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Australian Open 2011

06-14 Aug, Canberra

14-Aug, Finals:

[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt [2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)                                   11/8, 11/4, 11/6
[2] Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt [1] Nick Matthew (Eng)              12/14, 11/6, 10/12, 11/8, 11/4


          Player Info...         H2H Men...          H2H Women....        Performance History....

Men's Draw
Women's Draw
Previous Rounds

Photo Gallery

“You just know this Australian Open has so much history,”

“With all those big names on that trophy, you just know you want to get that title as well and I’m really pleased to win it.

“I knew that today was going to be a tough final, she knows my game really well and we play each other a lot.

“ My good starts to the first two games gave me a big advantage.

"I really had to stay consistent in there, I was moving well, I focussed well and I just stayed on my game.”

“Knowing I was watching the ball well, I could move well and I had to give her no time to player her shots, because she is so dangerous when she has time,”

“I was trying to keep the ball going and not make any errors.”

David duly does it
by Andrew Dent

Malaysian squash superstar Nicol David claimed the Australian Open title at her first attempt when she downed England’s Jenny Duncalf in straight games in Canberra on Sunday.

The 27-year-old from Penang was at the brilliant best as she shut out Duncalf 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 to ensure her name is added to the Heather McKay Trophy alongside some of the greatest players the game has ever seen.

The world number one took control from the first game when she jumped out to a 6-1 lead and although Duncalf fought back to level terms, she was always playing catch up and David closed out the opener with a drive deep into the back corner.

David, who is coached by Australia’s Liz Irving, opened another early lead in the second and this time Duncalf was unable to peg it back, the Malaysian wrapping the game up when she was awarded a stroke by the referees.

Duncalf had a better start to the third but at 4-4, David again broke clear and the end was inevitable, the world number one smashing a backhand cross court deep into the corner, leaving Duncalf swinging at air.

Duncalf conceded her slow start had cost her dearly.
“You’re always playing catch-up. Especially the first, it ended up being pretty close so those few points make a difference,” Duncalf said.

“She gets everything back, against Nicol you’ve almost got to play a run of winners because in the actual rallies she picks up most shots, which you’ve got to try and let not frustrate you.

“She’s a great mover and a great retriever which makes it quite difficult, but you’ve still got to be positive and take it in when you can.”

Ashour claims Australian title
Andrew Dent reports

Egypt’s Ramy Ashour showed just why he is considered the most exciting squash player in the world when he came from behind to overcome defending champion Nick Matthew and win an enthralling Viridian Australian Open final in Canberra on Sunday.

Ashour was forced to dig deep into his considerable bag of tricks to see off the world number one 12-14, 11-6, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4 in a high quality match. Both men played some spectacular squash throughout but the 22-year-old Egyptian finished stronger than his opponent and was a deserving winner of his first Australian title.

Matthew had gone into the match as the slight favourite following his impressive semi-final win over David Palmer on Saturday. And he looked every inch the favourite as he opened up a 10-6 lead in the first game, only to hold off a comeback from the Egyptian.

Ashour leveled the match in the next game before Matthew got his nose back in front, again having to hold off an Ashour comeback. But Ashour fought back again to win a tight fourth game before exploding in the fifth, controlling the front of the court and hitting a string of winners to quickly race to 10-3.

Matthew managed to save one match point but the end, when it came, was inevitable and Ashour raised his arms in triumph as he became the first Egyptian to win the Australian crown.

Matthew said one poor game had cost him the match, but paid tribute to Ashour’s fighting spirit.
“Even in the games I won I took the lead and he fought back and took it to a tiebreak both times,” Matthew said.

“Everyone gives him credit for his shot making but some people forget he’s got that side to his game as well, that makes him such a champion.

“I was disappointed with the fifth, I’d like to have it over again.

“It just ran away from me and sometimes he can get on a run of points in the blink of an eye and before I knew it he was five, six, seven, eight and I couldn’t stop the rot.”

“It’s such a great thing to win the Australian Open, I’ve been thinking about this since last year when I lost to Nick.”

“It’s one of the biggest names on tour, to win the Australian Open, so I’m glad to join those great players on the trophy.”

“My goal was to fight for every point, to push myself to the limit and give 100 percent win or lose.”

“I think in the fifth I just went for my shots and I pushed myself again and again.

“The match was tough for both of us both physically and mentally, but I think he had a little bit more pressure on him because he’s number one.

“I didn’t expect that cheering from that group of Egyptians in the stands to be here. It’s good to have Egyptian people here supporting me. It doesn’t happen much and it feels good to hear Egyptian words.”

“But the crowd has been so good, it’s such a knowledgeable crowd and they know about every shot, and that we have to produce the best squash every time – you don’t get any better.”
Howard Harding's Notes...

The success takes Ashour's PSA Tour title tally to 21 - one more than rival Matthew.

Ashour also moves ahead of Matthew to top the latest Dunlop PSA World Series Standings.

Englishman James Willstrop holds onto third position, while Australian hero David Palmer is rewarded for his surprise semi-final berth in Canberra with a rise to fourth place.

Frenchman Gregory Gaultier and Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema both move into the top eight following their Australian Open successes - Gaultier making the semis as fifth seed and unseeded Anjema reaching the last eight.

Press Cuts

13-Aug, Semi-Finals:

 [1] Nicol David (Mas) bt  [3] Rachael Grinham (Aus)                         11/7, 13/11, 11/7
 [2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) bt [4] Madeline Perry (Irl)                    11/8, 11/9, 2/11, 11/4

[1] Nick Matthew (Eng) bt David Palmer (Aus)                            11/9, 11/4, 11/5 (54m)
[2] Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt [5] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)          7/11, 11/9, 11/9, 11/9 (64m)

Australian Open 2011
06-14 Aug, Canberra, $150k
Round One
08 & 09 Aug
Round Two
10 & 11 Aug
12 Aug
13 Aug
14 Aug
[1] Nick Matthew (Eng)
11/7, 11/8, 11/9 (48m)
Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
[1] Nick Matthew
11/7, 11/8, 11/9
Ong Beng Hee
[1] Nick Matthew

11/5, 11/9, 7/11, 11/5 (69m)

LJ Anjema

[1] Nick Matthew

11/9, 11/4, 11/5 (54m)

David Palmer

[1] Nick Matthew

12/14, 11/6, 10/12, 11/8, 11/4

[2] Ramy Ashour

[Q] Martin Knight (Nzl)
 5/11, 11/8, 11/9, 11/4 (60m)
Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
11/6, 11/7, 7/11, 11/9 (70m)
Julian Illingworth (Usa)
Julian Illingworth
11/4, 11/3, 11/3
Lauren Jan Anjema
Lauren Jan Anjema (Ned)
14/16, 11/9, 14/12, 11/5 (80m)
[7] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
[8] Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
14/12, 11/9, 5/11, 9/11, 11/8 (106m)
David Palmer (Aus)

David Palmer
4/11, 11/9, 11/6, 11/5
Tom Richards
David Palmer

11/3, 10/12, 11/8, 12/10

[3] Karim Darwish

Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
11/9, 11/8, 11/5 (49m)
Tom Richards (Eng)
[Q] Matthew Karwalski (Aus)
 6/11, 11/8, 12/10, 11/7 (59m)
[Q] Max Lee (Hkg)
[Q] Max Lee
11/5, 8/11, 11/5, 11/7
[3] Karim Darwish
[Q] Zac Alexander (Aus)
11/9, 11/13, 11/2, 11/6 (49m)
[3] Karim Darwish (Egy)
[4] James Willstrop (Eng)
 13-11, 11-8, 11-0
Chris Ryder (Eng)
[4] James Willstrop
11/5, 11/5, 11/2
[Q] Alan Clyne
[4] James Willstrop

 7/11, 12/10, 11/4, 11/5

[6] Gregory Gaultier

[6] Gregory Gaultier

7/11, 11/9, 11/9, 11/9 (64m)

[2] Ramy Ashour

[Q] Alan Clyne (Sco)
 11-5, 11-9, 11-4
[Q] Asyraf Azan (Mas)
Simon Rosner (Ger)
 2-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8
Adrian Grant (Eng)
Adrian Grant
11/7, 11/5, 11/8
[6] Gregory Gaultier
Cameron Pilley (Aus)
11-6, 11-8, 11-7
[6] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
[7] Peter Barker (Eng)
11-8, 11-7, 11-6
Aaron Frankcomb (Aus)
[7] Peter Barker
11/4, 11/2, 11/7
[Q] Nafiizwan Adnan
[7] Peter Barker

 5/11, 11/9, 11/4, 11/4

[2] Ramy Ashour

[Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
 11-7, 11-4, 11-3
[Q] Dick Lau (Hkg)
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
 14-12, 11-2, 11-5
Stewart Boswell (Aus)
Stewart Boswell
 9/11, 11/7, 11/8, 11/7
[2] Ramy Ashour
[Q] Ivan Yuen (MAS)
 11-3, 11-7, 11-3
[2] Ramy Ashour (Egy)

Live Scores

07- Aug, Qualifying Finals:

Alan Clyne (Sco) bt Rex Hedrick (Aus)                   11-13, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5
Dick Lau (Hkg) bt Alex Phillips (Eng)                                 11-3, 11-9, 11-4
Asyraf Azan (Mas) bt Aqeel Rehman (Aut)               11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7
Max Lee (Hkg) bt Kashif Shuja (Nzl)              8-11, 8-11, 16-14, 11-5, 11-4
Ivan Yuen (Mas) bt Campbell Grayson (Nzl)           12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8
Zac Alexander (Aus) bt Chris Lloyd (Nzl)                         11-5, 11-4, 11-6
Matthew Karwalski (Aus) bt Wade Johnstone (Aus)           11-6, 11-7, 11-4
Martin Knight (Nzl) bt Raphael Kandra (Ger)                   13-11, 11-8, 11-6

06-Aug, Qualifying Round One:

Martin Knight (Nzl) bye
Raphael Kandra (Ger) bt Ondrej Ertl (Czl)                           13-11, 11-7, 11-2
Matthew Karwalski (Aus) bt Scott Arnold (Aus)     11-8,13-11,8-11,8-11,11-9
Wade Johnstone (Aus) bt Justin Beard (Aus)              11-9, 10-12, 11-3, 11-7

Ivan Yuen (Mas) bt Kamran Khan (Mas)                     11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 11-4
Campbell Grayson (Nzl)
bt Joseph Watts (Nzl)                   11-1, 11-6, 11-4
Chris Lloyd (Nzl) bt Joshua Southwell-Nobbs (Aus)               11-7, 11-3, 11-6
Zac Alexander (Aus) bt Josh Cardwell (Aus)                        11-5, 11-3, 11-9

Max Lee (HK) bt Bradley Hindle (Mlt)                         11-8,11-6,8-11,4-11,2-11
Kashif Shuja (Nzl) bt Tim Manning (Aus)                              11-6, 11-8, 11-8
Asyraf Azan (Mas) bt Luke Sims (Aus)                                 11-5, 11-4, 11-2
Aqeel Rehman (Aut) bt Roman Svec (Cze)                            11-8,11-8,11-3

Alex Phillips (Eng) bt Jamie McErvale (Aus)          13-11,11-7,1-11,4-11,11-4
Dick Lau (Hkg) bt Ben Takamizawa Harris (Jpn)                      8-11,3-11,1-11
Rex Hedrick (Aus) bt James Skiffington (Nzl)                         11-2,11-1,11-1
Alan Clyne (Sco) bye

Australian Open 2011
06-14 Aug, Canberra, $60k
Round One
  09 Aug
Round Two
  10 & 11 Aug
12 Aug
13 Aug
14 Aug
[1] Nicol David (Mas)
11-3, 11-6, 11-2
Samantha Davies (Aus)
[1] Nicol David
11-9, 11-7, 11-5
Emily Whitlock
[1] Nicol David

 11/0, 11/2, 4/0  rtd

[6] Annie Au

[1] Nicol David

11/7, 13/11, 11/7

[3] Rachael Grinham


[1] Nicol David

 11/8, 11/4, 11/6

[2] Jenny Duncalf

[15] Kylie Lindsay (Nzl)
11-9, 7-11, 11-4, 11-3
Emily Whitlock (Eng)
[6] Annie Au (Hkg)
11-3, 11-1, 11-5
[Q] Lisa Aitken (Sco)
[6] Annie Au
 14-12, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9
[14] Line Hansen
[14] Line Hansen (Den)
 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9
Milou Van Der Heijden (Ned)
[3] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
 11-6, 11-5, 11-2
Lucie Fialova (Cze)
[3] Rachael Grinham
11-8, 8-11, 11-4, 11-3[9] Low Wee Wern
[3] Rachael Grinham

11/7, 11/4, 11/7

[7] Donna Urquhart

[9] Low Wee Wern (Mas)
11-4, 11-6, 11-5
[Q] Zoe Petrovansky (Aus)
[7] Donna Urquhart (Aus)
11-7, 11-1, 11-3
[Q] Tamika Saxby (Aus)
[7] Donna Urquhart
11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8[13] Dipika Pallikal
[13] Dipika Pallikal (Ind)
11-4, 11-8, 11-2
[Q] Amanda Landers-Murphy (Nzl)
Olga Ertlova (Cze)
5-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6
[12] Delia Arnold (Mas)
[12] Delia Arnold
[8] Joelle King
[8] Joelle King

11/3, 2/11, 12/10, 11/9

[4] Madeline Perry
[4] Madeline Perry

11/8, 11/9, 2/11, 11/4

[2] Jenny Duncalf

Maggy Marshall (Aus)
11-6, 11-3, 11-2
[8] Joelle King (Nzl)
Christine Nunn (Aus)
11-3, 11-2, 11-3
[11] Joey Chan (Hkg)
[11] Joey Chan
[4] Madeline Perry
Siti Munirah Jusoh (Mas)
11-5, 11-2, 11-3
[4] Madeline Perry (Irl)
Melody Francis (Aus)
 11-2, 11-4, 11-5
[10] Natalie Grinham (Ned)
[10] Natalie Grinham
[5] Kasey Brown
[10] Natalie Grinham

11/4, 12/10, 8/11, 11/8

[2] Jenny Duncalf

[Q] Amanda Cranston (Nzl)
 11-2, 11-7, 11-3
[5] Kasey Brown (Aus)
Sarah Cardwell (Aus)
11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 11-1
[16] Gaby Huber (Sui)
[16] Gaby Huber
[2] Jenny Duncalf
[Q] Vanessa Pickerd (Aus)
11-5, 11-3, 11-3
[2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
08-Aug, Qualifying (6 places):

Amanda Cranston (Nzl) bt Laura McCredie (Aus)                11/3, 11/2, 11/2
Vanessa Pickerd (Aus) bt Selena Shaikh (Aus)                   11/1, 11/4, 11/4
Zoe Petrovansky (Aus) bt Grace McErvale (Aus)                 11/8, 11/1, 11/2
Tamika Saxby (Aus) bt Jessica Turnbull (Aus)                     11/5, 11/6, 12/10
Lisa Aitken (Sco) bt Bethany Brazier (Aus)                          11/5, 11/6, 11/6
Amanda Landers-Murphy (Nzl) bt Jennifer Brown (Aus)       11/3, 11/2, 11/2

2010 Australian Open

David and Duncalf to play
for Australian Open title

Andrew Dent reports

Malaysian superstar Nicol David took a step closer to her first Viridian Australian Open title when she downed former champion Rachael Grinham 11-7, 13-11, 11-7 in the semi-finals on Saturday.

In front of a large crowd at Canberra’s Royal Theatre, David outplayed her Australian opponent to claim the opening semi-final in 34 minutes.

Grinham hadn’t beaten David since 2007, but she took the game right up to the world number one and had her under enormous pressure at times.

However, David was able to stay in the points with some superb defence and lift her game when it counted, saving two game balls in the second to gain a crucial 2/0 advantage.

Grinham conceded that losing the second game had handed David a vital advantage.
“It’s definitely harder to come back from two-love down against Nicol,” Grinham said.

“I made it harder on myself by not taking advantage and taking that second game.

“But Nicol is good at that, when she’s down she just digs in and doesn’t make any errors and makes you win the point, she doesn’t give you anything.

“She doesn’t hit too many winners. It’s either you’re on the end of a long rally and you guess the wrong way, or you make the error.”

Nicol David, who will be playing her 70th tour final on Sunday,  will take on Jenny Duncalf of England in the final following the second seeded Duncalf’s 11-8, 11-9, 2-11, 11-4 win over defending champion Madeline Perry of Ireland.

Duncalf ended Perry’s title defence in a close match that could have gone either way. She claimed the first two games narrowly before Perry stormed through the third playing almost faultless squash.

However, the Englishwoman regrouped to dominate the fourth game to reach her first Australian Open final.

A disappointed Perry said there hadn’t been that much between them.

“The key was those first two games, I think if I could have won one of those two games it could have been different,” Perry said.

“But obviously at two-love down it gives Jenny all the confidence, and even after winning the third she was still two-one up, but it was a really close game and I thought I played better than yesterday, I was just disappointed with the result.

“In the fourth I just got my tactics wrong. I was perfect in the third but just went a bit defensive in the third and let her get too big a lead.”

Men's Draw
Women's Draw
Previous Rounds

Photo Gallery

“I didn’t want to let the second game go.

"I knew in this situation these girls are going to keep going, so that game was really important to me.”

“She didn’t make many errors, it was just very solid squash. I knew I had to work hard.

“I’m just happy to be in the final.

“With Rachael, because we have these matches all the time, it was always going to be a battle and even though it was three-love it was really hard, like a five-setter.”


“That third game was bizarre, it just ran away from me. I tried to get back into it and stay in the rallies but it just wasn’t happening and I went a bit flat.

"I just tried to forget about it and start from scratch and rebuild the rallies, which worked well in the fourth.”

“Maybe the emotion of winning that second made me a little flat for the third,” she said.

“Pete Barker was talking to me after the third and told me it had happened, it was gone, just reassert yourself and build the rallies up again because in the third there weren’t even that many contested rallies.”

“He’s had a good week and he’s come pretty far in the tournament, but I wasn’t going to let him have his fairytale.”

“The first game was quite crucial, he started off like a train but once I got the first game I had some breathing space and it was going to a tough ask for him to come back from it.

“I made a good start in the second and stayed on top, I’m very pleased with my performance today.”

“Greg’s as fast as a spaceship, you can see how fast he is on the court, how physically fit he is.”

“He’s such a diligent guy, he works very hard and pushes himself on court to his limit. For me to stay on court for that long and keep up gives me a lot of confidence.

“Every time it’s a fight, between the points I was thinking ‘why does it have to be like this every time? And the answer I got was YES! And I realise I had to push myself, and push myself, harder and harder.

“It’s always like this at the top level, it’s always a very thin margin,”

Matthew ends Palmer’s fairytale
to set up Ashour rematch

World squash number one Nick Matthew ended David Palmer’s Australian Open fairytale with a ruthless 11-9, 11-4, 11-5 win in the semi-finals in Canberra on Saturday.

The 35-year-old Palmer has been carrying an ankle injury during the week but has been playing great squash, culminating in a win over world number three Karim Darwish in the quarter-finals. However, despite the vocal support of a large home crowd, the 2008 champion came up short against a player at the peak of his game.

Palmer got away to a great start and jumped out to a 5-2 lead, only for Matthew to claw his way back to level terms, the two then going point for point until Mathew broke away at 9-9 to close out the first game.

The defending champion then stepped up a gear against an increasingly tired looking Palmer to take control of the rest of the match.

As the match wore on, Palmer found it harder and harder to read Matthew’s shots and was often left flat footed at the back of the court. He conceded afterwards that he hadn’t been physically up to the task of beating the world’s best player on Saturday.
“The week caught up with me I think,” Palmer said.

“My legs got heavier and you can’t give up that much time against him. He’s one of the fastest men on the court.

“I was on the back foot and that caused my shots to be not quite as accurate as well.

“Still, it was a good week for me. With my seeding no one expected me to get this far and considering the ankle injury I’m still pretty proud.”

The Englishman will now take on Egypt’s Ramy Ashour, a 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 winner over Gregory Gaultier, in a repeat of the 2010 decider, won in straight games by Matthew.

Ashour downed fifth seeded Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in a semi-final full of passion, humour, tension and remarkable shot making from both players. The pair were renewing their Australian Open rivalry from last year, where they also met in the semi-finals.

On that occasion they played one of the best matches ever seen in Australia, and although Saturday’s match may have fallen short of that classic, it came fairly close.

Gaultier had chances to win every game, only to be undone by some sublime stroke play from the audacious Egyptian, who seems able to hit clean winners from any position on the court.

Ashour said he thought he noticed Gaultier beginning to tire towards the end of the match so he tried to increase the pace of the game, which allowed him to sneak home. A downcast Gaultier was left rueing his lost chances.

“It’s tough to lose three games 11-9, 11-9, 11-9.” Gaultier said.

“I had the opportunity to take one of these three games but he managed to hit winners at the right time.

“I’m disappointed but I’m happy with the way I played.

"I think it’s a good start to the season for me to get my confidence up.”


12-Aug, Quarter-Finals:

Women's Quarters
[1] Nicol David bt [6] Annie Au                                                                 11/0, 11/2, 4/0  rtd
[3] Rachael Grinham bt [7] Donna Urquhart                                                  11/7, 11/4, 11/7
[4] Madeline Perry bt [8] Joelle King                                                  11/3, 2/11, 12/10, 11/9
[2] Jenny Duncalf bt [10] Natalie Grinham                                          11/4, 12/10, 8/11, 11/8

Men's Quarters
[1] Nick Matthew (Eng) bt Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)                  11/5, 11/9, 7/11, 11/5 (69m)
David Palmer (Aus) bt [3] Karim Darwish (Egy)                                11/3, 10/12, 11/8, 12/10
[5] Grégory Gaultier (Fra) bt [4] James Willstrop (Eng)                       7/11, 12/10, 11/4, 11/5
[2] Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt [6] Peter Barker (Eng)                                  5/11, 11/9, 11/4, 11/4

Press Cuts

Men's Draw
Women's Draw
Previous Rounds

Photo Gallery

“I didn’t really expect it,” Palmer admitted later. “I can’t give much up to these guys at the best of times but I’ve struggled all week with my ankle and somehow I’m managing to get through.

“Maybe it’s good because I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself, just trying to get through the match without reinjuring it and trying to make it at least competitive.
“Maybe being a bit more relaxed is working.”

“I’ve got nothing to lose tomorrow, it’s a dream to be able to play a major semi-final here in Australia,” he said. “There’s a bit of rivalry with Nick but then again he’s the one with the pressure on him.

“I quite like playing against him, so if I’m up for it, who knows?”

“At the beginning it was just torture for me – he made an unbelievable start and I couldn’t do anything.”

“I just told myself to forget about it and fight hard. Today was not a day for accuracy from me, so I thought to myself ‘try and raise the pace and things may work out your way’.”

Palmer shows he still has it at 35
Andrew Dent reports

Australia’s David Palmer showed he’s still a major force in the world of squash when he stunned world number three Karim Darwish to reach the semi-finals of the Viridian Australian Open squash championships in Canberra on Friday.

Palmer, at 35 and playing with an injured ankle, came out firing in the first game then held off a comeback from the third seeded Egyptian to win 11-3, 12-10, 8-11, 12-10.

The Australian number one injured his ankle in his opening round match and there was some doubt as to whether he would be able to continue in the tournament.

He was slightly tentative in his second round win over Tom Richards, but showed no signs of discomfort as he took advantage of an at times out-of-sorts Darwish to record the tournament’s biggest upset.

It was Palmer’s eighth win over Darwish but his first since 2008 and ensures a semi-final against world number one Nick Matthew of England.

Matthew earlier withstood a fierce onslaught from Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema to win 11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5 and move a step closer to defending his title.

But he will first have to get past Palmer, who played brilliantly against Darwish to the delight of the parochial fans in Canberra’s Royal Theatre.

Matthew survived a brutal onslaught from Anjema, taking an early lead then holding off a ferocious comeback from the tall left-hander.

Anjema came into the quarter-finals in top form, having beaten seventh seed Thierry Lincou in the first round before demolishing American Julian Illingworth in the second.

However, he started slowly allowing Matthew the early advantage before finding his way back into the match.

Both men played some spectacular squash as the momentum swung between the two. The Dutchman took an early lead in the fourth as he looked to get the match back on even terms, only for Matthew to claw his way back and eventually ease away with the game to close out the quarter-final.

“He came back strong, he obviously played well in the first round and had one of the best wins of his career and then backed up really well in the second round,” Matthew said.

“I felt before the match that little buzz that’s I’ve not had this week. I felt that I was up for a big match and I started really well.

“I scrapped really well – if things are not going well that’s one thing I can rely on, to scrap hard and fight for every point.”

Crowd favourite Gregory Gaultier of France overcame slow start to down fourth seeded Englishman James Willstrop 7-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-5. Willstrop came out firing and had Gaultier in all sorts of trouble, but he worked his way back into the game and finished far stronger than his opponent.

Gaultier will take on Ramy Ashour in a repeat of last year’s classic semi-final.

Ashour also overcame a  very slow start, making far too many unforced errors in the first and up to the middle of the second, before storming back to beat England’s Peter Barker 5-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-4.

Grinham sets up David clash
Andrew Dent reports

Queensland’s Rachael Grinham said she was looking forward to the challenge of taking on world number one Nicol David after defeating Australian teammate Donna Urquhart in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open squash championships in Canberra on Friday.

Grinham was in great touch as she beat a nervous looking Urquhart in straight games 11-7, 11-4, 11-7 to book her place in the final four.

The 34-year-old will now play David for the first time since January and said that far from being daunted by the prospect, she was relishing the opportunity. Grinham, a former world number one herself, has not beaten David since the final of the British Open in September 2007.

Nicol David cruised into the semi-finals when opponent Annie Au of Hong Kong was forced to retire with a leg injury midway through the third game.

David was leading 11-0, 11-2, 4-0 when Au decided to retire, handing the match to the top seeded Malaysian. Au hurt her left leg towards the end of her second round win over Denmark’s Line Hansen on Wednesday but thought a day’s rest would allow it to mend.
“In practice it was okay, but in practice you always know where the ball is going to go,” Au said.

“Once we got into the match I couldn’t twist my leg to play a shot.
I thought it might get better but it didn’t.”

David said she realised Au had a problem early on, but didn’t want to take any chances.

“I was just focusing on what I had to do because even if you think she’s not there physically, she can still play shots and she can still come up with some winners,” David said.

“It was unfortunate because she was slowing down towards the end of each game so I knew something wasn’t right.”

Defending champion Madeline Perry won a close contest with 2009 winner Joelle King to reach the final four.

Perry came from 8-3 down in the fourth to see off the powerful Kiwi 13-11, 2-11, 12-10, 11-9 and avenge a first round defeat to King at last month’s Malaysian Open.

Second seeded Englishwoman Jenny Duncalf became the last player through when she saw off a tenacious Natalie Grinham.

Duncalf took the first game with ease but was then locked in a titanic battle with the Australian-born Dutchwoman before winning 11-4, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8.

Grinham chased and chased all match as an increasingly agitated Duncalf struggled to put her away.

But at 8-8 in the fourth game the Englishwoman finally broke clear and wrapped up an enthralling contest.

“She seemed to get quicker the longer the match went,” Duncalf said.

Men's Draw
Women's Draw
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“She can just play error-free squash and pick up everything, and keep pushing the ball to the back of the court and make you go for stuff.”

“Because she can pick up balls that are normally winners against most girls you’re forced to play 10 winners to win one rally.

“I’m looking forward to it, to trying to beat Nicole. I always want to play her but I tend to lose before I get to play her.

“I like to have the opportunity to play her if I feel in good shape, and I feel pretty good at the moment.”

“I’m used to beating people with my pace, taking the ball early and hitting it hard on the T but she does it better than me.”

“So I have to play a little bit differently and I don’t find it all that comfortable.

“I managed to slow it down a bit more from the last time I played her.

“I didn’t play very well against her in Malaysia but I’ve had a few good matches since then and I was confident I could player her better today.”

Press Cuts

11-Aug, Round Two, Part Two:

Women's Bottom Half:

[8] Joelle King (Nzl) bt [12] Delia Arnold (Mal)                                             11/5, 13/11, 11/9
[4] Madeline Perry (Irl) bt [11] Joey Chan (Hkg)                                  11/8, 6/11, 11/3, 11/2
[10] Natalie Grinham (Ned) bt [5] Kasey Brown (Aus)                         11/9, 7/11, 12/10, 11/9
[2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) v [16] Gaby Huber (Swi)                                          11/5, 11/3, 11/1

Men's Bottom Half:
[4] James Willstrop (Eng) bt [Q] Alan Clyne (Sco)                                        11/5, 11/5, 11/2
[5] Grégory Gaultier (Fra) bt Adrian Grant (Eng)                                           11/7, 11/5, 11/8
[6] Peter Barker (Eng) bt Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)                                           11/4, 11/2, 11/7
[2] Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt Stewart Boswell (Aus)                                   9/11, 11/7, 11/8, 11/7

Men's Draw

Women's Draw

Previous Rounds

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Player Info


“Coming off a big win like I had in Singapore, it’s hard to focus sometimes.

“Instead of thinking about winning points, I was thinking about winning the match.

“At the start of the third I concentrated on what I had to do and it all clicked into place.”

“I am going to have to play like I did in the third and fourth for the whole match against Joelle if I want to beat her. 

“She beat me in Malaysia so it would be nice to get one back.”



Grinham stuns Brown
Andrew Dent reports

Former champion Natalie Grinham caused the biggest upset of the Viridian Australian Open squash championships in Canberra when she bundled fifth seed Kasey Brown out of the second round on Thursday.

Grinham stunned the world number six in four tense games 11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 11-9 to move into the quarter-finals where she will play second seeded Englishwoman Jenny Duncalf, an 11-5, 11-3, 11-1 winner over Switzerland’s Gaby Huber.

Brown, who was suffering with an undisclosed illness throughout the match, was undone by the speed and court coverage from her former Australian teammate.

While the much taller Brown dominated the front of the court, Grinham seemed to chase almost every shot down with incredible tenacity, coming back from 10-5 down to win the third game and gain a vital advantage.

As the match wore on, Brown became obviously distressed, doubling over between points in a bid to recover. However, Grinham was relentless as she overcame the fifth seed to join older sister Rachael in the final eight.

Grinham, who now plays for the Netherlands, is a former world number two who is coming back to top form after taking time off the tour to have her first baby 16 months ago. She struggled for fitness initially but is now able to mix it with the elite players. Grinham paid tribute to Brown for not giving up despite her illness.
“I feel much faster now than before,” she said. “Perhaps I should have had my baby earlier in my career!
“She gave everything she had, even though she obviously wasn’t feeling well,” Grinham said.

Duncalf looked in superb touch as she disposed of Huber in the last match of the women’s second round. She was always in complete control and later admitted her big match experience gave her a tremendous help.

“I felt really good today, I’ve got lots of experience playing on the glass court whereas Gaby doesn’t,” Duncalf said. “So that’s a big advantage for me.”

Defending champion Madeline Perry of Ireland recovered from a second game blip to see off Hong Kong’s Joey Chan 11-8, 6-11, 11-3, 11-2. Perry won the Singapore Masters in the lead-up to the Open and said she had probably relaxed too much during the early stages of her match against Chan.

She now takes on 2009 champion Joelle King of New Zealand in the quarter-finals following King’s 11-5, 13-11, 11-9 win over young Malaysian Delia Arnold.

King got off to a great start before allowing Arnold back into the contest with a string of unforced errors. She clinched the second game in a tiebreak before racing away to a 10-5 lead in the third, then holding off a late comeback from the Malaysian. King said she had been hit with an attack of nerves playing on the all-glass court in the Royal Theatre.

“I love playing on the glass, it suits my game,” the world number 13 said. “But I had a few nerves early on. It’s quite different playing in an arena like this so I’m just happy to come away with a three-love victory.”

She said her second game lapses were the result of nerves.

“I was ridiculously nervous, I just couldn’t seem to calm myself down,” King said. “Obviously I knew it was going to be a tough match against Delia so there were a lot of added nerves there but somehow I managed to pull through.”
Egyptian tyro ends Boswell’s Open
Andrew Dent reports

Egyptian tyro Ramy Ashour came back from losing the first game to local hero Stewart Boswell to power his way into the quarter-finals of the Viridian Australian Open squash championships in Canberra on Thursday.

Boswell had home supporters cheering when he claimed the opening game, but he couldn’t maintain the momentum as Ashour stormed home to win 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11- 7.

The Australian was brilliant at times but was undone by the shot-making wizardry of the world number two, who was able to hit winners from seemingly impossible positions.

However, he was pushed all the way by Boswell, currently ranked 21 in the world.

Ashour now takes on Englishman Peter Barker, who was also in great touch as he disposed of Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan with a minimum of fuss 11-4, 11-2, 11-7.

Barker has faced players ranked in the 40s in his first two rounds but said he wasn’t too concerned that he hadn’t been really tested yet.

Earlier, Gregory Gaultier set up a mouthwatering quarter-final clash with England’s fourth seeded James Willstrop after the Frenchman beat Adrian Walker 11-7, 11-5, 11-8, showing glimpses of the form that took him to world number one in 2009. Willstrop was in superb touch as he demolished Clyne.

Clyne won through qualifying to make the main draw then outplayed Malaysian Asyraf Azan in the first round but he was no match for the towering Yorkshireman, who dominated all aspects of the match.

The Frenchman was in complete control throughout, never allowing Grant to settle into any sort of rhythm. His clash with Willstrop, an 11-5, 11-5, 11-2 winner over Scottish qualifier Alan Clyne is sure to be the highlight of the quarter-finals.

Gaultier said he believed he had an advantage heading into the match against Willstrop because he had played two high quality players, whereas Willstrop’s opponents had been ranked much lower.
"He’s come through qualifying, he’s winning his matches, he’s played a few games and that can mean a lot at this early point of the season,” a delighted Willstrop said.

"He’s the type of player who will get balls back all day long so for me to get in a position where I win three games comfortably is a great thing for me.

"When you finish and it’s three-love in the bag, that’s a good feeling."

"Stewart should be ranked better than he is the way he played.

"He played like a top 10 player. I think we played a very good quality match tonight."

“I’ve been quite lucky I’ve had two players ranked where they are, but at the same time someone like Greg (Gaultier) has had two tough matches and he’s managed to win them both three-love,”

‘I’m very happy with the way I’m hitting the ball, I’m very pleased with the way I’m moving in my first tournament back.”

"James is in great form but he didn’t have tough matches – he hasn’t played top players yet.

"It’s easy to be in good form when you don’t play top players, but he’s a great player and he’s really good to watch so I think it’s going to be a really good match."


Press Cuts

10-Aug, Round Two:

Women's Top Half:
Nicol David
bt Emily Whitlock                                 11/9, 11/7, 11/5
Annie Au bt Line Hansen                              14/12, 11/4, 9/11, 11/9
Rachael Grinham bt Low Wee Wern               11/8, 8/11, 11/4, 11/3
Donna Urquhart bt Dipika Pallikal                  11/6, 7/11, 11/6, 11/8

Men's Top Half:
Nick Matthew
bt Ong Beng Hee                              11/7, 11/8, 11/9
Laurens Jan Anjema bt Julian Illingworth               11/4, 11/3, 11/3
David Palmer bt Tom Richard                        4/11, 11/9, 11/6, 11/5
Karim Darwish bt Max Lee                             11/5, 8/11, 11/5, 11/7


Player Info

Men's Draw

Women's Draw

Previous Rounds

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Palmer fights on
Andrew Dent reports

Australia’s David Palmer overcame a badly injured ankle to edge past Tom Richards of England 4-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5 and reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open squash championships in Canberra on Wednesday.

Palmer hurt his ankle when he fell awkwardly during his first round win over Azlan Iskandar on Monday and needed extensive treatment at the AIS just to take the court.

The 35-year-old struggled badly during the first game and looked headed for an early exit in possibly his last ever Australian Open.

However, as the match wore on he slowly started to gain more movement and began to dominate an increasingly frustrated Richards.

Palmer took a close second game then made decisive breaks in the third and fourth to take the match.

He now has a day off for more treatment before facing third seed Karim Darwish in the quarter-finals following Darwish’s 11-5, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7 win over Hong Kong’s Max Lee.

England’s Nick Matthew remained on track to defend his title with an impressive win over Malaysia’s Ong Beng Hee.

World number one Matthew absorbed everything the Malaysian threw at him to close out the match 11-7, 11-8, 11-9.

Matthew and Ong have been opponents since their junior days and the Malaysian used all his experience to undo his opponent, hitting an array of shots to all parts of the court.

However, Matthew was up to the challenge despite struggling to close out the match in a tight third game.

“I seem to get to seven, eight and nine points okay before hitting a bit of a roadblock. But that’s a credit to Beng Hee, he stayed around to fight to the end. He changed his tactics every point so it was hard to feel comfortable.

“I was happy to get off three-love really. I’m getting through, I’m not really playing with full fluency yet, but it’s early days in the tournament so hopefully I’ll find it.

“Everything’s sort of in place, it’s just a matter of piecing the bits together – I’ll get that in the next few days.”

Matthew will need to be at his best against in the quarter-finals where he meets Laurens Jan Anjema, who followed up his first round defeat of fifth seed Thierry Lincou with a dominant display against Julian Illingworth, winning 11-4, 11-3, 11-3

“I played really well tonight – it’s tough to follow up a win over someone like Thierry,” he said.

“You walk around with your head in the clouds but you have to tell yourself it’s a new day and there’s work to be done.”


“I was happy just to get on court. I’ve been out at the AIS getting treatment and they’ve done some great work.

“In the early stages it felt like I was dragging my leg around and I think winning that second game was very important – if Tom had gone two-love up I think he would have run away with it.

“I think it probably affected Tom’s game a little bit because it can be hard to play against someone you know has an injury.”

Men's Draw
Women's Draw
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"She certainly got everything going for her at the start. She didn’t make any mistakes and at the end I knew I just had to tighten up a little bit more and feel the ball better, and she started to make a few more errors.

"It’s nice to see a 17-year-old play like that – I’d heard about her and I was expecting a challenge today.

"It’s good that it was three-love.

"It was close in the first game and with this scoring you cannot let your guard down, every point is important."

"It’s an advantage for me because I train with her now, but I guess it could be an advantage to her as well.

"It’s good that there won’t be too many surprises, we know each other’s games pretty well and it’s been really good to train together.”

"I didn’t get my length right in the second and she was all over me.”

"I knew I had to get back in front of her and control the game again if I wanted to win.

"Today it was all about getting the right position and slowing it down, not giving her any pace on the ball."

David sees off impressive Whitlock
Andrew Dent reports

World number one Nicol David of Malaysia made it through to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open with a straight games win over 17-year-old Englishwoman Emily Whitlock on Wednesday.

David started slowly but overpowered her younger opponent to win 11-9, 11-7, 11-5.

Whitlock finished third at the recent World Junior Championships and showed no fear against her illustrious opponent, jumping out to an 9-6 lead in the first game. However, David stepped up a gear and won five points straight to win the first game and was never headed thereafter.

She will play Hong Kong’s Annie Au in the last eight following Au’s 14-12, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9 win over Line Hansen of Denmark. Au never looked as comfortable against Hansen, with the Dane unlucky not to win a tight first game.

Au has faced David seven times on tour and at the Asian Games and is yet to notch a victory, but she said she would go in with nothing to lose.
“I think I will just try my best, relax and play all my shots,” Au said. “I can learn a lot from her and hopefully I can get closer to her – everybody’s got a chance.”

Hansen had her chances throughout but was undone by some errors at crucial moments to hand the match to the Au, who won the title in 2008.

Australian teammates Rachael Grinham and Donna Urquhart will meet in the quarter-finals after both won tough second round matches.

Grinham downed Malaysian Low Wee Wern 11-8, 8-11, 11-4, 11-3 before Urquhart saw off India’s Dipika Pallikal 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8.

Urquhart and Grinham were part of the Australian team that won the world teams title last December and have become training partners since Grinham returned to live in Australia at the start of July.

Urquhart was in dynamic form at the beginning of her match against Pallikal, showing why she has risen to number 13 in the world over the past few months.

But after starting brilliantly she lost concentration in the second and allowed the Indian back into the contest. However, she regrouped to regain control and move comfortably into the final eight.

Grinham’s match followed a similar pattern to Urquhart as she won the first game easily, then dropped the second before regaining control and easing away.

“I made it a bit tough for myself when I lost the second game, but I settled down and started hitting some good length, rather than panicking and trying to do too much,” Grinham, the 2005 champion, said.

08-Aug, Round One (top half):

[Q] Max Lee (Hkg) bt [Q] Matthew Karwalski (Aus)
                                      6/11, 11/8, 12/10, 11/7 (59m)
Julian Illingworth (Usa) bt [Q] Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
                                      11/6, 11/7, 7/11, 11/9 (70m)
Ong Beng Hee bt [Q] Martin Knight (Nzl)
                                      5/11, 11/8, 11/9, 11/4 (60m)
 LJ Anjema (Ned) bt [7] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
                                      14/16, 11/9, 14/12, 11/5 (80m)
[1] Nick Matthew (Eng) bt Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
                                      11/7, 11/8, 11/9 (48m)
Tom Richards (Eng) bt Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
                                      11/9, 11/8, 11/5 (49m)
David Palmer (Aus) bt [8] Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
                                      14/12, 11/9, 5/11, 9/11, 11/8 (106m)
[3] Karim Darwish (Egy) bt [Q] Zac Alexander (Aus)
                                       11/9, 11/13, 11/2, 11/6 (49m)

Player Info



Women's round one

Nicol David
bt Samantha Davies                  11-3, 11-6, 11-2
Emily Whitlock bt Kylie Lindsay          
11-9, 7-11, 11-4, 11-3
Annie Au bt Lisa Aitken                               11-3, 11-1, 11-5
Gaby Huber bt Sarah Cardwell
           11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 11-1

Kasey Brown
 bt Amanda Cranston              11-2, 11-7, 11-3
Jenny Duncalf bt Vanessa Pickerd               11-5, 11-3, 11-3
Line Hansen bt Milou Van Der Heijden 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9
Rachael Grinham bt Lucie Fialova               11-6, 11-5, 11-2

Low Wee Wern
bt Zoe Petrovansky             11-4, 11-6, 11-5
Madeline Perry bt Siti Munirah Jusoh          11-5, 11-2, 11-3
Natalie Grinham bt Melody Francis             11-2, 11-4, 11-5
Donna Urquhart bt Tamika Saxby              11-7, 11-1, 11-3

Joelle King
bt Maggy Marshall                     11-6, 11-3, 11-2
Joey Chan bt Christine Nunn                       11-3, 11-2, 11-3
Dipika Pallikal bt Amanda Landers-Murphy  11-4, 11-8, 11-2
Delia Arnold bt Olga Ertlova      5-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6

Men's Round One (bottom half)

James Willstrop
bt Chris Ryder                 13-11, 11-8, 11-0
Alan Clyne bt Muhd Asyraf Azan                  11-5, 11-9, 11-4
Adrian Grant bt Simon Rosner    2-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8
Nafiizwan Adnan bt Dick Lau                      11-7, 11-4, 11-3

Peter Barker
bt Aaron Frankcomb               11-8, 11-7, 11-6
Gregory Gaultier bt Cameron Pilley            11-6, 11-8, 11-7
Stewart Boswell bt Saurav Ghosal             14-12, 11-2, 11-5
Ramy Ashour bt Ivan Yuen                         11-3, 11-7, 11-3

Men's Draw
Women's Draw
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Press Cuts
        AFP                            Australia                      Australia

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I had never played Samantha before so I didn’t know what to expect,” David said.

I knew she was a big shot player and she made some shots but I just stuck in there and played solid.”

David had a rare loss at last week’s Singapore Open but said she had already put that out of her mind.

Those days happen and I’m just moving forward,” she said.

It’s good to get fresh and ready for the Australian Open and I’m excited to be here.

“I just wanted to go out there and work on some things that I’ve been working on the last couple of months.”

“I felt quite comfortable on there, I felt like I played pretty well. She got a bit tired towards the end so I was able to take advantage of that and get through in three.

“I’ve got a day off tomorrow as well so it’s just keep form and keep sharp through the week. I’ve got a tough one against Nat Grinham on Thursday so just looking forward to playing that really.”

“She’s come back and is moving just as well and playing just as well before the baby. I played her in the Cayman Islands at the beginning of the year I think and I ended up losing that one.”

09-Aug, Women's Round One:
World number one David
records emphatic wins
Andrew Dent reports

World number one Nicol David stamped her class on the Viridian Australian Open squash tournament in Canberra when she raced to an emphatic 11-3, 11-6, 11-2 first round win over Brisbane’s Samantha Davies on Tuesday.

David, playing her first ever Australian Open, was untroubled by Davies, who tried hard but was outclassed by the Malaysian superstar. Nicol won the Australian Junior Open in 1999 in her only previous visit to Canberra and showed why she is the favourite to claim the senior title in 2011.

David now plays 17-year-old Englishwoman Emily Whitlock, who upset 15th seeded New Zealander Kylie Lindsay 11-9, 7-11, 11-4, 11-3.

Not to be outdone, world number two Jenny Duncalf of England followed David on court and was equally impressive in her 11-5, 11-3, 11-3 win over Melbourne qualifier Vanessa Pickerd.

Duncalf lost in the semi-finals in 2010 as top seed, and looked determined to make amends for that disappointment as she crushed Pickerd, who was playing her first match on the glass court.

Duncalf will play Gaby Huber in the second round after the Swiss number one downed Melbourne’s Sarah Cardwell 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-1.

It’s quite different playing someone that you don’t know,” Jenny said.

I went and watched the qualifiers yesterday because I didn’t know 90 per cent of them so I had a little look at Vanessa yesterday and she looked good.

“You can never take any match lightly, but it’s nice to get a feel for the court early

The top women’s seeds all progressed with few problems.

Third seed Rachael Grinham beat Lucie Fialova of the Czech Republic 11-6, 11-5, 11-2, Ireland’s Madeline Perry (4) downed Malaysia’s Siti Munirah Jusoh 11-5, 11-2, 11-3 and Kasey Brown (5) was too good for New Zealand’s Amanda Cranston 11-2, 11-7, 11-3.

Perry, winner of the Singapore Open last week, was also pleased with how she had played against Munirah Jusoh.
“I knew Siti was probably one of the harder first-round matches. I was aware she was a good player,” Perry said. “I wanted to really concentrate today with it being the first round and just start the tournament with a good start.

“I’m coming into it better than I was last time but I’m going to have to be this time, Nicol David’s here and all the top girls are playing well, Jenny Duncalf’s playing well

Other winners included 2008 champion Annie Au of Hong Kong, seventh seed Donna Urquhart and 2009 winner Joelle King from New Zealand.

Boswell joins Palmer in second round
Andrew Dent reports

Stewart Boswell made it two Australian men into the second round of the Viridian Australian Open when he downed India's Saurav Ghosal in straight games in today's second day of first round action in the third PSA World Series squash event of the year in Canberra.

Boswell edged Ghosal in a tight first game before easing away with the next two to take the match 14-12, 11-2, 11-5 in 48 minutes. The 33-year-old Boswell grew up in Canberra and delighted the home fans with the emphatic win to join Australian number one David Palmer in the second round.

However, the four-time champion will have to step up several gears before facing second-seeded Egyptian Ramy Ashour, who downed Malaysian qualifier Ivan Yuen in the last match of the night.

"It's pretty good, it's nice to have some support," said Boswell - winner of his country's premier title in 2002, 2006, 2007 and 2009 - about playing in Canberra.

"Normally it's for the other guy when I'm overseas, I was glad to get through at least one round this year, that's a start."

Earlier Australian number two Cameron Pilley bowed out at the hands of classy Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, while Englishman Peter Barker was too steady for Hobart's Aaron Frankcomb, winning 11-6, 11-8, 11-7.

Gaultier was in blistering form as he downed world number 14 Pilley 11-6, 11-8, 11-7.

Frankcomb had the sixth-seeded Barker in trouble at various times throughout their match, but couldn't maintain the pressure when it counted.

"Aaron has beaten players ranked above him, but he hasn't always been consistent in the past and I'm sure he'll tell you that's what he's working on," said London left-hander Barker. "So on this court in front of his home crowd I knew I had to be ready."

England's fourth seed James Willstrop put on a display of superb squash as he downed fellow countryman Chris Ryder 13-11, 11-8, 11-0, declaring later he played almost the perfect match.

Willstrop has flown under the radar this year with most of the attention on fellow countryman Nick Matthew and Egypt's Ramy Ashour. He now faces Scotsman Alan Clyne, who continued his recent climb as he reached the second round of a platinum level tournament for the first time with an 11-5, 11-9, 11-4 win over Malaysia's Muhd Asyraf Azan.

Clyne won the first game easily, then came back from 8-2 down in the second, before running away with the third against a disconsolate Azan.

"I managed to get onto the pace pretty quickly in the first game because on the glass court you need to be positive and get the ball in short and I thought I did that really well," said the Edinburgh-based Scot.

"I thought it was quite crucial when I came back, when you're 8-2 down you can relax because you think the game's going to be finished - but once I got a few points I thought if I could get that one it could just be the turning point, and it proved to be."

England's Adrian Grant came from two games down to overhaul German Simon Rosner 2-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8.

Rosner played superbly in the first two and half games and had chances to bring up match points, but Grant, the world No18, ranked 12 places higher, clung in and eventually turned the tables on his younger opponent.

"I was very tentative in my movement and my swing to begin with," Grant said. "It is the first tournament I've played since an injury so it's been over three months since I've played. I was a bit nervous and felt tight inside the body, but fair play to Rosner, he's a big guy who really crunches the ball and he just didn't let me settle in.

"In the third I went in with nothing to lose and just tried to free up mentally and physically."

Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan joined fellow Malaysian Ong Beng Hee in the second round when he beat Dick Lau from Hong Kong 11-7, 11-4, 11-3.

"It was maybe the worst draw I could get for the first round."

"But I was in really good shape and moving well, finding my length.

I was really patient and I managed to play a little bit faster than him."

"I played some great squash, it was really good on my part, and he really didn't do a lot wrong."

"It was just one of those bizarre games but I got on top early, I enforced myself physically and I got a bit of momentum there at five-love, and his head dropped a bit, because when you're two-love, five-love down, it makes it very difficult.

"But 11-0 in the third game wasn't a just score, but for me to put in a game like that is just great."

"I believe that I can beat either of them - of course all the attention's going to be on them because they are number one and two in the world, but I don't go round thinking there's any kind of hierarchy. I feel I'm on level terms with them. I just have to do it more consistently."

Press Cuts

Australia              New Zealand             New Zealand           Malaysia

Photos: Bob Givens

Anjema stuns Lincou

Unseeded Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema caused the biggest shock on the opening day of the Australian Open in Canberra when he ousted seventh seeded Frenchman Thierry Lincou in four games of superb squash on Monday.

Anjema came back from losing the first game in a tiebreak to down the former world champion 14-16, 11-9, 14-12, 11-5 to book a second round clash against American Julian Illingworth.

The Dutchman played some breathtaking squash throughout the match, but he was matched most of the way by the 35-year-old Lincou, who only began to fade towards the end as fatigue and lack of match play began to catch up with him.

It was Anjema’s first win over the Frenchman and he was delighted to finally break the hoodoo.

A downcast Lincou said he was at least 20 per cent off the pace after having his preparation hampered by injury.
“I need some more matches like this – I haven’t really played since January because of an injury.

“At my age it’s pretty hard to come back and for my body to find the pace. It’s hard for me to get back to the level I was before the injury.”

Hong Kong’s Max Lee became the first player through to the second round of the Australian Open in Canberra when he came from a game down to beat New South Welshman Matthew Karwalski on Monday.

Karwalski looked headed for an upset when he won six straight points to close out the first game, only for Lee to steady down and outlast his opponent 6-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-8 in a high quality opener to the tournament.

Lee was faultless during the second game and although mistakes began to creep in towards the end, he just managed to keep clear of a gallant Karwalski.

Lee had to win two five-setters in qualifying just to make the main draw and said once he lost the first game, he was determined not to go two-love down a third time.

I am very tired after those long matches in qualifying, not physically, but mentally I am very tired, Max Lee

Malaysia’s Ong Beng Hee and Julian Illingworth of the US also progressed but not before being tested by their opponents.

Ong, a former Australian Open semi-finalist, downed New Zealand qualifier Martin Knight 5-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 while Illingworth saw off Swiss player Nicholas Mueller 11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9.

Illingworth said he had been expecting a battle against Mueller and he was happy to get off in four games.


“I knew it was going to be close, we are right next to each other in the rankings.

“It’s the first tournament of the season for most of them, actually I played a small one last week but for most of the guys it’s their first one, so anything can happen.

“You don’t know who’s going to come in in form and who’s going to be lacking a little match fitness.

“Winning the first round in these big ones is a big goal for all the guys coming through.”

Men's Draw
Women's Draw

Monday Schedule
NCCC=glass court
“I had to wait for 10 years until this guy was 35 years old and could hardly walk anymore, and I could just about beat him.

“I prepared so well. All summer I was training very hard, but smart at the same time.

“It really has to start happening for me now – I’m 28 years old – but at the same time I try not to put too much pressure on myself.

“I just try to enjoy it and play well, and thank God it happened today, I’m so happy.”


“It’s a major event and you’re always a bit nervous, in the first round because you’re not quite into the tournament .

“It’s really difficult playing a qualifier because they have two matches under their belt, so coming in he was very confident.

"I thought he played very well, he put me under a lot of pressure for three games, but I managed to get a little bit better towards the end.

“When I was 2/1 up I was a lot more confident and I think he got a bit tired towards the end. I think the two close games that I won, that worked him very hard and I think mentally he gave up a little bit.”

“I knew it would be a tough match from the moment I saw the draw.”

“I’m delighted to get off in three because it could have got tough out there if I’d have lost that first game.”

Courageous Palmer through

David Palmer defied a tenacious opponent and an ankle injury in the fifth game to claw his way into the second round after he downed Malaysia’s Azlan Iskandar 14-12, 11-9, 5-11, 9-11, 11-8.

Palmer, the 2009 champion, won the first two games only for the eighth seeded Malaysian to fight back and level proceedings.
Palmer got away to an early lead in the decider only to fall awkwardly at 7-5 and twist his ankle.

He took a brief injury break and when he came back the 35-year-old went for his shots, quickly bringing up match ball and then closing out an epic first round encounter with a forehand drive deep into the back corner.

Palmer now has a day off before he plays Englishman Tom Richards in the second round and said he would use the time to get his ankle assessed and have some medical treatment.

Richards earlier downed Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly 11-9, 11-8, 11-5 to book his place in the second round.

World number one Nick Matthew made an impressive start to his title defence when he beat South Africa’s Steve Coppinger in straight games 11-7, 11-8, 11-9.

Matthew only looked in trouble briefly in the third game when he was behind 5-9, but he stepped up the pace to storm home and wrap up a hard fought match. He now takes on Ong Beng Hee.

In the last match of the night, third seeded Egyptian Karim Darwish saw off a brave challenge from Australia’s Zac Alexander, winning 11-8, 11-13, 11-2, 11-6.

07-Aug, Men's Qualifying Finals:
Alexander storms into main draw
Andrew Dent reports

Queensland’s Zac Alexander stormed into the main draw of the Viridian Australian Open squash tournament in Canberra after an impressive win over New Zealander Chris Lloyd in final qualifying on Sunday. The 22-year-old Alexander completed his second straight games win in a row with an 11-5, 11-4, 11-6 win over Lloyd.

It is the second year in a row that Alexander has qualified for the Open – in 2010 he bowed out after giving classy Egyptian Mohammed El Shorbagy an almighty fright.

This year he plays another Egyptian, world number three Karim Darwish in what is sure to be a test of Alexander’s progression over the past 12 months.

“To qualify is always good but to get through both matches three-love is obviously really good,” he said. “It’s important to be as fresh as you can be for the first round.”

Alexander, who won the Queensland Open in late July, said he was feeling better prepared than this time last year. “I feel like I’ve done a good six weeks of work, I’m feeling pretty fit and obviously I took some confidence away from two weeks ago at the Queensland Open, so I’m feeling as good as I can be,” he said.

He was joined in the main draw by New South Welshman Matthew Karwalski, who beat fellow Australian Wade Johnstone 11-6, 11-7, 11-4. Karwalski will play fellow qualifier Max Lee from Hong Kong in the first round after Lee beat former Australian Open finalist Kashif Shuja 8-11, 8-11, 16-14, 11-5, 11-4.

Malaysia’s Ivan Yuen caused the biggest shock when he upset higher ranked New Zealander Campbell Grayson in four tight games.
Yuen always had his nose in front against an increasingly agitated Grayson, winning 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8 to reach the main draw on his first attempt, where he will play second seed Ramy Ashour.

“It’s a very good win for me,” said Yuen, ranked 121 in the world to Grayson’s 59. “It means very good rankings points for me, which I need. “This is my first time playing the Australian Open, so I am happy I’ve made the main draw. “I am playing well this tournament. The last few tournaments I wasn’t playing well but yesterday and today I was much better.”

Yuen’s win made it two Malaysian qualifying wins, following Asyraf Azan’s tough 11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7 win over Austria’s Aqeel Rehman.

Top qualifying seed Alan Clyne had to survive a first game onslaught from rapidly improving Australian Rex Hedrick before winning 11-13, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5.

Both players are renowned for their fitness and never say die attitude and this was in evidence in an enthralling encounter. However, the Scotsman was able to lift his game when it counted to see off Hedrick and book his place in the first round.

“I lost to Campbell Grayson last year 3/2 so I was determined to get into the main draw this time,” Clyne said. “On paper it looked a bit easier because my ranking’s gone up and I was seeded to get in this time but it was still a really tough match.

“Rex played really well, he came out really strong and it was high paced – I was glad to get through it. “He didn’t let anything go, he was picking up everything, and it was really bouncy. Canberra’s supposed to be cold but on court it didn’t feel cold.

“The second I was a fair bit clear but then he came back. The first it was nip and tuck, I thought it was going to be an important one and if I got that one I thought I would be clear. “fter just missing that one the match was going to go either way and I was up against it but I just managed to keep the pace up and got it in the end.”

Dick Lau ended the challenge of Englishman Alex Phillips with a comfortable 11-3, 11-9, 11-4 win. Lau said the win came as a welcome relief after some poor recent form.

“I travelled to Egypt a few weeks ago and played really badly so my confidence wasn’t really high,” Lau said. “I think yesterday’s and today’s matches have given me a little more confidence going into the first round tomorrow.

“Max Lee has trained with him and played him in England and he told me he was a quick player and had quick hands, so I made sure I went for longer rallies, make sure he moved front and back. I like the weather here, not too hot so I don’t sweat that much, and the court is pretty dead – I like that.”

Martin Knight ensured it wasn't all doom and gloom for the Kiwis as he beat in form German Raphael Kandra 13-11, 11-8, 11-6.
06-Aug, Men's Qualifying Round One
Phillips causes only surprise in Australian Open openers ...

Englishman Alex Phillips caused the only real surprise when he ousted the higher ranked Australian Jamie McErvale from the first round of qualifying for the Australian Open at the Woden Squash Centre in Canberra on Saturday.

The 23-year-old from the Isle of Wight started well then had to hold off a determined comeback from McErvale to win in five games 13-11, 11-7, 1-11, 4-11, 11-4.

Phillips said that four weeks of tournament play in Australia in the lead-up to the Open had helped him against McErvale.

“I’ve done four other tournaments and played lots of squash,” he said. “It’s exactly what I needed to prepare for matches like this – keeping my concentration for the whole match rather than just one or two games.

“I was lucky to get the first I think, but he came back at me. I stopped doing my game plan and he came back in the third and fourth. “I made sure in the fifth that I got better length and actually controlled the match rather than hitting it too hard and running around like a headless chicken.”

Phillips now takes on Dick Lau of Hong Kong, an impressive 11-8, 11-3, 11-1 winner over Japan’s Ben Takamizawa Harris.

“I’ve got nothing to lose tomorrow,” Phillips said. “I’ve got a day to prepare for it, so I’ll just give it all I’ve got.”

Melbourne’s Rex Hedrick registered the first win of the 2011 tournament when he beat New Zealander James Skiffington 11-2, 11-1, 11-1. He now takes on Alan Clyne after the Scotsman was handed a first round bye.

“It was a really good way to start, just getting that first win and giving yourself the chance to qualify for the main draw,” Hedrick said.

“I’ve played James before and I’ve seen him play a lot – it was a match I should have won so it’s good to get the first one out of the way. I started solidly and stayed on top of him.

“It’s a very tough match tomorrow against Alan Clyne. He’s ranked 40 in the world and he’s a really good player so I’ll have to be on the ball from the start.”

New Zealand’s Kashif Shuja had mixed feelings after seeing off local Canberra hope and former tour player Tim Manning 11-6, 11-8, 11-8.

“I’ve known Tim for 18 years – we used to train a lot when we were both in Sydney,” Shuja said. “I catch up with him whenever I come back to Canberra, and it’s good to see him still playing. It’s good for local squash, and he’s still playing pretty good.

“He’s just a little bit off the pace because he doesn’t play full time anymore.”

Joining Shuja in the qualifying finals were fellow Kiwis Campbell Grayson and Chris Lloyd.

Grayson plays Malaysia’s Ivan Yuen while Lloyd faces Queensland’s Zac Alexander, an impressive 11-5, 11-3, 11-9 winner over fellow Aussie Josh Cardwell.

Men's Draw
Women's Draw


Foot injury forces Camilleri out of Open

Australian number four Lisa Camilleri has been forced to withdraw from next week’s Australian Open after sustaining a foot injury that has sidelined her for at least six weeks.

Camilleri, who was the 16th seed in Canberra, suffered the injury at the Malaysian Open two weeks ago.

She pulled out of the Singapore Masters the following week in the hope she would recover in time for the Australian Open, however, she has since discovered the injury is worse than she first thought.

Camilleri’s injury has meant good news for Hobart’s Maggy Marshall, who comes into the main draw as a replacement, avoiding the tricky qualifying tournament.

Marshall will take on eighth seeded New Zealander Joelle King and said she was thrilled to make the first round after falling in qualifying in 2010.

"It gives me great peace of mind to go straight through to the main draw, Marshall said.

"It will be hard taking on Joelle, because she’s been going really well lately, so it will probably be more about gaining experience."

Switzerland’s Gaby Huber has been elevated to 16th seed and will now play Melbourne’s Sarah Cardwell in the first round.

CSR Viridian renews partnership
with Australian Open
Andrew Dent reports

The Australian Open Squash Championships are proud to announce CSR Viridian as the major sponsor of the 2011 CSR Viridian Australian Open.

The CSR Viridian Australian Open in Canberra will showcase world class squash, with over a hundred of the best men and women competing to be the champion of this historic and prestigious title.

The event will be played on an all-glass squash court in the Royal Theatre that allows spectators to see the action through the glass walls whilst innovative technology ensures to the players, the walls appear solid and opaque.

"Our partnership with Viridian as Australia's leading glass innovator is a natural fit and our objective is to further improve the spectator experience and television coverage to promote the sport," Tournament Director Gary Hampson said.

Viridian is the largest manufacturer of residential and commercial glass in Australia and is a division of leading building products company, CSR.

Lachlan Austin, Viridian General Manager Marketing, sees real value in the partnership:

"Squash is the one major sport that now relies heavily on glass technology – fully adopting the unique and remarkable properties of this material, and truly using glass in extraordinary ways - so it is a natural fit for us,” he said.

“The current glass court technology has been around for decades, yet advances in glass technology are opening up exciting new capabilities and design opportunities every day.

“We see outstanding opportunities to apply some of our technical expertise to build a better court.

“If we can improve the overall experience for players and spectators, then this can only act to grow interest and participation in the sport.”

The ACT Squash Association is looking to extend the partnership to include the use of a wide range of CSR building materials in the construction of two new squash centres in the region.

"The wide range of innovative building materials from CSR and Viridian will allow us to construct quality, energy efficient, low cost, low maintenance and environmentally friendly squash centres to meet the growing demands from players in the Canberra region, “ Hampson said.

“We are planning that at least one new centre will have a permanent glass court and ten traditional courts to cater for the large, participation tournaments that attract 600-800 players," said Hampson.
Malaysian superstar to make
Australian Open debut 

Andrew Dent reports
Malaysian squash superstar Nicol David will make her Australian Open debut after confirming she would be travelling to Canberra in August.

David, who has been world number one since August 2006, has won just about every major tournament in a glittering career. The 27-year-old will be hot favourite to add the Australian Open to a trophy cabinet that already includes Commonwealth Games gold, five World Opens and three British Opens.

David, who will be coming to Canberra with her long time coach, former Australian great Liz Irving, hasn’t played in Australia since the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

In an ominous sign for her opponents, the last time she was in Canberra was in 1999, when she won the Australian Junior Championship.

“I'm very excited to have this opportunity to play in this tournament for the first time, especially knowing the prestige the Australian Open has in the squash world and squash history,” David said. “I’m looking forward to giving it a good go there for this year's Australian Open.”

David said having Irving alongside her would give her a big advantage.

“Liz has always been amongst the best Australian women squash players and played many Australian Opens,” she said. “Having her with me will give me a lot of positive reinforcements coming into Canberra.

“This Australian Open will be one of the highlights for me this year and I'm glad that Squash Australia has brought this event back for both the men and women.”

Joining David in the top quality field are six former champions, all of whom are ranked in the top 20 in the world.

Last year’s champion, Madeline Perry of Northern Ireland, will be back to defend her title, while Kasey Brown (2006 champion), Annie Au (2008) and Joelle King (2009) will also play.

And in a significant coup, Toowoomba’s Rachael and Natalie Grinham will be playing the Australian Open together for the first time since Natalie won the title in 2004.

Rachael, who won the following year, said Natalie had made great progress since she came back to the game after giving birth to her first child last year.

“She’s made a pretty remarkable comeback,” Rachael said.

“A big factor of Natalie’s game is her movement, and she’s moving just as well now as when she was at her peak, and it’s not even a year after having the baby.”

“Shell-shocked” Davies
ready for big test
Andrew Dent reports

Brisbane player Samantha Davies says she has nothing to lose after finding out she will be taking on world number one Nicol David of Malaysia on the main showcourt in the first round of the Australian Open in Canberra next month.

Davies was elevated to the main draw of the Open after Frenchwoman Isabelle Stoehr withdrew injured on Monday night.

Her reward is a clash with the Malaysian superstar on the all-glass court in Canberra’s Royal Theatre.

“I’m a bit shell-shocked, I only found out about an hour ago,” the 22-year-old from Scarborough said on Tuesday. “It’s going to be an incredible experience. I’ve never even see her play live before so it’s going to be a bit of a steep learning curve.”

Davies has only played on a glass court once before, one match at the World Junior Championships in Belgium in 2005.

“But never in front of the number of people that the Canberra theatre can hold and not against someone like Nicole,” she said. “I’ve got nothing to lose and I can only learn from it. There’s no pressure on me at all, I want to go out there and relax and enjoy it, and get as much out of it as I can.

“It’s a good benchmark for me to see where my game is.”

Davies made the main draw of the Australian Open in 2010 through qualifying, losing to David’s countrywoman Low Wee Wern in the first round on a traditional court.

New Zealand’s Kylie Lindsay, who was due to play David in the first round, will now take on England’s Emily Whitlock.

However, her reprieve may only be temporary as if she beats the 17-year-old Whitlock she would then have to face David in the second round, assuming David beats Davies.

The Australian Open will be played in Canberra from August 8-14.

Men’s world number one Nick Matthew opens his title defence against South Africa’s Stephen Coppinger on Monday, August 8.


Matthew back to defend title

The draw for the men's event was made well in advance, with England's world champion, world number one and defending champion Nick Matthew at the top of the draw which sees Egypt's Ramy Ashour as his anticipated opponent in the final.

The first round has thrown up some tantalising matchups, particularly the one between Australian number one David Palmer and Egypt's Amr Shabana, a match that would grace any final.

At the other end of the scale third seed Karim Darwish looks likely to face two consecutive qualifiers before a scheduled quarter-final with the winner of the Palmer v Shabana clash.

In the bottom half England's James Willstrop is seeded to reach the semi-finals, but he'll have to get past France's Gregory Gaultier, while Matthew's predicted quarter-final is an all-England class with Peter Barker.

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