Duncalf Delivers Double David Defeat In Doha

23 Nov 09

England's Jenny Duncalf celebrated her second upset over Nicol David in two weeks when she beat the world number one from Malaysia in five games in the women's semi-finals of the Qatar Classic, the $74,000 WISPA World Tour squash event at Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in the Qatar capital Doha.

The 27-year-old fourth seed from Harrogate in Yorkshire - who becomes the first player to beat the formidable David twice in succession since February 2006 - will now meet Australia's No2 seed Rachael Grinham in the final.

There will also be English interest in the final of the men's $147,500 PSA World Tour Super Series event where fourth seed Nick Matthew, also from Yorkshire, will face Egypt's defending champion Karim Darwish, the top seed.

Jenny Duncalf is enjoying the most consistent phase of her career - her berth in the last eight in Doha marking her 16th successive quarter-final appearance on the WISPA Tour since last year's Qatar Classic. And, after beating David for the first time in 19 attempts en-route to winning the US Open title for the first time earlier this month in New York, all eyes were on the pair's return match in Doha.

After dropping the first game, David took the next two and seemed to be back in control - on course to win the prestigious title for the fourth year in a row.

But Duncalf, no longer overawed by the 26-year-old from Penang who celebrated her 40th consecutive month at the top of the world rankings this month, regrouped and ultimately closed out the match 11-6, 2-11, 7-11, 11-3, 11-6 after 54 minutes.

"She had a pretty hard match against Laura yesterday - and I saw the heavy strap on her leg - so I don't think she was at her best there," Duncalf explained to www.squashsite.co.uk later. "Still, she picks up more shots than everybody else on the tour!

"I was lucky in New York. I had such a gap that, when I started having the 'oh-my-God-I'm-going-to-win-against-Nicol-for-the-first-time-ever' thoughts, I was way ahead.

"But today, I didn't have that gap, and I think it was an extremely good thing I already had a win - because I was able to keep it together at the end," added Duncalf, now in the 12th Tour final of her career and one match away from her third title success of the month!

Former world number one Rachael Grinham took just 29 minutes to ease into the 53rd WISPA final of her career, ending the brave run of Ireland's Madeline Perry.

The fifth seed from Belfast ousted England's No3 seed Alison Waters in the previous round. But Grinham was too strong in the semi, winning 11-6, 11-8, 11-7.

There was a more successful outcome for the title-holder in the men's event where favourite Karim Darwish prevailed 11-5, 4-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-7 in 64 minutes over fellow Egyptian Ramy Ashour, the third seed.

"We always have big matches, Ramy and I - we know each other's game pretty inside out," said Darwish, winner of the Qatar title for the first time last year and now in the 27th Tour final of his career. "And when you are playing against such a great player as Ramy, if you are not 100% body wise, you've got to be smart!"

Darwish, who lost his world number one ranking this month to Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, will face Nick Matthew in the Englishman's first appearance in the final.

The 29-year-old from Sheffield took the opening game against England team-mate Peter Barker and was ahead in the second when the eighth-seeded Londoner was forced to concede the match - with the score standing at 11-5, 8-2 - due to a leg injury sustained at the Santiago Open earlier in the month.

Matthew is now celebrating his sixth appearance in a PSA final this year - and, with 2009 Tour successes already in the Swedish Open and British Open (and non-Tour triumphs in the World Games and British National Championships), the England number one's confidence will be at an all-time high.

Men's semi-finals:
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [3] Ramy Ashour (EGY) 11-5, 4-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-7 (64m)
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [8] Peter Barker (ENG) 11-5, 8-2 ret.

Women's semi-finals:
[4] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [1] Nicol David (MAS) 11-6, 2-11, 7-11, 11-3, 11-6 (54m)
[2] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [5] Madeline Perry (IRL) 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 (29m)