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23 Jul 2024

Anglo/Egyptian Men's Final Guaranteed In Doha Classic

22 Nov 2009

The surprise appearance of Londoner Peter Barker in the men's semi-finals of the Qatar Classic ensures an Anglo/Egyptian line-up in the final of the $147,500 PSA Tour Super Series squash event at Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in the Qatar capital Doha.

There will be unexpected Irish interest in the last four of the $74,000 WISPA World Tour event after fifth seed Madeline Perry upset England's third seed Alison Waters in the earlier women's quarter-finals.

Eighth seed Peter Barker claimed his semi-final place after ending giant-killer Aamir Atlas Khan's run. It was the 16th seed from Peshawar who grabbed the headlines 24 hours earlier by ousting new world number one Gregory Gaultier in a stunning four-game upset.

But the 19-year-old was unable to repeat the form against experienced 26-year-old Barker as the left-hander, ranked nine in the world, cruised to an 11-5, 11-6, 12-10 victory in 40 minutes.

Barker will now take on England team-mate Nick Matthew, the No4 seed who was stretched for 87 minutes by Australian David Palmer, four times a runner-up in the Doha event, before finally beating the fifth seed 11-8, 10-12, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8.

But the most dramatic men's quarter-final match saw favourite and defending champion Karim Darwish edge out French rival Thierry Lincou, the No7 seed, in an 83-minute marathon. It was the pair's 12th Tour meeting since April 2002 - but it was not until August 2007 that Darwish, now 28, claimed his first win over the Frenchman, now 33, and maintained the upper hand over the next four matches before this meeting.

But Darwish had to throw everything he had at the former world champion from Marseille before emerging triumphant 11-4, 9-11, 14-12, 6-11, 11-8.

"He is stronger than me I think," a relieved Darwish told www.squashsite.co.uk afterwards. "Just think - he is five years older than me! He is a great champion.

"Thierry is so mentally strong, after the third, I honestly thought he would give up, but instead of that, I was the one that relaxed! I played three great shots at the start, and that was it."

Darwish will face national rival Ramy Ashour, the 22-year-old third seed from Cairo who won the title in his maiden appearance in the event in 2007.

Ashour, runner-up in the World Open in Kuwait earlier in the month, beat England's sixth seed James Willstrop 11-5, 11-9, 13-11.

Madeline Perry is consistently playing above her seeding since making a breakthrough at this year's British Open where she secured a surprise place in the final following a shock defeat of Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia.

The 32-year-old from Belfast fought back from a game down to beat in-form Londoner Alison Waters 8-11, 12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8 in 69 minutes to reach the semis for the first time.

The ten times Irish national champion will now face Australia's second seed Rachael Grinham for a place in the final. In their 25th Tour clash since July 1999, the second-seeded Queenslander beat two-time champion Vanessa Atkinson, the ninth seed from the Netherlands, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5.

The other women's semi-final is a repeat of the US Open semi-final earlier this month - when England's Jenny Duncalf ended an 18-match losing streak to Nicol David by beating the world's top player in straight games.

David needed exactly an hour to keep alive her hopes of a fourth successive title success in Qatar. The 26-year-old from Penang beat England's seventh seed Laura Massaro 11-8, 5-11, 11-13, 11-3, 11-8.

Meanwhile fourth seed Duncalf ended Engy Kheirallah's impressive run in Doha, beating the unseeded Egyptian 11-4, 11-9, 11-4.

Men's quarter-finals:
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [7] Thierry Lincou (FRA) 11-4, 9-11, 14-12, 6-11, 11-8 (83m)
[3] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [6] James Willstrop (ENG) 11-5, 11-9, 13-11 (43m)
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [5] David Palmer (AUS) 11-8, 10-12, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8 (87m)
[8] Peter Barker (ENG) bt [16] Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) 11-5, 11-6, 12-10 (40m)

Women's quarter-finals:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [7] Laura Massaro (ENG) 11-8, 5-11, 11-13, 11-3, 11-8 (60m)
[4] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt Engy Kheirallah (EGY) 11-4, 11-9, 11-4 (27m)
[5] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [3] Alison Waters (ENG) 8-11, 12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8 (69m)
[2] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [9] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) 11-9, 11-8, 11-5 (26m)