Talk about saving the
best for last ... Nick Matthew claimed his second British
Open title at the end of a two-hour thriller, saving match
ball in the fifth to deny James Willstrop.
In the women's final Rachael Grinham collected her fourth
British Open trophy with a straight games win over Madeline
 Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt  Madeline Perry (Irl)
11/6, 11/5, 12/10 (39m)
 Nick Matthew (Eng) bt  James Willstrop (Eng)
8/11, 11/8, 7/11, 11/3, 12/10 (123m)
Grinham claims her fourth,
Matthew wins Marathon
Finals Roundup from Howard Harding
Former champions Nick Matthew and Rachael Grinham reclaimed
the British Open titles after contrasting victories in the
finals of the world's oldest and most prestigious squash
championships at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.
It took 122 minutes for Nick Matthew to emerge triumphant in
the first all-English men's final for 70 years when he beat
England team-mate James Willstrop in the climax of the
$92,500 PSA World Tour Super Series event.
Matthew, the England number one, reached the final without
dropping a game. But it was Willstrop, last year's
runner-up, who took the early advantage - winning the first
game in convincing style.
However Matthew, the 2006 champion from Sheffield, battled
back to take the second. The next two games were also shared
- with Leeds man Willstrop visibly tiring at the end of the
fourth as he put three successive balls into the tin.
In the decider - a gladiatorial encounter between two
determined Yorkshiremen - Matthew built up a 6-2 lead before
Willstrop delighted the packed crowd by coming back to
overtake his opponent, eventually reaching match-ball at
But former champion Matthew was not about to throw in the
towel. The 29-year-old reclaimed the advantage before going
on to clinch the title on his first match-ball, winning
8-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-3, 12-10 to claim the historic trophy
for the second time.
"That was a fantastic match," said the new champion as he
collected the trophy. "I want to thank James. I think you
deserved it - you were the best player on the night, but I
gutsed it out!"
Matthew, who boasts a career-high world No5 ranking, then
admitted that he had been suffering with a back injury
during the tournament: "I nearly didn't play the
quarter-final match. I spent about five hours in the physio
room before that match - and it's thanks to EIS (English
Institute of Sport) phsyio Jade (Elias) that I came through.
Jade, you're a star!"
Asked later if he thought he was a better player than when
he first won the coveted title in 2006 - since when he has
undergone shoulder surgery - Matthew said: "I was a better
squash player yesterday, in the semis, than I was today.
"Today was best in terms of guts and determination.
"I don't know how my body got through this week. I'm just
shattered by the effort. The last few points were a blur.
"I'm amazed I ever got to the final, let alone win the
title," concluded the new champion.
Willstrop, who also had match-balls in last year's final,
was clearly still in a state of shock half an hour after the
"A bit of a horror story, really. I'm desperately
disappointed," said the disconsolate runner-up. "It was a
good game of squash - and I thought I played really well."
When reminded that, only months ago, he was recovering from
ankle surgery, Willstrop acknowledged: "I'm absolutely
thrilled with the way I played tonight. To have come out and
played like that after the surgery was very pleasing.
"I had match balls to win the British again! But he came out
Earlier, Australia's Rachael Grinham ended the dream run of
Irish champion Madeline Perry to win the women's $53,500
WISPA World Tour Gold title for a fourth time.
Perry, the first Northern Irish finalist in the history of
the women's event, was unable to reproduce the form which
saw her trounce hot favourite Nicol David, the world number
one from Malaysia, in the quarter-finals.
Grinham dominated the first two games and held match-ball at
10-6 in the third. But Perry stepped up a gear and saved
four match balls to take the game into a tie-break.
However, the former world number one from Australia
reclaimed the advantage to run out an 11-6, 11-5, 12-10
winner after 39 minutes.
"I was really focussed today - I couldn't have played any
better," said Grinham.
"It hasn’t really sunk in yet. At the beginning of the week
I was a few points from getting knocked out - I was lucky to
get through," added the Queenslander, ranked four in the
"To win the British Open for the fourth time is not easy to
Both players head straight from Manchester to Amsterdam
where the Forexx Women's World Open Championship gets
underway next week.
"I have been having a lot of trouble with confidence all
week - so having a result like this going into the Worlds
next week should give me confidence."
Perry rued her missed opportunity. "I'm obviously
disappointed - but if you're feeling a bit tired, the worst
player in the world to play is Rachael Grinham.
"I didn't really get into it until the third game,"
explained the fifth seed from Banbridge, near Belfast.
Reaching the final was a remarkable achievement for Perry,
who sustained a serious brain injury following mysterious
fall in Milan just two years ago.
"That's behind me now. This week I've played the best squash
of my life - I've reached another level.
"I'd rather not think about what might be in next week's
World Open - I could have won the British Open if I'd played
as well as I did in the previous two rounds."
Historic All-English men's final in Manchester ...
A week or so ago there was lots of media coverage about the
anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two, 70 years on.
It was shortly before that, in April 1939, that the last
all-English British Open final was played.
that time the Championship was run on a challenge system,
and J.P. St. G. Dear beat A.E. Biddle 5-9,
9-6, 5-9, 9-6, 9-5 and 6-9, 9-1, 9-2, 9-6. This 'home and
away' system (there was never a need for a third match, they
all ended 2-0) was used up until the following event in
1947, when Dear lost 2-0 to Egyptian M.A. Karim.
From 1948 onwards the championships used the knockout system
we know today, and became pretty much the exclusive preserve
So, when Nick Matthew and James Willstrop won
their semi-finals today to set up another all-English final,
they really were stepping into history ...
Matthew, who in 2006 became the first home-grown Englishman
to win the title since Mr Dear all those years back, looked
impressive as he beat compatriot Peter Barker in straight
games to reach his second final.
Willstrop, who lost out in the 2005 and 2008 finals, reached
his third with an ultimately comfortable win over Amr
Shabana, the Egyptian fading due to his exertions in the
quarter-finals where he defeated defending champion David
for the women, Australia's Rachael Grinham has a
chance to join compatriot Palmer on four titles, overcoming
British Closed champion Jenny Duncalf in four games.
She meets Northern Ireland's Madeline Perry, who
followed up her stunning defeat of Nicol David with an
impressive four-game win over Alison Waters to deny an
English presence in the women's final.
Willstrop Sets Up
Historic All-English British Open Final English news
from Howard Harding
Yorkshireman James Willstrop crushed Egypt's
three-time world champion Amr Shabana in the second
semi-final of the at the National Squash Centre to set up
the first all-English final of the world's oldest and most
prestigious squash championship for 70 years.
After a historic day in which three Englishmen competed in
the semi-finals for the first time in living memory,
Willstrop will face fellow Yorkshireman Nick Matthew.
The world number four from Sheffield scored a resounding
straight games win over his England team-mate Peter Barker
to reach the final for the second time in four years.
Madeline Perry became the first ever Irish player to
reach the women's final after beating Londoner Alison
Waters. The world No8 from Belfast, who produced the event's
biggest shock when she ousted firm favourite Nicol David,
the world number one and defending champion from Malaysia,
will now face three-time champion Rachael Grinham, of
Since reaching last year's final, where he lost in a
dramatic fifth game tie-break, world No9 James Willstrop has
undergone ankle surgery and is battling to fight back to the
career-best world number two ranking he achieved in December
But the 26-year-old from Leeds put in a near-perfect
performance to overcome Amr Shabana, a world number one for
33 months, 11-5, 11-6, 11-1 to set up the historic
"I've not made it a secret that I am a big fan of Amr's - he
is a legend of the game," Willstrop told the packed crowd at
Sportcity after his sensational win. "He is a very difficult
player - and to beat him here in Manchester in the British
Open is very special.
"I was very consistent from the start - I started well and
this set the tone," added the two-time national champion who
lost to Shabana in straight games only eight days ago in the
US Open in Chicago.
"Last week he trounced me - I was half a yard off the pace
and he was sublime. But tonight was one of those
performances when I kept consistently tight."
Lifelong coach Malcolm Willstrop was delighted with his
son's performance. "He played extraordinarily well - but you
have to play well to beat the best player in the world on
England number one Matthew had not dropped a game en-route
to the last four - and was in devastating form as he
despatched Peter Barker, the world number eight, 11-6, 11-5,
11-6 in 48 minutes.
"Even though it was 3/0, I couldn't relax for a moment,"
said the 26-year-old from Sheffield later. "The game went
according to plan - and it's not often that happens. It very
rarely happens that you win all your matches 3/0 - so I've
given myself a real chance for tomorrow."
Barker, the left-handed Londoner who upset Frenchman Gregory
Gaultier, ranked two in the world, in the previous round,
was full of praise for his close friend: "That's the best
he's ever played against me. And when you get beaten by a
better player, it's somewhat easier to take.
"I did everything to win, but it wasn't good enough. I can't
argue with the result."
Fifth seed Perry produced the game of her life to beat Nicol
David in the women's quarter-finals - and maintained her run
in the semis, recovering from a game down to defeat third
seed Waters 10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 in 63 minutes.
"I wanted to play well after beating Nicol yesterday - it
would have been disappointing to then lose in the
semi-finals," said the 32-year-old world No8 from Banbridge,
"I was aware that Alison would come out fast and furious and
I had to be up for it and work hard.
"Obviously beating the world number one boosts your
confidence," added Perry. "I've beaten a few good players,
but not a lot of world number ones!
"I am very proud of where I come from - so reaching the
final of the British Open should put me up there with the
best Northern Irish squash players."
In the other women's semi, Yorkshire's Jenny Duncalf failed
to reach the final for the second year in a row. The world
number six from Harrogate went down 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6
to Grinham, the second-seeded Australian who is looking for
her fourth title.
"I'm happy to be in a major final - and the fact that it's
the British Open makes it even better," stated the
32-year-old from Queensland who won the title in 2003, 2004
and 2007. "I felt better about the way I played today - the
further I get through the draw, the better I feel. My
accuracy was a lot better. I can definitely enter the court
tomorrow feeling a lot more relaxed."
Duncalf was devastated by the loss: "It was a wasted
opportunity - with Nicol out, it opened up the draw. I was
edgy the whole time, I just wasn't timing it right and
"I'm disappointed that I just didn't play well - but she
played a good game."
12 Sep, Quarter-Finals Defending champions dethroned ...
What a day at the National Squash Centre ... five English, one Irish
- that makes six British, doesn't happen every day! - one Egyptian and one Australian through to the semi-finals,
as both reigning champions crash out.
Barker ousts second seed Greg Gaultier in a fantastic match to
set up a semi-final with Nick Matthew, while James
Willstrop comes through to a meeting with Amr Shabana,
who beat defending champ David Palmer in a thriller and a half - the
Egyptian winning 19-17 in the fourth.
For the women, Alison Waters and Jenny Duncalf win
comfortably enough, Rachael Grinham recovers after a slow
start, and Northern Ireland's Madeline Perry comes back from
match-ball down in the third to beat the mighty Nicol David in five,
the world number one's second defeat in two years ...
We've had our live text updates going all day, with results,
comments, instant polls, twitter feeds and other things going on -
it's almost as if we were there ... just click the big box below
to review all of that, as well as what they said ...
Champions Exit In A Day Of British Open Shocks & English
Triumphs Roundup from Howard Harding
A day of high drama in the quarter-finals not only resulted in the
demise of both champions, but also a breakthrough win by sixth seed
Peter Barker which puts three Englishmen into the semi-finals
for the first time in the professional era.
In a clash at the National Squash Centre in Manchester described by
Tournament Presenter Robert Edwards as the 'match of the
tournament', three-time world champion Amr Shabana and
four-time British Open winner David Palmer - ranked three and six,
respectively, in the world - battled for 86 minutes before Egyptian
Shabana emerged the 11-8, 14-12, 4-11, 19-17 winner.
"There wasn't much in it - he just played better at the end than I
did," said Palmer, the 33-year-old title-holder from Australia who
was making his 13th successive appearance in the event. "It's still
nice that I can play with these top four guys. I don't think I could
have done much more."
But later came the most unexpected result when Nicol David, the
Malaysian super star who this month began her fourth successive year
as world number one, crashed out of the women's championship after
squandering three match balls in the third game.
Ireland's Madeline Perry, the fifth seed who had lost her
previous 14 meetings with the three-time British Open champion,
played the game of her life to win 6-11, 12-14, 15-13, 11-5, 11-9 in
"I can't believe I just beat the world number one," said an ecstatic
Perry, from Banbridge, near Belfast, afterwards. "I normally
struggle to get a game off Nicol."
The win came from a stunning cross court nick shot after David
served to try and save her third match-ball.
"That's definitely my best ever win," added Perry, the 32-year-old
world No8. "I've changed my game since I last played her - and did a
lot of work on my movement over the summer."
But, otherwise, the day belonged to the hosts - with two English
players through to the women's semi-finals for the first time since
2002, and a trio of Englishmen making the last four of the men's
championship for the first time in living memory.
A major upset by Londoner Barker ensured that an Englishman will be
in Monday's final of the world's oldest and most prestigious squash
championship. In a career-first victory over the Frenchman, sixth
seed Barker beat world No2 and former champion Gregory Gaultier
11-7, 7-11, 11-3, 7-11, 11-8 to reach the semi-finals for the first
"I've had a terrible record against Greg, so I'm over the moon to
have beaten him - especially here in the British Open," said Barker.
"I'm going to enjoy today before preparing myself for tomorrow.
"I've been training really hard over the summer - endless bikes and
swims for up to three sessions a day," explained the left-hander.
"So much so, that I was looking forward to the start of the season
so that I could stop training!
"Greg is a class act. But I needed to get myself fitter so that I
could deal with his pace. In fact, I thought to myself as I went on
court - 'I doubt he's done as done as much training as I have'!"
The 25-year-old world No8 will now meet England team-mate Nick
Matthew after the fourth seed from Sheffield ended the
giant-killing run of compatriot Daryl Selby.
The unseeded 26-year-old from Essex had reached the last eight after
taking out two world top 16-ranked opponents - but world No5 Matthew
was too strong, winning 11-7, 11-5, 11-8.
"I'm delighted to be playing Pete tomorrow," said Matthew, who in
2006 became the first home-grown winner of the title for 67 years.
"We're sharing a room together here - I must pop something into his
glass of water tonight!"
In the final match of the day, Yorkshire's former world number two
James Willstrop, the tenth seed, claimed his place in the
semis with an 11-5, 11-6, 12-10 victory over Malaysia's 12th seed
Mohd Azlan Iskandar.
Willstrop, the 26-year-old from Leeds who was runner-up last year,
reached the last eight after a shock win over Egypt's world number
one Karim Darwish in the previous round.
"Everybody keeps on about how good the Egyptians are - but now we've
got five English players into tomorrow's semis," said a delighted
Willstrop after his win.
Third seed Alison Waters and fourth seed Jenny Duncalf
will provide the domestic interest in the women's semi-finals.
Duncalf, from Harrogate in Yorkshire, went one step closer to
reaching the final for the second year in a row after beating eighth
seed Vanessa Atkinson, the former world champion from the
Netherlands, 11-1, 10-12, 11-6, 11-4.
"You can never underestimate Vanessa - after all, she has been a
world champion and world number one," said the 26-year-old world
No6. "She's got great racket skills.
"I felt I played well today and am improving all the time. This week
I'll be trying to close the gap the gap behind Nicol David, the
world number one."
Duncalf will face three-time champion Rachael Grinham, the second
seed from Australia who recovered from a game down to beat
Lancashire's Laura Massaro 5-11, 14-12, 11-7, 11-7.
Waters claimed her first appearance in a British Open semi-final
after beating Australian qualifier Donna Urquhart 6-11, 11-5, 11-3,
11-7. The former British National champion will now meet Madeline
Perry for a place in the final.
missing the British for a few reasons ...
"Firstly it's bad timing that so many tournaments come together, I
won't be able to play them all one after each other, I need some
rest. I've learnt from past experiences that I push my body too much
and get injured.
"Then, the Petrosport is important for me,
there's a lot of pressure and I have to take it easy preparing for
"Plus, although the British Open is a big name, it still has the
prize money of smaller events and I believe that for a 32 draw
players should be fighting for at least $120,000 or more."
11-Sep, Last 16: The day in brief: Selby scores a second upset to beat
Grant, while Iskandar and Willstrop blow the top
quarter open wide. For the women it's Urquhart who takes the
Selby Sets Up English
British Open Semi-Finalist English news from Howard Harding
Essex outsider Daryl Selby made sure of English
representation in Sunday's semi-finals when he upset fellow
countryman Adrian Grant, the No8 seed, in the second round at the
National Squash Centre in Manchester.
For the first time since 2001, four Englishmen will line up in
Saturday's quarter-finals of the world's oldest and most prestigious
"I'm ecstatic to get to the quarters of the British for the first
time," said 26-year-old Selby, from Essex, after the shock 11-8,
11-8, 8-11, 11-9 victory over the world No11 in 78 minutes.
"Hopefully, this will be my breakthrough."
Selby will now face fellow Englishman Nick Matthew, the
former champion from Sheffield who is the fourth seed. "That match
will be massive - he's the England number one and a previous winner.
It's going to be tough," said Selby.
Matthew, playing in the event for the first time since undergoing
shoulder surgery, crushed Cameron Pilley, a 6' 3" Australian, 11-3,
"I tried to attack from the word go," explained Matthew, who boasts
a career-high world No5 ranking. "I was trying to get him to move
that big frame around the court."
Earlier in the day, Londoner Peter Barker battled through to
the quarter-finals for the third year in a row after beating
top-ranked Malaysian Ong Beng Hee 11-7, 11-7, 11-8.
"Beng Hee's a good friend and a gentleman - so I knew it would be
straight," said sixth seed Barker, the world No8. "But I wanted to
win in straight games to conserve myself for Greg (Gaultier) - and,
even though it was hard, I'm glad I achieved that.
"I've worked hard this summer. I feel I turned the corner this
season by starting to believe in myself a bit more. My goal for the
season is to challenge for every tournament I play."
The final match of the day produced a shock upset when top seed
Karim Darwish, the world number one from Egypt, cruised to a
comfortable first-game win against James Willstrop - then
badly twisted his ankle midway through the second game against the
After a three-minute injury break, the 28-year-old from Cairo
returned to the court - but almost immediately held his hand up to
concede the match - giving an unexpected quarter-final berth to last
year's beaten finalist Willstrop.
"It's the biggest nightmare for a professional sportsman," said
Willstrop when interviewed after the 22-minute match. "I've been
there," added the 26-year-old former world number two from Leeds who
underwent ankle surgery in April and is playing his fourth
tournament since making his comeback in July.
For a place in the semi-final, Willstrop will meet No13 seed
Azlan Iskandar. The Malaysian caused the second upset of the day
when he beat two-time runner-up Thierry Lincou, the No7 seed from
France, 11-13, 11-4, 5-11, 14-12, 11-5 in a 91-minute marathon.
It was a shock exit for former world champion Lincou who beat
Iskandar in last year's quarter-finals, and was suffering his first
second round defeat in the championships since 2000.
English women progress
There will be home interest in all but one of the quarter-finals in
the women's event. Yorkshire's Jenny Duncalf, runner-up last
year, defeated local hero Sarah Kippax, a qualifier from Cheshire,
11-5, 11-7, 6-11, 11-2.
The fourth seed from Harrogate will now meet eighth seed Vanessa
Atkinson, the former world champion from the Netherlands who
beat Lincolnshire's Tania Bailey 8-11, 11-3, 11-2, 11-8.
Bailey, a former world No4 from Stamford, is making a
quicker-than-expected return to competition after undergoing knee
surgery in April. "I really enjoyed that," said Bailey after the
"A couple of months ago I wouldn't have imagined this. The
British Open wasn't even on my radar - I was told I could be back by
November if I was lucky.
"But everything progressed better than I could have hoped even
though getting back with commitment was tough. Physically the match was hard but my hip was totally fine. But I
knew it would be tough as I only stepped on court again three weeks
ago. Now I can't wait for the Worlds as it is another bonus!"
Lancashire's Laura Massaro recovered from two games down to
come through her first round encounter - beating rising Mexican star
Samantha Teran 10-12, 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-6. The No6 seed takes on
second seed Rachael Grinham for a place in the semi-finals.
But the former champion from Australia was stretched to the limit
before overcoming English qualifier Dominique Lloyd-Walter 9-11,
12-10, 11-5, 4-11, 11-8 in 64 minutes - the longest women's match of
"I feel absolutely great about my performance but feel so frustrated
as I am waiting for the big win to come along and this could have
been the opportunity," said a despondent Lloyd-Walter, from
10 Sep, Men's
One, Women's qualifying finals: England Team-Mates into last 16
as Shuja shocks Shorbagy Early English news from Howard Harding
On a good day for England in Manchester
England European Championship-winning team-mates Nick Matthew,
Peter Barker, Adrian Grant and Daryl Selby all
comfortably overcame first round opposition to reach the last
The biggest upset of the day though belonged to New Zealand's Kashif
Shuja. The Kiwi Qualifier, making only his second bid to qualify for
the event since 1998, beat rising star Mohamed El Shorbagy 11-7,
13-11, 9-11, 2-11, 11-7 in 57 minutes. Much was expected of the
18-year-old Egyptian who made the World Open quarter-finals last
year, also in Manchester, since when he has risen to a career-high
world No15 ranking.
"Shorbagy is an immensely talented player and a great sportsman with
a great future," said 30-year-old Shuja, from Auckland. "I guess it
was experience over youth today and I am glad I sneaked through in
"I'm pleased to be in the last 16 of the British Open," added the
Pakistan-born Kiwi, ranked 45 in the world.
Matthew, the world No5 from Sheffield who made history in 2006 by
becoming the first home winner of the title for 67 years, breezed
past fellow countryman Chris Simpson, a qualifier from Guernsey,
12-10, 11-2, 11-5.
"We've got a good bunch of up-and-coming players pushing us hard -
and Chris is one of them. Every single rally I had to push hard -
all credit to him," said the fourth seed who now meets Australian
claimed a place in the second round against expectation: The world
No21 from Essex romped to an 11-1, 9-4 lead against Aamir Atlas Khan
when the 14th seed from Pakistan, ranked seven places higher, pulled
up injured and conceded the match.
London-born left-hander Grant began his 2009 against qualifier Simon
Rosner - and beat the top-ranked German 12-10, 12-10, 11-5.
"This is by far the biggest and most prestigious tournament there is
- and the fact that all the top players are here speaks for itself,"
said the 28-year-old who broke into the world's top ten last month.
I'd be speechless if I won it."
Londoner Barker, also a left-hander, was the first through on the
state-of-the-art all-glass court. The sixth seed took four games to
overcome French qualifier Stephane Galifi 11-9, 4-11, 11-5, 11-2.
"Stephane was higher-ranked some time back, then took a couple of
years off - so I knew he was one of the worst qualifiers to get. I
was a bit edgy in the first two games, and he took advantage.
"Towards the back end of last season, I proved I can beat those
above me on a one-off basis," explained the 25-year-old world No8.
"Now I've got to keep improving and do it back-to-back."
Essex's Daryl Selby helped make it a bumper day for England,
claiming a place in the second round against expectation, scoring
one of the day's two upsets. The world No21 romped to an 11-1, 9-4
lead against Aamir Atlas Khan when the 14th seed from Pakistan,
ranked seven places higher, pulled up injured and conceded the
The 26-year-old from Witham, who made his England debut in May, has
enjoyed a rapid rise up the world rankings this year - coming from
outside the top 30 in January to a career-high 21 this month.
Selby, who has never before progressed beyond the first round, will
now face England team-mate Grant for a place in the quarter-finals.
Yorkshire-based Alister Walker and James Willstrop
rounded off the day with contrasting journeys into the second round.
Walker, the No11 seed from Gloucestershire, was stretched to a fifth
game tie-break before celebrating an 11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 9-11, 12-10
win over French qualifier Renan Lavigne in 95 minutes.
Tenth seed Willstrop, the former world number two from Leeds who is
making a successful comeback after ankle surgery in April, took just
39 minutes to overcome New Zealand qualifier Campbell Grayson 11-4,
It was a case of seventh-time-lucky for Cheshire's Sarah Kippax
in the qualifying finals of the women's event at The Northern.
After six previously unsuccessful attempts since 2002, the
Chester-born 26-year-old will compete in tomorrow's main draw for
the first time.
World No24 Kippax resisted a fightback by Aisling Blake to beat the
Irish opponent ranked just three places lower 11-8, 11-9, 3-11,
6-11, 11-2 in 53 minutes.
"The last time we played, she won 3/1, so I was pleased with that -
especially as she is playing so well," said the now Halifax-based
player. "It feels great to be playing in the event this year - it's
almost like a local tournament for me. This is a great start to the
Kippax will face fellow countrywoman Jenny Duncalf, the
fourth seed from Harrogate who reached the final last year.
09 Sep, Men's
Finals, Women's qualifying round one: Kiwis dominate day two
New Zealand celebrated 100%
success in the men's qualifying finals after all three Kiwis
competing in the event claimed places in the main draw of the at the
Northern Club in Manchester.
a dramatic encounter which featured a 30-minute 'blood-injury' break
after Amr Swelim recovered from a gash above his eye, Martin
Knight saved two match-balls in the fifth game to beat the
Italian 11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 5-11, 12-10 in 96 minutes of playing time.
The 25-year-old from Wellington will now face France's former world
number one Thierry Lincou, the No7 seed, in the first round
at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.
Pakistan-born New Zealand number one Kashif Shuja joined
Knight in the main draw after an 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 11-5 win over
Pakistani Mansoor Zaman - and Campbell Grayson completed the
trio with victory over Aaron Frankcomb.
But Aucklander Grayson also suffered a 'blood-injury' break after a
cut under his nose at match-ball - but the determined New Zealander,
who had already battled back from two games down for the second time
in two days, ultimately secured his 9-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 win
after 132 minutes.
Simpson Celebrates Qualifying Success
English news from Howard Harding
Guernsey's Chris Simpson became the only Briton to survive
today's men's qualifying finals of the British Open when he
beat South African Stephen Coppinger at the Northern Club in
Manchester to earn a place in the main draw of the world's oldest
and most prestigious squash championship.
Three years after making his debut in the event with a wildcard,
Simpson is delighted to mark his return to the British Open. But the
Harrogate-based 22-year-old, who boasts a career-high world No38
ranking, had to overcome a scratchy first game before beating world
No57 Coppinger 2-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-9 in 55 minutes.
"In the first game, I didn't think I was even going to get a point,"
admitted Simpson. "He's a massive guy and so unorthodox - I simply
couldn't read him in the first game. "But after that, I settled down
and managed to compose myself - and from then on I was always in
Simpson was surprised to find himself the lone Englishman to make
the main draw through the qualifiers. "The standard is so high here
- there could easily have been five of us through yesterday and
Chris (Ryder) and Robbie (Temple) went close today," added the proud
from Leamington Spa, battled for 71 minutes before going down 12-10,
4-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8 to Pakistan's Yasir Butt, while Temple
was unable to extend his opening game advantage against Renan
Lavigne. The higher-ranked Frenchman eventually prevailed 6-11,
11-8, 11-5, 11-5.
"I should have been 2/0 up - I was 7-3 up in the second - but my
lack of match fitness let me down," said Temple, the world No80 from
Gloucester who is suffering with an ankle ligament injury. "Renan
stepped up the pace, and I couldn't live with it."
Yorkshire's Fiona Moverley produced the only upset in the
first round of the women's qualifiers event when she celebrated the
best win of her career by beating India's world No35 Joshna Chinappa
12-10, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9 in 36 minutes.
"She's the highest-ranked player I've ever beaten," said the
22-year-old from Hull, ranked 16 places lower. "I've only played her
once before and she beat me comfortably. But I'm a lot fitter now
and I felt a lot more confident that she'd make the errors before I
did," said the British Under-23 champion. "I thought I had every
chance of getting a result - but I didn't underestimate her."
Moverley will now play Line Hansen, the world No26 from
Denmark who beat England's Nottingham-based Emma Beddoes. "I've got
the confidence now, and have got nothing to lose," added the
Humberside star. "I'm going to go out and enjoy myself, and will try
not to give her too much respect."
Moverley will be joined in Thursday's qualifying finals by
compatriots Dominique Lloyd-Walter and Sarah Kippax.
Lloyd-Walter, the world No19 and highest-ranked player in the
women's qualifying competition, survived an all-English clash with
Rebecca Botwright, beating her Manchester-based opponent - ranked
156 in the world - 4-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5.
"I've worked hard over the summer and was really looking forward to
the match with Becky," said the 28-year-old from Guildford. "I knew
she'd been training hard and I never thought it would be easy."
Lloyd-Walter will face Canada's Alana Miller for a place in
the first round. "To make the main draw would be fantastic," said
the Middlesex player. Miller took just 11 minutes to earn her place
in the qualifying finals when Yorkshire's Lauren Siddall crashed
out, lunging to take a ball and pulling a muscle in her upper right
leg. The 24-year-old from Pontefract, ranked 39 in the world, was a
game and 0-7 down to the Canadian, ranked 41 in the world, when she
was forced to withdraw.
"I'm really disappointed - this is a big event," said Siddall. "But
I didn't want to make it worse - particularly with
the Worlds later in the
month." Siddall was a late entry to the qualifying draw after the
withdrawals of a few higher-ranked players. "I was really lucky
getting in, but my luck ran out today!"
Cheshire's Kippax won her first round match in the women's
qualifiers, beating New Zealand's Kylie Lindsay 11-8, 11-4, 11-9.
The Halifax-based world No24 is now just one win away from making
the main draw of the British Open for the first time at her seventh
"The British Open is one of the biggest events on the Tour and I
would love to qualify," said 26-year-old Kippax. "It would be lovely
to play on the all-glass court at the National Squash Centre - but I
don't want to hype it up."
Three out of
for marathon Kiwis
Knight, Kashif Shuja and Campbell Grayson made it three out of three
for New Zealand.
Knight was first through in 96 minutes (126m including a blood
injury break), Grayson came from two down to win in 132m, then Shuja
raced to a 40m win to seal the hat-trick.
Swelim can't stop Knight
Selby 0-3 Blake
08 Sep, Men's Qualifying Round One
English Trio First Through In
British Open Qualifiers English news from Howard
Three Englishmen battled through to the qualifying finals of the
2009 British Open after success in today's first qualifying round of
the world's oldest and most prestigious squash championship at the
Northern Club in Manchester.
Gloucester's Robbie Temple was first through after his 11-6,
5-11, 11-8, 11-7 victory over fellow countryman Chris Fuller. "I
really struggled with my game and was lucky to come through,"
admitted the 23-year-old. Temple suffered an ankle ligament injury
ten weeks ago and has been undergoing an intensive programme of
physiotherapy treatment since.
"I've only played a few games since the layoff - and was lucky to
qualify for the World Open," explained the London-based left-hander.
"But I had to stop playing midway through my first match in last
week's Wolverhampton Open."
Temple, ranked 80 in the world, plays Frenchman Renan Lavigne,
the world No36, for the chance to make the main draw for the first
time. "I hope I'll relax a bit more and express myself a bit
better than I did today," added Temple.
Former World University champion Chris Ryder, from Leamington
Spa, took 84 minutes to overcome Arthur Gaskin, eventually beating
the Irishman 11-13, 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-3.
"I was a bit lethargic, to be honest - I don't know why," said Ryder
later. "Arthur is really improving - he didn't used to give me a
hard time but now gets closer and closer. He's one to watch!"
Ryder - who gave up coaching in Wolverhampton to concentrate on the
PSA World Tour, and reached the final of the Black Sea Open in
Ukraine last month - will now face Pakistan's Yasir Butt.
"I've not played him before - but he's got some shots on him, so I'm
looking forward to it. I've grown up on courts like these at the
Northern, so it should suit me."
Guernsey star Chris Simpson avenged his recent loss to Rob
Sutherland by convincingly beating the Welshman 11-9, 11-7, 11-6 in
"I'm really happy with that," said the Harrogate-based 22-year-old
who lost 11-8 in the fifth to Sutherland in Sweden in February. "I
felt then that I'd been drawn into a traditional game - up and down
the side walls - which is more his game than mine," explained the
proud Guernsey man later.
"That's why I'm so pleased with the way I played today - I had a
game plan and stuck to it, playing a much more attacking game."
Next up for Simpson, who boasts a career-high world No38 ranking, is
South African Stephen Coppinger, ranked 19 places lower.
"We've trained together lots of times, but never played each other
on the Tour before - so I'm looking forward to it."
It was a massively dejected Eddie Charlton who came off court after
failing to exploit a two-game advantage over a player ranked more
than 60 places higher in the world. The world No118 also led 4-1 in
the third game, but New Zealander Martin Knight regrouped to
claim an unlikely 6-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-5 victory in exactly
"He was all over me in the first two games," conceded Knight, ranked
51 in the world. The Kiwi has just moved to Cardiff where he is now
coached by Welsh national coach Chris Robertson. "Chris gave me some
good advice after the second game, and that lifted my game," said
Knight. "Let's say it was all down to Welsh inspiration."
Charlton could not explain his demise: "Physically I felt absolutely
fine - but all credit to him for coming back. I just hit a wall in
the fourth, and then too many tins in the fifth. "It was another
'could-have-been-a-good-result' for me," added the 21-year-old. "I'm
due a good win."
Darwish seeded to win first British Open
Egypt's world number one Karim Darwish is named as top men's
seed in next month's British Open Squash Championships and is
expected to win the world's most historic Squash title for the first
The $92k PSA Super Series event - the largest PSA World Tour ranking
event in Europe - will take place at the National Squash Centre and
The Northern Club in Manchester, from 10-14 September, following two
days of qualifying.
Darwish heads a high-quality men's field featuring all but one of
the players in the PSA's world top ten [Ramy Ashour is absent]. The
27-year-old from Cairo reached the semi-finals last year as seventh
seed – and went on to take the titles in both the Qatar Classic and
Saudi International to begin the new year as world number one for
the first time.
Fellow countryman Amr Shabana is also looking for his first
British Open title triumph. The Giza-based 30-year-old who topped
the world rankings unopposed for 33 months until last December – and
boasts three World Open titles – is the No3 seed.
Darwish's opponent in the final is expected to be second seed
Gregory Gaultier, the world No2 from Aix-en-Provence who became
the first Frenchman to win the coveted title in 2007.
But British interest will be led by fourth seed Nick Matthew,
the world number five who made history in 2006 by becoming the first
home-grown winner of the title for 67 years! After being out of
action most of last year following shoulder surgery, the 29-year-old
from Sheffield cemented a remarkable return to form last month by
winning the World Games gold medal in Chinese Taipei.
Matthew's domestic campaign in Manchester will be supported by his
England team-mates Peter Barker, the world No7 who is sixth
seed; Londoner Adrian Grant, the world No9 who is the eighth
seed; tenth seed James Willstrop, last year's runner-up and
2009 World Games silver medallist, from Leeds; and 26-year-old
Alister Walker, the No11 seed who is also from Leeds.
David Palmer, the former world number one from Australia who
joined a distinguished cast of four times winners of the title last
year after a memorable final against Willstrop, is the No5 seed –
and will be celebrating his 13th successive appearance in the event
since making his debut in 1997.
Nicol David bids to join
World number one Nicol David is expected to reach her fifth
successive women's final in next month's British Open Squash
Championships – and is seeded to join a distinguished cast of
players who have won the title four times in the historic event
which was first played at Queen's Club in London in 1922.
The $53k WISPA Gold event will take place at the National Squash
Centre and The Northern Club in Manchester, from 11-14
September, following two days of qualifying.
David is drawn to meet former world number one Vanessa Atkinson,
of the Netherlands, in the first round. The Malaysian, who began
her fourth year as world number one this month, is one of two
three-time British Open champions in the high quality field in
Third seed Rachael Grinham, the former world champion from
Australia who claimed the British Open trophy in 2003, 2004 and
2007, faces a qualifier in the opening round.
Like Grinham, US star Natalie Grainger will be making her
13th successive appearance in the championship since 1997. The No2
seed is expected to reach the final for the first time since 2004,
and begins her 2009 campaign against a qualifier.
British interest in the event will be led by Alison Waters,
the in-form 25-year-old from London who reached the final of
the Malaysian Open earlier this month. Seeded four, Waters faces New
Zealander Jaclyn Hawkes in the first round.
But England team-mate Jenny Duncalf will be hoping to repeat
her British Open success of last year: the 26-year-old from
Harrogate reached the final for the first time – as fifth seed – and
has the same seeding this year.
But the world No6 has a tough early encounter – against fellow
countrywoman Tania Bailey, the former world No4 and 2002
runner-up who will be making her WISPA Tour comeback in Manchester
after undergoing knee surgery in April.
11-Aug-09: Schoor gets British Open
German player Jens Schoor has been awarded the
Wildcard for this year's British Open Championships which
will be staged in Manchester from the 8th September.
The announcement is not only significant in the history of
the British Open, widely regarded as the 'Wimbledon of
Squash', but also represents the first instance in the
professional era that a non-National has ever been appointed
as a Wildcard for a major World Tour event.
Having earlier announced that this year's championship will
'fly in the face of the worldwide recession', event promoter
Paul Walters explained:
"Sometimes extreme circumstances require radical action and
I can assure everyone with an interest in the sport that our
decision to award Jens Schoor the Wildcard for this year's
British Open has been taken after careful consideration and
without question represents the best interests of not only
the championships, but also the players, our sponsors and
partners as well as the sport in general."