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Home Hopes Led By Sole Survivor Selby In English Grand Prix Qualifiers

6 Sep 2007

Despite English presence in all four matches, Essex's Daryl Selby was the sole domestic survivor in the qualifying finals of the Prince English Grand Prix - Birmingham 2007, the new 5-star PSA Tour squash championship which is taking place at the Edgbaston Priory Club and University of Birmingham.

The 24-year-old from Essex despatched compatriot Shaun le Roux 11-9, 11-4, 11-3 in 37 minutes to earn a first round clash with top seed David Palmer, the world champion from Australia who arrives in the West Midlands fresh from his victory in last week's Forexx Dutch Open in Amsterdam.

The 31-year-old from New South Wales is a popular figure in Birmingham where he led Edgbaston Priory in the English Premier League for three seasons. Palmer, who boasts more PSA Tour titles than any other current player, is looking to extend his career haul to 22 in Birmingham.

Despite having a comfortable 2/0 lead in his qualifying final, Manchester-based Englishman Alex Stait went down 4-11, 2-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-1, 11-7 to Jan Koukal. The Czech number one now faces England's Lee Beachill, the sixth seed from Yorkshire, in the main draw.

But the luckiest player was Bradley Ball, the world No32 from Ipswich. Top-seeded in the qualifiers, Ball crashed out to Egypt's Tarek Momen after a 63-minute marathon. The 11-8, 11-4, 5-11, 10-11 (2-4), 11-9 victory takes 19-year-old Momen - now the youngest player in the event - through to a first round clash with France's No2 seed Gregory Gaultier.

But Ball was drawn as 'Lucky Loser' - and now has a second lease of life following the last-minute withdrawal of Australia's Stewart Boswell, the original sixth seed.

Boswell, who also has a strong following in Birmingham after representing Edgbaston Priory for a number of years, is suffering with a rib injury: "It flared up two weeks ago during training back home in Australia, and I was hoping it would have cleared in time for me to play - but it hasn't," said the disconsolate Manchester-based 29-year-old.

"I love playing in England and was looking forward to being back in Birmingham after such a long time."

Thus Ball bounces back - and will face England's leading player in the event James Willstrop, the fourth seed from Leeds in Yorkshire.

Qualifying finals:
Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Bradley Ball (ENG) 11-8, 11-4, 5-11, 10-11 (2-4), 11-9 (63m)
Jan Koukal (CZE) bt Alex Stait (ENG) 4-11, 2-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-1, 11-7 (53m)
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Shaun le Roux (ENG) 11-9, 11-4, 11-3 (37m)
Davide Bianchetti (ITA) bt Chris Ryder (ENG) 11-6, 11-3, 11-3 (40m)