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14 Jun 2024

Grant Sets Up All-English Final In KL

6 Mar 2009

Third seed Adrian Grant ended local interest in the men's CIMB KL Open after battling for 61 minutes to upset defending champion Ong Beng Hee to set up the first ever all-English final of the $50,000 PSA Tour squash event at Berjaya Times Square in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

The left-hander from London recovered from a game down to beat second-seeded Malaysian Beng Hee, ranked three places higher in the world top 20, 7-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-8.

"Beng Hee was under pressure as defending champion and made some errors today that gave me the advantage," said a delighted Grant, now in the 22nd Tour final of his career. "It may be two British players in the final - but we'll be worth the admission money!"

A downcast Ong Beng Hee added: "After the re-draw it got tougher for me. I had gruelling matches but Adrian played exceptionally well and deserved the victory. I am going to come back stronger for the Malaysian Open though!"

Grant will face England team-mate Peter Barker - who is also a left-hander and also from London. The top seed faced fourth seed Borja Golan - and beat the in-form Spaniard 11-7, 10-12, 11-3, 11-4 to set up his 18th final appearance.

Although the final will be the Englishmen's fourth Tour meeting - it will be their first for more than two years, and the first in a final.

Hopes of a Malaysian on the winner's podium were well-and-truly kept alive in the women's $53,000 WISPA World Tour Gold event when Penang queen Nicol David, the favourite, beat Australian rival Rachael Grinham 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8.

Fresh from a six-week training spell in Australia with former world number one Sarah Fitz-Gerald, David is making her 2009 Tour debut in KL - and expected to win her country's capital city open crown for the sixth time.

"I am trying to get my momentum going for this year, but it is tough as all the girls are out to get me," admitted the 25-year-old after her sixth win in a row over Grinham. "I am just watching my back and trying to stay on the ball."

In the 49th WISPA final of her career, David will meet another long-time Tour rival: Natalie Grainger, the fourth seed from the USA, ended the run of England's surprise semi-finalist Laura Lengthorn-Massaro, beating the eighth seed 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 6-11, 11-6 in 51 minutes.

"I finished the fourth really strongly and managed to get a few tactics straight in my head," said Lengthorn later. "But Natalie came out too strong, a little too strong. She is so precise that it is tough mentally and physically."

Grainger, the WISPA President who is looking for her third title this year, has reached a significant milestone in her illustrious career: The 31-year-old from Greenwich is celebrating her 40th Tour final appearance.

Men's semi-finals:
[1] Peter Barker (ENG) bt [4] Borja Golan (ESP) 11-7, 10-12, 11-3, 11-4 (61m)
[3] Adrian Grant (ENG) bt [2] Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 7-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-8 (61m)

Women's semi-finals:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [3] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8 (34m)
[4] Natalie Grainger (USA) bt [8] Laura Lengthorn-Massaro (ENG) 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 6-11, 11-6 (51m)