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20 May 2024

Local Star Botwright Beats Champion Grinham In World Championship Upset

15 Oct 2008

Manchester squash star Vicky Botwright, who has always failed to live up to expectations on her 'home' court at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity, pulled off a sensational upset when she beat defending champion Rachael Grinham in today's second round of the women's event in the Hi-Tec World Open Squash Championships in Manchester.

The world's leading players from more than 30 countries are competing in the Hi-Tec World Squash Championships - Manchester 2008, the first ever joint staging of the Men's World Open and Women's World Open in the UK.

Botwright, the 31-year-old former world No5, recently announced her decision to retire at the world championships after accepting the role as Head Coach at the prestigious centre.

After dropping the first game, the local heroine battled back to beat the title-holder from Australia 5-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-8 in 47 minutes.

"That was certainly my best ever win," said the delighted 11th seed afterwards. "It's taken me ten years to get a result like this in Manchester.

"I've always under-performed here - I've been seeded in every position from one to eight in the Nationals here, but never got beyond the quarter-finals!"

The second-seeded Queenslander was almost speechless afterwards. "I just don't know what happened. I just didn't feel that comfortable - I never have easy games with Vicky, she's one of those players I've never really liked playing.

"I felt in control for parts of the game - but then I panicked, I just choked."

The former world number one admitted that she is still coming to terms with the new women's 'point-a-rally' Pro-Scoring system. "You start the game and, before you know it, it's half over - then you get into panic mode. I think it's going to take me a while to get use to it."

Earlier, on the first of two days of second round action, Botwright's two England team-mates Alison Waters and Jenny Duncalf eased into the last eight. Londoner Waters, the British National champion, crushed France's Isabelle Stoehr 11-3, 11-1, 11-7 in 25 minutes, while fifth seed Duncalf, from Harrogate in Yorkshire, defeated Australian national champion Kasey Brown 11-8, 11-2, 13-11.

England's Nick Matthew prevented it from being an all-Egyptian day in the four men's third round matches on the all-glass show court when he beat Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema 11-7, 11-6, 11-13, 11-4 in exactly one hour.

In only his third event following a nine-month layoff after shoulder surgery, the 28-year-old from Sheffield showed the form which won him the British Open title two years ago. "I felt pretty good - I feel I've been pretty well in the tournament so far, but not yet in a whole match.

"Physically, I'm better than I've ever been - because while I was recovering from the shoulder, fitness was all I could work on!"

In Friday's quarter-finals, Matthew will face Ramy Ashour, the fourth seed from Egypt who put paid to an all-English last eight clash by beating Londoner Peter Barker, the 12th seed, 11-8, 11-13, 11-8, 11-6.

"I was up for it today - all the work I have put in in the last couple of months has paid off," said the exuberant 21-year-old afterwards. "But six days before the championships, I pulled a hamstring, and didn't play at all. It actually gave me a bit of a break."

Later in the day, Mohamed El Shorbagy became the first qualifier for 22 years to reach the men's quarter-finals when he beat Hisham Mohd Ashour 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 10-12, 13-11.

The 17-year-old Egyptian became event's giant-killer after battling through to the second round - then beating experienced Frenchman Thierry Lincou to reach the last sixteen.

"I've played five days in a row now - and tomorrow I get a day off. Now I will chill out," said the teenager.

RESULTS: Hi-Tec World Open Squash Championships, Manchester, England

Men's 3rd round (top half of draw):
[1] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [9] Wael El Hindi (EGY) 11-9, 2-11, 11-4, 12-14, 11-6 (84m)
[Q] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 10-12, 13-11 (45m)
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [12] Peter Barker (ENG) 11-8, 11-13, 11-8, 11-6 (60m)
[8] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [15] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 11-7, 11-6, 11-13, 11-4 (60m)

Women's 2nd round (lower half of draw):
[5] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [12] Kasey Brown (AUS) 11-8, 11-2, 13-11 (33m)
[3] Natalie Grinham (NED) bt [Q] Annie Au (HKG) 11-6, 11-7, 11-4 (27m)
[7] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [15] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) 11-3, 11-1, 11-7 (25m)
[11] Vicky Botwright (ENG) bt [2] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 5-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-8 (47m)