World Championships 2008

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Ramy Ashour & Nicol David Share World Honours In Manchester


Egyptian Ramy Ashour and Malaysian Nicol David shared the honours in the Hi-Tec World Open Squash Championships after victories in the finals of the first joint staging of the Men's World Open and Women's World Open in the UK at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester.


Spurred on by a capacity home crowd in the English city in which she was born and raised, England's Vicky Botwright took the opening game against favourite Nicol David in the women's final - but failed to prevent the world number one from reclaiming the title she lost last year in Madrid.


Botwright, the 11th seed playing in her last competition before retiring to take up a position as Head Coach at the National Centre, led throughout the opening game to take a surprise lead.


But, after dropping her first game of the tournament, David raised her game in the second to draw level after the loss of just a single point.


The Malaysian superstar extended her lead by taking the third.  It was nip and tuck in the fourth before David clinched the match 5-11, 11-1, 11-6, 11-9 in 44 minutes to win the world title for the third time - and extend her unbeaten Tour run to 43 matches since last October.


"I knew I had to play my best squash of the week - after all she's world number one, the best player in the world," said the 31-year-old local heroine who made her breakthrough when beating Australia's defending champion Rachael Grinham in the second round.


"It's been a fantastic week - the crowd were fantastic.  When they started shouting as I went onto court, I felt a bit emotional.  But I am definitely not going to play on the Tour anymore," Botwright confirmed.


David, who has massive support in her home country, acknowledged the significance of the crowd:  "I now know what it's like for people to play me in Malaysia."


But she was full of praise for her opponent, ranked 12 in the world:  "Every shot she played, every drive, was so tight," said David of her unexpected opponent in the final.  "She really kept on fighting - it was a great achievement to get to the final."


Less than 24 hours after competing in the world final, Botwright will be back at work for her employers Manchester City Council, running a coaching session at the city's Abraham Moss Recreation Centre!


The men's event climaxed in an all-Egyptian clash between Ramy Ashour, the fourth seed from Cairo who removed compatriot and defending champion Amr Shabana in the semi-finals, and close friend Karim Darwish, the No7 seed who ousted Australia's two-time champion David Palmer.


Both were playing in their maiden world final - and 27-year-old underdog Darwish took the opening advantage by winning the first game. 


But the exuberant Ashour, the 21-year-old world No4 and twice winner of the world junior title, changed his tactics and clinched the second game to draw level.


By now the younger Egyptian was in the ascendancy and - to the joy of the vociferous Egyptian section of the crowd - beat Darwish 5-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-5 in 60 minutes to become only the second player in history (after Pakistan legend Jansher Khan) to win both the junior and senior world titles.


"Putting me in the same category as Jansher is a huge thing for me," said new champion Ramy Ashour.  "I have been watching his videos on YouTube recently - and have used some of his shots in my game.


"I didn't think about becoming world champion during the whole match," added Ashour.  "Karim is a very tough player - I had to keep my focus the whole time."


Manchester is clearly a lucky city for the 21-year-old, who won the PSA's flagship Super Series Finals last year at the National Squash Centre.  "For sure I'll be back to try and win another title in front of this great crowd."


Ashour, who now has ten PSA Tour titles to his name, admitted that he had played conservatively in the first game:  "I did it on purpose - but he came out doing the things I should have been doing, and this provoked me!"


When asked what winning the world title would mean to him, Ashour said:  "It will mean a lot - but it will mean more to my mother and father."


. Reports
. Previews plus Video
. Men's Draw
. Women's Draw

. About the Event

Jahangir Khan, president of the WSF, with world no 1's Nicol David and Amr Shabana signing the Olympic pledge (Click for full story)

Click Pics for larger view

Ramy Ashour beats fellow countryman Karim Darwish to win his first World Open

Nicol David beats local favourite Vicky Botwright to claim her 3rd World Open title

Karim Darwish, Egy, beats David Palmer, Aus, to reach his first World Open final

David Palmer repeats his British Open final win over third seed James Willstrop to claim his semi-final place

Adrian Grant beats 2nd seed Gregory Gaultier for the best win of his career

Vicky Botwright records her best ever win by defeating reigning world champion Rachael Grinham

Mohamed El Shorbagy, Egy, beats 6th seed Thierry Lincou, Fra, to complete Egyptian dominance in the top quarter of the draw

Daryl Selby beats 16th seed Olli Tuominen for one of the best wins of his career

Click Pic for large view

Sarah Kippax, ambassador for The Hi-Tec World Championships


Round One
Mon 13
Round Two
Tue 14
Round Three
Fri 17
Sat 18
Sun 19
[1] Amr Shabana (Egy)
6/11, 11/5, 11/3, 11/5 (34m)
[Q] Simon Rosner (Ger)
Amr Shabana
 12/10, 11/7, 11/4 (43m)
Borja Golan
Amr Shabana
11/9, 2/11, 11/4, 12/14, 11/6 (84m
Wael El Hindi
Amr Shabana
11-2, 11-3, 11-6 (20m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
Amr Shabana
11-6, 7-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7 (63m)
Ramy Ashour
Ramy Ashour
5-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-5 (60m)
Karim Darwish
 Borja Golan (Esp)
11/4, 11/0, 11/1 (20m)
Shawn Delierre (Can)
 [9] Wael El Hindi (Egy)
12/10, 11/5, 13/11 (58m)
[Q] Liam Kenny (Irl)
Wael El Hindi
11/7, 7/11, 11/9, 11/8 (75m)
Omar Mosaad
Omar Mosaad (Egy)
11/4, 11/4 rtd (22m)
[Q] Arturo Salazar (Mex)
 [6] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
6/11, 11/3, 11/1, 11/1 (36m)
Amr Swelim (Egy)
Thierry Lincou
12/10, 11/6, 7/11, 10/12, 13/11 (81m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
Mohamed El Shorbagy
11/4, 6/11, 11/8, 10/12, 13/11 (45m)
Hisham Ashour
Renan Lavigne (Fra)
10/12, 11/6, 7/11, 11/6, 11/8 (68m)
[Q] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
[10] Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
11/8, 9/11, 11/6, 7/11, 11/8 (70m)
Tom Richards (Eng)
Ong Beng Hee
10/12, 11/7, 11/9, 11/9 (40m)
Hisham Ashour
Hisham Ashour (Egy)
11/9, 11/8, 11/5 (26m)
Chris Ryder (Eng)
[4] Ramy Ashour (Egy)
11/5, 11/6, 12/10 (29m)
[Q] Yann Perrin (Fra)
Ramy Ashour
11/5, 11/4, 11/3 (28m)
 Cameron Pilley
Ramy Ashour
11/8, 11/13, 11/8, 11/6 (60m)
Peter Barker
Ramy Ashour
2-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (58m)
Nick Matthew
 Cameron Pilley (Aus)
11/8, 11/8, 11/6 (42m)
[Q] Scott Arnold (Aus)
[12] Peter Barker (Eng)
11/4, 11/5, 11/1 (41m)
Eric Galvez (Mex)
Peter Barker
11/3, 11/3, 11/2 (59m)
Joey Barrington
Joey Barrington (Eng)
11/3, 11/3, 12/10 (100m)
Aaron Frankcomb (Aus)
[8] Nick Matthew (Eng)
11/9, 11/7, 11/5 (34m)
[Q] Shahid Zaman (Pak)
Nick Matthew
 11/9, 11/6, 11/9 (46m)
 Stewart Boswell
Nick Matthew
11/7, 11/6, 11/13, 11/4 (60m)
L J Anjema
 Stewart Boswell (Aus)
11/7, 12/14, 11/3, 11/3 (58m)
Tarek Momen (Egy)
[15] L J Anjema (Ned)
11/4, 11/3, 11/7 (34m)
Rafael Alarcon (Bra)
L J Anjema
9/11, 11/7, 7/11, 15/13, 11/7 (87m)
Farhan Mehboob
Farhan Mehboob (Pak)
9/11, 11/1, 11/9, 11/7 (51m)
Julien Balbo  (Fra)
[Q] Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
14/12, 12/10, 6/11, 11/7 (75m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez
11/6, 11/2, 11/3 (39m)
Daryl Selby
Daryl Selby
11-5, 11-13, 11-3, 12-10 (83m)
David Palmer
David Palmer
5-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5 (78m)
James Willstrop
David Palmer
11-6, 11-9, 11-8 (46m)
Karim Darwish
Daryl Selby (Eng)
11/8, 11/3, 11/4 (50m)
[16] Olli Tuominen (Fin)
Jan Koukal (Cze)
14/12, 11/1, 11/3 (31m)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
Jonathan Kemp
11/6, 12/14, 11/7, 12/10 (53m)
David Palmer
[Q] Mark Krajcsak (Hun)
11/2, 11/8, 11/2 (23m)
[5] David Palmer (Aus)
[Q] David Phillips (Can)
11/7, 9/11, 11/9, 11/1 (56m)
Davide Bianchetti (Ita)
Davide Bianchetti
 11/9, 11/6, 10/12, 13/11 (80m)
Lee Beachill
Davide Bianchetti
11-7, 13-11, 11-8 (48m)
James Willstrop
 [13] Lee Beachill (Eng)
11/6, 11/3, 11/1 (27m)
[Q] Robbie Temple (Eng)
John White (Sco)
13/11, 11/6, 11/2 (30m)
Mansoor Zaman (Pak)
John White
11/2, 3/11, 12/10, 11/9 (49m) 
James Willstrop
[Q] Ben Ford (Eng)
 11/4, 11/7, 11/5 (24m)
 [3] James Willstrop (Eng)
Julian Illingworth (Usa)
11/5, 8/11, 11/3, 11/4 (56m)
Alister Walker (Eng)
Alister Walker
8/11, 11/1, 11/5, 11/5 (47m)
Kashif Shuja
Alister Walker
9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 (61m)
Karim Darwish
Karim Darwish
12-10, 11-7, 11-7 (47m)
Adrian Grant
Kashif Shuja (Nzl)
11/5, 8/11, 11/3, 11/4 (56m)
[11] Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
[Q] Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
 11/5, 9/11, 11/9, 10/12, 11/7 (76m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak)
Aamir Atlas Khan
11/1, 11/7, 13/11 (37m)
Karim Darwish
[Q] Dylan Bennett (Ned)
11/5, 11/0, 11/3 (22m)
[7] Karim Darwish (Egy)
[Q] Jorge Ferreira (Mex)
11/13, 11/7, 5/11, 12/10, 11/9 (75m)
Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
Jorge Ferreira
12/10, 11/2, 11/13. 11/2 (59m)
Adrian Grant
Adrian Grant
9-11, 12-10, 14-12, 1-11, 13-11 (98m)
Gregory Gaultier
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy)
11/9, 12/14, 11/5, 11/7 (63m)
[14] Adrian Grant (Eng)
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
12/10, 12/10, 11/4 (56m)
Shahier Razik (Can)
Shahier Razik
 11/6, 11/6, 11/3 (39m)
Gregory Gaultier
[Q] Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
11/6, 12/10, 11/9 (32m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)

Sun 12th, Qualifying Finals:

Dylan Bennett (Ned) bt Joel Hinds (Eng)                     10/12, 11/8, 19/17, 16/14 (90m)
Ben Ford (Eng) bt Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)                        10/12, 11/9, 11/5, 11/9 (66m)
Yann Perrin (Fra) bt Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)            12/10, 3/11, 13/15, 11/7, 11/7 (97m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) bt Joe Lee (Eng)                         11/4, 11/8, 11/5 (27m)
Jorge Ferreira (Mex) bt Siddharth Suchde (Ind)                       11/7, 11/5, 11/4 (46m)
David Phillips (Can) bt Adil Maqbool (Pak)                               11/6, 11/6, 11/6 (30m)
Simon Rosner (Ger) bt Badr Abdel Aziz (Swe)                          11/6, 11/6, 11/8 (43m)
Scott Arnold (Aus) bt Stephen Coppinger (Rsa)     5/11, 11/3, 9/11, 13/11, 11/9 (92m)
Arturo Salazar (Mex) bt Steve Finitsis (Aus)                  7/11, 11/7, 11/9, 11/7 (56m)
Robbie Temple (Eng) bt Jesse Engelbrecht (Rsa)                  11/6, 11/9, 16/14 (51m)
Shahid Zaman (Pak) bt Amr Mansi (Egy)                               11/9, 11/8, 11/6 (41m)
Liam Kenny (Irl) bt Chris Simpson (Eng)              11/5, 7/11, 9/11, 11/6, 11/7 (85m)
Nicolas Mueller (Sui) bt Campbell Grayson (Nzl)   9/11, 3/11, 11/7, 11/1, 11/8 (57m)
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) bt Ritwik Bhattacharya (Ind)  11/5, 11/6, 9/11, 3/11, 11/5 (80m)
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) bt Andrew Whipp (Eng)             11/5, 11/7, 11/13, 3/11, 11/8 (78m)
Mark Krajcsak (Hun) bt Gilly Lane (Usa)                11/6, 15/17, 10/12, 11/4, 11/8 (84m)
Sat 11th Oct,

Qualifying First Round (Finals Sun 12th)
, 16 to qualify :

Round One Results
Dylan Bennett bt Morgan Hibbard                              11/6, 11/7, 11/6 (34m)
Joel Hinds bt Bradley Hindle                                    11/5, 11/8, 12/10 (38m)
Ben Ford bt Ky Hibbard                                             11/6, 11/1, 11/6 (25m)
Nafiizwan Adnan bt Tom Dwyer                                 11/2, 11/6, 11/9 (32m)
Ali Anwar Reda bt Peter Billson                                 11/2, 11/8, 11/7 (28m)
Yann Perrin bt Wade Johnstone                               11/6, 11/3, 12/10 (40m)
Joe Lee bt John Rooney                         7/11, 20/18, 5/11, 11/6, 11/6 (69m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy bt Issa Kamara                      11/5, 11/7, 11/9 (19m)
Jorge Ferreira bt Rob Sutherland           9/11, 12/10, 11/9, 5/11, 11/3 (63m)
Siddarth Suchde bt Martin Knight                             11/7, 11/7, 11/2 (64m)
Adil Maqbool bt Matthew Karwalski                         13/11, 11/5, 11/7 (31m)
David Phillips bt Arthur Gaskin                               12/10, 11/6, 11/6 (45m)
Simon Rosner bt Chris Truswell                                11/8, 11/5, 11/6 (29m)
Badr Abdel Aziz bt Luca Mastrostefano  15/13, 11/7, 10/12, 7/11, 11/1 (60m)
Steve Coppinger bt Tom Pashley                              11/2, 11/6, 11/5 (30m)
Scott Arnold bt Alex Stait                             11/9, 11/13, 14/12, 11/4 (62m)
Steve Finitsis bt Jaymie Haycocks                             11/8, 11/3, 11/4 (31m)
Arturo Salazar bt Clinton Leeuw                              11/9, 12/10, 11/6 (45m)
Robbie Temple bt Phil Nightingale           10/12, 9/11, 11/8, 11/6, 11/6 (69m)
Jesse Engelbrecht bt Waqar Mehboob       9/11, 11/4, 6/11, 11/4, 11/8 (55m)


Hi-Tec World Championships
Women's Draw
Round One Round Two Quarters Semis Final
[1] Nicol David (Mas)
11/6, 11/3, 11/2 (19m)
Sharon Wee (Mas)
Nicol David
11-3, 11-8, 11-7 (24m)
Rebecca Chiu
Nicol David
11-8, 11-1, 11-9 (30m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy
Nicol David
11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (35m)
Madeline Perry
Nicol David
5-11, 11-1, 11-6, 11-9 (44m)
Vicky Botwright
[13] Rebecca Chiu (Hkg)
8/11, 6/11, 11/5, 11/6, 11/6 (52m)
Lauren Briggs (Eng)
[8] Laura L-Massaro (Eng)
 12/10, 13/11, 11/6 (33m)
Annelize Naude (Ned)
 Laura L-Massaro
21-23, 19-17, 12-14, 11-6, 11-7 (85m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy
[9] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)
11/6, 12/10, 12/10 (28m)
 [Q] Line Hansen (Den)
[4] Natalie Grainger (Usa)
11/5, 11/6, 11/2 (22m)
[Q] Alana Miller (Can)
 Natalie Grainger
11-5, 5-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8 (41m)
Jaclyn Hawkes
Jaclyn Hawkes
6-11, 5-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 (66m)
Madeline Perry
 [10] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned)
11/9, 11/7, 8/11, 10/12, 11/5 (56m)
Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl)
[6] Shelley Kitchen (Nzl)
11/7, 11/7, 11/4 (32m)
[Q] Delia Arnold (Mas)
Shelley Kitchen
11-5, 11-6, 11-2 (34m)
Madeline Perry
[14] Madeline Perry (Irl)
6/11, 11/8, 13/11, 11/5 (72m)
Engy Kheirallah (Egy)
[Q] Low Wee Wern (Mas)
11/5, 11/13, 11/4, 13/11 (79m)
[12] Kasey Brown (Aus)
Kasey Brown
11-8, 11-2, 13-11 (33m)
Jenny Duncalf
Jenny Duncalf
11-8, 10-12, 5-11, 11-6, 11-7 (65m)
Natalie Grinham
Jenny Duncalf
11-3, 11-6 ret. (22m)
Vicky Botwright
Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
11/3, 6/11, 14/12, 11/7 (38m)
[5] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
[Q] Annie Au (Hkg)
11/5, 11/4, 3/11, 11/5 (36m)
[16] Samantha Teran (Mex)
Annie Au
11-6, 11-7, 11-4 (27m)
Natalie Grinham
 Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Eng)
11/5, 11/6, 11/9 (35m)
 [3] Natalie Grinham (Ned)
  [Q] Sarah Kippax (Eng)
11/5, 11/6, 11/5 (30m)
[15] Isabelle Stoehr (Fra)
Isabelle Stoehr
11-3, 11-1, 11-7 (25m)
Alison Waters
Alison Waters
13-11, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9 (51m)
Vicky Botwright
[Q] Latasha Khan (Usa)
11/9, 11/6, 12/14, 11/4 (36m)
[7] Alison Waters (Eng)
[Q] Manuela Manetta (Ita)
11/5, 11/7, 11/2 (21m)
[11] Vicky Botwright (Eng)
Vicky Botwright
5-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-8 (47m)
Rachael Grinham
Louise Crome (Nzl)
11/7, 11/6, 11/2 (22m)
[2] Rachael Grinham (Aus)

12-Oct, Qualifying First Round:                                              13-Oct, Finals

Latasha Khan (Usa) bt Emma Beddoes (Eng)                        11/6, 11/4, 11/4 (26m)
Lauren Siddall (Eng) bt Anna-Carin Forstadius (Swe)            11/5, 11/6, 11/2 (20m)
Sarah Kippax (Eng) bt Laura Mylotte (Irl)                            11/4, 11/2, 12/10 (28m)
Laura Hill (Eng) bt Tatiana Damasio Borges (Bra)          11/4, 11/7, 6/11, 11/5 (29m)
Annie Au (Hkg) bt Tara Mullins (Can)                                     11/2, 11/6, 11/5 (23m)
Camille Serme (Fra) bt Dipika Pallikal (Ind)          7/11, 11/6, 9/11, 11/9, 11/5 (48m)
Suzie Pierrepont (Eng) bt Joey Chan (Hkg)                  8/11, 11/2, 11/4, 11/8 (38m)
Low Wee Wern (Mas) bt Amelia Pittock (Aus)                         11/9, 11/3, 11/8 (27m)

Alana Miller (Can) bt Vicky Hynes (Eng)                               11/5, 11/8, 11/9 (29m)
Aisling Blake (Irl) bt Emma Chorley (Eng)                    11/6, 9/11, 11/4, 11/5 (36m)
Orla Noom (Ned) bt Lauren Selby (Eng)                       11/3, 13/15, 11/3, 11/5 (36m)
Manuela Manetta (Ita) bt Fiona Moverley (Eng)             7/11, 11/3, 11/3, 11/7 (29m)
Joshna Chinappa (Ind) bt Georgina Stoker (Eng) 11/6, 11/5, 8/11, 10/12, 11/3 (45m)
Delia Arnold (Mas) bt Lucie Fialova (Cze)                             11/5, 11/4, 12/10 (26m)
Elise Ng (Hkg) bt Jenna Gates (Eng)                              11/8, 4/11, 11/4, 11/6 (28m)
Line Hansen (Den) bt Luz Etchechoury (Arg)                          11/1, 11/9, 11/4 (22m)


Botwright To Face David In Dream Manchester World Final 

After consistently failing to live up to expectations on her 'home' court at the National Squash Centre in Manchester for the past ten years, Vicky Botwright provided the dream outcome for the organisers of the Hi-Tec World Open Squash Championships by earning a place in the women's final in the English city.


The world's leading players from more than 30 countries have been competing in the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008, the first ever joint staging of the Men's World Open and Women's World Open in the UK.


Botwright, the 11th seed, is bidding farewell to the WISPA World Tour after taking up the position of Head Coach at the Centre.  But, in the second round, the Manchester-based 31-year-old stunned the squash world by ousting Australian title-holder Rachael Grinham.


The former England number one then clinched her first appearance in the world final when higher-ranked England team-mate Jenny Duncalf retired injured after two games.


"I don't know what to say - it's unbelievable," said the jubilant Mancunian afterwards.  "I thought I could beat her - but I didn't want to do it like that.


"But even if I win the title tomorrow, I will still be back at work at the centre on Monday morning!"


Duncalf, the fifth seed from Harrogate in Yorkshire, was devastated to have pulled out prematurely:  "It was in the second rally of the match that something went in my right thigh - and I didn't know what to do.  I took a three-minute injury break in the game, but the injury affected my movement and after two games I couldn't go on.


"I've never come off injured in my life before - it's not a great time to do it in a World Open!"


Botwright will face strong favourite Nicol David in the final.  The world number one from Malaysia beat surprise opponent Madeline Perry, the 14th seed from Ireland, 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 to reach her tenth successive Tour final since her shock second round defeat in the 2007 World Open a year ago in Madrid.


David acknowledged that she has raised her game over the past year:  "Every tournament I play, I learn more about myself - and with this new scoring, you have to be sharp.  You can't afford to lose concentration."


Later the capacity crowd in Manchester - which included two IOC delegates attending the event in the observation process for Squash's bid to become an Olympic sport in 2016 - witnessed a titanic all-Egyptian encounter in which 21-year-old Ramy Ashour beat defending champion Amr Shabana, the world No1, 11-6, 7-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7.


Shabana, who celebrated his 31st month in a row as world number one this month and was looking to become only the fourth player in history to win a fourth world title, rued his missed chances when leading 5-3 and 8-6 in the fourth game.


"I had my chances and missed them - I should have won in the fourth," said the 29-year-old from Giza afterwards.  "I played all right - he had to play well to beat me."


Fourth seed Ashour, who earlier in the tournament had admitted being nervous about being back in England for the first time since an injury-beset British Open in May, was delighted with his performance. 


"I think that was my best ever match - I gave it all.  I've never been so focussed."


In his first appearance in a World Open final, Ashour will face fellow countryman Karim Darwish, after the 27-year-old from Cairo beat Australia's former champion David Palmer 11-6, 11-9, 11-8 in 46 minutes.


"I'm so happy to be in the final of the World Open - the biggest event of the year," said the seventh seed.  "And I am so pleased to be in the final against my team-mate Ramy.


"Off court, we are really good friends, but on-court we don't think about it!"

English World Finalist Guaranteed After Duncalf Downs Grinham

It was 13th time lucky for England's Jenny Duncalf in the women's quarter-finals of the Hi-Tec World Open Squash Championships when the world No5 from Yorkshire upset Dutch star Natalie Grinham to ensure the event's first English finalist for five years.


The world's leading players from more than 30 countries have been competing in the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008, the first ever joint staging of the Men's World Open and Women's World Open in the UK.


Domestic interest in the men's event expired when the English trio of Nick Matthew, James Willstrop and Adrian Grant all fell at the quarter-final hurdle - leaving Australian David Palmer and three Egyptians Amr Shabana, Ramy Ashour and Karim Darwish to contest the semi-finals.


With 12 successive wins over Duncalf over the past four years, world number two Natalie Grinham was favourite to win their match en-route to her third successive appearance in the women's final.


But a resolute Duncalf, 25, from Harrogate, fought back from two games to one down to beat her Australian-born opponent 11-8, 10-12, 5-11, 11-6, 11-7 in 65 minutes to reach her first world semi.


"I played my best ever squash in the fifth game to get to 7-1, then got the tingles when she fought back to win the next four points.  A certain English finalist?  That's brilliant for English squash," said the former British National champion.


"I'm really happy to have finally beaten Natalie!"


Duncalf now meets England team-mate and local star Vicky Botwright, the 31-year-old former England number one from Manchester who announced her retirement on the eve of the championships. 


The 11th seed, who ousted defending champion Rachael Grinham in the previous round, continued her 'giant-killing' run by taking out seventh-seeded compatriot Alison Waters 13-11, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9.


"It really is unbelievable," said Botwright later.  "The people you have to beat to get this far makes it so hard. 


"But I think the scoring changed just in time for me!"


In an extraordinary match later in the day, Ireland's 14th seed Madeline Perry showed the guts that took her to six in the world over two years ago when she fought back from two games and 9-7 down to beat unseeded New Zealander Jaclyn Hawkes 6-11, 5-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 in 66 minutes.


Hawkes, who had arrived in the first major quarter-final of her career after a shock defeat of fourth seed Natalie Grainger in the previous round, failed to convert match balls from 10-5 in the fourth.


"It was pure determination, I guess," said the jubilant 31-year-old from near Belfast in Northern Ireland.  "But I really felt uncomfortable out there - probably because I knew I had such a good opportunity."


14th seed Perry is fighting back up the rankings after suffering a serious head injury in a mugging attack in Milan exactly a year ago.


"What I went through last year got me through that match.  I nearly died then.  I was told I'd never be able to concentrate.


"I don't think I've ever made a come back like that," said the world No16.


Perry will now take on Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia who recovered from 5-8 down in the first game to beat Egyptian rival Omneya Abdel Kawy 11-8, 11-1, 11-9.


After narrowly losing to David Palmer in the final of the British Open in May, Englishman James Willstrop failed in his bid for revenge when he went down to the Australian 5-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5 in the men's quarter-finals.


Spurred on by the capacity partisan crowd, the third seed from Yorkshire led after the first and third games - but the experienced fifth seed Palmer romped to a 5-1 lead in the fourth, then a 4-1 lead in the decider before taking the match in 78 minutes.


"I'm so envious for players like James having the British Open and now the World Open here - we don't get tournaments like this in Australia." said the two-time champion from Lithgow in New South Wales.  "That felt like a final.  I can't imagine playing in front of a home crowd like this!"


"Perhaps he was under pressure.  The key for me was the start of the fourth and fifth games.


"As I said at the British Open, he'll win that title one day - and he'll come back to win this one too," added the former world number one.


Willstrop was devastated by the loss:  "He was awesome tonight - in those last two games he was better than me by a good distance.


"It was the most calm performance I've seen from him.  He handled the pressure well.


"He's a smart guy," added the England number one.  "He's managed to stay in excellent condition.  I felt more in control in the British Open final."


Palmer will now meet Karim Darwish, the No7 seed who beat England's Adrian Grant 12-10, 11-7, 11-7 in 47 minutes.


Defending champion Amr Shabana was in stunning form to beat compatriot Mohamed El Shorbagy, a 17-year-old qualifier, 11-2, 11-3, 11-6 in just 20 minutes.


In one of the most exciting 'draws' in squash, the world number one will face his country's newest star Ramy Ashour, the 21-year-old fourth seed 2-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 in 58 minutes.


Grant Takes Greg In Major World Championship Upset


England's Adrian Grant upset the form book in dramatic style in the third round of the Hi-Tec World Open Squash Championships after saving three match balls to beat France's No2 seed Gregory Gaultier to reach the men's quarter-finals at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester.


The world's leading players from more than 30 countries are competing in the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008, the first ever joint staging of the Men's World Open and Women's World Open in the UK.


"My best result by far," was how Grant described his sensational five-game upset over the Frenchman who was runner-up in the last two World Opens.  The left-hander from London saved three game balls in the third game before taking a 2/1 lead in the match.


But Gaultier, the world No2 from Aix-en-Provence, struck back in the fourth to level the match for the loss of just a single point.  It was nip and tuck throughout the decider before the match favourite reached match-ball at 10-8. 


But Grant saved this, and two further match-balls, before clinching his career-best result by beating Gaultier 9-11, 12-10, 14-12, 1-11, 13-11 after 98 minutes.


"This is a massive step for me - definitely my best result by far," said the 28-year-old 14th seed.  "His record here is unbelievable.


"He came out firing in the fourth - and, before I knew it, it was all over.  But he's two in the world, so he must have felt the pressure towards the end," added the Leeds-based England international after his first ever win over the Frenchman.


It was a 'very, very upset' Gaultier that spoke to the press afterwards.  "I lost my head.  He played better - he's a much better player than me, that's it.  Good luck to him."


When asked if it was true that the pair were good friends, the Frenchman replied:  "Yes, but there are no friends on court."


Hopes of a completely unexpected all-English quarter-final were dashed in the final match of the day when Egypt's seventh seed Karim Darwish recovered from a game down to beat Gloucestershire's unseeded Alister Walker, based in Leeds, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8.


Englishman James Willstrop will be after revenge when he faces Australia's former world champion David Palmer in the quarter-finals.


Palmer, a two-time winner of the World Open title, was extended for 83 minutes by unseeded Englishman Daryl Selby before beating the world No36 from Essex 11-5, 11-13, 11-3, 12-10.


"It's pretty hard to believe he's 36 in the world," sighed Palmer afterwards.  "It seems that all the young guys in the world have stepped up.  It's been a great tournament for him."


In a re-match of the British Open final in May in Liverpool, where Palmer saved match balls in the final to take the title for a fourth time, the 32-year-old from Lithgow in New South Wales will face England's James Willstrop


The Yorkshireman had to play one of the rallies of his life to save a game-ball in the second before going on to stop Italian number one Davide Bianchetti 11-7, 13-11, 11-8 in 48 minutes.


"It's always good to get people off as quickly as possible in a tournament like this where there are so many matches," Willstrop, the England number one, explained.  "It's extremely important not to waste energy."


When reminded that Palmer would be his next opponent, Willstrop said:  "They don't come a lot bigger. It's never going to be easy, but I do urge the crowd to get behind me - it really does help!"


Malaysian favourite Nicol David cruised through to the last eight of the women's competition after beating Rebecca Chiu, the 13th seed from Hong Kong, 11-3, 11-8, 11-7 in just 24 minutes.  It was David's 14th win in a row over her Asian rival since a shock defeat to Chiu in the Asian Games final six years ago.


In the biggest scoring match since the WISPA World Tour switched to Pro-Scoring (to 11 points per game) in July, Egypt's ninth seed Omneya Abdel Kawy upset England's Laura Lengthorn-Massaro, the eighth seed, 21-23, 19-17, 12-14, 11-6, 11-7 in 85 minutes.


But there were more significant upsets in the afternoon session - with mixed fortunes for New Zealanders:  Unseeded Kiwi Jaclyn Hawkes began the second day of second round action with a stunning 11-5, 5-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8 defeat of Natalie Grainger, the fourth seed from the USA and a former world number one.


Later Ireland's 14th seed Madeline Perry shocked Shelley Kitchen, the sixth seed from Auckland, 11-5, 11-6, 11-2.


"I just can't believe it - I wasn't expecting to come out here today and win," admitted Hawkes.  "It is definitely my best win ever - in fact every time I've played her before she's chopped me 3/0!


"I didn't go on expecting to beat the world No4 - I've never been near her before," added the UK-based 25-year-old from Auckland.


Hawkes has been working with new national coach Anthony Ricketts, the former world No3 from Australia, since July.  "I did a lot of good work with Anthony in the summer.  And it's good having him here - he just knows what to do.


"He gave me a game plan - and I stuck to it," added Hawkes, now in her first quarter-final of a major WISPA event.


Madeline Perry, a former world No6 fighting back up the rankings after suffering a serious head injury in a mugging attack in Milan exactly a year ago, was back to bner former best against Kitchen, the world No10. 


"It's only over the last couple of months that I've started to feel back to normal - it all went pretty well," said the 31-year-old from Banbridge, near Belfast, in Northern Ireland.  "What happened last year was pretty traumatic - getting up the rankings again is probably more difficult than it was the first time."


Local Star Botwright Beats Champion Grinham In World Championship Upset


Manchester squash star Vicky Botwright, who has always failed to live up to expectations on her 'home' court at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity, pulled off a sensational upset when she beat defending champion Rachael Grinham in the second round of the women's event in the Hi-Tec World Open Squash Championships in Manchester.


The world's leading players from more than 30 countries are competing in the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008, the first ever joint staging of the Men's World Open and Women's World Open in the UK.


Botwright, the 31-year-old former world No5, recently announced her decision to retire at the world championships after accepting the role as Head Coach at the prestigious centre.


After dropping the first game, the local heroine battled back to beat the title-holder from Australia 5-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-8 in 47 minutes.


"That was certainly my best ever win," said the delighted 11th seed afterwards.  "It's taken me ten years to get a result like this in Manchester.


"I've always under-performed here - I've been seeded in every position from one to eight in the Nationals here, but never got beyond the quarter-finals!"


The second-seeded Queenslander was almost speechless afterwards.  "I just don't know what happened.  I just didn't feel that comfortable - I never have easy games with Vicky, she's one of those players I've never really liked playing.


"I felt in control for parts of the game - but then I panicked, I just choked."


The former world number one admitted that she is still coming to terms with the new women's 'point-a-rally' Pro-Scoring system.  "You start the game and, before you know it, it's half over - then you get into panic mode.  I think it's going to take me a while to get use to it."


Earlier, on the first of two days of second round action, Botwright's two England team-mates Alison Waters and Jenny Duncalf eased into the last eight.  Londoner Waters, the British National champion, crushed France's Isabelle Stoehr 11-3, 11-1, 11-7 in 25 minutes, while fifth seed Duncalf, from Harrogate in Yorkshire, defeated Australian national champion Kasey Brown 11-8, 11-2, 13-11.


England's Nick Matthew prevented it from being an all-Egyptian day in the four men's third round matches on the all-glass show court when he beat Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema 11-7, 11-6, 11-13, 11-4 in exactly one hour.


In only his third event following a nine-month layoff after shoulder surgery, the 28-year-old from Sheffield showed the form which won him the British Open title two years ago.  "I felt pretty good - I feel I've been pretty well in the tournament so far, but not yet in a whole match.


"Physically, I'm better than I've ever been - because while I was recovering from the shoulder, fitness was all I could work on!"


In Friday's quarter-finals, Matthew will face Ramy Ashour, the fourth seed from Egypt who put paid to an all-English last eight clash by beating Londoner Peter Barker, the 12th seed, 11-8, 11-13, 11-8, 11-6.


"I was up for it today - all the work I have put in in the last couple of months has paid off," said the exuberant 21-year-old afterwards.  "But six days before the championships, I pulled a hamstring, and didn't play at all.  It actually gave me a bit of a break."


Later in the day, Mohamed El Shorbagy became the first qualifier for 22 years to reach the men's quarter-finals when he beat Hisham Mohd Ashour 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 10-12, 13-11.


The 17-year-old Egyptian became event's giant-killer after battling through to the second round - then beating experienced Frenchman Thierry Lincou to reach the last sixteen.


"I've played five days in a row now - and tomorrow I get a day off.  Now I will chill out," said the teenager.



El Shorbagy Outshines Lincou In Major World Championship Upset


A new world squash star was born in Manchester when Egyptian teenager Mohamed El Shorbagy defeated France's world number eight Thierry Lincou in the second round of the Hi-Tec World Open Squash Championships at Sportcity in Manchester.


The world's leading players from more than 30 countries are competing in the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008, the first ever joint staging of the Men's World Open and Women's World Open in the UK.


The 17-year-old qualifier from Alexandria, who beat experienced Frenchman Renan Lavigne in the first round, shocked the crowd when he took the first two games against sixth seed Lincou, a former world champion and world number one.


But the seasoned Frenchman came back to take the third game and led 4-1 in the fourth.  El Shorbagy, a pupil at Millfield School in the UK and coached by the British legend Jonah Barrington, defied his youth by fighting back to serve at match ball at 10-9.


However, Lincou again had to call upon his vast experience to keep the world junior champion at bay - forcing the match into a decider.


But still El Shorbagy battled on - and, after failing to convert two further match-balls, clinched his fourth of the match to record his stunning 12-10, 11-6, 7-11, 10-12, 13-11 victory in 81 minutes.


"He was playing really aggressively.  I was always behind, chasing the ball - and this made me tired," said a disconsolate Lincou afterwards.  "He showed that, at his age, he's able to produce a good pace - and he maintained it without making too many mistakes.  He's potentially a top ten player."


El Shorbagy admitted that his first thought was to telephone his mother in Egypt:  "I had promised her I would get into the last sixteen.  She was crying on the phone!


"That was the best win of my career, for sure.  I was playing to win each point - I didn't concentrate on the score at all.  In fact the only time I heard the score was when I was 10-9 in the fourth.


"I had to make it tough for him.  I had no pressure on me today - nobody expected me to win.  I had to play more than my best to win - and I did.


"My aim is to be world number one, one day," added the young Egyptian star.


Later, fellow countryman Amr Shabana - the current world number one - eased into the last sixteen after beating Spanish number one Borja Golan 12-10, 11-7, 11-4 in 43 minutes.


The title-holder was full of praise for his teenage compatriot:  "He had no pressure on him, and he's young and excited, and also has lots of confidence.  I have played him before, and he's tremendous - really fast.  I'm really happy for him."


While a new era in squash beckoned in the afternoon, an old one came to an end in the evening when former world number John White announced his retirement.  The 35-year-old Australian-born Scot - who lives in the USA - extended James Willstrop for four games before the England number one prevailed to win 11-2, 3-11, 12-10, 11-9 in 49 minutes.


"It was as I shook James's hand at the end of the match that I decided, this is it," admitted the Tour favourite afterwards.   "I've had a great career, but now have a full-time job as a coach in the US and a family of four.


"James and I have had some great matches - many of which have been finals and many on this court - and I feel it's time for it all to come to a halt here.


"Being number one in the world is something they will never take away from you - and I'll always be proud of that."


In an outstanding day for Egypt, El Shorbagy and Shabana's wins were followed by victories by Wael El Hindi, Karim Darwish and Cairo brothers Ramy and Hisham Mohd Ashour.  Fourth seed Ramy Ashour punished Australian Cameron Pilley 11-5, 11-4, 11-3 in just 28 minutes, while his unseeded older sibling Hisham upset Malaysian Ong Beng Hee, the tenth seed, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 to earn an unexpected place in the last sixteen.


Main draw action in the women's World Open got underway today with world number one Nicol David confidently beginning her bid to reclaim the title she lost last year by crushing compatriot Sharon Wee 11-6, 11-3, 11-2 in just 19 minutes.  David now goes on to face Asian rival Rebecca Chiu, the 13th seed from Hong Kong who recovered from two games down to beat England's Lauren Briggs 8-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6.


Australia's defending champion Rachael Grinham also had an untroubled passage through to the last sixteen, beating New Zealander Louise Crome 11-7, 11-6, 11-2.


But there were two significant first round upsets which deprived Mexican number one Samantha Teran and former world champion Vanessa Atkinson of second round places.  Teran, the 16th seed crashed out to rising star Annie Au, a 19-year-old qualifier from Hong Kong who took 36 minutes to earn her 11-5, 11-4, 3-11, 11-5 upset.


New Zealander Jaclyn Hawkes caused Atkinson's downfall, resisting a fight back by the 10th seed from the Netherlands to win 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 10-12, 11-5 in 56 minutes.


Selby Secures Second Round Slot In Manchester World Championship


Unseeded Englishman Daryl Selby delighted local crowds at the National Squash Centre in Manchester when he upset Finland's world No15 Olli Tuominen in the first round of the Hi-Tec World Open Squash Championships at Sportcity.


The world's leading players from more than 30 countries are competing in the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008, the first ever joint staging of the Men's World Open and Women's World Open in the UK.


Selby, the world No36 from Essex, battled for 50 minutes to flay the Flying Finn 11-8, 11-3, 11-4.


"That was one of my best wins ever - I'm ecstatic!  Olli's a fantastic player who's been up there with the world's best for a number of years," said the 25-year-old from Witham.  "I knew I had the chance to beat him, but I had to play out of my skin to do it.


"It's nice to play in front of a home crowd.  This is a fantastic event and I really want to do well here."


Yorkshireman James Willstrop, the world No3, led a group of 10 of Britons through to the second round.  The 25-year-old England number one, in his sixth successive appearance in the event, beat compatriot Ben Ford, a 33-year-old qualifier making his maiden appearance, 11-4, 11-7, 11-5.


Willstrop's England team-mates internationals Nick Matthew and Peter Barker claimed early victories on the day's schedule - and later Lee Beachill, the fourth member of the squad which lifted the world team crown last year, also cruised into the second day after beating fellow countryman Robbie Temple, a qualifier, 11-6, 11-3, 11-1.


Nick Matthew, the world No7 from Sheffield, had the honour of competing in the opening match of the championships on the spectacular all-glass show court.  The former British Open champion, playing on home soil for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery in January, eased to an 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 victory over Pakistan qualifier Shahid Zaman.


"I'm relaxed and relieved," said Matthew after beating the former world No14.  "I didn't really feel comfortable out there - I was a bit edgy.  But it's nice to get that one under the belt - particularly against Shahid.  No-one hits a squash ball better than he does."


Peter Barker, the world No11 from London who arrived in Manchester fresh from two major Tour wins in the USA last month, despatched Mexican number one Eric Galvez 11-4, 11-5, 11-1. 


"I'm pleased with the way I played - I managed to contain him in the back of the court - he's so dangerous at the front," said the 25-year-old.  "I'm in good shape physically - and having a couple of wins behind you gives you a lot of confidence.  But I'm really enjoying life at the moment - and that's transferring into my squash.  You could say that I'm a really happy bunny! 


"Obviously it's great having home advantage.  This is the tournament that everybody's peaking for - so there should be no excuses this week.  Everybody wants to do well but only one player can win it.  But there'll be a few upsets as there's a lot of pressure.  I'll play Joey (Barrington) tomorrow and that's all I want to think about," added Barker.


Joey Barrington, son of former great Jonah Barrington, winner of a then record six British Open titles more than three decades ago, battled for 100 minutes to beat Australian Aaron Frankcomb 11-3, 11-3, 12-10.  The victory in the longest match of the day marks Barrington junior's first World Open win at his fourth attempt.


But it was another Jonah Barrington protégé that caused the first upset in the men's event when Egyptian qualifier Mohamed El Shorbagy beat experienced Frenchman Renan Lavigne in five games.  The 17-year-old pupil at Millfield School in Somerset - where he is coached by Barrington senior - twice came from behind to win 10-12, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8 and claim an unexpected place in the second round.


A further notable upset came towards the end of the day when Jorge Isaac Baltazar Ferreira, a Mexican qualifier making his World Open debut, twice rescued game deficits to beat experienced Egyptian Mohammed Abbas 11-13, 11-7, 5-11, 12-10, 11-9 in 75 minutes.


"This is probably one of the best wins of my career - and what makes it even better is that this is the World Open, and my first one," exclaimed the 25-year-old from Mexico City.


"Abbas was in the top 10 - he’s got a lot of experience.  But today, I felt strong and fit.  He moved me a lot, send me at the front, at the back, but I was still moving well.  Now, I'm really looking forward to my next match."


Event favourite Amr Shabana overcame a shaky start to beat German qualifier Simon Rosner 6-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-5.  The defending champion from Egypt will now face Spanish number one Borja Golan for a place in the last sixteen.


The world number one's highly-rated compatriot Ramy Ashour also recorded a straightforward first round win.  The 21-year-old from Cairo, who missed the 2007 event because of injury, despatched French qualifier Yann Perrin 11-5, 11-6, 12-10.


"I really want to win the World Open - but more important to me is to reach the end of the tournament injury-free," said the exuberant fourth seed.  "All I can remember is that when I was last in England, I suffered with injury at the British Open in Liverpool. 


"I felt I was young and invincible - and could win everything - but realised that I was abusing my body," explained Ashour.  "So when I landed in England a few days ago, I said to myself, 'please let me be OK this time'. 


"But this event is fantastic - it's so well organised.  Yesterday's qualifying finals were amazing - people were killing themselves to get into the first round.  But now I need to think about my brother - I just hope Hisham wins his first match!"


Ashour senior later joined Ramy in the second round after beating England's Chris Ryder 11-9, 11-8, 11-5.


Second seed Gregory Gaultier, leading a record six-strong team of Frenchmen in the event, had to work hard to beat Switzerland's former European Junior champion Nicolas Mueller 11-6, 12-10, 11-9.


Ranked 150 in the world, Muller was the lowest-ranked player to qualify - becoming the first Swiss man for five years to compete in the first round.


"It's the first time I have played him - and he played very well," said Gaultier, the world No2.  "I was surprised - he gave me a good game, which was what I wanted.  He wasn't at all shy!


"I like it here - I like the court and have good memories.  It's a good vibe for me.


"The organisation is good - if all other tournaments were run like this, it would be good for the sport," added the five times European champion from Aix-en-Provence.  "It's what we need if we want to be an Olympic sport."


In one of the last matches of the day, Mohd Azlan Iskandar became the highest seed to fall when he was beaten by New Zealander Kashif Shuja.  The unseeded Kiwi fought back from two games down to topple the 11th seed from Malaysia 12-14, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9 in 59 minutes.


It was a case of 'sixth time lucky' for event Ambassador Sarah Kippax in the qualifying finals of the women's championship when she beat fellow Englishwoman Laura Hill 11-9, 11-5, 11-3 to claim her maiden place in the event's first round.


"I think I've got used to her game now," said Chester-born Kippax.  "We've played so many times already this year - and I've adjusted my game to suit.


"I'm delighted to qualify for the World Open main draw for the first time - I've been in qualifying five times before and never made it, so it's great to get there at last.  It's extra special as it's in Manchester, with all the build-up."


Earlier, Manchester City Council Head of Leisure Eamonn O'Rourke welcomed the crowds in the centre at the official Opening Ceremony.  "This is Manchester's sixth world championships this year and we're delighted to be hosting the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships."


In highlighting the significance of Squash in the city, O'Rourke pointed out that "there are 6,000 kids who are part of the Manchester Squash Development Programme."


After reigning world champions Amr Shabana and Rachael Grinham, of Australia, handed over the official World Squash Federation flag to England captains Lee Beachill and Vicky Botwright, England Squash Chairman Zena Wooldridge declared the championships open.

Home Pair Earn World Championship Debuts In Manchester


English players Ben Ford and Robbie Temple scored significant upsets in thequalifying finals of the Hi-Tec World Open Squash Championships to ensure that 14 Britons will compete in the sport's premier men's event at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester


The world's leading players from more than 30 countries are competing in the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008, the first ever joint staging of the Men's World Open and Women's World Open in the UK.


Ford, from Kent, beat higher-ranked Malaysian Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan - then announced that his first ever appearance in the world's most prestigious event may be his last on the professional tour.


The 33-year-old world number 89 from Welling, fought back from a game down to despatch Adnan - ranked 30 places higher - 10-12, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9 in 66 minutes to claim a place in the World Open main draw for the first time.


The squash professional at clubs in London and Surrey, Ford left it until he was over 30 before joining the PSA Tour.  "I set myself two goals last year - to get into the top 100 and win a Tour title - and I did both, so I was pretty pleased," said the England No18.


"This year I was determined to get into the World Open - especially as it was here in England - and I am delighted to have done that today.


"The last time I played Adnan, he beat me in five, so I wanted to get my revenge. 


"I'm taking on a new coaching job in Bexley shortly - and my wife is expecting our first child in January - so things are getting a bit hectic at the moment.  I'd prefer to just play tournaments in England in the future, so I may quit the Tour.


"I've looked at the draw, and I could get any one of the top five players in the world in the first round.  I'd be happy to play any of them - not because I think I could win, but just for the experience!"


Robbie Temple, who fought back from two games and 8-1 down to win his first qualifying round match, confounded the seedings in the qualifying finals with an 11-6, 11-9, 16-14 victory over South African Jesse Engelbrecht, ranked 55 in the world.


"Yesterday's match was a vital wake-up call for me - I wouldn't have won today otherwise," conceded the London-based left-hander from Gloucester.  "I've had a bit of a loss of confidence recently so it's good to be back in form.


"I really hope I get to play on the glass court tomorrow - and it would be great if it would be against Ramy Ashour," added the 22-year-old world No76.  "We played all the way through juniors and became good friends."


Egypt's world junior champion Mohamed El Shorbagy will make his debut in the senior world championship after beating Englishman Joe Lee 11-4, 11-8, 11-5.


"I'd played Joe twice before, and that was very useful to me," explained the 17-year-old UK-based Egyptian afterwards.  "But what was even more useful, was what he said yesterday after his match - he said that he'd learned a lot from our last two encounters!  So, I thought and decided to play a completely different way that I would have done naturally, to surprise him!


"First, I tried and mixed my game between an English game, that he is used to, and an Egyptian one.  So I was making the rallies last as long as possible, as I knew he was going to be tired, and I also slowed down the pace, to tire him even more.


"I’m so happy to get into my first World Open," added El Shorbagy.  "For me, this is the real start of my PSA career."


After last year's men's World Open draw was devoid of Pakistanis for the first time in history, Shahid Zaman raised the total entries this year to four when he upset Egyptian Amr Mansi 11-9, 11-8, 11-6.  Zaman, once ranked 14 in the world, has dropped to an eight-year ranking low of 95 - and is now making his first appearance in the World Open for three years.


"I am living back in my home town of Quetta in Pakistan now, with my wife, and feel I still have at least four years of squash left in me," said the exuberant 26-year-old after his qualifying triumph.  "The problem with living in Pakistan is that there is not a lot of competition - but I am running in the mountains to keep fit."


Another country celebrating a record presence in the 2008 World Open is Mexico.  With just a sole player in the men's event last year, the Central American nation will be represented by three players in Manchester, with world No35 Eric Galvez joined in the main draw by qualifiers Jorge Isaac Baltazar Ferreira and Arturo Salazar.


Baltazar Ferreira, a 25-year-old from Mexico City, defeated India's Siddharth Suchde 11-7, 11-5, 11-4 while 20-year-old Salazar, from San Luis Potosi, removed Australian Steve Finitsis 7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7.


"That was a hard game, the scoreline really doesn't do it justice," admitted Baltazar Ferreira.  "It's my first World Open, so it's a pleasure to qualify.  I'd like to play one of the world's top eight in the main draw, but I'll be happy with whoever I get."


Nicolas Mueller became the first Swiss player to make the first round of the World Open for five years when he recorded his second successive upset in the qualifiers to beat New Zealand's Campbell Grayson 9-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-1, 11-8.


"I got a bit nervous towards the end - it's my first World Open, my first big PSA event really, after coming out of the juniors," said the 19-year-old former European Junior champion.  "I'm really excited about it and looking forward to the draw."


Local hero Andrew Whipp was three points away from becoming the only unranked player in the main draw when Australian Ryan Cuskelly took four points in a row to claim victory.  Two games down, Manchester-based Whipp saved four match-balls in the third before taking the game.  After also winning the fourth, he led 8-7 in the decider before Cuskelly, from New South Wales, clinched his 11-8, 11-7, 11-13, 3-11, 11-8 win in 79 minutes.


Sarah Kippax survived an all-Cheshire clash to claim a place in the qualifying finals of the Women's World Open.  The Chester-born 25-year-old is the event's 'Official Ambassador', who faced Cheshire county team-mate Laura Mylotte in the first qualifying round.


After winning the first two games, Kippax squandered a 7-3 lead in the third as Mylotte, born in Galway and representing Ireland, moved to game-ball at 10-8.  But the Ambassador fought back to clinch an 11-4, 11-2, 12-10 victory to set up an all-English qualifying final clash with Derbyshire fire-fighter Laura Hill.


"It's nice to finally get on court after the big build-up," said Kippax after her win.  "I suppose I have been a little more anxious about this match than I might have been. 


"We've had tough battles in the past.  But I was pleased with my game today - though she came back in the third and I had to steady myself.  I was quite relieved at the end."


Kippax admits that has loved her Ambassadorial role:  "It was quite nerve-wracking at first, but I've really enjoyed it - doing radio interviews and helping on the PR side. 


"In fact, being involved behind-the-scenes like this makes you realise just how much work goes into putting on a tournament like this!"


Lauren Siddall and Suzie Pierrepont will also be taking English interest through to the women's qualifying finals.  Siddall, 23, from Pontefract in Yorkshire, beat Sweden's Anna-Carin Forstadius 11-5, 11-6, 11-2 and will now take on USA's Latasha Khan for a place in the main draw.  Sussex player Pierrepont, who is now based in Philadelphia, USA, recovered from a game down to beat Hong Kong's Joey Chan 8-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-8 and will now meet Malaysian Low Wee Wern.


English Trio Celebrate World Championship Upsets


Englishmen Joe Lee, Joel Hinds and Andrew Whipp claimed notable upsets in the men's first qualifying round of the Hi-Tec World Open Squash Championships at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester.


The world's leading players from more than 30 countries are competing in the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008, the first ever joint staging of the Men's World Open and Women's World Open in the UK.


England junior international Joe Lee, playing in his first event as a senior after celebrating his 19th birthday this week, twice came back from behind to beat Irish international John Rooney 7-11, 20-18, 5-11, 11-6, 11-6 in 69 minutes. 


"My first impression of the draw was that it was not the best - but not the worst either," said the London-born teenager from Walton-on-Thames.  "John beat me the last two times we played each other, so I was glad to get my first win over him," added Lee, ranked almost 40 places lower than his opponent.


Lee now takes on Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy, the world junior champion who took only 19 minutes to despatch Issa Kamara, from Sierra Leone, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9. 


"He beat me 3/0 the last two times we played - but I've got stuff to think about from those matches, so I hope I can turn it to my advantage," said Lee.


Joel Hinds took full advantage of a late call-up for a place in the qualifying draw.  "I was meant to be playing a tournament in Coventry this weekend, but got a call at two o' clock yesterday so obviously I had to come here," said the 21-year-old from Derbyshire after his shock 11-5, 11-8, 12-10 win over Bradley Hindle, an Australian ranked over 200 places higher in the world.


"I was just turning up to see how I played, with no expectations - so it's a big bonus to win, especially in three."


Hinds now faces the top-ranked qualifier Dylan Bennett after the Dutchman put out local prospect Morgan Hibberd 11-6, 11-7, 11-6.


Morgan and his 18-year-old twin brother Ky Hibbard were making their maiden appearance in the world championships just eight years after being introduced to the sport at school as the result of a promotional initiative run by the Manchester Squash Development Programme from the National Centre.


Coincidentally, the twins played simultaneously on adjacent courts - and both fell to experienced opponents, Ky going down 11-6, 11-1, 11-6 to 33-year-old world-ranked Englishman Ben Ford.


"It was a great experience - I'm happy with the way I played.  I rallied with him but he's just a different level, I was always one step behind," said Morgan after his defeat by Bennett, the world No50.  "But I always go on court hoping I can win."


A few weeks after their introduction to the game, the Hibberds joined junior county squads and quickly progressed.  Morgan became the British U17 number one last year and both have now qualified as coaches and work at the centre.


"If it wasn't for the chance introduction to squash when we were at school, we might never have come across the sport." Ky explained.  "Hopefully we'll now be able to inspire other youngsters to take up squash."


Local hero Andrew Whipp pulled off the most stunning upset when he beat American Christopher Gordon.  The unranked 27-year-old from Stockport recovered from a game down to stun the 22-year-old world No75 from New York 6-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-5 in 55 minutes.


In one of only two all-English clashes on the National Centre courts - and in a 69-minute match in which both players received conduct warnings from the referee - Robbie Temple recovered from two games down to beat Surrey's Philip Nightingale 10-12, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6.  The left-hander from Gloucestershire goes on to play London-based South African Jesse Engelbrecht for a place in the main draw.




About the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships - Manchester 2008

The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships - Manchester 2008 will be held at the world renowned National Squash Centre (NSC) at Sportcity in Manchester, from 11th-19th October 2008.  Information about the event can be found at


About the World Squash Federation (WSF) & the Professional Squash Association (PSA)

The World Squash Federation (WSF) is the international federation governing the sport of Squash.  It was founded in 1967 and is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the General Assembly of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and the Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations (ARISF).


The WSF has an affiliation of 140 Member National Federations spread over five continents with some 50,000 courts.  Its mission is to develop Squash’s visibility and profile via World Championships and Major Games and provide aid to its members in grass roots development.


The World Squash Federation owns and sanctions all World Squash Championships.  It works closely with the Professional Squash Association (PSA) and the Women's International Squash Players Association (WISPA) in organising the Men's and Women's World Squash Open Championships.  The WSF also organises World Championships for Teams (Nations), Juniors and Masters.


The Professional Squash Association is the governing body for the men’s world professional circuit. From its head office in Cardiff, the Association coordinates and promotes the international tournament calendar and issues the monthly Dunlop World Rankings, as well as providing licences for specific high profile tournaments. Such an event is the Men’s World Open, the largest and most prestigious tournament on the world circuit which, in 2008, has been awarded to Manchester City Council as the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships - Manchester 2008. The Hi-Tec Men’s World Open 2008 will receive PSA's full international television and internet broadcast coverage to squash audiences around the world.

HI-TEC SPORTS was founded in the UK in 1974 and has since become a global brand with presence in over 90 countries worldwide.  Cementing the importance of the sport of Squash to the brand, the original success of the company can be attributed to Hi-Tec’s (and the sport’s) first ever shoe, THE HI-TEC SQUASH.  Specifically designed for the then fast growing game of squash it is an industry benchmark then and now, in fact few shoes in athletic footwear history have recorded unit sales of over 18 million pairs worldwide to date.  The Hi-Tec Squash remains Britain’s all time best selling sports shoe model to this day. 


About Manchester City Council

As host of the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships 2008, Manchester continues to strengthen its impressive reputation for successfully hosting major international sports championships. 2008 will see Manchester host five other World Class events including World Championships in Swimming and Track Cycling.  These events raise the City's global profile as a sporting 'Mecca' whilst bringing long-term social and economic benefits to Manchester and its residents.  The City's excellent range of accessible sports venues and facilities, combined with its school and community sports development programmes, provide the springboard for Manchester's sporting stars of the future.


England Squash is the governing body for squash in England and is responsible for the organisation and promotion of the sport.  It comprises 38 County Associations, approximately 1,000 Clubs and 50,000 Individual members aged from 8 to 80.   England Squash develops programmes and resources across the whole spectrum of the sport, from grassroots development, through coaching and competitions for all ages and abilities, to producing World, European and Commonwealth champions on a regular basis.


About UK Sport

The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008 has been part funded by UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Events Programme, which aims to secure events of strategic importance that deliver a range of lasting benefits. These include economic, social and cultural benefits as well as improving sporting performance by home athletes, encouraging participation and leaving a legacy of facilities and development initiatives. Over 120 sporting events have been staged in the UK through the programme since 1997. More at


About the NWDA

Major events make an important contribution to the economic development of the region, as well as helping to project the Northwest on the world stage. Over the last two years, events supported by the NWDA have resulted in 1.2 million visitors, 180,000 bed nights and a £40 million contribution to regional economy - as well as 32 hours of national television coverage. Through its Major Events Strategy the NWDA will continue to attract and support events such as the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008 and will work hard to capitalise on the economic, tourism, and image benefits that can be achieved through hosting of events of this nature.


About Dunlop Sport

Dunlop, the number one brand in squash equipment, is committed to sport at all levels from grass roots to elite play. Within squash Dunlop dominates the racket and ball market as the No.1 choice for discerning players worldwide.   On the Professional World Tour Dunlop is the most used racket and also the choice of World No.1 Amr Shabana.  Dunlop squash balls are used at all major squash events as the Official Ball of the World Squash Federation, Professional Squash Association and the Women's International Squash Players Association.   As market leaders Dunlop is also at the forefront of new product development and has recently launched Aerogel as the next generation in high performance racket technology. For more information visit


About Manchester Evening News

The Manchester Evening News is the UK’s highest circulating and most widely read regional daily newspaper.  It is part of the M.E.N. media portfolio of companies in Greater Manchester.  M.E.N. Media is a wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian Media Group plc.  Along with the Manchester Evening News, the M.E.N. Media portfolio includes more than 20 daily and weekly paid and free newspapers, Channel M Television, the UK’s most successful city TV station, available via a free to air terrestrial analogue signal on channel 39, Virgin Media, channel 878 and on the SKY platform, EPG Guide No. 203 and a large number of local and regional websites which serve the whole of the Greater Manchester region and beyond.  As the best source of sporting information for the region, the Manchester Evening News is delighted to be a Media Sponsor for the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008. 


About™ is the World's leading online squash equipment, clothing and footwear supplier, offering the best brands, best prices, best delivery and secure online shopping. Whether you are an amateur or professional player you can browse the online range of squash equipment, from squash rackets, balls, clothing, footwear and more. is the Official Retailer at many leading squash championships, including: British National Championships, Dunlop British Open, British Grand Prix, English Grand Prix, Canary Wharf Classic & English Open..




Tickets for both the men’s and women’s finals of The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships - Manchester 2008 on Sunday 19th October have sold out with only limited numbers of seats still available for the semi-finals.


Demand for tickets to the Championships, which get underway this Saturday (11th October) with the qualifying rounds which are free to the public, have also resulted in all hospitality packages for the finals being sold out.


With both the men’s and women’s World Opens running concurrently at the National Squash Centre in Manchester’s Sportcity, the nine day tournament will see the leading 64 men and top 32 women in action in what promises to be the biggest squash tournament staged.


Amr Shabana of Egypt and Nicol David of Malaysia will be favourites to retain their titles but there will be no shortage of home grown players on show with no fewer than 17 British players guaranteed to line up for the knock out stages, and tickets are still available to see all the action up to and including the semi-finals but fans are advised to purchase soon as numbers are becoming limited.


There will also be a strong presence of players from the north west, including National Squash Centre coach and world number 12 Vicky Botwright, who will be retiring from the elite level after the Championships and Cheshire’s Sarah Kippax, the official ambassador of The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships.


Jim Quigley, Head of Major Sports Events and Partnerships, Manchester City Council said, “It’s fantastic that we’ve had such a positive demand for tickets and such has been the demand for the finals that we’ve even had to extend the number of hospitality packages.


“It’s been a busy year for Manchester hosting a series of world class sporting events and it’s a great reflection on the popularity of squash that we are attracting such large ticket sales. There are still seats available for all rounds up to and including the semi-finals and with so many top British players in action it’s a great opportunity to come and cheer them along.”

To purchase tickets for The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008 visit



Harrogate’s Jenny Duncalf (seeded 5) heads the four English players who have been seeded for the women’s event of The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008, as Lincolnshire’s Tania Bailey has been forced to miss the tournament which will run from 11th-19th October due to an ongoing knee injury.


Duncalf, the Dunlop British Open finalist, who is joined by Alison Waters (seeded 7), Laura Lengthorn-Massaro (seeded 8) and Vicky Botwright (seeded 11), has been drawn to play Egypt’s Raneem El Weleily in the opening round and could face the number three seed Natalie Grinham in the quarter finals.


Reigning National Champion Alison Waters from London will face a qualifier in her opening round and could meet defending Champion Rachael Grinham in the quarter finals, should the Australian beat Manchester’s Vicky Botwright in the second round.


Preston’s Laura Lengthorn-Massaro will play Annelize Naude of the Netherlands in her opening match before facing the prospect of meeting two-time World Champion and reigning world number one Nicol David in the quarter finals.


Having spent the past 26 months at the top of the world rankings Malaysia’s David has been seeded to win her third World Open title and will be keen to make amends for her shock defeat in Madrid last year when losing to New Zealand’s Shelley Kitchen in the last 16, which was the first time she had failed to make the quarter finals of a WISPA tour event since April 2004.


Defending Champion Rachel Grinham from Australia has been seeded two to recapture the title which she won in the first all sister World Open final last October when overcoming Natalie 3-0.


Natalie, who now plays under the Netherland’s flag, has been seeded three and could potentially face her sister in the semi-finals, while Natalie Grainger, who was born in Manchester but plays for the USA, has been seeded fourth.


Showing the enormous global appeal of women’s squash, no fewer than eleven countries are represented among the top 16 seeds (Malaysia, Hong Kong, England, Egypt, USA, Netherlands, New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Mexico and France) with England having the strongest representation with four seeds followed by Australia and the Netherlands who have two each.


Tickets for The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008, which will see both the men’s and women’s events staged together for the first time ever in England, are now available at the official website and include a special season ticket which gives admission to all nine sessions.



Nicol David Seeded To Win Third World Open Title In Manchester


Malaysia’s Nicol David has been seeded to win her third World Open title at The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008 which will run from 11-19 October at the National Squash Centre in the English city of Manchester.


The 25-year-old has been the dominant force in women’s squash since winning the first of her successive World Opens in 2005 - but suffered a shock defeat to New Zealand’s Shelley Kitchen in the second round last year, which was the first time she had failed to make the quarter-finals of a WISPA World Tour event since April 2004.


David, who was honoured earlier this year with a Datukship by her native country, bounced straight back to form and has won all nine Tour events she has played in since and has gone on to extend her stay at the world number one position for a remarkable 26 straight months.


The Penang-based star will play fellow Malaysian Sharon Wee in the opening round and is seeded to meet England’s Laura Lengthorn-Massaro (seeded 8) in the quarter-finals before a potential clash with America’s number four seed Natalie Grainger in the semi-finals.


Defending champion Rachael Grinham from Australia has been seeded two to recapture the title which she won in the first all-sister World Open final in Madrid last October when overcoming Natalie Grinham in straight games.


The 31-year-old is seeded to meet England’s Vicky Botwright (seeded 11) and Alison Waters (seeded 7) in the second and third rounds, respectively, before a potential re-match with her sister, who has been seeded three, in the semi-finals.


England’s Jenny Duncalf, who beat Rachael Grinham on her way to the final of the prestigious Dunlop British Open earlier this year, has been seeded five, and leads domestic interest in the event.


Tania Bailey, the world number seven from England, is the only notable absentee from the draw after being forced to miss out due to an ongoing troublesome knee injury which has plagued her for much of the season.


Showing the enormous global appeal of women’s squash, no fewer than eleven countries are represented among the top 16 seeds (Malaysia, Hong Kong, England, Egypt, USA, Netherlands, New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Mexico and France) with England having the strongest representation with four seeds, followed by Australia and the Netherlands who have two each.


Tickets for The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008, which will see both the men’s and women’s events staged together for the first time ever in England, are now available at the official website and include a special season ticket which gives admission to all nine sessions.


Amr Shabana Seeded To Win Historic Fourth World Open Title In Manchester


Egypt’s Amr Shabana has been seeded to defend his World title and become only the fourth man after Jansher Khan, Jahangir Khan and Geoff Hunt to win the sport’s blue riband event for a fourth occasion.


The Giza-based player booked his place in the record books with a third World Open victory in Bermuda last year - but will face a stiff challenge in his quest for a fourth title with 64 of the best players in the world lining up for the nine-day Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008 which get underway on 11th October.


Australia’s two time World Champion David Palmer (2006 and 2002) and France’s Thierry Lincou (2004) are the only other former winners in the elite field - and will be joined by England’s James Willstrop (the No3 seed) and Egypt’s former two-time World Junior Champion Ramy Ashour (seeded four).


After playing a qualifier in the opening round, top seed Shabana is drawn to meet compatriot Wael El Hindi, the ninth seed, in the third round, while a mouth-watering semi-final clash with fellow Egyptian Ramy Ashour, the world No4, is also on the cards.  France’s Gregory Gaultier, has been seeded two and will be looking to go one better than his runners-up spot for the past two years.


Now a truly global game and pushing for Olympic inclusion having been shortlisted for 2016, Squash is played throughout the world and The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships will see no fewer than 18 countries from the five continents being represented in the main draw.  The countries are: England, Scotland, Egypt, Spain, Canada, France, Malaysia, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Pakistan, Colombia, Finland, Czech Republic, Italy, United States, New Zealand and India.


Britain will have the strongest contingent with no fewer than 12 players in the main draw, with Nick Matthew (8), Peter Barker (12), former world number one Lee Beachill (13) and Adrian Grant (14) joining Willstrop as seeds.  Matthew, out of action since January following shoulder surgery, boosted his chance for success following a brilliant come-back victory in the Forexx Dutch Open this weekend.


British number one James Willstrop said:  “The World Open is the biggest tournament for any player and there’s a huge sense of anticipation around this year’s Championships. For me personally it will be extra special as it will be like playing in my own back garden. The National Squash Centre is just an hour from where I live and I’m extremely familiar with the court and the place.  As an English player you couldn’t ask for any more and this will certainly be a highlight of my career.


“Manchester has an outstanding reputation for putting on top sports events and has had a very busy year so it will be great to round it off with The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships. I don’t think there’s a city anywhere else in the world that puts so much into squash, so it’s fitting they should be hosting the biggest tournament in the calendar.  Hopefully the event will provide an inspiration for introducing a new audience to the sport.”


Recent Dutch Open winner Nick Matthew added:  “It was great to get back into action last week after nine months off.  I had a tear in the ligament in my shoulder and it was at least three months before I could even hold a plate, so to win my first event back is a real bonus. I’ll be competing in Paris later this month so I’ll go into the Worlds with some decent games under my belt.


“Playing the World Championships in Manchester will be a fantastic opportunity. I’ve enjoyed some decent success there having won the National Championships. It will be great to get the home support behind us and hopefully they will have plenty to cheer about.”


Jim Quigley, Head of Major Sports Events and Partnerships, Manchester City Council, said:  “Since starting to organise these Championships it has been our aim to make them the best ever staged. The men’s draw- which features the top 40 players in the world rankings - is probably the strongest ever assembled for a squash tournament and it’s fantastic that there will be interest from all corners of the globe.”



The world’s leading players will be honoured at the fourth annual World Squash Awards which will take place in the stunning Manchester Town Hall on Saturday 18th October, during The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008.
Last year’s PSA Player of the Year Amr Shabana and WISPA Player of the Year Nicol David will be joined by the world’s top men and women who will be hoping to win one of the sport’s most coveted awards.  
Having reached seven PSA Tour Finals in the past 12 months and reached number three in the World Rankings, England’s James Willstrop will be one of the favourites for the prestigious Male Player of the Year accolade, while Malaysia’s Nicol David looks set to fact stiff competition to retain her award from reigning World Champion Rachael Grinham from Australia.

The glittering gala evening will be hosted by former top player Adrian Davies and local Olympic swimming medallist Steve Parry. Manchester’s Lord Mayor will be among the 300 guests attending the awards ceremony which has rapidly established itself as one of the off court highlights of the squash calendar.
Peter Nicol
MBE, Director of Eventis, the event organisers said “We’re delighted to be staging the World Squash Awards in conjunction with The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships. This year’s Championships will be a historic occasion with both the men’s and women’s World Open’s being played out alongside each other for the first time ever in England which provides the perfect platform for the awards.

The former World Champion and World Number One added, “The standard in squash gets higher and higher every year with incredible strength in depth in both the men’s and women’s games. There are also many exciting youngsters coming through so it will be fascinating to see who the winners will be this year.
Jim Quigley
, Head of Major Sports Events and Partnerships, Manchester City Council said, “Since hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2002, Manchester has established itself as one of the world’s premier sporting venues and we’re proud to be the host venue for both the Championships and the Awards ceremony. We have extremely strong links to squash with the National Squash Centre being based here and this October’s Championships and Awards will be a fitting tribute to the passion which the city has for the sport.

The categories and past winners of the World Squash Awards are:
PSA Male Player of Year
– 2005 Thierry Lincou, 2006 and 2007 Amr Shabana
PSA Young Male Player of Year – 2005 James Willstrop, 2006 and 2007 Ramy Ashour
WISPA Female Player of Year – 2005 Vanessa Atkinson, 2006 and 2007 Nicol David
WISPA Female Young Player of the Year – 2005 Raneem El Weleily, 2006 Tenille Swartz, 2007 Camille Scerme
WISPA Female Most Improved Player of the Year – 2005 Alison Waters 2006 Nicolette Fernandes 2007 Shelley Kitchen
Lifetime Achievement Award – 2005 Jahangir, 2006 Jonah Barrington, 2007 Heather McKay

rmation about the dinner, which will also see a special presentation being made to Jahangir Khan who is stepping down as President of the World Squash Federation in October, is available from Tim Garner at



Due to popular demand an Economy Season Ticket has been launched for The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships - Manchester 2008 which will allow spectators access to all nine sessions of the event for the specially reduced rate of just £36 for adults (standard rate for all nine session is £70) and £18 for juniors (standard rate for all nine sessions is £47.50).


The tickets will be valid from Monday 13th October through to the thrilling finals day on Sunday 19th October when the world’s best male and female players will be battling it out for the title of World Champion. The tickets will be valid in front corner seats and have been released due to the overwhelming demand from squash fans to be part of the action at what promises to be the world’s biggest squash event.


The economy ticket is the latest innovation to be announced by the Championships’ organisers after exclusive hospitality packages were recently unveiled for the squash extravaganza, which will see the men’s and women’s world championships run together for the first time ever in Britain.


Jim Quigley, Head of Major Sports Events and Partnerships, Manchester City Council said, “We are dedicated to making this the best squash Championships ever staged and that means providing spectators with the best value options to see the world’s leading players in action.


“We’ve been delighted with ticket demand so far and it has become clear that fans are keen to be part of these wonderful Championships and visit on multiple days. In response to this interest we have come up with the ‘Economy Season Ticket’ which allows both children and adults to make substantial savings while seeing all the action.”


Sheldon Phillips, Partnership Marketing Manager at the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) which is one of the major sponsors of the event, said, “Interest in the Championships has been outstanding so far and it is excellent news that more supporters will be able to enjoy them.


“The NWDA is delighted to support this prestigious event which will attract visitors from all over the world and will further enhance Manchester’s reputation as a world-class destination for major sporting events.”


The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships will see the world’s leading 64 men and top 32 women competing for the title of World Champion and there will be strong home interest with no fewer than six British men and five British women in the world’s top 20. For further details on The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008 and to book your tickets visit

Manchester 2008 To Use Point-A-Rally Scoring For First Time

For the first time ever in its 30 year history, the Women’s World Open at The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008 this October will feature the fast and dynamic point-a-rally scoring system.

This scoring method replaces the traditional hand-in-hand-out system which only allows players to win a point when they are holding serve.  However all matches will still remain the best of five games.

The point-a-rally method was formally introduced onto the WISPA World Tour for last month’s CIMB Malaysian Open and now brings the women’s game into line with the men’s PSA Tour.

The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships - Manchester 2008 are going to set a benchmark as the best tournament the sport has ever seen so it’s great that we will be the first ever women’s World Open to use this exciting scoring system. With so many sports evolving at the moment, squash needs to keep at the forefront of change and this new method will make it easier and more enjoyable for the spectators to follow the action. 

The point-a-rally system has proved over many years on the men’s Tour that it provides for fast and thrilling games and with the Men’s and Women’s World Opens being staged alongside each other in Manchester this October it makes perfect sense that both will be using the scoring system.

Defending World Champion Rachael Grinham believes the new system will have a big impact on matches, saying: “It’s a big change for the game mentally, which I think is huge because I believe at the top of the women’s game most matches are won mentally. I do believe it will make matches much closer, which will be better for the spectators’ point of view.”

Rising English star and Hi-Tec World Squash Championships - Manchester 2008 ambassador, Sarah Kippax agrees that the new scoring will make a big difference, and added:  “The new par scoring system is going to have a massive influence on this year’s Women’s Hi-Tec World Squash Championships.  Even though it will have been in place for a couple of months by the time we get to Manchester, it will still take some getting used to as we’ve all grown up with the old system.

“Personally I’ve had some success with the point-a-rally method as we used it early this summer when I reached the finals of the European Individual Championships. It makes every point absolutely crucial and there’s no time to switch off, even for an instant. I think this new system will make everyone a lot more consistent as we’ll know that we don’t have any second chances.

“We’ll have to wait and see if it brings the very top players closer to the chasing bunch but hopefully I can master it and enjoy a good run at the World’s as it would be great to have a big impact in front of the home crowd. I train in Manchester every week so I have a lot of friends there and can’t wait for October to come around and give it my best shot."

The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008 will run from Saturday 11th to Sunday 19th October and will for the first time ever on British soil see the men’s and women’s top players battling it out alongside each other for the title of World Champion. Tickets are currently on sale at where a limited number of VIP Hospitality Packages recently became available.



Visitors to this October’s Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008 will be able to watch the action in style after it was announced that a limited number of VIP hospitality packages will be available from Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th October.


The packages will allow spectators at the National Squash Centre to watch the world’s best players from the comfort of reserved side and back wall seats, and will also include a hot buffet which can be washed down with a selection of wines and soft drinks.


Jim Quigley, Head of Major Sports Events and Partnerships, Manchester City Council said, “The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008 will be the biggest and best squash tournament ever staged so we’re delighted to be able to announce that there will be top level hospitality to complement the world class squash.


“The packages are based on similar options which we trialled at the National Championships earlier this year and proved to be hugely popular. Since the Commonwealth Games in 2002 Manchester has established a deserved reputation of hosting some of the best sports events in the world and visitors to the National Squash Centre in October will be provided with world class facilities.”


The packages, along with regular tickets are available from the official website of The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008 - which also has full details on the event.


The packages available are:


Thursday 16th October – Men’s Round 3 and Women’s Round 2

5.00pm – 10.00pm

Package for a table of 8 VIPs: £360

Package includes

4 x Back Wall tickets

4 x Side Wall tickets

Hot Buffet

Wine (two bottles of red and two bottles of white)

Orange juice and water



Friday 17th October – Men’s and Women’s Quarter-Finals

Session 1 11.00am – 4.00pm

Package for a table of 8 VIPs: £420

Package includes

4 x Back Wall tickets

4 x Side Wall tickets

Hot Buffet

Wine (two bottles of red and two bottles of white)

Orange juice and water


Friday 17th October – Men’s and Women’s Quarter-Finals

Session 2 5.00pm – 10.00pm

Package for a table of 8 VIPs: £420

Package includes

4 x Back Wall tickets

4 x Side Wall tickets

Hot Buffet

Wine (two bottles of red and two bottles of white)

Orange juice and water


Saturday 18th October – Men’s and Women’s Semi-Finals

Session 12.00pm – 6.00pm

Package for a table of 8 VIPs: £440

Package includes

4 x Back Wall tickets

4 x Side Wall tickets

Hot Buffet

Wine (two bottles of red and two bottles of white)

Orange juice and water


Sunday 19th October – Men’s and Women’s Finals

Session 1.00pm – 5.00pm

Package for a table of 8 VIPs: £500

Package includes

4 x Back Wall tickets

4 x Side Wall tickets

Hot Buffet

Wine (two bottles of red and two bottles of white)

Orange juice and water


For further information about the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships – Manchester 2008 or high resolution photography please contact the Event Press Office at Capitalize:


Leigh Ireland

Telephone: 020 7940 1705 / 020 7940 1700

Mobile: 07771 903354