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Qatar Classic & World Open 2004
28-03 December, Doha, Qatar, $120k

Lincou Wins
World Title

Thierry Lincou became the first Frenchman ever to win the World Open squash title when he saved a match point for the second day in succession and overcame the top-seeded Englishman Lee Beachill 5-11, 11-2, 2-11, 12-10, 11-8.

Every day for almost year the 28-year-old Marseille-based player from Reunion Island had thought of his failure to win the 2003 final in Lahore, where he had made costly mistakes with his preparation. And when the chance to erase the memory came, no-one could have taken it more courageously.

Lincou was 9-10 down in the fourth game, within one blow of defeat, and required to contain yet another of the world number one¥s many well-structured attacks, before saving it with a dramatically sudden, low, swift backhand kill.

This brave escape followed the match point which Lincou had saved in Thursday’s semi-finals against Graham Ryding of Canada, and the Frenchman appeared to take inspiration from it.

When the moment of atonement came Lincou covered his eyes in disbelief, walked around the court in circles as if blinded by the triumph, and eventually emerged to fling his racket flamboyantly into the crowd

“I had that feeling deep inside of me from last year,” said Lincou emotionally. “It was a difficult lesson to learn (not to perform so much PR) and I was very disappointed.

“I thought maybe I didn¥t ever play as well as I wanted. But this time I have beaten the world number one to do it. Even when he had the lead I was confident in myself because I always thought that physically I could pace myself.

“My standard went up (later in the match). I was a little bit in trouble and I had to find a better length. I started being relaxed and hit some low lenghts so that he couldny¥t volley and I think that hurt him.

“It was a nice finish and the feeling is absolutely fantastic.”

But Lincou¥s version of events underestimates just how excellently he played all the crisis points. After saving the match point he followed it with two more of his best winners, first a drop shot which found the nick and rolled dead in the top right corner, and then a straight backhand drive to an unreturnable length in the back corner.

It left Beachill with the unsettling feeling that no matter how near to closing the door he got, Lincou¥s foot would still be wedging it ajar. For the first time in the fifth he made one or two uncharacteristically ambitious errors and it was clear that he was tiring.

Lincou could sense it and from 6-6 pushed hard, for the first time in the match really dominating it with volleys and early attacks and forcing Beachill to hang on.

For the first time too there was physical contact, some tough refereeing decisions, and some arguing. Once Lincou was told by referee Jack Allen to get on with the game, but the atmosphere was never nasty

The crowd became more involved too, with Lincou their favourite. He rewarded them with a fierce overhead to a length to reach 9-6, and a backhand which clung treacherously to the sidewall to reach 10-7.

He won it when Beachill, forced to gamble as a last ditch attempt to survive, pitched a backhand drop into the tin.

“I couldn¥t have done much more,” said the Englishman. “Thierry played the big points really well, and he just got better and and better. Of course I'm very disappointed but it was a tremendous effort by him.”

Semi-finals: Lee Beachill controlled the rallies beautifully to go two games up on David Palmer, dropped the tird, them survived a desperate point for point struggle in the fourth to win on a tie-break. Beachill won 11-8, 11-6, 5-11, 12-10.

His final opponent will be the winner of the second semi-final between Thierry Lincou and Graham Ryding. The eventual winner of the world title may be the player who comes through these matches in the best shape.

In his semi-final Ryding surged away, as he had done against Nicol in the quarters, to take the first game 11-6 before Lincou took control and reigned him in 11-3, 11-4. But then the Canadian suddenly revived to take the fourth 11-7 in a dramatic struggle in the fifth - at one stage Ryding lead 10-9 before Lincou clinched the tie break

Ryding can be well pleased with his tournament.
For Lincou, it is another chance - last year he lost the final to Shabana.

Top seed Rachael Grinham beats her sister Natalie 3/0 to earn a final place and Cassie Jackman retires injured against Atkinson.

S/F: Lincou
Another Chance
Thierry Lincou, the history-making Frenchman who has always blamed himself for failing to win last year’s World Open final in Lahore, saved a match point to earn himself a second successive final and a chance of redemption.

            Lincou did that by winning his semi-final 6-11, 11-3, 11-4, 7-11, 12-10 against Graham Ryding, the unseeded Canadian who has been the tournament’s biggest surprise, and by rescuing himself from one blow of the exit at 9-10 in the final game.

            He did that with an apparently nervelessly played rally, and finished with a cross court forehand drive hit so sweetly that it found a perfect length and rolled dead in the backhand back corner.

            But Lincou was feeling anything but nerveless.  “I was pretty tense throughout the match,” he admitted.  “I am relieved to have won but I am not so happy about the way I played.

            “My form is OK. Its just that when you are nervous your game isn’t right. I wasn’t always thinking and I wasn’t always consistent.”

            However Lincou did always fight. He came back from a game down and, despite his self-criticisms was the more consistent player for the next two games. He also recovered from a heavy blow to his left hand from Ryding’s racket, requiring a five minute delay for treatment early in the fifth game. And he played the last three rallies with guts and good judgement.

            Ryding’s mercurial style, full of quick movement, short backswings and well-masked disguises, got him the fourth game and within sight of his third prestgious victim in the most successful week of his career.  He had already beaten two other top five players, Nick Matthew and Peter Nicol.

            But he was furious with a penalty stroke decision against him at 10-10 in the final game, and stalked away in disgust without participating in the post-match interview.

            Lincou won it one point later with a sharp-eyed backhand volley cut-off winner and earned himself another chance at the dream he allowed to evaporate last time year. Then he had made sure of becoming the first Frenchman ever to be world  number one by reaching the final “only to allow the accolade to affect his mentality.”

             “So, although I want to try to enjoy it this time, so I am not too tense, it will really be a question of being foccused in my mind,” he said.

            Lincou, who lost to the Egyptian Amr Shabana last time, now tries to go pone better against an Englishman, Lee Beachill, the top seed. Beachill came through 11-8, 11-6, 5-11, 12-10 against David Palmer, the former world champion from Australia, and there was an even more contentious finish to this semi-final.

            Palmer looked to have Beachill on the ropes, 7-9 down in the fourth and tiring, but allowed the Yorkshireman to battle back and win it with a disputed backhand volley drop shot winner.

            The referee and the marker both called it good, and Beachill apparently thought so too, but some of the spectators thought otherwise and Palmer was adamant that both players saw it down.

 The former champion punched the side wall in fury and it was almost a minute before he shook hands. It was more than another minute before Palmer would leave the court.

            “I was disappointed because I think he (Beachill) knew it was down,” alleged Palmer. “My reaction was to stop because it was down  and it wasn’t as though I couldn’t have played it.

“I said to him the ball was down and he said he asked two people he trusted and they said it was up. It’s on his conscience.”    

Beachill said: “He will be bitterly disappointed with the way this match finished but I was bitterly disappointed with the way our match in the British Open finished, when I lost.

Q 1: Family Duel
Q Finals: Gough Survives
R1/1: Shabana Survives
R1/2: White Out

R2: Nicol beats Power
Q/F: Nicol out to Ryding
S/F: Lincou and Beachill

F: Lincou Champion




Atkinson takes the 
women's title from Grinham

Nicol Joins The Squash Player Team for World Open Coverage

Qatar World Open 2004
29-03 December, Doha, Qatar, $120k 
First Round
Mon 29
Last 16
Tue 30
Wed 01
Thu 02
Fri 03
[1]   (Eng)
11/4 11/5 11/10 (5-3)
Davide Bianchetti (Ita)
11/10 (4-2) 11/6 11/4 (51 min)
11-7, 11-4,
(44 mins)
11-8, 11-6,
5-11, 12-10.
5-11, 11-2,
 2-11, 11-10 (2-0),
[10] Joe Kneipp (Aus)
11-9, 11-7, 11-6 (36 min)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
[8] Karim Darwish (Egy)
8/11 11/9 11/8 11/7 (56 min)
Simon Parke (Eng)
6/11 11/6 11/7 11/7 (54 min)
[12] James Willstrop (Eng)
11/9 11/4 11/5 (44 min)
Rodney Durbach (RSA)
[4] David Palmer (Aus)
11/9 11/9 11/6
Tommy Berden (Ned)
11/5 11/4 11/7
 (44 min)
6-11, 7-11,
11-2, 11-8,
11-10 (2-0)
(81 mins)
[13] Adrian Grant (Eng)
11/7 11/9 11/9 (46 min)
Renan Lavigne (Fra)
[6] Amr Shabana (Egy)
11/4 8/11 3/11 11/7 11/5 (51 m)
Mark Chaloner (Eng
11/7 11/5 5/11 11/6 (45 min)
[16] Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
11-5, 11-4, 11-2 (27 min)
Wael Al Hindi (Egy)
Alex Gough (Wal)
4/11 11/9 11/3 1/3 (51 min)
[15] Omar El Borolossy (Egy)
11/10 (2-0) 11/5 11/3 (42 min)
11-5, 11-7,
9-11, 11-3

(62 mins)

6-11, 11-3,
 11-4, 7-11,
11-10 (2/0).
Graham Ryding (Can)
6-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9 11-6 (71)
[5] Nick Matthew (Eng)
Dan Jenson (Aus)
11/5 11/7 11/8 (55 min)
[9] Jonathon Power (Can)
7-11 11-8 11-5 11-4
Mohamed Essam A Hafiz (Egy)
11-7 11-6 11-5
[3] Peter Nicol (Eng)
Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
11/8, 11/5, 11/7 (39 min)
[14] Anthony Ricketts (Aus)
11-5 2-11 7-11 11-4 11-5
11-10 (2-0),
11-7, 7-11,
8-11, 11-3
Olli Tuominen (Fin)
11/10 (2-0), 11/5, 11/2 (30 min)
[7] John White (Sco)
Jonathon Kemp (Eng)
11/8, 2/11, 5/11, 11/6 11/9 (47 )
[11] Gregory Gaultier (Gra)
11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6
Bradley Ball (Eng)
11/6, 11/6, 11/8 (33 min)
[2] Thierry Lincou (Fra)

First Round (26-Nov):
Alex Gough (Wal) bye
Joey Barrington (Eng) bt Farrukh Zaman (Pak)  11/4, 11/3, 11/7 (44m)
Tommy Berden (Ned) bt Ben Garner (Eng)  11/5, 11/6, 9/11, 6/11, 11/3 (49m)
Alister Walker (Eng) bt Cameron Pilley (Aus)  7/11, 10/12, 11/6, 11/8, 11/7 (71m)
Mansoor Zaman (Pak) bt Jean-Michel Arcucci (Fra)  11/5, 11/8, 9/11, 11/8 (55m)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng) bt Alex Stait (Eng) 7/11, 11/6, 9/11, 11/3, 11/7 (58m)
Peter Barker (Eng) bt Philip Barker (Eng) 11/6, 1/11, 11/9, 11/3 (51m)
Mohamed Essam A Hafiz (Egy) bt Jan Koukal (Cze)  11/5, 11/10, 8/11, 11/9 (52m)
Hisham Ashour (Egy) bt Klemaen Gutman (Slo)  11/5, 11/2, 11/10 (24m)
Rodney Durbach (RSA) bt Liam Kenny (Irl)  7/11, 11/5, 11/9, 11/1 (54m)
Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) bt Lee Drew (Eng)  7/11, 11/6, 11/6, 11/9 (41m)
Azlan Iskandar (Mas) bt Gavin Jones (Wal)  11/9, 11/4, 11/7 (26m)
Bradley Ball (Eng) bt Arshad Iqbal Burkhi (Pak) 11/8, 11/7, 6/11, 7/11, 11/8 (74m)
Shahid Zaman (Pak) bt Shahier Razik (Can) 9/11, 11/9, 11/5, 11/10(3-1) (55m)
Stephane Galifi (Fra) bt Borja Golan (Esp) 11/6, 11/6, 11/10 (4-2) (38m)
Wael El Hindi (Egy) bt Ryan Thompson (Nam) 11/4, 11/3, 11/4 (20m)

Finals (27-Nov):
Alex Gough bt Joey Barrington 11/10 (10-8), 8-11, 11-6, 11-6 (80 min)
Tommy Berden
bt Alister Walker 5-11, 11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-4 (67 min)
Mansoor Zaman v Jonathan Kemp
11-8, 11-8, 11-4 (24 min)
Peter Barker v Mohamed Essam A Hafiz
11-9, 10-11 (3-1) 11-7, 11-10 (5-3) (65 min)
Rodney Durbach
bt Hisham Ashour 11-10 (2-0), 11-8, 11-7 (36 min)
Laurens Jan Anjema v Azlan Iskandar
11/4 11/5 11/7 (33 min)
Bradley Ball
bt Shahid Zaman 11-5 10-11 (1/3) 11-8, 11-3 (44 m)
Wael El Hindi v Stephane Galifi
10-11 (0-2), 11-2, 9-11, 11-10 (3-1), 11-9, (3-2)

Qatar Classic 2004
29-03 December, Doha, Qatar, $105k 
First Round
Mon 29
Last 16
Tue 30
Wed 01
Thu 02
Fri 03
[1] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
9-1 9-4 9-0 (22 min)
Laura Lengthorn (Eng)
9-0, 9-6,
4-9, 9-2
9-5, 9-3, 9-4
Vanessa Atkinson
9-4, 9-7, 9-6
[12] Jenny Tranfield (Eng)
9-4 9-3 9-5 (69 min)
Carla Khan (Pak)
[6] Linda Elriani (Eng)
9-1 9-4 9-2 (30 min)
Latasha Khan (USA)
9-2, 9-7, 9-4 (43 min)
[13] Vicky Botwright (Eng)
10-8, 10-8, 9-2 (49 min)
Tegwen Malik (Wal)
[4] Natalie Grinham (Aus)
9-2 9-0 9-5 (31 min)
Engy Kheirallah (Egy)
Natalie Grinham
9-6, 9-4, 9-0 (38 min)
9-6, 6-9, 9-0 9-0
[14] Shelley Kitchen (NZ)
9-3, 9-0, 9-2 (24 min)
Melissa Martin (Aus)r
[8] Nicol David (Mas)
9-7, 6-9, 9-1 9-4 (42 min)
Stephanie Brind (Eng)
Nicol David
5-9, 9-5, 3-9, 9-7, 9-0 (55 min)
[16] Madeline Perry (Irl)
9-4, 1-9, 9-10 9-1, 9-2 (55 min)
Alison Waters
Tamsyn Leevey (NZ)
9-4, 9-6, 5-9, 9-4 (48 min)
[9] Rebecca Macree (Eng)
9-6, 9-4, 9-0
(38 min)
9-0, 9-4 rtd
Vanessa Atkinson
9-10, 10-9,
9-6 rtd
Tania Bailey (Eng)
9-5, 5-9, 9-4, 6-9, 10-8 (63 min)
[5] Natalie Grainger (USA)
Rebecca Chiu (HK)
9-2, 10-9, 9-2 (48 min)
[15] Isabelle Stoehr (Fra)

9-5, 9-0, 9-0 (30 min) Atkinson
Dominique L-Walter (Eng)
9-0, 9-4, 9-1 (24 min)
[3] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned)
Pamela Nimmo (Sco)
10-8, 10-9, 7-9, 9-1 (62 min)
[11] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
9-3, 9-6, 9-5 (35 min)
9-1, 10-8, 9-0
Sharon Wee (Mas)
9-1, 0-9, 9-6, 9-2 (30 min)
[7] Fiona Geaves (Eng)
Annelize Naude (Ned)
10-8, 7-9, 10-9, 9-3 (68 min)
[10] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)
9-4, 9-3, 9-2 (26 min)
Amelia Pittock (Aus)
9-2, 9-3, 9-1 (24 min)
[2] Cassie Jackman (Eng)


Finals (28-Nov):
Alison Waters
(Eng) v Ellen Petersen (Den)  9-2, 9-4, 9-1 (33 min)
Amelia Pittock (Aus)  v Runa Reta (Can) 9-3, 9-4, 4-9, 7-9, 9-5 (70 min)
Tamsyn Leevey (Nzl) v Becky Botwright (Eng)  10-9. 9-0, 4-9, 9-2 (48 min)
Melissa Martin (Aus) v Eman el Amir (Egy) 7-9, 9-2, 7-9, 99-4, 9-2 (40 min)
Sharon Wee (Mas) v Heidi Mather (Aus) 9-4, 6-9, 9-2, 9-5 (43 min)
Engy Kheirallah (Egy) v Dianne Desira (Aus) 9-6, 9-0, 7-9, 10-8 (50 min)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Eng)  v Line Hansen (Den) 9-7, 9-0, 9-2 (36 min)
Tegwen Malik (Wal) v Katie Patrick (Can) 9-3, 9-2, 9-5 (27 min)

First round (27-Nov):
Alison Waters (Eng) bye
Ellen Petersen (Den) bt Kasey Brown (Aus) 9/1 5/9 9/0 9/0 (58m)
Amelia Pittock (Aus)  bye
Runa Reta (Can) bt Suzie Pierrepont (Eng)  8/10 9/4 9/5 9/0 (42m)
Tamsyn Leevey (Nzl)  bye
Becky Botwright (Eng) bt Manuela Manetta (Ita)  9/1 9/1 9/7 (30m)
Melissa Martin (Aus)  bye
Eman el Amir (Egy) bt Hend Osama (Egy)  3/9 9/10 9/4 9/4 9/4 (52m)
Heidi Mather (Aus) bt Jenna Gates (Eng)  9/2 9/4 9/3 (35m)
Sharon Wee (Mas)  bye
Dianne Desira (Aus) bt Dagmar Vermuelen (Ned)  9/0 9/0 9/2
Engy Kheirallah (Egy)  bye
Line Hansen (Den) bt Karen Kronemeyer (Ned)  10/9 9/7 4/9 1/9 9/4 (55m)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Eng)  bye
Katie Patrick (Can) bt Olga Puidgemont-Sola (Esp) 9/5 9/2 2/9 9/4 (52m)
Tegwen Malik (Wal)  bye


Shabana Out Just
World Open champion Amr Shabana lost his title when he was beaten by his predecessor David Palmer in an enthralling quarter-final in which the Australian made an improbable recovery from two games down and the Egyptian took the contest to a tie-break after taking a three-minute injury break at match point down.

Palmer, who beat Shabana in four games in the British Open final at Nottingham last month, this time escaped from trouble to win by 6-11,7-11,11-2,11-8,12-10.  “I thought I was going to be on the golf course tomorrow,” said Palmer.

“He played some fantasic squash and if he had gone on like that he would have won in straight games. I was surprised he let the third game go so easily. But he had a lot of pressure on him, defending the title. I know what it´s like to have that.”

Shabana, who has been suffering from a cold may have been cutting his losses after slipping to an early third game deficit, and he certainly picked up the pace again in the fourth and fifth games.

But by then Palmer, whose accuracy was not all that it might have been early on, began to get the feel of the condiitions and became far harder to beat.

Shabana was self-critical of how he eased off.  “I shouldn´t have done it,”´ he said.  “Now they will say that Shabana is not strong enough in the head. It bothers me because it is perfectly true.”

“But I want to prove them wrong. I shall do that by working hard to become world number one. At least I can relax now with the pressure off me. Yes, I was feeling the pressure.”

Neverthless Shabana led by 7-6 in the fourth game and 9-7 in the fifth, often making winners at the front but unable to shake off Palmer´s tenacious retrieving and counter-attacking.

As tension grew, so did dialogue between both of the players and the referee, with Shabana twice being told to watch the (physical) contact and once receiving a formal conduct warning for swearing.

But the match was played in good spirit, even during a hectic climax. This saw Shabana injure an achilles tendon while diving fruitlessly for a shot at 9-9 and leaving the court for three minutes treatment.

On resumption he saved a match point brilliantly with a volley kill, but followed it with a volley drop shot down. He was then powerless on the second match point to prevent Palmer making a fast forehand boast winner.

He now plays Lee Beachill, the top-seeded Englishman who beat his compatriot James Willstrop 11-7, 11-4, 11-9, but whom Palmer beat during the British Open.

The other semi-final is between Thierry Lincou, the second seed from France, who overcame Anthony Ricketts of Australia by 12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 8-11,1 1-3, and Graham Ryding, the surprise survivor.

Ryding, the unseeded Canadian number two overcame Peter Nicol, the third-seeded world champion from England, 11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3, with one of the best performances of his life.

The pace at which he played was tremendous and when he does that he usually makes some mistakes but “today he didn´t,” said Nicol, who had beaten his arch-rival Jonathon Power, the former world champion from Canada, the day before.

“I’m disappointed, but I understand the reasons,” said Nicol, who has been unable to train for long periods of time all year and has only just recovered from an ankle injury.

“Two hard matches in two days was beyond me, but I still think I’m good enough to get back to win big titles - and I still have the desire,”  added the 31-year-old.

Round 2:
(Day 3:)

In the second round the  top four seeds came through to the quarters largely untroubled: Beachill in 36 minutes over Kneipp, Palmer in 44 minutes over Grant, Lincou, dropped the second, after a tight start, to Gregory Gautlier and Nicol, in the crunch match of the day, beat Jonathon Power in four games.

The upset of the day, if you can call it that, was by James Willstrop the no.12 seed who put out Karim Darwish, the no.8 seed, in 54 minutes.

Shabana dropped a game to Abbas. but was back on form, Ryding went through 3/0 and the Finn Olli Tuominen pushed Ricketts to five games.

REPORT: Round 2:
Nicol 's Revenge
Peter Nicol, who unexpectedly lost his Commonwealth title in Manchester to Jonathon Power two years ago, went some way towards making amends by avenging himself upon the Canadian and reaching the quarter-finals of the World Open in Doha.

It was a highly encouraging win which Nicol scored by 7-11,11-8,11-5,11-4.  Not only did he achieve it on a court he has previously found difficult the one on which Power beat him in the 1998 World Open final - it also helped set aside the 31-year-oldy´s doubts as to whether he any longer good enough to win the world title back.   

"I had some doubts as to whether I could get back to my old standard of play," said the former world number one, who had been suffering from an ankle injury prior to his loss to Power in the Canadian Classic two weeks ago.

"But I think I can put those aside now.  I am pleased with the way I played I can still play a bit and I do have some touch with the racket," Nicol added, referring to the way he has adapted his once very physical style to cope with the advancing years.

However Power started off well, taking the first game in only 11 minutes, producing some nice disguises, and looking capable of carrying on where he left off two weeks ago.

But Nicol started the second with a fine cross court drop shot winner and soon showed that he had worked out a way to play on a court which can be unforgiving upon anyone who plays anything loose. He moved the ball forwards and backwards and down the walls with such accuracy that it quickly became clear he was going to win.

There were just a few moments when it seemed Power might get back into it in the third game when he briefly took a 5-4 lead.  But Nicol won seven points in a row and it gradually became evident that the long
lasting back injury which has troubled Power has taken a toll of his mobility.  

"To be able to shape a match on a court like this is pretty demanding," said Nicol. "I have put in a lot of work since Canada, and this is a bit of a relief frankly."

It also put Nicol 22-18 ahead of Power in a rivalry which is the best since the days of the great Pakistanis, Jahangor Khan and Jansher Khan, though there were signs that it may not last a great deal longer. Power, so entertaining at his best, faded as the match went on, his movement less resilient than it used to be.

Nicol now plays another Canadian, Graham Ryding, who beat Alex Gough, the former World Open semi-finalist from Wales, and two other Englishmen also made the last eight where they meet each other.

They are the top-seeded Lee Beachill, who won 11-10,11-6,11-4 against Joe Kneipp of Australia - who became embroiled in a testy dialogue with Ulster referee Jack Allen after a ´no let´ decision at game ball in the first game - and James Willstrop, the former world junior champion who brought down the eight-seeded Egyptian Karim Darwish in four games.

However another Egyptian, Amr Shabana, the defending champion, came through safely, winning 11-7,11-5,5-11,11-6 against his compatriot Mohammed Abbas.

It earned Shabana a meeting with David Palmer, the fourth-seeded 2002 world champion from Australia, who is out to beat his successor as he did three weeks ago in the British Open final in Nottingham.

The other quarter-final will see Thierry Lincou, the second-seeded Frenchman who was last yeary´s runner-up, play Anthony Ricketts, the 14th seeded Australian, who has reached the last eight for the second successive yea

ROUND 1: (DAY 2)
Seeds Crash
Both the fifth and seventh seeds Nick Matthew and John White crashed out of the World Open in their first match in Qatar. White was shocked by the Finn Olli Tuominen and never recovered after losing the first game tie-break going down 11/10 (2-0), 11-5, 11-2 in just 30 minutes.

Matthew lost to the inform Graham Ryding when the Canadian came back from a 2/1 deficit to win in 71 minutes.

ROUND 1: (DAY 1)
Beachill & Shabana Through
Amr Shabana, the titleholder, played spasmodically against Mark Chaloner in Doha as he launched the defence of his World Open title. There were bursts of talent that most players would not even have the audacity to dream of but he lapsed and when that happened Chaloner came back at him each time. This was a serious performance from Chaloner but after a high intensity 51 minutes it was Shabana’s shots that took him through  .

 At the British Open Shabana had said, ”I am not fit mentally.” He then produced a brilliant overall tournament performance. If he is to seriously defend his title here however he will need to get fit in that department quickly.

 On Tuesday Shabana will face Mohamed Abbas who was   comfortable against Wael al Hindi.

 Top seed Lee Beachill went through in a sparky match against the passionate Italian Davide Bianchetti 11-4, 11-5, 11-10 (15-13). Bianchetti came onto his game in the third and took on not just Beachill but the referee. Conduct warns abounded - one for racket abuse, another for decent. It was tough with Bianchetti playing exceedingly well while Beachill, ice cool, controlled the rallies. The Italian could not for all his assault however take it into a fourth and Beachill was through in 51 minutes.

Gough Survives Qualifying
Marathon In Qatar

Welshman Alex Gough survived an 80-minute marathon against England's Joey Barrington - including a tie-break which went to 10-8 - to earn a place in the first round of the Qatar Men's World Open Squash Championship, which gets underway tomorrow (Sunday) in the Qatar capital Doha.

Gough prevailed 11-10 8-11 11-6 11-6 and is now drawn to meet Egypt's 15th seed Omar Elborolossy.  Two other Egyptians made it through the qualifying finals - Mohamed Essam A Hafiz and Wael El Hindi.  Hafiz needed more than an hour to overcome England's Peter Barker 11-9 10-11 11-7 11-10 while his compatriot twice had to come from behind before conquering France's Stephane Galifi 10-11 11-2 9-11 11-10 11-9 in 68 minutes.

Hafiz now faces England's third seed Peter Nicol, a former champion, while El Hindi takes on fellow countryman Mohammed Abbas, the 16th seed.

In the first qualifying round of the Women's Qatar Classic, Dianne Desira conceded just two points to Dagmar Vermeulen, but the Dutch player kept the Australian on court for 65 minutes before Desira was able to claim her 9-0 9-0 9-2 win.

Peter Wins Barker Family Duel In Qatar

A family duel between two squash-playing brothers from Upminster in Essex took on added significance when England's Peter Barker beat his older brother Phillip Barker in a fight for a place in the qualifying finals of the Qatar Men's World Open Squash Championship in Doha, Qatar.

Phillip, 23, took time off from the international squash circuit to study for a Sports Science degree at the University of Wales in Cardiff, while Peter, 21, went full-time on leaving school and now boasts a world number 31 ranking - 32 places above his older brother.  

Cruelly drawn to meet other in the first qualifying round of the most important event on the PSA Tour, the pair forgot their family loyalties as each tried to outdo the other.  The result supported the ranking list as Peter prevailed 11-9 1-11 11-9 11-3.

Beachill Top Seed For World Open

For the first time in the 28-year history of the event, an Englishman is seeded to win the title when the Qatar Men's World Open Squash Championship gets underway in the Gulf state capital Doha on Sunday (28 November).  Lee Beachill, the world No1 from Pontefract in Yorkshire, is the event favourite for the first time in his career - and is seeded to meet France's world No2 Thierry Lincou in the final at the Khalifa Squash Complex on Friday 3rd December.

Since the inaugural Men's World Open in 1976, its winners have included four Australians (Geoff Hunt, Rodney Martin, Rodney Eyles and David Palmer), two Pakistanis (Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan), and New Zealander Ross Norman, Canadian Jonathon Power, Scot Peter Nicol (who later transferred his allegiance to England) and, last December, the first Egyptian Amr Shabana.

Shabana, who reached the final of the British Open earlier this month, begins his defence of the title in Doha against former England captain Mark Chaloner, while Beachill begins his bid for success against Italian Davide Bianchetti.  The star-studded field includes six current or former world number ones (Beachill, Nicol, Power, Lincou, Palmer and Scot John White) and four former champions.

The $120,000 event is the second World Open to be held in Doha.  The 1998 Championship was staged on the city's famous permanently-sited all-glass court - and won for the first time by Jonathon Power.

In an announcement made by the Qatar Squash Federation (QSF) President Nabil Ali bin Ali - the man responsible for advancing the squash cause in Doha through generous QNOC support - the tournament will award the winner of the 2004 Qatar World Open a prize of $16,000, while the losing finalist will get richer by $12,000.

Alongside the World Open, the QSF will also stage its annual Qatar Classic for women.  The world No1 Rachael Grinham of Australia will lead the women's field, challenging for a top prize of $12,000 in what will be the fourth edition of the Qatar Classic.  With Grinham will be England's world No2 Cassie Jackman, the Netherlands' world No3 Vanessa Atkinson, Natalie Grainger of the USA (ranked four) and the world No5 Natalie Grinham, of Australia.