Beachill & Grinham Are Top British Open Seeds
12 Oct 2004
England's world No1 Lee Beachill and Australia's world No1 Rachael Grinham are seeded to win the men's and women's titles, respectively, in the 2004 Harris British Open Squash Championships - Nottingham next month, according to the draws which have been made today.
The biggest event in world squash acquired title sponsorship last week by LG Harris, one of the world's largest and best known manufacturers of paint brushes and decorating equipment, and boasts a star-studded field which features eight of the world's top ten men and all but one of the top ten women.
Following its highly-successful inaugural year in 2003, the 2004 British Open returns to Nottingham from 29 October to 6 November, with the final stages of the event being staged on the all-glass court at the city's Albert Hall from Tuesday 2 November following earlier rounds and qualifying at the Nottingham Squash Rackets Club.
The 'Wimbledon of Squash' will be boosted by a special BBC Sport highlights programme which will be broadcast on BBC TV Grandstand on Sunday 7th November.
Yorkshireman Lee Beachill heads a world-class men's field which includes defending champion David Palmer, the world No4 from Australia who also won the title in 2001; and the 1998 and 2002 champion Peter Nicol, the world No3 from England who was also runner-up last year.
Beachill, 26, from Pontefract, faces Malaysia's world No22 Ong Beng Hee in the first round and is seeded to reach the final for the first time in his career. Fourth seed Palmer takes on a qualifier in the first round - and is later expected to meet Beachill in the semi-finals. Third seed Nicol, based in London, celebrates his tenth British Open appearance this year and begins his 2004 campaign with a first round match against Davide Bianchetti, the Italian who surprisingly unseated the former Scot in the second round of last year's World Open in Pakistan. Nicol's semi-final opponent is scheduled to be Thierry Lincou, the No2 seed from France who is also seeded to make his final debut.
Local interest in the men's event will be led by Scotland's seventh seed John White, a Nottingham resident since 2000 who faces the Pakistan No1 Mansoor Zaman in the opening round. Long-time Nottingham hero Simon Parke begins his 12th British Open campaign since 1991 in a clash with compatriot Adrian Grant, the 11th seed from London. Parke, 32, is currently enjoying an excellent run of form, with appearances in both the final of the English Open in August and quarter-finals of the US Open in September as a qualifier.
The seedings predict a repeat of the 2003 women's final between Rachael Grinham and England's No2 seed Cassie Jackman, Grinham's predecessor as world No1. The pair fought out a dramatic Women's World Team Championship final in Amsterdam last month - with the Queenslander surviving the 75-minute marathon to lead Australia to their eighth title.
Grinham takes on Kent's world No19 Stephanie Brind in the opening round in Nottingham en-route to a projected semi-final meeting with third seed Vanessa Atkinson, the in-form 28-year-old from the Netherlands who has already claimed six WISPA World Tour titles this year. Twice runner-up Jackman, who made her British Open debut in 1987, meets the five-times US champion Latasha Khan in the first round - and is expected to face another USA player, fourth seed Natalie Grainger, in the semi-finals.
Tickets for the Harris British Open can be booked either by telephone on 0115-941 9419, or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org. Further details will also be available on the event's official website www.britishopensquash.com
Promoted by John Beddington and John Nimick, the 2004 British Open is also backed by England Squash, the sport's governing body in England, and a Nottingham consortium featuring Nottingham City Council, Experience Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA).
Men's 1st round draw:
 Lee Beachill (ENG) v Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Qualifier
 Joseph Kneipp (AUS) v Wael El Hindi (EGY)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Qualifier
 David Palmer (AUS) v Qualifier
 Mohammed Abbas (EGY) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Alex Gough (WAL)
 Renan Lavigne (FRA) v Qualifier
 Graham Ryding (CAN) v Qualifier
 Amr Shabana (EGY) v Qualifier
 Mark Chaloner (ENG) v Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS)
 Peter Nicol (ENG) v Davide Bianchetti (ITA)
 Anthony Ricketts (AUS) v Qualifier
 John White (SCO) v Mansoor Zaman (PAK)
 Adrian Grant (ENG) v Simon Parke (ENG)
 Thierry Lincou (FRA) v Qualifier
Women's 1st round draw:
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Stephanie Brind (ENG)
 Vicky Botwright (ENG) v Qualifier
 Nicol David (MAS) v Qualifier
 Tania Bailey (ENG) v Qualifier
 Vanessa Atkinson (NED) v Pamela Nimmo (SCO)
 Jenny Tranfield (ENG) v Qualifier
 Rebecca Macree (ENG) v Qualifier
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v Qualifier
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Carla Khan (PAK)
 Fiona Geaves (ENG) v Qualifier
 Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) v Annelize Naude (NED)
 Natalie Grainger (USA) v Qualifier
 Madeline Perry (IRL) v Laura-Jane Lengthorn (ENG)
 Linda Elriani (ENG) v Alison Waters (ENG)
 Shelley Kitchen (NZL) v Tegwen Malik (WAL)
 Cassie Jackman (ENG) v Latasha Khan (USA)