2:41 pm
20 Jun 2024

Palmer & Grinham Retain British Open Titles

6 Nov 2004

Australians David Palmer and Rachael Grinham successfully defended their titles in today's finals of the Harris British Open at the Albert Hall in Nottingham.

Grinham, the women's top seed and world No1 from Queensland, admitted after her 3-9 9-5 9-0 9-3 victory over USA's fourth seed Natalie Grainger that she had not felt up for the tournament at the beginning of the week, after taking a month's break since the World Team Championships in October.

"But if somebody was going to get past me, they were going to have to beat me - I wasn't going to sit down and just lose," said the Australian after her second successive title success.

Grainger was making a comeback after a six-month lay-off - and had stormed into her first British Open final after a convincing upset over England's world No2 Cassie Jackman in the semi-finals.

"I knew she would start off strong - she always does," said Grinham after final. "Natalie wins a lot of her matches by overwhelming her opponents from the off - and she began to do that against me today.

"But I stuck with her and eventually took control. But I feel so tired right now - it's been a really long week."

The men's final was a physical affair in which both players received warnings from the referee. A long first game eventually went to unexpected finalist Amr Shabana, the world champion from Egypt who was seeded five.

But third seed Palmer, who won his second British Open title last year in Nottingham, maintained his focus to pull through 10-11 11-7 11-10 11-7 in 89 minutes.

"That was tough - British Open finals don't come easy," agreed the 28-year-old champion from Lithgow in New South Wales. "Shabana's a great shot player and he proved that again today.

"That first game was crucial - I didn't win, it but I extended Shabana and it paid dividends. I knew if I got 2/1 up, I'd be hard to beat - but he came back strong in the fourth.

"I was very happy to get off the court 3/1," smiled the new champion, richer by £3,825.

For the first time in the 80-year history of the tournament, however, the women's winner walked away with a bigger cash prize than the man: In an on-court post-finals poker game organised by one the event's co-sponsors, Grinham beat Palmer to double her £3,250 match winnings.

Men's final:
[3] David Palmer (AUS) bt [5] Amr Shabana (EGY) 10-11 (4-6), 11-7, 11-10 (3-1), 11-7 (89m)

Women's final:
[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [4] Natalie Grainger (USA) 3-9, 9-5, 9-0, 9-3 (41m)