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Lincou and Beachill through to final

Tough semi-finals at the World Open see both Beachill and Lincou go through ...

 A new champion is assured when England's top seed Lee Beachill and France's Thierry Lincou, the No2 seed, meet in tomorrow's (Friday) final of the Qatar Men's World Open Squash Championship in Doha.

Both were extended for more than an hour in their semi-finals today - Yorkshireman Beachill avenging his defeat in last month's British Open to beat fourth-seeded Australian David Palmer 11-8 11-6 5-11 11-10 in 70 minutes, and Lincou finally ending unseeded Canadian Graham Ryding's run in a tense tie-break 6-11 11-3 11-4 7-11 11-10 in 65 minutes.

After dominating the match for the first two games, Beachill let his opponent back into the game in the third.  Palmer was 10-8 up in the fourth when the Englishman fought back to take the game into a tie-break, before winning the match after the first two points.

"I started very well here but he took me off the 'T' in the third game and on this court if you are forced back down the court it is hard to play the shots that are needed to win," Beachill told www.squashnow.com.  "I got my length back again in the fourth but his confidence had risen so he was playing a lot better.  It was pretty even through that game and I was driving at him hard enough at the end to earn those two penalty strokes that brought me back from game ball down to 10-10 and the tiebreak," added the 27-year-old who is one match away from becoming the first English World Open champion in the 28-year-old history of the event.

Lincou's match also finished on a tie-break - but this time Ryding took the lead before the Frenchman went 2/1 ahead.  After the Canadian levelled at two-all, Lincou saved a match-ball at 9-10 in the fifth before forcing a tie-break which he won 2-0.

"I was very nervous and off my game with the tension," admitted Lincou, now in his second successive world final.  "Graham has played here as I have never seen him play before.  I simply could not beat him in the front court, which is where I expect to score many of my points.  In the end I was forced to play into the back of the court to win the rallies there.  It is very hard to win a match playing just into the back of the court."

After Australia's top seed Rachael Grinham scored a 9-5 9-3 9-4 win over her younger sister Natalie Grinham in the semi-finals of the Women's Qatar Classic, there was a shock in the other semi when England's No2 seed Cassie Jackman was forced to retire at 1/2 down to Dutch No1 Vanessa Atkinson with the score at 9-10 10-9 9-6 in Atkinson's favour.  

Jackman was rushed to hospital,  unable to breath properly and suffering severe pains under the right ribs.  


[1] Lee Beachill (ENG) bt [4] David Palmer (AUS)    11-8, 11-6, 5-11, 11-10 (2-0) (70m)
[2] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt Graham Ryding (CAN)     6-11, 11-3, 11-4, 7-11, 11-10 (2-0) (65m)

Women's Qatar Classic, Semi-finals:

[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [4] Natalie Grinham (AUS)  9-5, 9-3, 9-4 (48m)
[3] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt [2] Cassie Jackman (ENG)  9-10, 10-9, 9-6 ret.



Beachill and Lincou win through