zondag 05 oktober 2003 01:00
BRITISH OPEN SQUASH NEWS
RESULTS: British Open Squash Championships, Nottingham, England
 David Palmer (AUS) bt  Peter Nicol (ENG) 15-13, 15-13, 15-8 (54m)
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt  Cassie Jackman (ENG) 9-3, 7-9, 9-2, 9-5
Palmer & Grinham In Australian British Open Double
Home hopes were shattered in today's (Sunday) finals of the British Open
Squash Championships at the Albert Hall in Nottingham where second seed
David Palmer and third seed Rachael Grinham pulled off an unexpected
Grinham, the world No4 from Toowoomba in Queensland, beat England's sixth
seed Cassie Jackman 9-3 7-9 9-2 9-5 in the women's final in her first ever
victory over the world No6 from Norwich - and Palmer, the world No3 from
Lithgow in New South Wales, upset men's defending champion Peter Nicol 15-13
15-13 15-8 in his first straight games win over the world No1.
Rachael Grinham was in sparkling form after her career-first victory in the
semi-finals over the top seed and world No1 Carol Owens. The 26-year-old,
now based in Cairo, was a game up in just eight minutes - to claim the first
that she had taken against Jackman in their six meetings since September
Jackman, in her second British Open final, pulled level by taking the next
game - but the focussed Australian fought back to grab the next two to
secure her maiden British Open title in 50 minutes.
"I knew this was my big chance - the pressure was more on Cassie than on me,
as she's always beaten me before," said Rachael afterwards, still unable to
take in the magnitude of her success. "I think I used up all my excitement
after beating Carol Owens for the first time yesterday."
Rachael maintains Australia's hold on the women's trophy which was won by
the now retired Sarah Fitz-Gerald for the last two years. "Fitzy's not a
bad name to follow, is it?"
When asked how she would celebrate, Grinham responded: "I can't really go
too mad - I've got the US Open next week and I'm seeded to meet Cassie again
in the quarter-finals! But today's win is definitely going to give me more
confidence in the future," added the new champion.
The men's final brought together two of the world's top players in their
13th PSA Tour meeting since March 2000. With only three losses against
Palmer over the period, Nicol would have been favoured to win - but the
30-year-old from London had staged a remarkable comeback only 16 hours
earlier to beat his great rival Jonathan Power in a 112-minute marathon.
The Englishman had leads in the first two games but was eventually beaten in
54 minutes as 27-year-old Palmer reclaimed the men's trophy that Nicol had
wrested from him last year.
"I've seen Peter at tournaments for years and years now, so I wasn't
expecting him to be tired - he still keeps turning it out. Every time I
play him, I expect it to be tough, and this was no exception - but it's the
first time I've beaten him 3/0" said a delighted Palmer later.
The Belgian-based Australian was celebrating his first tournament win
following a four-month layoff after complications from an appendix operation
in March. "I turned it into a positive thing, it was the first time in five
or six years I had been able to give my body a complete rest.
"But to come back and win the British is pretty special - today is probably
the best day of my life."
In the presentations after the men's final, Grinham dedicated her win to the
Heliopolis Club in Cairo where she is now based: "It's thanks to the
Heliopolis that my squash has improved out of sight in the two years I have
been there," Rachael told the sell-out audience.
Palmer drew rapturous applause from the crowd when he said of the Albert
Hall: "This is a beautiful venue - I'd be happy to play here every year!"