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Nicol out to Ryding

Peter Nicol suffered a shock defeat to unseeded Graham Ryding in the World Open ...

Unseeded Canadian Graham Ryding scored the most significant win of his career when he defeated England's Peter Nicol, the third seed and a former champion, in today's (Wednesday) quarter-finals of the Qatar Men's World Open Squash Championship in Doha.

Ryding, currently ranked 19th in the world, took the match 11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3 in 47 minutes for his first career victory over the former world number one, a player he has faced nine times in the past four years.  When he scored match point, the usually laid back Ryding did a couple of fist pumps while team-mates Jonathan Power and Shahier Razik jumped for joy, banging their hands on the glass court.

"This is the best I've ever played and it was great to feel those emotions," said Ryding, 29, who also upset fifth seed Nick Matthew of England in the first round.  "I made Nicol work in the first three games and he was a little bit tired.  It's definitely my biggest win, especially when you consider it's the worlds and he is one of the greatest players of all time."

Ryding's reward for his first match beyond the last sixteen of the World Open is a semi-final against Frenchman Thierry Lincou, the No2 seed.  Lincou needed 72 minutes to quash Australia's 14th seed Anthony Ricketts 11-10 11-7 7-11 8-11 11-3.

The other men's semi-final will feature England's Lee Beachill, the world No1 and top seed, and Australia's David Palmer, the 2002 champion - in a repeat of their recent British Open semi-final.  It was replays of 2004 British Open clashes that brought the pair to the last four - Palmer outgunning defending champion Amr Shabana as he did in the final in Nottingham and Beachill overcoming his Pontefract club-mate and close friend James Willstrop in a second round rematch.

Shabana, the left-hander who shocked the world last year when he became Egypt's first ever winner of the title, took the first two games - then, after Palmer fought back to level the match, led 9-7 in the decider.  But the gutsy Australian stuck to his guns to prevail as the 6-11 7-11 11-2 11-8 11-10 winner in 81 minutes.

In his third successive PSA Tour win over Willstrop this year, Beachill triumphed 11-7 11-4 11-9 in 44 minutes - showing no signs of the adductor injury which has troubled him recently.

The semi-finals of the Women's Qatar Classic will feature a family duel between Australia's sisters Rachael Grinham and Natalie Grinham.  Rachael, the older who is ranked one in the world, beat England's 13th seed Vicky Botwright 9-0, 9-6, 4-9, 9-2, while Natalie ended Nicol David's brave run, beating the Malaysian 9-6, 6-9, 9-0, 9-0.

England's second seed Cassie Jackman beat younger compatriot Jenny Duncalf 9-1, 10-8, 9-0 to set up a clash with third seed Vanessa Atkinson, from the Netherlands, who prevailed in two games against USA's Natalie Grainger when the 5th seed retired ill with score at 9-0, 9-4.

Qatar Men's World Open Squash Championship, Doha, Qatar

RESULTS:     Quarter-finals:
[1] Lee Beachill (ENG) bt [12] James Willstrop (ENG)    11-7, 11-4, 11-9 (44m)
[4] David Palmer (AUS) bt [6] Amr Shabana (EGY)     6-11, 7-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-10 (2-0) (81m)
Graham Ryding (CAN) bt [3] Peter Nicol (ENG)    11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3 (47m)
[2] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [14] Anthony Ricketts (AUS)     11-10, 11-7, 7-11, 8-11, 11-3 (72m)

Women's Qatar Classic, Doha, Qatar

[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [13] Vicky Botwright (ENG)     9-0, 9-6, 4-9, 9-2 (47m)
[4] Natalie Grinham (AUS) bt [8] Nicol David (MAS)  9-6, 6-9, 9-0, 9-0 (51m)
[3] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt [5] Natalie Grainger (USA)    9-0, 9-4 ret. (18m)
[2] Cassie Jackman (ENG) bt [11] Jenny Duncalf (ENG)    9-1, 10-8, 9-0 (36m)