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Atkinson & Willstrop Claim Qatar Crowns

Qatar Squash Classic, Doha, Qatar
Right: James Willstrop

Men's 1st round:
[1] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [Q] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 10-11 (1-3), 11-8, 11-6, 11-2 (57m)
Ong Beng Hee (MAS) bt [14] Graham Ryding (CAN) 8-11, 11-5, 11-10 (3-1), 11-8 (60m)
[6] Peter Nicol (ENG) bt Ali Alramezi (KUW) 11-6, 11-4, 11-2 (16m)
[11] John White (SCO) bt Mansoor Zaman (PAK) 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 (25m)
[3] David Palmer (AUS) bt [Q] Liam Kenny (IRL) 11-4, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7 (44m)
[9] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt Mohammed Abbas (EGY) 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-3 (46m)
[5] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [Q] Ben Garner (ENG) 11-9, 11-6, 11-8 (28m)
[10] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Peter Barker (ENG) 11-6, 11-10 (2-0), 11-7 (50m)
Day 2:
[12] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Adrian Grant (ENG) 11-10 (3-1), 11-6, 11-8 (55m)
[8] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [Q] Simon Parke (ENG) 11-8, 11-6, 11-9 (40m)
[Q] Davide Bianchetti (ITA) bt [16] Shahid Zaman (PAK) 3-11, 11-7, 11-10 (2-0), 10-11 (0-2), 11-7 (62m)
[Q] Alex Gough (WAL) bt [4] Lee Beachill (ENG) 11-7, 11-10 (3-1), 11-9 (50m)
[15] Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt [Q] Cameron Pilley (AUS) 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 (45m)
[7] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) bt Wael El Hindi (EGY) 11-7, 11-9, 11-7 (48m)
[Q] Stewart Boswell (AUS) bt [13] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) 11-10 (4-2), 11-7, 11-9 (51m)
[2] Jonathon Power (CAN) bt Joseph Kneipp (AUS) 11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 11-4 (58m)
Men's 2nd round:
[1] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 11-10 (3-1), 11-4, 11-5 (38m)
[11] John White (SCO) bt [6] Peter Nicol (ENG) 11-7, 8-11, 11-10 (2-0), 10-11 (0-2), 11-8 (67m)
[3] David Palmer (AUS) bt [9] Karim Darwish (EGY) 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-3 (45m)
[10] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [5] Amr Shabana (EGY) 11-10 (2-0), 11-9, 11-7 (43m)
[8] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [12] Nick Matthew (ENG) 11-8, 11-5, 11-10 (2-0) (58m)
[Q] Alex Gough (WAL) bt [Q] Davide Bianchetti (ITA) 11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 11-7 (57m)
[7] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) bt [15] Olli Tuominen (FIN) 11-7, 11-4, 11-9 (33m)
[Q] Stewart Boswell (AUS) bt [2] Jonathon Power (CAN) 11-7, 11-6 ret. (27m)
[1] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [11] John White (SCO) 8-11, 11-6, 11-2, 9-11, 11-9 (79m)
[3] David Palmer (AUS) bt [10] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 11-7, 8-11, 10-11 (4-6), 11-6, 11-3 (77m)
[8] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [Q] Alex Gough (WAL) 11-8, 11-6, 11-1 (27m)
[7] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) bt [Q] Stewart Boswell (AUS) 11-5, 11-3, 11-1 (25m)
[3] David Palmer (AUS) bt [1] Thierry Lincou (FRA) 5-11, 11-10 (3-1), 11-10 (2-0), 8-11, 11-1 (82m)
[8] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [7] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) 11-5, 4-11, 11-4, 11-6 (51m)
[8] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [3] David Palmer (AUS) 11-1, 11-7, 11-7 (42m)

1st round:
[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [Q] Tricia Chuah (MAS) 9-2, 9-0, 9-2 (20m)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG) bt [11] Shelley Kitchen (NZL) 2-9, 9-7, 9-7, 3-9, 9-7 (61m)
[6] Vicky Botwright (ENG) bt [Q] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) 9-1, 10-8, 10-9 (39m)
[10] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [Q] Louise Crome (NZL) 10-8, 9-3, 9-0 (34m)
[3] Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Runa Reta (CAN) 9-0, 9-4, 9-3 (22m)
[12] Annelize Naude (NED) bt Engy Kheirallah (EGY) 4-9, 10-8, 10-8, 9-3 (52m)
[5] Linda Elriani (ENG) bt [Q] Amelia Pittock (AUS) 9-2, 9-2, 3-9, 9-7 (36m)
[15] Rebecca Chiu (HKG) bt Carla Khan (PAK) 9-4, 9-2, 9-5 (40m)
[16] Laura-Jane Lengthorn (ENG) bt [Q] Suzie Pierrepont (ENG) 9-2, 10-8, 9-7 (32m)
[8] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt Pamela Nimmo (SCO) 7-9, 9-0, 9-5, 9-2 (29m)
[13] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) bt Sharon Wee (MAS) 9-2, 3-9, 9-4, 6-9, 9-3 (52m)
[4] Natalie Grinham (AUS) bt [Q] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) 9-4, 9-1, 9-2 (21m)
[14] Alison Waters (ENG) bt Tamsyn Leevey (NZL) 9-3, 5-9, 9-6, 7-9, 10-8 (75m)
[7] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [Q] Rebecca Botwright (ENG) 9-5, 9-2, 9-0 (32m)
[9] Tania Bailey (ENG) bt Latasha Khan (USA) 9-3, 9-2, 9-1 (22m)
[2] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt Tegwen Malik (WAL) 9-1, 5-9, 9-0, 9-0 (30m)
Women's 2nd round:
[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG) 9-4, 9-3, 9-0 (32m)
[6] Vicky Botwright (ENG) bt [10] Madeline Perry (IRL) 3-9, 9-1, 0-9, 9-5, 9-4 (83m)
[3] Nicol David (MAS) bt [12] Annelize Naude (NED) 9-4, 9-6, 9-2 (38m)
[5] Linda Elriani (ENG) bt [15] Rebecca Chiu (HKG) 9-3, 9-7, 9-0 (26m)
[8] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt [16] Laura-Jane Lengthorn (ENG) 9-7, 9-4, 9-7 (45m)
[4] Natalie Grinham (AUS) bt [13] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) 9-0, 9-3, 9-5 (38m)
[7] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [14] Alison Waters (ENG) 4-9, 9-5, 9-1, 9-6 (55m)
[2] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt [9] Tania Bailey (ENG) 10-8, 6-9, 9-4, 9-6 (57m)
[6] Vicky Botwright (ENG) bt [1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 9-7, 1-9, 0-9, 9-5, 9-0 (48m)
[3] Nicol David (MAS) bt [5] Linda Elriani (ENG) 7-9, 9-6, 10-8, 10-9 (56m)
[4] Natalie Grinham (AUS) bt [8] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 9-0, 6-9, 9-1, 2-9, 9-5 (58m)
[2] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt [7] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 9-3, 9-2, 9-7 (33m)
[6] Vicky Botwright (ENG) bt [3] Nicol David (MAS) 9-6, 2-9, 9-7, 4-9, 9-6 (60m)
[2] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt [4] Natalie Grinham (AUS) 9-6, 9-5, 9-5 (36m)
[2] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt [6] Vicky Botwright (ENG) 9-7, 9-4, 9-2 (34m)

Atkinson & Willstrop Claim Qatar Crowns
England’s James Willstrop and Vanessa Atkinson, from the Netherlands, claimed the men’s and women’s titles, respectively, in the Qatar Squash Classic after straight games victories in the semi-finals at the Khalifa International Squash Complex in Doha.

The men’s triumph marks the biggest title won by 22-year-old Willstrop, the former world junior champion from Yorkshire, whilst the successful defence of the women’s title will take Atkinson – who has retained second place in the world rankings since January this year – to world number one, for the first time in her career, in December.

Australia’s third seed David Palmer had survived two five-game marathons – both lasting more than 75 minutes – before facing Willstrop, the No8 seed, in the men’s Qatar Classic climax. It was, however, third time unlucky for the 29-year-old from Lithgow in New South Wales, who had already finished as runner-up – in both cases to Willstrop’s English compatriot Peter Nicol – in the established PSA Super Series event in Doha in 2001 and 2002.

Willstrop raced to a first game lead, allowing his opponent only a single point, before continuing the rout in the second game. It took the Englishman 42 minutes to beat Palmer 11-1 11-7 11-7 and inflict the first straight games defeat of the Australian in a ranking event this year.

“I believed I could win it, but to actually do so is another thing altogether,” Willstrop told www.squashsite.co.uk afterwards. “This is as big as it gets, and winning a tournament with so many great players in it is just incredible.”

The Qatar success marks Willstrop’s second PSA Super Series crown, and the fifth PSA Tour title of his career.

After upsetting Australia’s world No1 Rachael Grinham and Malaysia’s world No3 Nicol David to reach her first WISPA Grand Prix final, England’s sixth seed Vicky Botwright was unable to produce further magic against the title-holder in the women’s climax. Not since October 2003 had the Manchester-based 28-year-old beaten Atkinson – and the toils of her giant-killing exploits earlier had clearly left their mark in the final.

Atkinson, the world champion in her 29th WISPA Tour final, earned her third successive straight games win in the event beating Botwright 9-7 9-4 9-2 in 34 minutes to claim her 17th WISPA title.

“I cannot believe I’ve actually retained my title as I’ve just been through such a terrible patch and lost all my confidence,” said Atkinson afterwards. “I started to play better in Monte Carlo, which helped win that tournament. I just hope I can keep at that level next week.”

All the players now race to Hong Kong, where the PSA and WISPA Tour action continues in the Cathay Pacific Credit Suisse Privilege World Open. Willstrop opens his campaign against local wildcard player Wai Hang Wong, while Atkinson looks forward to a qualifier.

Thierry Toppled As Palmer Advances To Qatar Final
Lees than twelve months after winning the World Open title on the same court at the Khalifa International Squash Complex in Doha, France’s Thierry Lincou tumbled out of the Qatar Squash Classic after losing a dramatic five-game semi-final to Australia’s David Palmer. In his third Classic final in five years, No3 seed Palmer will face eighth seed James Willstrop, the Englishman who avenged his loss to Anthony Ricketts in last month’s British Open final by beating the Australian in four games.

England’s Vicky Botwright kept up her giant-killing run in the women’s event - following her shock quarter-final defeat of world No1 Rachael Grinham by clinching a five-game victory over Malaysia’s world no3 Nicol David. In the first WISPA Grand Prix final appearance of her career, Botwright will face defending champion Vanessa Atkinson, the second seed who despatched Australia’s fourth seed Natalie Grinham in straight games.

World No1 Lincou took the opening game against Palmer but was taken to tie-breaks in the next two – and edged out of both of them by the third-seeded Australian. The Frenchman fought back to level the match, but Palmer dropped just a single point in the decider to secure a 5-11 11-10 11-10 8-11 11-1 victory in 82 minutes – and his first win over Lincou in three PSA Tour meetings this year.

While former world champion Palmer, 29, from Lithgow in New South Wales, is celebrating his 36th career Tour final – and his fourth of the year – Willstrop is marking his eighth and looking for his first PSA trophy of the year.

Since winning the Pakistan Open last December – when he beat Ricketts in the final - the 22-year-old from Pontefract in Yorkshire has faced the Australian a further five times, now boasting a 4-2 head-to-head advantage. In the Qatar clash between two of the tallest players on the circuit – the Englishman is 6’ 4” – Willstrop took 51 minutes to claim his 11-5 4-11 11-4 11-6 revenge win, and a place in his first Doha final.

Vicky Botwright is enjoying the best run of her career this week in Doha. The 28-year-old sixth seed from Manchester twice stemmed fight backs by Nicol David, the third seed, before beating the in-form British Open champion 9-6 2-9 9-7 4-9 9-6 in 60 minutes. Botwright becomes the only player to have beaten Nicol David, winner of six WISPA titles in 2005, more than once this year!

“I think it’s the biggest night of my career,” said Botwright afterwards. “And beating Rachael and Nicol in the same tournament is just fantastic for me,” added the world No7, now in her fifth final of the year.

The other women’s semi-final was a more straightforward affair as Atkinson brushed aside Natalie Grinham 9-6 9-5 9-5 in 36 minutes. The 29-year-old from The Hague, winner of the Monte Carlo Classic earlier in the month, is now in the sixth WISPA final of the year, and the 29th of her career.

Quarters: Rachael Grinham Out In Mixed Australia Day In Qatar
After running incident-free through the first two rounds, it was the women’s Qatar Squash Classic which saw the greatest upset on quarter-finals day at the Khalifa International Squash Complex in Doha when Australia’s world No1 Rachael Grinham fell in five games to sixth seed Vicky Botwright in her first loss to the English woman in 12 career meetings since May 2000.

It was an otherwise good Australia day, however, as Rachael’s younger sister Natalie Grinham survived a five-game battle to reach the last four of the women’s event, while third seed David Palmer and seventh seed Anthony Ricketts set up the potential of an all-Australian final in the men’s event.

After losing the opening game, favourite Rachael Grinham breezed through the next two for the loss of just a single point – and seemed set on a comfortable victory. But Botwright battled on, and after taking the fourth, swept to an unlikely triumph by winning the fifth in a whitewash to gain a remarkable 9-7 1-9 0-9 9-5 9-0 win in 48 minutes.

Neither player seemed able to explain the bizarre turnaround which led the Australian to fail to reach the last four of a WISPA Grand Prix event for the first time since December 2003. “Honestly, I felt totally outplayed, and the next thing I knew, I was 8-0 up in the fifth,” said the Botwright,.

After recording the best win of her career, the 28-year-old from Manchester now faces Malaysian star Nicol David, the third seed who avenged last week’s straight games defeat by England’s Linda Elriani in the English Premier League to beat the fifth seed 7-9 9-6 10-8 10-9 in an evenly-contested 56-minute clash.

In the other semi-final of the WISPA Platinum event, fourth seed Natalie Grinham will take on second seed Vanessa Atkinson, the world champion from The Hague. Grinham, the 27-year-old Queenslander who is also based in the Netherlands, twice repelled fight backs by Omneya Abdel Kawy before beating the eighth seed from Egypt 9-0 6-9 9-1 2-9 9-5 in 58 minutes.

After four-game battles in the first two rounds, Atkinson brushed aside England’s No7 seed Jenny Duncalf 9-3 9-2 9-7 in just 33 minutes to keep alive her hopes of reaching the Qatar Classic final for the second year in a row.

It was a case of two halves in the men’s quarter-finals of the PSA Super Series event: Top seed Thierry Lincou and third seed David Palmer will meet in the top half semi after surviving bruising five-game marathons, while Ricketts and Englishman James Willstrop will contest the other semi-final after swift straight games successes.

It was nip and tuck in the opening match between Frenchman Lincou, the world champion from Marseille, and Scotland’s surprise quarter-finalist John White, the 11th seed who knocked out England’s twice-champion Peter Nicol. It was anyone’s match until 9-9 in the fifth game when Lincou pressed home his rankings advantage to secure an 8-11 11-6 11-2 9-11 11-9 win in 79 minutes.

Later, former world champion David Palmer, from Lithgow in New South Wales, put paid to an all-French semi-final by beating tenth seed Gregory Gaultier 11-7 8-11 10-11 11-6 11-3 in 77 minutes.

Eighth seed James Willstrop became the only Englishman through to the last four when he beat qualifier Alex Gough. The Welshman, celebrating his first appearance in a PSA Super Series quarter-final since April 2002 after upsetting England’s fourth seed Lee Beachill in the first round, was unable to continue his giant-killing run and went down 11-8 11-6 11-1 in 27 minutes to the 22-year-old from Yorkshire.

It took Anthony Ricketts, from Sydney, only 25 minutes to secure his place in the last four, overcoming qualifier Stewart Boswell in an all-Australian clash. Boswell, the comeback King who has notched up eight PSA Tour titles this year in his return to the circuit after a two-year back injury layoff, failed to recreate the same form which saw him remove Canada’s world No2 Jonathon Power in the previous round.

Ricketts, whose maiden British Open title success last month took him to a career-high world No3 ranking this month, despatched Boswell 11-5 11-3 11-1 to reach the Qatar Classic semi-finals for the first time.

Nicol & Power Crash Out In Qatar
A dramatic day of action in the men's Qatar Squash Classic in Doha saw England's Peter Nicol and Canada's Jonathon Power both exit in major second round upsets. The shock departure of two of the biggest stars to grace the famous all-glass court at the Khalifa International Squash Complex means that it is the first time since 1996 that neither player will feature in the last eight of this established PSA Super Series event.

By contrast, the top eight seeds sailed through the second round of the women's event - with only three of the matches going beyond three games.

Sixth seed Nicol faced fellow Briton John White – and, though the Scot won their previous battle in Doha in the PSA Masters in 2003, Nicol is enjoying a good run of form with two major titles to his credit since July, while White has been battling to keep his place in the world top ten after reaching the top spot in March 2004.

But it was the US-based 11th seed who ultimately prevailed in the pair's latest meeting in Doha, winning 11-7 8-11 11-10 10-11 11-8 in 67 minutes – the longest match men's match of the day – to keep alive his hopes of repeating his 2003 run when he reached the final.

"I'm very happy with the way I played," White told www.squashsite.co.uk . "Since I've dropped out of the top eight, it makes things even more difficult, as I'm playing people like Peter, a former number one, in the second round."

White now faces top seed Thierry Lincou after the Frenchman beat unseeded Malaysian Ong Beng Hee 11-10 11-4 11-5 in 38 minutes.

For Jonathon Power, it was the second time this month that injury has caused his downfall. After severe cramp in his right hand led to his withdrawal from the US Open quarter-finals, the world No2 from Montreal suffered back spasms in his match against Stewart Boswell. The Australian qualifier was two games up when Power signalled his decision to retire, giving Boswell an 11-7 11-6 victory in just 27 minutes – and an unexpected place in the quarter-finals.

Alex Gough became the second qualifier to reach the last eight when he defeated fellow qualifier Davide Bianchetti, from Italy, 11-8 7-11 11-4 11-7 in 57 minutes. The rejuvenated 34-year-old Welshman, who made his Classic breakthrough when he upset England's fourth seed Lee Beachill in the first round, is celebrating his first appearance in a PSA Super Series quarter-final since April 2002.

In the women's event, England's sixth seed survived a 83-minute marathon and twice had to come from behind to overcome Ireland's tenth seed Madeline Perry 3-9 9-1 0-9 9-5 9-4. The 28-year-old from Manchester now meets top seed Rachael Grinham after the world No1 from Australia despatched England's unseeded Dominique Lloyd-Walter 9-4 9-3 9-0.

There will also be English interest in the quarter-final between fifth seed Linda Elriani and Malaysia's No2 seed Nicol David. Elriani, the England No1 playing in her first event since a hamstring injury layoff, beat Hong Kong's Asian Games champion Rebecca Chiu 9-3 9-7 9-0, (26m), while David defeated Dutch opponent Annelize Naude 9-4 9-6 9-2.

Beachill Beached As Gough Goes Forward In Qatar
England's fourth seed Lee Beachill became the biggest casualty – and Welshman Alex Gough one of three qualifiers to progress - on a dramatic second day of first round action in the men's Qatar Classic at the Khalifa International Squash Complex in Doha.

In the women's event, England's unseeded Dominique Lloyd-Walter also staged an upset by removing New Zealand's 11th seed Shelley Kitchen in an hour-long five-game first round encounter.

Lee Beachill arrived in the Qatar capital fresh from retaining his US Open title earlier in the month. But the 27-year-old Yorkshireman, a former world No1, admitted that he played badly and that his opponent played well as he went down 11-7 11-10 11-9 to Gough in 50 minutes.

"This is definitely my best win in recent years," said former world No5 Gough.

Gough, the 34-year-old Welsh champion from Fleet in England, now plays fellow qualifier Davide Bianchetti for a place in the quarter-finals. Bianchetti battled for 62 minutes – the longest men's match of the day – to upset Pakistan's 16th seed Shahid Zaman 3-11 11-7 11-10 10-11 11-7.

Australia's former world No4 Stewart Boswell notched up another nominal upset in his comeback trail after a two-year layoff with a mystery back ailment. The 27-year-old qualifier from Canberra, who has leapt from 299 to 25 in the world rankings this year, despatched Malaysia's 13th seed Mohd Azlan Iskandar 11-10 11-7 11-9 in 51 minutes to set up a second round meeting with Canada's Jonathon Power.

The No2 seed, who won the World Open title on the all-glass court in Doha in 1998, was taken to four games by Joseph Kneipp before beating the Australian 11-5 11-5 9-11 11-4.

In the women's WISPA Platinum event, Dominique Lloyd-Walter scored 'one of the best results of my career' in beating world No12 Shelley Kitchen 2-9 9-7 9-7 3-9 9-7 in 61 minutes. The 24-year-old from Harrow moves on to meet Australia's top seed Rachael Grinham, the world No1 from Toowoomba in Queensland who dismissed Malaysian qualifier Tricia Chuah 9-2 9-0 9-2 in just 20 minutes.

England No1 Linda Elriani, playing in her first event since a hamstring injury layoff, defeated Australian qualifier Amelia Pittock 9-2 9-2 3-9 9-7. The fifth seed will be hoping to deliver the 27th birthday present her opponent does not want to receive when she takes on Hong Kong's Rebecca Chiu in the second round. The 15th seed beat Pakistan's Carla Khan 9-4 9-2 9-5.

Defending champion Vanessa Atkinson repelled a second game fight back by her first round opponent Tegwen Malik. But the No2 seed from The Hague then brushed aside the challenge, beating the Welsh champion 9-1 5-9 9-0 9-0 in 30 minutes to set up a second round clash with England's Tania Bailey, the ninth seed who defeated USA's Latasha Khan 9-3 9-2 9-1 in 22 minutes.

Ong Beng Hee Continues His Advance In Qatar
Within days of his unexpected home triumph in the Malaysian Open Squash Championship, unseeded Ong Beng Hee continued his success against higher-ranked players in the Qatar Classic when he deposed 14th seed Graham Ryding in the only men's upset on the opening day of action at the Khalifa International Squash Complex in Doha writes Paul Swift.

Beng Hee, rediscovering the form which took him to a career-high world No7 in December 2001, beat his Canadian opponent 8-11 11-5 11-10 11-8 in exactly an hour. The UK-based 25-year-old, currently ranked 17 in the world, now faces top seed Thierry Lincou after the Frenchman also recovered from a game down to defeat Dutch qualifier Laurens Jan Anjema 10-11 11-8 11-6 11-2 in 57 minutes.

Lincou, the world No1 from Marseille, became world champion for the first time last December on the same all-glass court in Doha. “I have always done well out here. This is the first match and you will see the best of me in the matches to come,” Lincou told the Gulf Times.

By contrast, England's Peter Nicol needed just 16 minutes to reserve his place in the second round of the $125,000 PSA Super Series Platinum event. The sixth seed, twice a winner of the Qatar Classic title, beat Kuwait's Ali Alramezi 11-6 11-4 11-2, and now meets Scottish rival John White, the 11th seed who knocked out Pakistan's Mansoor Zaman 11-9 11-7 11-8.

The draw for the women's event was also completed at the Khalifa Complex, with players from New Zealand, England, Canada, Malaysia, Australia and Egypt claiming places in the main draw from the qualifying finals.

New Zealand's Louise Crome, ranked 43 in the world, pulled off a significant upset by overcoming Australia's Melissa Martin, ranked 15 places higher, 9-5 7-9 4-9 9-4 10-9 in 48 minutes. But the longest battle was claimed by Egypt's 16-year-old Raneem El Weleily who edged out Mexico's world No30 Samantha Teran 10-8 9-6 7-9 9-4 in 51 minutes.

Australia's world No1 Rachael Grinham is seeded to win the $105,000 WISPA Platinum event after finishing as runner-up twelve months ago. The 28-year-old Queenslander faces Malaysian qualifier Tricia Chuah in the first round.

Defending champion Vanessa Atkinson is the No2 seed and expected to meet Grinham in a repeat of last year's final. The Dutch world champion takes on Tegwen Malik, from Wales, in the opening round.

Women's qualifying finals:
Amelia Pittock (AUS) bt Sarah Kippax (ENG) 9-3, 9-6, 5-9, 9-1 (43m)
Suzie Pierrepont (ENG) bt Kasey Brown (AUS) 9-3, 9-6, 9-7 (41m)
Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt Samantha Teran (MEX) 10-8, 9-6, 7-9, 9-4 (51m)
Tricia Chuah (MAS) bt Aisling Blake (IRL) 10-8, 9-6, 9-0 (36m)
Runa Reta (CAN) bt Eman El Amir (EGY) 10-8, 9-4, 9-2 (44m)
Rebecca Botwright (ENG) bt Line Hansen (DEN) 9-5, 9-2, 9-0 (21m)
Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) bt Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 1-9, 9-5, 9-3, 9-3 (41m)
Louise Crome (NZL) bt Melissa Martin (AUS) 9-5, 7-9, 4-9, 9-4, 10-9 (48m)

Qualifying finals:
MEN: Liam Kenny (IRL) bt Dan Jenson (AUS) 5-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 11-10 (2-0) (83m)
Ben Garner (ENG) bt Renan Lavigne (FRA) 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 10-11 (2-4), 11-4 (66m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Rodney Durbach (RSA) 10-11 (3-5), 11-10 (2-0), 11-4, 11-7 (59m)
Davide Bianchetti (ITA) bt Joey Barrington (ENG) 11-10 (2-0), 6-11, 11-7, 11-6 (86m)
Stewart Boswell (AUS) bt Ramy Ashour (EGY) 11-9, 11-9, 11-10 (2-0) (40m)
Alex Gough (WAL) bt Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) 11-2, 8-11, 11-7, 10-11 (5-7), 11-6
Simon Parke (ENG) bt Laurent Elriani (FRA) 11-5, 11-8, 11-3 (36m)
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt Stacey Ross (ENG) 11-5, 5-11, 8-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-8 (82m)

Lincou In Maiden Qatar Classic Title Bid
Just under a year after winning his first World Open squash title in Doha, France’s Thierry Lincou is back in Qatar’s capital city where he is seeded to become a first-time winner of the Qatar Classic, the second PSA Super Series Platinum event of the year which boasts a $125,000 prize fund.

Lincou, the world No1 from Marseille, will face qualifier Laurens Jan Anjema in the first round today (Tuesday) after the Dutchman survived one of the longest qualifying finals battles to beat England’s Stacey Ross 11-5 5-11 8-11 11-10 11-8 in 82 minutes. The Frenchman is expected to face Peter Nicol in the quarter-finals. The sixth-seeded Englishman is a two-times winner of the Qatar Classic trophy – in 2001 and 2002 – and takes on Kuwaiti Ali Alramezi in the first round.

England’s Lee Beachill begins his defence of the title on Wednesday. The fourth seed meets Welsh qualifier Alex Gough, the former world No5 who defeated Egypt’s Hisham Mohd Ashour 11-2 8-11 11-7 10-11 11-6 in the qualifying finals.

Canada’s Jonathon Power is the No2 seed who is expected to face Lincou in Sunday’s final. Winner of the World Open title on the all-glass court at the Khalifa International Squash Complex in 1998, Power meets Australia’s Joseph Kneipp in the first round - and is expected to link up with another Australian in the last eight. Anthony Ricketts is the event’s No7 seed who, after winning last month’s British Open title in England, rose to a career-high world No3 ranking.

The Qatar draw will have a particularly local feel for Englishman James Willstrop. The eighth seed faces qualifier Simon Parke, a fellow Yorkshireman, in the first round. Victory would take the former world junior champion to a likely second round meeting with England team-mate Nick Matthew, the 12th seed who is also from Yorkshire. Willstrop’s predicted quarter-final opponent would then be Lee Beachill, his Pontefract club team-mate!

1st round draw:
[1] Thierry Lincou (FRA) v [Q] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
[14] Graham Ryding (CAN) v Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
[6] Peter Nicol (ENG) v Ali Alramezi (KUW)
[11] John White (SCO) v Mansoor Zaman (PAK)
[3] David Palmer (AUS) v [Q] Liam Kenny (IRL)
[9] Karim Darwish (EGY) v Mohammed Abbas (EGY)
[5] Amr Shabana (EGY) v [Q] Ben Garner (ENG)
[10] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Peter Barker (ENG)
[12] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Adrian Grant (ENG)
[8] James Willstrop (ENG) v [Q] Simon Parke (ENG)
[16] Shahid Zaman (PAK) v [Q] Davide Bianchetti (ITA)
[4] Lee Beachill (ENG) v [Q] Alex Gough (WAL)
[15] Olli Tuominen (FIN) v [Q] Cameron Pilley (AUS)
[7] Anthony Ricketts (AUS) v Wael El Hindi (EGY)
[13] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) v [Q] Stewart Boswell (AUS)
[2] Jonathon Power (CAN) v Joseph Kneipp (AUS)

Women's 1st round draw:
[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v [Q] Tricia Chuah (MAS)
[11] Shelley Kitchen (NZL) v Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG)
[6] Vicky Botwright (ENG) v [Q] Raneem El Weleily (EGY)
[10] Madeline Perry (IRL) v [Q] Louise Crome (NZL)
[3] Nicol David (MAS) v [Q] Runa Reta (CAN)
[12] Annelize Naude (NED) v Engy Kheirallah (EGY)
[5] Linda Elriani (ENG) v [Q] Amelia Pittock (AUS)
[15] Rebecca Chiu (HKG) v Carla Khan (PAK)
[16] Laura-Jane Lengthorn (ENG) v [Q] Suzie Pierrepont (ENG)
[8] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Pamela Nimmo (SCO)
[13] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) v Sharon Wee (MAS)
[4] Natalie Grinham (AUS) v [Q] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL)
[14] Alison Waters (ENG) v Tamsyn Leevey (NZL)
[7] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v [Q] Rebecca Botwright (ENG)
[9] Tania Bailey (ENG) v Latasha Khan (USA)
[2] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) v Tegwen Malik (WAL)