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14 Apr 2024

Willstrop Leads England Team-Mates Into Prince English Grand Prix Quarters

7 Sep 2007

England number one James Willstrop comfortably came through the opening round of the Prince English Grand Prix to join his three England team-mates Nick Matthew, Lee Beachill and Peter Barker in the quarter-finals of the inaugural 5-star PSA Tour squash championship which is taking place at the Edgbaston Priory Club and University of Birmingham.

Fourth seed Willstrop, the 24-year-old world No7 from Leeds, survived a tie-break first game before easing to an 11-10 (3-1), 11-8, 11-6 victory over compatriot Bradley Ball in 48 minutes.

The Yorkshireman now takes on career-long rival Peter Barker, the 23-year-old from Essex whom he regularly faced in junior competition finals around the world. Barker, the No7 seed, beat fellow countryman Alister Walker 11-6, 11-8, 11-8.

Top seed David Palmer was taken the full distance by English qualifier Daryl Selby in a dramatic 98-minute first round marathon. The 24-year-old outsider from Essex stunned the crowd by taking the first two games against the former world number one.

But Palmer, the reigning world champion from Australia, clawed his way back into the game to beat Selby 7-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-9 in one of the longest matches in both players' careers.

The only upset on the opening day's play at Edgbaston Priory came when Italian qualifier Davide Bianchetti defeated Alex Gough, the No8 seed from Wales, 11-10 (2-0), 11-10 (2-0), 11-8 in 82 minutes.

Bianchetti, the world No33 from Brescia, will now face Frenchman Gregory Gaultier for a place in the semi-finals. Second seed Gaultier had a trouble-free first round win, claiming his quarter-final place when his teenage Egyptian opponent Tarek Momen retired injured after two games.

Play continues today on the all-glass court in the Great Hall at the University of Birmingham.

1st round:
[1] David Palmer (AUS) bt [Q] Daryl Selby (ENG) 7-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-9 (98m)
[5] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 11-7, 11-4, 11-1 (42m)
[4] James Willstrop (ENG) bt Bradley Ball (ENG) 11-10 (3-1), 11-8, 11-6 (48m)
[7] Peter Barker (ENG) bt Alister Walker (ENG) 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (57m)
[6] Lee Beachill (ENG) bt [Q] Jan Koukal (CZE) 8-11, 11-5, 7-0 ret. (23m)
[3] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt Jonathan Harford (ENG) 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 (29m)
[Q] Davide Bianchetti (ITA) bt [8] Alex Gough (WAL) 11-10 (2-0), 11-10 (2-0), 11-8 (82m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Tarek Momen (EGY) 11-5, 11-4 ret. (24m)