4:29 pm
20 Jun 2024

Beachill Braves Willstrop Attack In British Open

2 Nov 2004

England's world No1 Lee Beachill prevailed in four games over his Yorkshire club-mate and close friend James Willstrop - whom he later described as "one of the toughest second round opponents I could have drawn" - in tonight's opening day of action in the Harris British Open at the Albert Hall in Nottingham.

After two days of competition at the Nottingham Squash Club, British Open action transferred to the all-glass court at the Albert Hall today - a year after the world's most prestigious event made its debut at the famous Nottingham venue.

It was the Yorkshire pair's fourth meeting of the year but the first since Beachill became England's first home-grown world number one in October. The clash was also Beachill's first serious test since straining an abductor in his right leg late last month - but the 26-year-old from Pontefract fought back from a game down to survive the battle 8-11 11-8 11-9 11-9 in exactly one hour.

"We seem to bring out the best in each other," conceded Beachill after the top-of-the-bill clash. "It's probably one of the most important matches we've played - but it's a pity it had to be in the second round, rather than a semi or final," Beachill added.

"It was about half way through the second game that I felt I began to control the match - though he clearly knew all about the slight injury I am carrying, and was consistently putting the ball into the front corners to cause me maximum discomfort," said the top seed, with a knowing smile!

Willstrop, though the recipient of his fourth successive defeat by Beachill this year, was disappointed at the outcome: "I set myself high expectations - I don't go out to lose, even if it is to someone who's the best player in the world," explained the 21-year-old former world junior champion.

Beachill now goes on to face Australia's Joseph Kneipp, the No7 seed who crushed Malaysia's 16th seed Ong Beng Hee 11-3 11-6 11-8 in 35 minutes.

The other men's quarter-final on Thursday which was settled by action on the all-glass court will feature France's Gregory Gaultier and Australia's defending champion David Palmer. Eighth seed Gaultier survived an all-French battle with Renan Lavigne, beating the former Nottingham-based player 11-4 11-6 11-8, while third seed Palmer fought off Finn Olli Tuominen 11-8 11-8 11-6.

In the women's event earlier in the day at Nottingham Squash Club, there were mixed fortunes for the eight English players through to the last sixteen. The day started badly for 16th seed Tania Bailey, who woke up in the morning with a recurrence of the sinus problem which has dogged her recent life.

The 25-year-old from Stamford in Lincolnshire had comprehensively despatched her first round opponent for the loss of just three points - giving rise to the belief that her injury woes were behind her.

"I had a mild sore throat when I went to bed last night, and thought nothing of it," said the 25-year-old former world No4 from Stamford in Lincolnshire. "But today my whole body aches and I've got a really bad headache - and I know it's going to be like this for at least a week."

Malaysia's seventh seed Nicol David was the lucky recipient of a walkover - but the record two-times world junior champion will now meet Australia's defending champion Rachael Grinham, who came back from a game down to beat England's Vicky Botwright 5-9 9-7 9-2 9-3 in 65 minutes.

"I never feel comfortable playing Vicky, I always seem to be on the defensive," said the favourite from Toowoomba in Queensland. "But there's still a long way to go before getting to the final - and I'm looking forward to doing that again."

Yorkshire's 10th seed Jenny Duncalf pulled off a confidence-boosting mini-upset when she beat eighth seed Rebecca Macree 4-9 9-4 9-0 10-9 in 56 minutes. The 21-year-old from Harrogate, who failed to qualify for the event last year, now meets third seed Vanessa Atkinson after the 28-year-old from The Hague in the Netherlands beat England's 11th seed Jenny Tranfield 9-7 9-2 9-4.

Men's 2nd round:
[1] Lee Beachill (ENG) bt [9] James Willstrop (ENG) 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 (60m)
[7] Joseph Kneipp (AUS) bt [16] Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 11-3, 11-6, 11-8 (35m)
[3] David Palmer (AUS) bt Olli Tuominen (FIN) 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 (47m)
[8] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [13] Renan Lavigne (FRA) 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 (48m)

Women's 2nd round:
[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [12] Vicky Botwright (ENG) 5-9, 9-7, 9-2, 9-3 (65m)
[7] Nicol David (MAS) bt [16] Tania Bailey (ENG) w/o
[3] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt [11] Jenny Tranfield (ENG) 9-7, 9-2, 9-4 (39m)
[10] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [8] Rebecca Macree (ENG) 4-9, 9-4, 9-0, 10-9 (56m)
[9] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt [Q] Sharon Wee (MAS) 9-2, 9-4, 9-1 (23m)
[4] Natalie Grainger (USA) bt [14] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) 9-3, 7-9, 9-2, 9-6 (45m)
[5] Linda Elriani (ENG) bt Laura-Jane Lengthorn (ENG) 9-7, 9-7, 9-4 (41m)
[2] Cassie Jackman (ENG) bt [13] Shelley Kitchen (NZL) 4-9, 9-2, 9-4, 9-3 (57m)