Catella Swedish Open 2004
 
05-08 Feb, Linkoping, Sweden, $30k

08-Feb, Final:
Darwish too good
for tired Matthew

John Milton reports from Linkoping


Egypt's Karim Darwish collected his third PSA title of 2004 as he beat Nick Matthew 15/12, 15/13, 15/10 in the final of the Catella Swedish Open in Linkoping ... full story

 

07-Feb, Semis:

Darwish downs Power as
Matthew masters Willstrop

 
06-Feb, Quarter-Finals:

Willstrop wins World
Champion Challenge

 
05-Feb, First Round:

Grant gets past Gaultier

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Linkoping looks on

1st Round, Thu 5th Quarters, Fri 6th Semis, Sat 7th Final, Sun 8th
[1] Amr Shabana (Egy)
17/14, 15/12, 15/6 (46m)
Renan Lavigne (Fra) 
Amr Shabana
  15/3, 15/11, 15/5 (42m)
James Willstrop
James Willstrop

15/13, 17/16, 7/15, 15/14 (72m)

Nick Matthew

Nick Matthew

 

15/12, 15/13,
15/10 (60m)

 

Karim Darwish

[8] James Willstrop (Eng
15/9, 15/5, 15/7 (40m)
[Q] Peter Barker (Eng)
[4] Joseph Kneipp (Aus)
15/14, 15/13, 15/12 (80m)
Davide Bianchetti (Ita) 
Joseph Kneipp
8/15, 15/4, 9/15, 15/12, 15/6 (89m)
Nick Matthew
 [7] Nick Matthew (Eng)
15/8, 15/8, 17/16 (47m)
[Q] Joey Barrington (Eng)
Adrian Grant (Eng)
 15/12, 9/15, 15/8, 15/10 (75m)

[5] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
Adrian Grant
  15/10, 15/9, 15/7 (40m)
Karim Darwish
Karim Darwish

15/12, 15/13, 15/10 (56m)

 
Jonathon Power
[Q] Alister Walker (Eng)
15/7, 15/8, 15/9 (31m)
[3] Karim Darwish (Egy)
[Q] Rodney Durbach (Rsa)
15/6, 15/6, 15/12 (41m)
[6] Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
Ong Beng Hee
15/12, 15/7, 15/12 (58m)
 
Jonathon Power

Daniel Forslund (Swe) 
15/5, 15/2, 15/6 (30m)
[2] Jonathon Power (Can)

 

Qualifying Finals, 04-Feb:
Rodney Durbach (Rsa) bt Christian Drakenberg (Swe)  15/9, 15/13, 17/14
Alister Walker (Eng) bt Laurens Anjema (Ned)  15/13, 4/15, 15/17, 15/9, 15/10
Joey Barrington (Eng) bt Lars Harms (Sui)  15/12, 15/6, 15/9
Peter Barker (Eng) bt Raj Nanda (Aus)  15/6, 15/9, 15/3
 
Qualifying first round, 03-Feb:
Rodney Durbach (Rsa)  bye
Christian Drakenberg (Swe) bt Alex Stait (Eng)  15/1, 7/15, 15/11, 13/15, 15/11
Alister Walker (Eng) bt Joakin Karlsson (Swe)  15/9, 15/12, 15/9
Laurens Anjema (Ned) bt Anders Thoren (Swe)  15/13, 15/4, 15/8
Joey Barrington (Eng) bt Badr Abdel Aziz (Swe)  15/14, 15/8, 15/6
Lars Harms (Sui) bt Andre Wikstrom (Swe)  15/14, 15/3, 15/1
Raj Nanda (Aus) bt Jesse Engelbrecht (Zim)  15/9, 17/16, 15/8
Peter Barker (Eng) bt Henrik Lofvenborg (Swe)  15/7, 15/6, 15/4

Results & Reports
08-Feb, Final:
[3] Karim Darwish (Egy) bt [7] Nick Matthew (Eng)  15/12, 15/13, 15/10 (60m)
 
Darwish too good for tired Matthew
John Milton reports from Linkoping

Karim Darwish started as marginal favourite in this year’s final of the Catella Swedish Squash Open here at Linkoping Sports Centre. Nick Matthew had played 2 mammoth matches during the two previous days, against Joe Kneipp in the quarter finals and then he was involved in the finest match ever seen at this event when he beat James Willstrop in the semi final. Could he recover sufficiently to raise his game yet again?

He was certainly not playing at the same speed in the first game as Darwish controlled the pace with carefully placed drives and efficient volleying. He opened a four point gap to lead 10-6 playing a basic game and capitalising on Matthew’s mistakes. Then the gutsy Englishman started to push further up the court and reduced the deficit to just one point. Playing a better, deeper length he started to push Darwish into the four corners of the court. Darwish responded at 10-9 with an immaculately controlled rally where he drew Matthew into the front only to press him back with delayed drives. The gap opened up to four points again before Matthew retrieved the serve. This was only a temporary respite even though Matthew fought back to 12-14 but Darwish closed the game out at 15-12 to go 1 game up.

It was a similar pattern in the second game with Darwish enjoying a four point lead at 8-4 up. The sparkle was not in young Matthew’s game or, more likely, his legs. But his fighting qualities were just as strong as ever and he again reduced the Egyptian’s lead to two points at 9-11. Darwish was just able to keep Matthew at bay though and never allowed the Englishman to draw level. If Matthew went 2-0 down, the feeling was that it would all be over. Surely it was too much for Matthew to stage a come back bigger than anything he had achieved in the last few days? At 14-12 to Darwish it all looked inevitable.

But Matthew was not broken yet, a forehand drop took him within 1 point but Darwish was so quick to get onto Matthew’s shot in the next rally to play a wrong footing crosscourt drive that Matthew failed to get back. 2-0 to Darwish and all over? Darwish’s movement is so smooth and economical, his shots so controlled and well placed, it was difficult to see how Matthew could come back from this. An unforced error in the first rally of the third game resulted in a slump in the shoulders from Matthew that suggested that even he thought that it was too much. But this warrior never knows when to lie down. He brought the score level at 3-3 but it was taking all his energy, mentally and physically, to stay with the impressive Darwish. A couple of uncharacteristic errors from Darwish enabled Matthew to take a slender lead at 5-4 but in trying to force the pace he returned the favour by tinning a backhand drop.

A couple of vicious volley winners from Darwish restored his lead. A big rally at 7-6 to Darwish required Matthew to drag every last ounce of energy from his weary body but incredibly, he was still up to the task, forcing Darwish to play a lose volley down the middle and giving away a point. The respite was temporary though and Darwish gain opened up a lead, again four points, at 11-7. The four point gap was maintained until the end with Darwish hitting a killing cross court drive to bring him his first match ball. He only needed the one, playing a straight back hand drop that the gallant Matthew could not get back.

After exactly one hour, Karim Darwish was the new Catella Swedish Squash Champion.
 

07-Feb, Semi-Finals:
[3] Karim Darwish (Egy) bt [2] Jonathon Power (Can)  15/12, 15/13, 15/10 (56m)
[7] Nick Matthew (Eng) bt [8] James Willstrop (Eng)  15/13, 17/16, 7/15, 15/14 (72m)
 

Unbelievable Matthew takes
his game to a new level
John Milton reports from Linkoping

The capacity crowd at the 2004 Catella Swedish Squash Open in Linkoping saw 2 young English players who have made remarkable progress over the last season. Nick Matthew is just outside the world top 10 at 11 and James Willstrop is not far behind him at number 13.

Nick was the odd player out in today’s semi finals. He is the only one who has not won a world championship… yet! Jon Power is a former world champion and both Darwish and Willstrop have captured the world junior title.

That thought was far from Matthew’s mind as he just nicked a hard fought close first game 15-13. The second was just as tight, with Willstrop trying to impose his greater shot playing and touch at the front. At 11-11 Matthew had done enough to stop that from happening but four Willstrop winners came out of nowhere to take him to 14-11. Matthew wasn’t done yet. He fought back to 14-14 for Willstrop to set 3. Matthew’s length shots were having a devastating effect on Willstrop as he went 16-15 up. Willstrop answered with a perfect drop to create a sudden death situation. He was in a similar position to play the very same shot in the next rally to win the game but he shrieked in anguish as the ball just clipped the top of the tin. Nick Matthew 2-0 up.

The pace at the start of the next game was extraordinary with both players making each other scramble to retrieve top class shots. These are two players who have both made major breakthroughs in recent months and they are playing with a free abandonment that makes them feel unbeatable. Their courage and determination are unquestionable and their skills are honed to the highest standards.

They are also good friends off court but that creates an even greater pride and determination not to lose to each other. That was especially noticeable in the third game when James opened a lead early on and never relinquished it. He won it 15-7. They had been playing for 45 minutes but it had gone so quickly. The crowd were absorbed in an enthralling match. Matthew’s length at the beginning of the fourth was not as good as it had been and Willstrop took full advantage by opening a 4-1 lead. Was Matthew tiring? He raised his game again to level at 4-4. They traded shot for shot, rally for rally. Matthew was playing the match of his life, answering everything that Willstrop threw at him.

There was no difference between them until Matthew went 14-12 up to gain his first match point. The crowd lifted Willstrop, urging him to make one more gigantic effort to take the match into a fifth game. He responded positively and levelled at 14 all. The crowd erupted with excitement as Matthew called 1. Another outstandingly exciting rally, both players taking the ball to the front, counter dropping, driving wide and deep. Every centimetre of the court was covered and it was sad that the match ended on a shot just lifted out of court by the gallant Willstrop to give Matthew a deserved victory.

He described his performance as the best match he had ever played in. It was almost certainly the best match that everyone present at the Linkoping Sports Centre had ever seen.

Darwish beats Power in the Qatar Masters 2003Earlier, former world junior champion Karim Darwish started well in his semi final against Jonathon Power. He opened up a substantial lead of 7-3, and following a few questions asked of the referee by both players but more so by Power, he managed to hold off a Power comeback which seemed almost complete as the deficit was reduced to 1 point at 12-13. It was Power’s turn to hold a lead in the beginning of the second game, going 6-3 up. Both players settled well and started playing their best squash. Anything loose was ruthlessly punished by both players.

Power was trying to create the openings, moving the ball around the court with every shot but Darwish stayed with him, sometimes forcing a mistake from Power, other times picking him off with accurate drops. Power was gradually seizing the initiative though and opened a 3 point lead at 12-9. Darwish hit back with a delightful backhand cross court at the front off another Power drop. An unforced error from Power kept Darwish in the game at 13-11 and then Darwish accidentally trod on Power’s right ankle forcing him to twist it and stopping play for a couple of minutes. A let was played and Darwish took two easy points to level at 13-13.

Power’s focus was going – he needed a good rally to get back into his game. He did not get it, Darwish going straight through to 15-13 and a 2-0 lead. Darwish kept twisting and turning his opponent, testing Power’s ankle at every opportunity and immediately held a 3-1 lead in the third game. Power started playing more shots and quickly drew level.

There was never any more than 2 points in it until the latter part of the game when, despite some outstanding shots from Power, he could not prevent Darwish opening a significant lead to go 14-10 match ball up. He only needed the one.

Power was philosophical after the match saying that the injury upset his game but adding that he should be alright for the Tournament of Champions in New York at the end of the month.
 


06-Feb, Quarter-Finals:
[3] Karim Darwish (Egy) bt Adrian Grant (Eng) 15/10 15/9 15/7 (40m)
[7] Nick Matthew (Eng) bt [4] Joe Kneipp (Aus)  8/15, 15/4, 9/15, 15/12, 15/6 (89m)
[2] Jonathon Power (Can) bt [6] Ong Beng Hee (Mas) 15/12, 15/7, 15/12 (58m)
[8] James Willstrop (Eng) bt [1] Amr Shabana (Egy)  15/3 15/11 15/5 (42m)
 
Willstrop wins the Battle
of the World Champions
John Milton reports from Linkoping
 

James Willstrop, junior world champion, continued his good run of form tonight at the Catella Swedish Squash Open by knocking out the current men’s world champion, Amr Shabana from Egypt. Admittedly he was helped by a knee injury incapacitating the exciting Egyptian sufficiently to make it reasonably comfortable for the Englishman.

The first game was a one sided affair with Willstrop taking it 15-3 in 13 minutes. The expectant crowd was confused – was this really the new world champion they had so excitedly looked forward to seeing? It seemed more likely that Shabana was really making an effort to make it the kind of match everyone had hoped for when he raced to a 7-1 lead in the second game only to see Willstrop come back at him and level the score at 9-9. Willstrop then again proved stronger as he won 7 of the next 9 points to take the game 15-11 and go 2-0 up. There did not seem to be any way back now for Shabana but he defied all odds by going 4-0 up in the next game. But with Willstrop coming back again to take a commanding 10-5 lead, the packed crowd had more or less given up on their hoped for comeback from Shabana. It was increasingly difficult for him to cope with the movement around court Willstrop was forcing him to do and he finished the rest of the match making only a token effort. Willstrop cruised to a win that added another impressive name to a growing list of victims.

Earlier Karim Darwish had started well in the first quarter final of the day at the Linkoping Sports Centre. He comfortably took the first game 15-10 against Adrian Grant, the young Englishman who had scored the only upset of the first round yesterday when he beat 5-8 seed Gregory Gaultier 3-1. After most breakthrough wins for a young player, there tends to be either a surge that takes them to even greater heights or more commonly, a slight slump in form as they automatically expect to play to the same standard that created the original opportunity. It’s as much a mental tiredness as anything physical. This is probably what happened to Grant as he rather meekly fell to the talented former world junior champion from Cairo. The second game was as comfortable for Darwish as the first as he capitalised on the unforced errors from Grant. At the beginning of the third game Grant suddenly sprung to life, going up 3-0. It was a temporary challenge though and Darwish responded by lifting the pace of his own game. He won the next 9 points to effectively kill off the match. Grant only managed to win another 4 points before Darwish closed out the match in straight games in exactly 40 minutes.

The next match threw together two players of contrasting styles. Australian Joe Kneipp is a talented shot player whilst Englishman Nick Matthew grinds his opponent down with relentlessly hard rallies. It has taken the 30 year old Kneipp, now living in Amsterdam, longer than his talent would suggest to break through as a world top 10 player. As a junior he would consistently be the best in Australia, beating present world stars John White and David Palmer with relative ease. But it has taken him a long time to realise that talent as a senior player is not enough. There has to be an extraordinary work ethic that goes with it. That is something that Nick Matthew has in abundance. That is one reason why, in their last meeting, Matthew was able to beat Kneipp. Here in Sweden, Kneipp got off to an ideal start by winning the first game 15-8, showing a patient discipline to rally with Matthew at the beginning of the game before becoming more extravagant with his shot play. Matthew responded by bringing more variety into his play in the second game and racing to a 7-2 lead. Kneipp started to make a few mistakes as the young Englishman grew in confidence. Now it was Kneipp who was chasing the ball. At 12-3 down he started to look as if he would save his energy for the next game. He won only one more point – courtesy of an error from his opponent – as Matthew cruised through to even the score on the half hour mark. Kneipp responded positively.

Reading his opponent’s game better, he was quick to get onto Matthew’s shots and deliver rapier sharp counter attacks. Suddenly he was 7-2 up. Matthew did not give up though and at 4-11 down he told himself to work and proceeded to keep the ball in play as long as possible. He cut the lead to just 2 points before Kneipp won another point. The spell had been broken though and Kneipp was allowed to go through to win the game in one hand, 15-9. With Kneipp 6-4 up in the next game, Matthew suddenly had to have an ‘equipment’ break when one of his shoe laces broke. Would Kneipp’s concentration survive or would it also break? Three unforced errors in the next four points from Kneipp levelled the score at 7-7 and suggested that the break had indeed been detrimental to the Australian. A more patient approach, keeping the ball deep until he was presented with an open opportunity to take the ball short, opened another 2 point lead for Kneipp. Matthew hit back, forcing a mistake from Kneipp. Increasingly, it was becoming a battle to see whose nerve would hold the longest. An uncharacteristic but brilliant crosscourt forehand short kill from Matthew levelled the scores at 10 all. Kneipp’s confidence was shaken as Matthew raced to a 13-10 lead but he hit back, playing inspirational squash to get within one point at 12-13. A rash backhand from behind his opponent that hit the tin proved an expensive mistake for Kneipp, taking Matthew to game ball. He secured the fourth game on another mistake from the Australian which resulted in a point awarded against him to take the match into a fifth and final game. Matthew started well, picking off some loose shots from Kneipp to go 5-2 up. For a short while both players traded punch for punch.

The usually conservative Linkoping crowd suddenly came alive as they sensed the match was reaching its climax. Matthew opened up a lead with some attacking volleys and pushed hard for the finishing line. At 13-6 down Kneipp looked lost for ideas. Matthew turned the screw and took the next two points to follow up his win against Kneipp in the recent Kuwait Open. This was a hard fought and typical Nick Matthew victory.

The next match was probably the one that the Linkoping crowd wanted to see the most, or perhaps it was one player – Jonathon Power. The biggest draw in squash had charmed last night’s crowd not just with his play but also in his interview immediately afterwards. Would he be as charming tonight against Ong Beng Hee who was obviously going to put him under more pressure than last night’s match? In a close first game, there were several contentious decisions made by the referee with slightly more going in favour of the Canadian. Maybe some of those decisions just tipped the balance Power’s way as he took the first game 15-12 after 18 minutes. It was just as close at the start of the second game, with both players showing great touch at the front and disguising mid court shots to send each other the wrong way. Then Power opened a lead that the young Malaysian could not close. Power took the game 15/7 and then kept control during the third game although Beng Hee stayed close throughout. The Canadian managed to stay calm though and finished it in 3, taking the final game 15-13.

Tomorrow’s semi finals show the changing face of the top of world squash. Only Jon Power is in his late twenties, the others being comfortably under 25. Two young Englishmen, James Willstrop and Nick Matthew will battle it out in the top half of the draw whilst the bottom half pits the developing talents of Karim Darwish against the proven talents of Jonathon Power. Another sell out crowd will be fascinated by both matches!

 


05-Feb, Round One:
[8] James Willstrop (Eng) bt [Q] Peter Barker (Eng)  3-0, 15/9 15/5 15/7 (40m)
[7] Nick Matthew (Eng) bt [Q] Joey Barrington (Eng)  3-0, 15/8 15/8 17/16 (47m)
[3] Karim Darwish (Egy) bt [Q] Alister Walker (Eng)  3-0, 15/7 15/8 15/9 (31m)
[6] Ong Beng Hee (Mas) bt [Q] Rodney Durbach (RSA)  3-0, 15/6 15/12 15/12 (41m)
[4] Joseph Kneipp (Aus) bt Davide Bianchetti (Ita)  3-0, 15/14 15/13 15/13 (80m)
[2] Jonathon Power (Can) bt Daniel Forslund (Swe)  3-0, 15/5 15/2 15/6 (29m)
[1] Amr Shabana (Egy) bt Renan Lavigne (Fra)  3-0, 17/14 15/12 15/6 (46m)
Adrian Grant (Eng) bt [5] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)  3-1, 12/15 15/9 15/10 (75m)
 
Adrian GrantAll but one seed safely
through the first round
John Milton reports from Linkoping

Gregory Gaultier, world number 12, was the only seed that did not make it through the first round of this year’s Catella Swedish Squash Open. He lost 3-1 to Adrian Grant of England in the last match of the day.

Before, all four qualifiers had failed at the first hurdle to make any real impact. Playing the first four matches on the glass court at the Linkoping Sports Centre, all of them lost in straight games allowing their opponents to enjoy comfortable victories. The first two matches were between four Englishmen. James Willstrop, recent finalist in Kuwait, started as if he was determined not to give Peter Barker any points at all. In a strange first game he went 7-0 up, was pegged back to 7-7 and then won a string of another 6 points to go 13-6 up. Closing the first game out at 15-9, James was always too sharp for Barker who looked tired, despite having an easy victory the previous night in the final qualifying round. The next two games only took 10 minutes each to give James a clear path through to meet the new world champion Amr Shabana, in the next round.

It was nearly as straight forward for the world number 11 Nick Matthew until he lost his concentration in the third game against Joey Barrington. From being 14-13 match ball up, Matthew let his lead slip until he faced 2 game balls against him at 14-16 down. Barrington did not quite have enough to nick the game however and the dogmatic Matthew rallied well to draw level and finally win the match 17/16.

Karim Darwish, the stylish young Egyptian, made short work of another young Englishman, Alister Walker. He made the most of a nervous start from Walker, racing to a 15/7 first game in just 7 minutes. Walker, who originates from Botswana, improved significantly in the second game and was actually only one point behind at 7-8. His length had improved and he was much more severe in punishing any loose shots played by Darwish. But his inexperience at this level showed as he tried to win a few cheap points, going to the front too early and making unforced errors. Darwish also pushed up to take the ball earlier and froze his opponent out to win the second game 15-8. Darwish was always comfortably ahead in the third game but once again, Walker showed considerable promise in his all round play.

Potentially the best match of the afternoon’s session was a repeat of last year’s first round between Ong Beng Hee and Rodney Durbach. When they met last year, Beng Hee was defending the title he had won in 2002, but he was experiencing a slump in form and a confidence crisis. This was personified by his 3-2 loss to the experienced South African. This year was a different story. Showing much more positive body language, the young Malaysian proved that he is fast returning to his best form. His touch at the front, particularly on his backhand was devastating. Durbach was slow in seeing the ball in the first game and was sluggish to react. It proved fatal and Beng Hee took full advantage of the dead court, cutting and slicing from all the angles his opponent gave him. Durbach though, the oldest player in the main draw at 31, is known as one of the toughest competitors on the professional circuit. Playing straighter and tighter, he cut down the attacking options he had provided his opponent in the first game. He could not quite nose ahead of Beng Hee though and the Malaysian took the next two games 15-12, 15-12 to win 3-0. This was sweet revenge for the previous year.

Joe Kneipp against Davide Bianchetti should have been a comfortable win for the Australian but Bianchetti came within a whisker of pinching the first two games. His best chance was at 14-13 up in the first but after Kneipp drew level at 14 all, the Italian will regret calling set 1 and then losing the next point. All over, everyone thought but Bianchetti has beaten some of the best players in the world this season and he made Kneipp, a member of last year’s Australian world champion winning team, work just as hard to secure the second game 15-13. All over now? No way. Bianchetti was definitely still in it at 12 all but made two crucial errors to allow Kneipp his first match point. He took his chance well, slotting a forehand volley into the nick to secure his hard fought win.

Local favourite Daniel Forslund was handed one of the toughest draws when he had to play former world champion and world number 1 Jonathon Power. The stature of the Swedish Open has grown each year and this was endorsed by the appearance of Power at this year’s tournament. He remains the games biggest draw and is probably still the world’s most exciting player. The first game took just 8 minutes with Power sending Forslund the wrong way too many times. The Canadian rarely plays the same shot twice in a row and his variety and creativity was in sharp contrast to the more conventional game of Forslund. Points for the Swede were rare and greeted with enthusiastic applause but he increasingly fell under the spell of Power. Playing Power if you are the wildcard is a different proposition from playing most other world class players. He is much more difficult to read and is so quick onto his opponent’s shots. Forslund was never allowed to settle and after 17 minutes, he was 2-0 down, with Power barely breaking sweat. The crowd tried to lift the home player at the start of the third but it was to no avail. Power even introduced some exhibition shots as he cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win. His match tomorrow against Ong Beng Hee should be one of the highlights of the quarter finals.

The new world champion and number 1 seed at this year’s Catella Swedish Open, Amr Shabana from Egypt, took centre stage in his match against Renan Lavigne of France. With moments of dazzling shot play, he mesmerized the crowd. But Lavigne is a stubborn competitor. He was ahead for most of the first game and enjoyed a 13-9 scoreline only to go game ball down after a flurry of unreturnable shots from Shabana. He did well to level at 14 all but the outcome was inevitable; Shabana won the first game 17-14. He started the second game looking more comfortable and kept a steady 2 point lead for most of the game. The popular left hander from Cairo kept Lavigne at bay to go 2-0 up. Shabana raced to a 7-1 lead in the third with a mixture of devastating power shots and deft flicks. The gallant Frenchman had run out of ideas. Shabana took the ball even earlier and after 46 minutes he ran out a 3-0 winner to set up a mouth watering meeting with world junior champion James Willstrop in the next round. A great coup for the Catella Swedish Open 2004 – two world champions playing against each other!

At last – a note of controversy! In a tight game between two of the most promising young players on the circuit, Greg Gaultier of France and Adrian Grant, another Englishman, Grant drew first blood by taking the game with the help of a ‘no let’ call against Gaultier on game ball. It seemed a bit harsh, and Gaultier thought so too. He spent most of the 90 seconds before the start of the second game discussing the decision with the referee. However, it seemed to galvanise the Frenchman into action in the second game. He soon established a big lead which was never threatened and he levelled the match at 1-1 by taking the game 15-9 after 38 minutes. The third game saw the match swing Grant’s way again. The mercurial Gaultier can be brilliant at times but there is an inconsistency to his game at the moment that can only be explained by poor concentration. The steadier Englishman comfortably took the third game 15-8. Coming back a second time was too much for Gaultier and he was never really close to Grant in the fourth and final game. Grant will be pleased that he caused the only, admittedly minor, upset of the day and is rewarded with a quarter final place against Karim Darwish tomorrow.

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04-Feb, Qualifying Finals:
English Dominate Swedish Open Qualifiers
England players claimed all but one of the qualifying places in the 2004 Catella Swedish Open Squash Championship after the qualifying finals in Linköping.

Essex's Peter Barker beat Australia's Raj Nanda in straight games to earn a replay of the 2002 World Junior Open final against compatriot James Willstrop, the 8th seed.

Another all-English clash will take place between fifth seed Nick Matthew and Joey Barrington, the Somerset 25-year-old who toppled Switzerland's Lars Harms 15-12 15-6 15-9.

Alister Walker's 15-13 4-15 15-17 15-9 15-10 victory over Dutchman Laurens-Jan Anjema gives the Hertfordshire player a first round clash with Egypt's Karim Darwish, the third seed who is aiming to win his third title already this
year.

Walker's Broxbourne team-mate Rodney Durbach took the final qualifying place. The 31-year-old South African beat Sweden's Christian Drakenberg 15-9 15-13 15-14 and now faces Malaysia's seventh seed Ong Beng Hee, the 2002 champion, in the first round.

Egypt's new world champion Amr Shabana is seeded to win the $30,000 PSA Tour event. The 24-year-old from Cairo meets France's Renan Lavigne in the opening round.

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