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McQuillan at the
World Open

 News
 
Reports
. Day 1

. Day 2
. Day 3
. Day 4
. Day 5
. Day 6

. World Open News
. Qualifying
   Men
   Women

. Men's Draw

. Women's Draw

Latest:
Men's final:
[5] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [3] David Palmer (AUS) 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (40m)
Women's final:
[3] Nicol David (MAS) bt [1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 8-10, 9-2, 9-6, 9-7 (53m)


 

Day 6:

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 improved.

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 shoot.

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
victory.

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 his favour.

"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."

 

. OFFICIAL SITE
. MATCH REPORTS:
. Qualifying
. Day 1: Round 1:
. Day 2: Round 1:
. Day 3: Round 2:
.
Day 4: Quarters-finals
. Day 5: Semi-finals
. Day 6: Finals

Shabana takes control against Palmer in the final.
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.
World  Open 2005: Men's Draw
29 Nov - 4 Dec  2005
 
First Round
 Tue 29 Wed 30 Nov
Second Round
Thurs 1 Dec
Quarters
Fri 2 Dec
Semis
Sat 3 Dec
Final
Sun 4 Dec
[1] Thierry Lincou (FRA) 
11-5, 11-9, 11-6 (43m)
Wael El Hindi (EGY)
Thierry Lincou
7-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8 (83m)
Gregory Gaultier
 
Thierry Lincou
11-8, 3-11, 11-5, 11-9 (46m)
Peter Nicol
Peter Nicol
11-8, 11-2, 11-6 (46m)
Amr Shabana

Amr Shabana
11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (45m)
David Palmer

[10] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
11-5, 11-2, 7-2retired (18 mins)
[Q] Ramy Ashour (EGY)
[6] Peter Nicol, (ENG)
7-11,11-9,11-6,11-6 (56 mins)
Adrian Grant (ENG)
Peter Nicol
11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (24m)
Shahid Zaman
[16] Shahid Zaman (PAK)
11-10(3-1),11-4,10-11(0-2),4-11,11-8 (58 mins)
[Q] Renan Lavigne (FRA)
[4] Lee Beachill (ENG)
11-10(3-1),11-4,10-11(0-2),4-11,11-8 (58 mins)
Joseph Kneipp (AUS)
Lee Beachill
11-6, 11-3, 10-11 (0-2), 11-5 (73m)
John White

Lee Beachill
11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (33m)
Amr Shabana
[11] John White (SCO)
11-5,11-6,10-11(02),11-10(4-2) (59 mins)
[Q] Alex Gough (WAL)
[5] Amr Shabana (EGY)
6-11,11-5,11-7,11-2 (55 mins)
[Q] Simon Parke (ENG)
Amr Shabana
11-3, 11-2, 11-8 (29m)
Olli Tuominen
[15] Olli Tuominen (FIN)
11-6,11-7,10-11(02),11-3
(45 mins)
[Q] Joey Barrington (ENG)
Mansoor Zaman (PAK)
11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 11-3 (38m)
[9] Karim Darwish (EGY)
Karim Darwish
11-8, 11-9, 11-3 (35m)
Anthony Ricketts
Anthony Ricketts
11-9, 2-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8 (73m)
David Palmer
David Palmer
11-9, 11-10(3-1), 11-10 (2-0) (44m)
James Willstrop
Peter Barker (ENG)
11-7, 11-7, 11-9 (57m)
[7] Anthony Ricketts (AUS)
[Q] Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY)
8-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-10 (3-1) (38m)
[13] Mohd Azlan Iskandar
Mohd Azlan Iskandar
11-7, 11-9, 11-7 (44m)
David Palmer
[Q] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (42m)
[3] David Palmer (AUS)
Mohammed Abbas (EGY)7.45 pm
11-8, 11-2, 10-11 (5-7), 11-5 (55m)
[12] Nick Matthew (ENG)
Nick Matthew
7-11, 9-11m 11-4, 11-8, 11-6 (71m)
James Willstrop
 
James Willstrop
11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6 (47m)
Jonathon Power
Wong Wai Hang (HKG)
11-10 (2-0), 11-6, 11-8 (31m)
[8] James Willstrop (ENG)
[Q] Stewart Boswell (AUS)
8-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-7, 11-3 (51m)[14] Graham Ryding (CAN)
Stewart Boswell
11-8, 5-11, 11-5, 11-9 (52m)
Jonathon Power
Ong Beng Hee (MAL)
11-3, 11-1, 11-6 (25m)[2] 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 (42m)
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 (80m)
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)


Qualifying Finals:

Men's qualifying finals:
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 (72m)
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)
 

World Open 2005: Women's Draw
29 November - 4 December
First Round
Tue 29 Nov Wed 30 Dec
Second Round
 Thurs 1 Dec
Quarters
Fir 2 Dec
Semis
Sat 3 Dec
Final
Sun 4 Dec
[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS)
9-1, 9-3, 9-4 (25 mins)
Pamela Nimmo (SCO)
Rachael Grinham
9-3, 9-2, 9-7 (39m)
Rebecca Chiu
Rachael Grinham
9-4, 9-4, 10-8 (39m)
Madeline Perry
Rachael
Grinham

10-8, 9-6, 9-4 (50m)
Natalie
Grinham

Rachael
Grinham
10-8, 2-9, 6-9, 7-9 (64m)
 Nicol David
 

[17] Rebecca Chiu (HKG)
 9-6,9-3,9-5 (42 mins)
[Q] Samantha Teran (MEX)
[8] Jenny Duncalf (ENG)
9-2,9-2,9-5 (34 mins)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG
Jenny Duncalf
9-0, 9-6, 8-10, 1-9, 9-5
(79m)
Madeline Perry
[12] Madeline Perry (IRL)
9-3,5-9,9-2,9-4 (31 mins)
Melissa Martin (AUS)
[5] Natalie Grinham (AUS)
 9-1, 9-0, 9-3 (23m)
 [Q] Rebecca Botwright (ENG)
Natalie Grinham
9-4, 6-9, 9-0, 9-4 (39m)
Annelize Naude
Natalie Grinham 
9-1, 1-9, 9-4, 9-0 (22m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy
[14] Annelize Naude (NED)
9-2,9-2,9-7 (44 mins)
Latasha Khan (USA)
 [9] 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)
Tegwen Malik
[13] Shelley Kitchen (NZL)
9-7,9-6,9-7 (42 mins)
Tegwen Malik (WAL)
[Q] Suzie Pierrepont (ENG)
9-4, 9-4, 6-9, 9-4 (52m)
[19] Laura-Jane Lengthorn (ENG)
Laura-Jane Lengthorn
9-3, 9-4, 9-6 (42m)
Linda Elriani
Linda Elriani
9-4, 9-7, 9-7 (39m)
Nicol David
Nicol David
6-9, 9-1, 10-9, 9,3 (47m)
Vanessa Atkinson
Amelia Pittock (AUS)
9-3, 9-1, 9-4 (34m)
[6] Linda Elriani (ENG)
[Q] Karen Kronemeyer (NED)
9-0, 9-0, 9-4 (19m)[10]
Tania Bailey (ENG)
Tania Bailey
9-6, 9-5, 9-7 (43m)
Nicol David
Engy Kheirallah (EGY)
 9-0, 9-4, 9-0 (21m)
[3] Nicol David (MAL)
Tamsyn Leevey (NZL)
5-9, 9-5, 9-3, 9-3 (43m) [16] Alison Waters (ENG)
Alison Waters
10-8, 9-4, 7-9, 7-9, 9-2 (73m)
Vicky Botwright
Vicky Botwright
9-6, 9-0, 9-7 (31m)
Vanessa Atkinson
[Q] Kasey Brown (AUS)
9-4, 9-0, 9-3 (31m)
[7] Vicky Botwright (ENG)
 [Q] Lauren Briggs (ENG)
 9-3, 9-5, 5-9, 9-2 (57m) [15] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA)
Isabelle Stoehr
9-5, 9-10, 9-2, 9-2 (54m)
Vanessa Atkinson
[Q] Raneem El Weleily (EGY)
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 (55m)
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)


Qualifying Finals:

Women's qualifying finals:
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 (43m)
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 (56m)
Rebecca Botwright (ENG) bt Louise Crome (NZL) 8-10, 9-1, 9-0, 8-10, 9-2 (57m)

Reports

Right: Gaultier (left) pushed the titleholder Lincou to five games.

Day 5:
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 today.
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 market.

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 now.

"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 defence.

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.

_________________________________________________________

Day 4:
Sister Power
Sister Love

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 laughingly.
"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 rallies off.

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.

__________________________________________________________

Day 3:
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 looked exhausted.

"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 Vicky Botwright.

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.

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Right: Nicol David beats Engy Kheirallah in the first round to show what she can do.

Day 2:
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 accolade.

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 himself.

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Day 1:
Titleholder Lincou to face Nicol
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 added.

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 off."

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 smiled.

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
Nimmo.

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.

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Qualifying
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 Malaysia.

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 minutes.

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 1995.

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.

 

   

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