years. The fourth seed will face English compatriot Alison Waters, her successor as British National champion.

There was surprise local success in the qualifying finals of the men's 5-star
PSA Tour event when KL-based Muhd Asyraf Azan battled for 86 minutes to overcome Australian Ryan Cuskelly 6-11, 11-1, 11-9, 15-17, 11-8.

Ranked 157 in the world - and a successful qualifier in the event for the fourth time since 2004 - 19-year-old Azan will face fellow countryman Ong Beng Hee, the second seed who became the event's first home champion in 2000.

Beng Hee won the title again in 2005, while third-seeded compatriot Mohd Azlan Iskandar is also a two-time champion, in 2004 and 2007. And the defending champion also takes on a fellow countryman in the opening round when he meets Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan, the Malaysian No3.

Pro-Scoring Hails New Era For Women's Squash In Kuala Lumpur

The $53,500 CIMB Malaysian Open is making squash history today as the first women's Tour event to use point-a-rally scoring.

The WISPA World Tour Gold championship introduces the first change in scoring from the traditional 'hand-in-hand-out' system - in which a player can only win a point when serving - which has been used since the Women's International Squash Players' Association was formed in 1984.

As before, all matches will be best-of-five-games - but the games will feature point-a-rally to 11 points, the same as the scoring used on the menís PSA Tour.

"Scoring is a fundamental part of the game, which is why WISPA has spent a good deal of time discussing and evaluating Pro-Scoring," explained WISPA Chief Executive Andrew Shelley.

"Now we have committed to it, confident in its success, and look forward to its formal unveiling on one of our really big stages - the CIMB Malaysian Open. And there, for the first time there will be uniformity for the players, the spectators, huge media coverage and in our worldwide results output. A milestone in Malaysia!"

Australia's world champion Rachael Grinham is looking forward to seeing the effects of this new introduction: "It's a big change for the game mentally, which I think is huge because I believe at the top of the women's game most matches are won mentally.

"From my experience in practice matches, I've found the pace to be much faster, maybe because of a hint of urgency on the mind. I think it will still take some time for everyone to get settled into the new scoring.

"I do believe it will make matches much closer, which will be better from the spectators' point of view. It will be interesting to see what happens in KL," added the third seed.

The women's event (the main draw of which gets underway on Wednesday after two days of qualifying) will also be historic for a further reason: It will mark the first appearance on the Tour by Datuk Nicol David since the Malaysian world number one acquired the distinguished title in her home state of Penang earlier in the month, becoming the youngest ever recipient of a 'Datukship'.

David is favourite to win the Malaysian Open title for a fourth successive year - after reaching her sixth final in a row!