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06/12/2004
Lincou World Champion
 

Frenchman Thierry Lincou comes back against England's Lee Beachill to win the world title.

Final:
[2] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [1] Lee Beachill (ENG) 5-11, 11-2, 2-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-8 (83m)

Women's Qatar Classic
Final:

[3] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt [1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 9-4, 9-7, 9-6 (42m)

Thierry Lincou today (Friday) became the first Frenchman to win the world title when he upset top seed Lee Beachill - saving a match-ball in the process - in an 83-minute final of the Qatar Men's World Open Squash Championship in Doha.

There was also a shock in the final of the Women's Qatar Classic when third seed Vanessa Atkinson beat Australia's top seed Rachael Grinham in straight games to claim the WISPA Grand Prix title for the first time.

Lee Beachill, the 27-year-old from Pontefract in Yorkshire who was seeded to become the first English winner of the title in the event's 28-year history, led 6-4 in the fourth game - then had match-ball at 10-9.

But the cool Frenchman - runner-up in the event twelve months ago - saved the point and went on to win the tie-break 2-0 to tie the match. Coming from behind in the early part of the fifth game, Lincou tied the game at eight-all and then went on to win the title 5-11 11-2 2-11 11-10 11-8 in 83 minutes.

"The feeling is absolutely fantastic," said the new world champion from Marseille, who must now be in a strong position to start next year as the world No1 - exactly a year after topping the PSA World Rankings for the first.

Beachill was disappointed to have been so close to his first world crown: "I am furious to have got so close and not won the world title, but I think I did everything I could and didn't do much that was wrong. It just wasn't quite enough in the end."

In the other event, Vanessa Atkinson of The Netherlands won the most important match of her career, beating the world No1 and twice British Open Champion Rachael Grinham of Australia 9-4 9-7 9-6 in the 42-minute final of the Qatar Women's Classic.

This was the pair's sixth meeting this year, with the seven-times Dutch champion winning only twice - both of which occasions were WISPA World Tour finals.

"I was also very aware that I lost to Rachael from a good lead in the British Open semi-finals and I needed to wipe that off the record," said Atkinson after her famous victory. "I panicked a bit at the possibility of winning in the British Open, so I just concentrated on staying calm in this match."