McQuillan at the
. Day 3
World Open News
 Amr Shabana (EGY) bt  David Palmer (AUS) 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (40m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Rachael Grinham (AUS) 8-10, 9-2, 9-6, 9-7 (53m)
Sensational David is New World Champion
Nicol David continued her sensational year by becoming the
first Asian woman ever to win the World Open, overcoming the top-seeded
Rachael Grinham in a breath-taking final.
The 22-year-old Malaysian's 8-10,9-2,9-6,9-7 victory over the Australian
took place after an encounter between two of the fastest movers the women's
game has ever seen.
It also earned David her fourth major accolade of 2005. She became the first
home winner of the Malaysian Open, the first Asian woman to win the British
Open, and then the night before today's world final, she learnt that she
will become the first Asian woman ever to reach world number one.
When that happened two years ago in to France's Thierry Lincou he became
distracted by the ensuing publicity demands and lost the World Open final in
Lahore - but there was never any chance of this with David.
Her concentration was intense. So much so that she was still locked into it
after the match, and was not easily able to express her feelings.
"I am still in my focus," she said. "I have been building that up for the
final and now I am world champion I don't know what I feel.
"I was going in there giving my all, because with Rachael you have to make
sure you don't give any openings or you're in trouble."
In fact David was briefly in trouble because the conditions were cool and
she found difficult in getting a unresponsive ball to the back, and it was
not until she hit the ball higher in the front wall that her length
When she did that, she made steady headway in a contest full of long,
jet-heeled rallies, though Grinham fought back bravely from 2-7 to 7-7 in
the fourth game before she was done.
The final also had its eccentricities. Sighting the ball was not always easy
and Grinham essayed one complete air shot on a return of serve, and there
was a little crack near the backhand corner which three times made the ball
There was a testing delay at 6-6 in the third game when Grinham came out of
the court and made the referee talk them through the strokes in rally before
he came to the correct "let" decision.
And an even longer and more bizarre delay just three points into the match,
when both players complained about the slippery surface - and when the
cleaners came on Grinham got hold of a broom and starting brushing it
herself. But despite her early 4-3 lead she was unable to sweep to
There was a minor controversy in the men's final too, in which Amr Shabana,
the 2003 champion from Egypt, became the first player to win the title back
since Jansher Khan, the legendary Pakistani, more than a decade ago.
Shabana overcame David Palmer, the 2002 champion, by 11-6,11-7,11-9 but ink
from the logo on his racket darkened the ball and made it harder to see,
prompting the Australian to repeat the complaints which England's Peter
Nicol had made while losing the night before.
However there was no denying the brilliance of Shabana's ability to mask the
direction of the ball with sleight of wrist, nor the greater freshness with
which he came into this tournament.
That may have been crucial, especially against an opponent who had played
ten matches in two weeks, and may have had one match too far.
Shabana reckoned that his wrist injury which kept him out for 19 days,
leading to a second round defeat in Doha the previous week, had worked in
"I was so low I didn't think I would be playing," he said. "I just kept
saying my prayers and my family told me there may be a reason for it.And it
gave me rest - and more energy."
. Day 1: Round 1:
. Day 2: Round 1:
3: Round 2:
Day 4: Quarters-finals
Day 5: Semi-finals
. Day 6: Finals
|Shabana takes control against Palmer in the
|Amr Shabana goes through to
final beating Peter Nicol
|Power puts out Boswell to set
up British Open semi replay with Willstrop.
|Lee Beachill goes through against
Joe Kneipp in the first round.
29 Nov - 4 Dec 2005
Tue 29 Wed 30 Nov
Thurs 1 Dec
Fri 2 Dec
Sat 3 Dec
Sun 4 Dec
| Thierry Lincou (FRA)
11-5, 11-9, 11-6 (43m)
Wael El Hindi (EGY)
7-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8 (83m)
11-8, 3-11, 11-5, 11-9 (46m)
11-8, 11-2, 11-6 (46m)
11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (45m)
| Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
11-5, 11-2, 7-2retired (18 mins)
[Q] Ramy Ashour (EGY)
| Peter Nicol,
7-11,11-9,11-6,11-6 (56 mins)
Adrian Grant (ENG)
11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (24m)
11-10(3-1),11-4,10-11(0-2),4-11,11-8 (58 mins)
[Q] Renan Lavigne (FRA)
| Lee Beachill
11-10(3-1),11-4,10-11(0-2),4-11,11-8 (58 mins)
Joseph Kneipp (AUS)
11-6, 11-3, 10-11 (0-2), 11-5 (73m)
11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (33m)
| John White
11-5,11-6,10-11(02),11-10(4-2) (59 mins)
[Q] Alex Gough (WAL)
| Amr Shabana
6-11,11-5,11-7,11-2 (55 mins)
[Q] Simon Parke (ENG)
11-3, 11-2, 11-8 (29m)
| Olli Tuominen (FIN)
[Q] Joey Barrington (ENG)
11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 11-3 (38m)
 Karim Darwish (EGY)
11-8, 11-9, 11-3 (35m)
11-9, 2-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8 (73m)
11-9, 11-10(3-1), 11-10 (2-0) (44m)
11-7, 11-7, 11-9 (57m)
 Anthony Ricketts (AUS)
[Q] Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY)
8-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-10 (3-1) (38m)
 Mohd Azlan Iskandar
Mohd Azlan Iskandar
11-7, 11-9, 11-7 (44m)
[Q] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (42m)
 David Palmer (AUS)
11-8, 11-2, 10-11 (5-7), 11-5 (55m)
 Nick Matthew (ENG)
7-11, 9-11m 11-4, 11-8, 11-6 (71m)
11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6 (47m)
|Wong Wai Hang (HKG)
11-10 (2-0), 11-6, 11-8 (31m)
 James Willstrop (ENG)
[Q] Stewart Boswell (AUS)
8-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-7, 11-3 (51m) Graham Ryding (CAN)
11-8, 5-11, 11-5, 11-9 (52m)
|Ong Beng Hee
11-3, 11-1, 11-6 (25m)
Jonathon Power (CAN)
Men's 1st qualifying round:
Dan Jenson (AUS) bt Chiu Ho Fai (HKG) 11-0, 11-5, 11-6 (12m)
Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Yasir Butt (PAK) 11-4, 11-6, 11-4 (17m)
Joey Barrington (ENG) bt Ritwik Bhattacharya (IND) 11-3, 11-8, 11-6 (35m)
Phillip Barker (ENG) bt Matthew Giuffre (CAN) 11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9 (47m)
Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 11-8, 10-11 (0-2), 4-11,
11-9, 11-4 (33m)
Rodney Durbach (RSA) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 11-9, 10-11 (1-3), 11-8,
6-11, 11-4 (55m)
Simon Parke (ENG) bt Dick Lau (HKG) 11-4, 11-6, 11-3 (24m)
Shahier Razik (CAN) bt Ben Garner (ENG) 10-11 (1-3), 11-7, 11-6, 11-9
Mark Chaloner (ENG) bt Roger Ngan (HKG) 11-5, 11-2, 11-6 (25m)
Renan Lavigne (FRA) bt Anson Kwong (HKG) 11-6, 11-4, 11-6 (22m)
Davide Bianchetti (ITA) bt Timothy Manning (AUS) 11-6, 11-2, 10-11 (1-3),
5-11, 11-7 (59m)
Alex Gough (WAL) bt Jean-Michel Arcucci (FRA) 11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8
Alister Walker (ENG) bt Raymond Chiu (HKG) 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 (24m)
Stewart Boswell (AUS) bt Kashif Shuja (NZL) 11-6, 11-4, 11-2 (21m)
Jonathan Kemp (ENG) bt Liam Kenny (IRL) 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 (24m)
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt Max Lee (HKG) 11-6, 11-4, 11-6 (19m)
Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Dan Jenson (AUS) 1-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 (34m)
Joey Barrington (ENG) bt Phillip Barker (ENG) 11-10 (3-1), 11-7, 4-11,
10-11 (2-4), 11-3 (86m)
Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) bt Rodney Durbach (RSA) 4-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-10
(3-1), 11-7 (50m)
Simon Parke (ENG) bt Shahier Razik (CAN) 11-5, 4-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6
Renan Lavigne (FRA) bt Mark Chaloner (ENG) 11-7, 10-11 (2-4), 11-8, 10-11
(0-2), 11-9 (69m)
Alex Gough (WAL) bt Davide Bianchetti (ITA) 11-5, 11-6, 11-1 (26m)
Stewart Boswell (AUS) bt Alister Walker (ENG) 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (32m)
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt Jonathan Kemp (ENG) 11-4, 10-11 (0-2), 11-10
(3-1), 11-7 (32m)
29 November - 4 December
Tue 29 Nov Wed 30 Dec
Thurs 1 Dec
Fir 2 Dec
Sat 3 Dec
Sun 4 Dec
| Rachael Grinham (AUS)
9-1, 9-3, 9-4 (25 mins)
Pamela Nimmo (SCO)
9-3, 9-2, 9-7 (39m)
9-4, 9-4, 10-8 (39m)
10-8, 9-6, 9-4 (50m)
10-8, 2-9, 6-9, 7-9 (64m)
9-6,9-3,9-5 (42 mins)
[Q] Samantha Teran (MEX)
| Jenny Duncalf (ENG)
9-2,9-2,9-5 (34 mins)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG
9-0, 9-6, 8-10, 1-9, 9-5
9-3,5-9,9-2,9-4 (31 mins)
Melissa Martin (AUS)
| Natalie Grinham (AUS)
9-1, 9-0, 9-3 (23m)
[Q] Rebecca Botwright (ENG)
9-4, 6-9, 9-0, 9-4 (39m)
9-1, 1-9, 9-4, 9-0 (22m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy
9-2,9-2,9-7 (44 mins)
Latasha Khan (USA)
Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)
9-4,9-4,9-7 (31 mins)
[Q] Dianne Desira (AUS)
|Omneya Abdel Kawy
9-4, 8-10, 9-1, 6-9, 9-4 (50m)
9-7,9-6,9-7 (42 mins)
Tegwen Malik (WAL)
9-4, 9-4, 6-9, 9-4 (52m)
 Laura-Jane Lengthorn (ENG)
9-3, 9-4, 9-6 (42m)
9-4, 9-7, 9-7 (39m)
6-9, 9-1, 10-9, 9,3 (47m)
9-3, 9-1, 9-4 (34m)
 Linda Elriani (ENG)
9-0, 9-0, 9-4 (19m)
Tania Bailey (ENG)
9-6, 9-5, 9-7 (43m)
9-0, 9-4, 9-0 (21m)
 Nicol David (MAL)
|Tamsyn Leevey (NZL)
5-9, 9-5, 9-3, 9-3 (43m)
 Alison Waters (ENG)
10-8, 9-4, 7-9, 7-9, 9-2 (73m)
9-6, 9-0, 9-7 (31m)
|[Q] Kasey Brown
9-4, 9-0, 9-3 (31m)
 Vicky Botwright (ENG)
| [Q] Lauren
9-3, 9-5, 5-9, 9-2 (57m)
 Isabelle Stoehr (FRA)
9-5, 9-10, 9-2, 9-2 (54m)
|[Q] Raneem El
9-4, 9-3, 9-4 (24m)
[2} Vanessa Atkinson (NED)
Women's 1st qualifying round:
Samantha Teran (MEX) bt Kozue Onizawa (JPN) 10-8, 9-3, 9-1 (25m)
Christina Mak (HKG) bt Lisa Camilleri (AUS) 1-9, 6-9, 9-3, 9-7, 9-3 (66m)
Kirsty McPhee (ENG) bt Alana Miller (CAN) 5-9, 9-7, 3-9, 9-2, 9-6 (51m)
Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt Eun Chan Ahn (KOR) 9-1, 9-6, 7-9, 9-1 (29m)
Runa Reta (CAN) bt Carin Clonda (AUS) 9-0, 9-1, 9-1 (19m)
Karen Kronemeyer (NED) bt Ka Kei Chiu (HKG) 9-5, 9-4, 9-4 (24m)
Dianne Desira (AUS) bt Chinatsu Matsui (JPN) 9-2, 9-7, 9-4 (23m)
Eun Ok Park (KOR) bt Manuela Manetta (ITA) 9-1, 5-9, 1-9, 9-4, 9-1 (66m)
Sarah Kippax (ENG) bt Amanda Hopps (AUS) 9-2, 9-5, 9-4 (29m)
Lauren Briggs (ENG) bt Daniela Schumann (GER) 9-3, 9-0, 9-1 (24m)
Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) bt Lee Hai-Kyung (KOR) 9-1, 9-5, 2-9, 7-9, 9-6
Kasey Brown (AUS) bt Shin Nga Leung (HKG) 9-4, 9-4, 9-7 (34m)
Suzie Pierrepont (ENG) bt Elise Ng (HKG) 9-2, 9-5, 9-4 (21m)
Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) bt Orla Noom (NED) 9-6, 10-8, 9-0 (37m)
Louise Crome (NZL) bt Charlie de Rycke (BEL) 9-5, 9-3, 9-6 (30m)
Rebecca Botwright (ENG) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 6-9, 9-2, 9-4, 9-1 (33m)
Samantha Teran (MEX)
bt Christina Mak (HKG) 9-3, 9-5, 9-5 (34m)
Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt Kirsty McPhee (ENG) 8-10, 9-1, 7-9, 9-1, 9-4
Karen Kronemeyer (NED) bt Runa Reta (CAN) 9-4, 9-7, 9-4 (28m)
Dianne Desira (AUS) bt Eun Ok Park (KOR) 9-0, 9-2, 9-3 (22m)
Lauren Briggs (ENG) bt Sarah Kippax (ENG) 9-2, 9-1, 9-3 (30m)
Kasey Brown (AUS) bt Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 9-2, 9-3, 9-2 (35m)
Suzie Pierrepont (ENG) bt Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) 1-9, 2-9, 9-5, 9-6, 9-4
Rebecca Botwright (ENG) bt Louise Crome (NZL) 8-10, 9-1, 9-0, 8-10, 9-2
Right: Gaultier (left) pushed
the titleholder Lincou to five games.
David first final
English hopes out
Nicol David made sure of being the first Asian woman ever to become world
number one when she ended the reign of World Open champion Vanessa Atkinson
The fleet-footed third-seeded Malaysian is certain to ascend to the pinnacle
after a see-sawing 6-9, 9-1,10-9, 9-3 win over the Dutch woman carried her
into the world final for the first time.
It was an ideal time and place for David to achieve it, with the first ever
combined women's and men's world championship having been placed in China
and with the sport trying to push its way into the world's largest emerging
It followed David's achievements of becoming the first Asian woman ever to
win the British woman and the first home winner of the Malaysian Open.
"I don't know if I've had time to think about it," she said immediately
after her hard-fought semi-final win. "I just don't know what I'm feeling
"I'm just happy I got through, because it was such a difficult match. I had
to really, really fight so hard."
It certainly looked that way. Indeed, had David not somehow battled back
from 2-7 down and game ball down at 8-9 in the third game she might well
have lost against an opponent who had a fiercer and more varied attack.
But David was by far the quicker of the two, and lasted the match better
too. When she succeeded in moving her heavier opponent around, the effect
was often devastating.
The crux was her recovery from 2-7 to 8-7 in the third, at which stage
Atkinson twice hit the back wall angrily with her racket, furious at a
penalty stroke decision given against her for getting in David's way.
Atkinson lost her chance to take a pivotal two games to one lead when she
put a forehand drop down, and slung her racket angrily across the floor
after she put another forehand drop down, under immense pressure, to give
David the match-turning third game.
To become the first Asian woman ever to win the World Open, David mow has to
beat Rachael Grinham, the top-seeded Australian.
Grinham won the other semi-final 10-8,9-6,9-4 against her younger sister
Natalie Grinham, in the first contest between siblings at such an advanced
stage of a major squash event.
"I think she was struggling a little bit and was being a bit too nice," said
Rachel of Natalie. "Definitely on match ball she could have taken a
(penalty) stroke, but she hit the ball into the floor instead."
Natalie said: "It's harder for me, because I have rarely beaten her. But
nothing that happens on the court would ever affect out relationship.
Rachael even hit the ball into the tin at one stage when she thought the
referee's call was wrong."
Meanwhile the finest male player of the past few years, Peter Nicol, may
have played his last World Open after being well beaten in the semi-finals
by Amr Shabana, the 2003 champion from Egypt.
Nicol had been hoping at the age of 32 to win the title back, and looked
good enough to do so when finished world champion Thierry Lincou's bold
But the Scotland-raised England international could not rekindle the same
fire in his belly a second successive night, complaining about not being
able to see the ball as he slipped to a 11-8,11-2,11-6 loss.
Shabana, who reckons that time off for shoulder and wrist injuries has
helped because he has learnt to take more care of himself than he did, thus
scored his first win over Nicol in six attempts.
His opponent in the final is another former world champion, David Palmer,
the 2002 winner from Australia.
Palmer was beaten in the final of the Qatar Classic, the world's richest
tournament, only six days before and he now gained a satisfying revenge over
his Doha conqueror, the Englishman James Willstrop.
There was no more than four points or so between them, despite a straight
games result, Palmer's 11-9,11-10,11-10 victory requiring him to come from
behind in all three games.
Much may also have been different had Willstrop not accidentally hit the
ball from the Kowloon quayside court into Hongkong harbour, when he was
leading 7-3 in the second game and going well.
After an interval of several minutes, Palmer won six of the next seven
points after the restart, putting Willstrop under a score-induced pressure
he never really escaped.
Rachael and Natalie Grinham will become the first sisters ever to play each
other in the later stages of a major squash tournament when they face each
other in the semi-finals of the World Open.
That became certain when the top-seeded older sister Rachael overcame
Madeline Perry, the surprise quarter-finalist from Ireland, by 9-4,9-4,10-8.
Earlier the fifth-seeded Natalie had kept alive her chances of reaching the
World Open final for the second successive year by beating Omneya Abdel Kawy
of Egypt 9-1,1-9,9-4,9-0 in a strange staccato contest.
But although Natalie is a very similar standard to Rachael she has only ever
beaten her twice on the tour and admitted to finding matches between them
emotionally very difficult.
"You do know you are playing your sister," she said. "As much as you try to
think of it as just another match, you know who you are playing.
"I've only ever beaten her twice, but one of the times I was playing her I
do remember thinking: 'poor girl she's going to lose.' "So there is that
emotional side, no matter how much you try to block it out. I don't think
people realise what it can be like."
But Rachael was surprisingly much less diffident about the prospect. "Maybe
the Williams sisters find it difficult to play each other, but maybe they
are a little bit dramatic because they are Americans," Rachael said
"But we don't. For us it's just another opponent. We don't think of each
other like that on court," she reckoned. But when she was told that Natalie
did in fact think of it as difficult, Rachael modified her view.
"As we were growing up I was always above her, not only because I am older
but because I was much more into squash than her.
"So maybe there is a little bit of guilt there. Perhaps she feels like she's
knocking me down," she admitted.
The first quarter final had seen Kawy, the first Muslim woman ever to reach
the world's top ten, look dangerous for a spell against Natalie in the
middle of the match, her penchant for taking risks in the front part of the
court being well-suited to an unusually cool court which made the ball die
quickly. At 3-4 in the second game, the ninth-seed from Cairo was still in
with a chance of causing an upset, but she faded thereafter, perhaps
affected by the long five-game match she had had against Wales' Tegwen Malik
the day before.
Gradually Natalie's superb movement, perhaps even better than her
brilliantly mobile sister's, enabled her to reach anything which Kawy
pitched in short and got her into better and better positions to finish the
Rachael's victory over the 12th-seeded Perry was much closer even though it
only went to three games. The Irish player led 3-0 in the first game, and
4-0 in the second, and came back dangerously from 3-8 to 8-8 in the third.
The rallies were long, and sometimes spectacular with some fine retrieving,
but the Australian's greater capacity for volleying more often enabled her
to dictate, and when it mattered most she had the greater self-belief. But
the outcome of her match against her sister is likely to depend on entirely
new factors - probably on who adapts better. The tournament will move to an
all-glass outdoor court on the edge of Hong Kong harbour, where the playing
conditions are likely to be very different.
Thierry Lincou through
but pushed by Gaultier
Thierry Lincou, the top-seeded titleholder from France, was
pushed close to the limits of his endurance before hanging on to his title
against the brilliant and sometimes theatrical challenge of Gregory Gaultier,
his younger compatriot, in the second round of the World Open.
The Marseille-based Reunion Islander spent most of the match in difficulties
against his near neighbour and regular sparring partner from
Aix-en-Provence, and needed all his discipline and patience before surviving
a Gallic drama by 7-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8.
Lincou suffered the burden of a continual deficit against an ambitious
22-year-old with a flamboyantly deceptive range of wrong-footing shots and a
desire to score his first win on the PSA Tour against his compatriot.
He also had to endure a sequence of emotional scenes from Gaultier,
including some ear-splitting seagull screeches, some mimicry of the referee,
and one spectacular fall which gave him the unmissable opportunity to appeal
for a let while lying flat on the floor.
Gaultier's insistence on commenting on and contesting Jack Allen's decisions
were a disruptive sub-plot to the action, one which the spectators mostly
loved, but which the Irish policeman did not, eventually giving Gaultier a
code of conduct warning.
"It was difficult because he is a friend of mine and there is a lot of
affection between us," Lincou said. "It's hard to really focus on the game
when he's talking and arguing. It's hard not to laugh and difficult to stay
in the game."
Against that, Gaultier could claim himself unfortunate that Lincou was
allowed to take longer and longer intervals between rallies in the fourth
and fifth games, without ever being warned by Allen.
The tenth seed was the player who produced the all-court invention, while
Lincou responded with discipline, trying to keep Gaultier's openings to
minimum by working the ball doggedly to a length.
There were two crucial phases where Gaultier needed to have done more. The
first was at 9-9 in the second game where he could have pushed on to a
match-dominating lead, and the other was in the middle of the fourth game,
when he unaccountably took his foot off the pedal, several times declining
to run the ball down.
Gaultier may have been tiring, but on the other hand Lincou several times
"Physically I was not too bad," he claimed. "But mentally it is so hard to
come back from 1-2 down, especially against him because he is so
unpredictable and dangerous.
"He played really well in the front and it because of my length that I won.
I am proud of this victory because Gregory has shown he is now on the same
level as the best players in this tournament."
Peter Nicol, the 1999 champion when he was a Scot but now representing
England, will be Lincou's dangerous quarter-final opponent. He has only
beaten the 32-year-old Briton once in ten attempts, but may take comfort
that when he did so, it was here in Hong Kong.
Three other former world champions made the last eight - Amr Shabana of
Egypt, David Palmer of Australia, and Jonathon Power of Canada.
Shabana plays Lee Beachill, last year's runner-up from England, and Palmer
faces his compatriot Anthony Ricketts, the British Open champion, while
Power meets former world junior champion James Willstrop, who made an
improbable recovery from two games down against his English compatriot and
hotel room mate, Nick Matthew.
The women's titleholder, Vanessa Atkinson, also survived. A 9-5,9-10,9-2,9-2
win over the leading French woman, Isabelle Stoehr, earned the second-seeded
Dutch player a repeat of the Qatar Classic final on Sunday against England's
Atkinson appears to be heading for a semi-final showdown with Nicol David,
the British Open champion from Malaysia, who came from 1-6 down to beat
Tania Bailey of England, and is now just two wins from becoming the first
Asian woman ever to be world number one.
Nicol David beats Engy Kheirallah in the first round to show what she can
David in Explosive form
Nicol David's attempt to become the first Asian woman ever to become world
champion, began with an explosive victory and the lure of another major
The 22-year-old Malaysian will become world number one for the first time if
she beats defending champion Vanessa Atkinson in Saturday's semi-finals,
which, on the evidence of David's performance in a 9-0,9-4,9-0
first round win over Engy Kheirallah, she is capable of doing.
David was devastating with her court coverage and relentless in her focus,
hustling the world number 24 from Egypt into a 20-minute defeat which
harassed Kheirallah into some uncharacteristic questioning of the referee.
"I am just trying to get used to the court ," said a deliberately downbeat
David, attempting a calculated deflection of the attention, thougn her
comment seemed less than crucial as she will almost certainly have to
play on three different types of court in this tournament.
"I think I have improved tactically, technically and mentally, and have
gained confidence from having done all the training, but right now I'm just
pleased to be getting the first round over and getting into the
groove," she said.
It was left to coach Liz Irving to talk up the young British and Malaysian
Open champion. "I have not seen anyone since Susan Devoy (the four times
former World Open champion from New Zealand) who can apply herself mentally
so well as Nicol does," Irving reckoned.
Meanwhile Atkinson also made an impressive start, especially as her
9-4,9-3,9-4 win over Raneem El Weleily, another Egyptian, came fully 4,000
miles and five hours time difference from her last victory, in Sunday's
final of the world's richest tournament, the Qatar Classic in Doha.
That elevated the Dutch woman to the world number one spot for the first
time, a success which she is wisely ignoring for the time being, as in three
days time it is possible that she will learn she will lose it.
"I am just trying not to think about it," said Atkinson. "I haven't had a
great year and it is just good to be playing better again. I don't feel too
bad despite the short break and the long journey. I was able
to get an upgraded ticket, and that helped."
Two former champions, David Palmer of Australia, and Jonathon Power of
Canada. both hoping to win the World Open back, made encouraging starts in
the men's event.
Palmer, who looked stiff and tired after losing the Doha final to England's
James Willstrop three days ago, now summoned enough movement to see off the
determined Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema 11-9,11-5,11-6.
Power, who sometimes starts tournaments uncertainly, flowed into his best
form straight away, despatching Ong Beng Hee, the first home male to win the
Malaysian Open, for the loss of only ten points.
"I found the rhythm straight away," said the 1999 champion. "That's rare for
me because I'm often nervous at the start.
"But now I am older I am last desperate to win it, having done it before.
But I'm here because I want to do it one last time."
Power was spared the mixed blessing of a meeting with his friend and
compatriot Graham Ryding, because the 14th seeded player lost to the
tournament's most dangerous floater, Stewart Boswell, the former world
number four from Australia.
It has taken the Australian fully two years to recover from injury, but his
8-11,11-10,11-7,11-3 victory over the Canadian number two suggested that
Boswell should soon be back among the seeds
Titleholder Lincou to
Picture right: Lincou beats Wael el Hindi
World champion Thierry Lincou began the defence of
his title with a resolute performance and a good recovery which set up a
battle of France with Gregory Gaultier.
The Marseille-based man from Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean was required
to come back from 5-9 down in the second game and survive some physical
knocks before a 11-5,11-9,11-6 win against Egypt's Wael El Hindi ensured a
second round showdown with his younger compatriot.
It kept him on course to become the first man to retain the world title
since Jansher Khan, the great Pakistani, last did it nine years ago.
Lincou was also impressive for his psychological control - blocking out the
distractions in a way in which he might not have been able to a couple of
years ago - and for the way he reacted to a potentially dangerous deficit.
"To be honest I was not nervous at all. I didn't feel anything," he said,
surprisingly for one for whom so much is at stake. "I was not thinking about
the whole event.
"I just tried to stick to my game plan. You have to learn. You learn to
protect your head, and to stay in your bubble," the top-seeded titleholder
That was especially true in the pivotal second game, in which Lincou was
prepared to dig deep to avoid a much longer encounter.
During that phase he played relatively error-free when taking El Hindi in
short, which was crucial, enabling him to move the big Egyptian around more.
Lincou also had to be brave. "I knew it was going to be physical, so that
was another reason why I had to move him around. I was happy to win and get
Gaultier got off much quicker than Lincou. He was two games ahead against
Ramy Ashour before his Egyptian opponent quit with a knee problem he
exacerbated making a low lunge.
Only last month Gaultier beat Lincou in a club match in France, but on tour
the 22-year-old has yet to beat him. "But there's always a first time," he
The winner is likely to face the former world champion, Peter Nicol, who was
as nervous as Lincou appeared calm, surviving a rocky start before winning
7-11 11-9, 11-6,11-6 in a tussle of English left-handers.
The match was played on an outside court which was much warmer than the
centre court on which Lincou had played, creating a bouncier ball and making
it difficult to force the pace.
It was not till the third game that Nicol's patience and discipline really
began to pay dividends against an opponent who had won their previous
meeting, but who now made mistakes through over-pressing.
Grant twice threw away his racket angrily after lapses. Then after a match
ball reprieve because the referee was unsure whether Nicol's kill was up or
down, Grant lobbed the ball into the stands from whence it never reappeared.
A lengthy knock-up ensued to warm up a new ball, followed by anther long
rally, but it ended when the ambitious Grant put a drop shot into the tin.
Nicol now plays Shahid Zaman, the 14th seed from Pakistan.
The only seed to go out was Shelley Kitchen, the 13th seed in the women's
event. The New Zealander looked out of sorts as she went down in straight
games to the Welsh champion Tegwen Malik.
Earlier the favourite, Rachael Grinham of Australia, dropped only eight
points in beginning with a win against the Scottish number one Pamela
The defending champion Vanessa Atkinson of The Netherlands, starts
tomorrow (Wednesday) against the 16-year-old Egyptian qualifier, Rabeem El
Weleilly, the youngest player in the tournament.
Parke Celebrates 15th World Open
Appearance In Hong Kong
England's Simon Parke survived a 72-minute
five-game battle against Canada's Shahier Razik in today's (Monday)
qualifying finals of the Cathay Pacific Credit Suisse Privilege World Open
Squash Championships in Hong Kong to celebrating his 15th successive World
Open appearance since making his debut as a 17-year-old in the 1989 event in
Despite undergoing treatment for testicular cancer in 1996 and ankle surgery
in 2001, the 32-year-old Yorkshireman never missed a single appearance in
the event over the 16-year period, reaching the last eight on four separate
occasions and achieving a career-high world No3 ranking in October 2000.
Parke's reward for his 11-5 4-11 11-6 8-11 11-6 victory over Razik is a
first round clash with Egypt's fifth seed Amr Shabana, the in-form former
world champion from Cairo who has won three PSA Tour titles since September.
A second Englishman made it through the qualifiers – but, by contrast, Joey
Barrington is making only his second appearance in a World Open main draw
after beating compatriot Phillip Barker 11-10 11-7 4-11 10-11 11-3 in 86
Egyptian brothers Hisham Mohd Ashour and Ramy Ashour also claimed places in
the main draw after qualifying successes - Hisham beating South Africa's
Rodney Durbach 4-11 11-9 9-11 11-10 11-7 in 50 minutes and 18-year-old Ramy
becoming the youngest player in the men's draw after a 1-11 11-9 11-5 11-7
win over Australia's Dan Jenson, a seven-times World Open participant since
In the women's event, Egypt's Raneem El Weleily makes her debut in the main
draw in her fourth qualifying attempt since 2002. The 16-year-old from
Alexandria – the youngest competitor in the WISPA Gold championship – beat
England's Kirsty McPhee 8-10 9-1 7-9 9-1 9-4.
El Weleily will face defending champion Vanessa Atkinson in the first round
in the second seed's opening match in Hong Kong since lifting the Women's
Qatar Classic trophy at the weekend.
Players from 16 countries will compete in the first ever combined men's and
women's World Open in Hong Kong, with first round action tomorrow (Tuesday)
and Wednesday, leading to the finals on Sunday. France's Thierry Lincou is
seeded to retain the men's title he won for the first time last year in
Qatar, and Australia's world No1 Rachael Grinham is favourite to win the
women's crown for the first time after meeting title-holder Vanessa Atkinson
in the final.