BRITISH OPEN SQUASH NEWS
RESULTS: British Open Squash Championships, Albert Hall, Nottingham, England
Men's 1st round (2nd day):
 Peter Nicol (ENG) bt Martin Heath (SCO) 15-6, 15-10, 15-4 (41m)
 Lee Beachill (ENG) bt [Q] Alex Gough (WAL) 15-12, 15-10, 12-15, 15-13
 Jonathon Power (CAN) bt Mark Chaloner (ENG) 15-9, 15-10, 15-5 (65m)
[Q] James Willstrop (ENG) bt  Joseph Kneipp (AUS) 15-9, 15-10, 15-9 (42m)
Women's quarter-finals (1st day):
 Cassie Jackman (ENG) bt  Linda Charman (ENG) 9-1, 9-5, 9-7 (47m)
 Natalie Grainger (USA) bt  Rebecca Macree (ENG) 9-3, 9-6, 9-1 (39m)
Willstrop Waltzes Into British Open Quarters
England's 20-year-old James Willstrop became the only qualifier to survive
the first round of the British Open Squash Championships when he upset
Australia's eighth seed Joseph Kneipp in straight games at the Albert Hall
The dazzling 15-9 15-10 15-9 victory takes the 6' 4" world junior champion
from Pontefract into his first quarter-final - and follows a match in
Detroit two weeks ago in which he extended France's world No4 Thierry Lincou
for more than two hours, including a first game which lasted a near-record
"I proved to myself then that I can cope physically with these guys - I know
I can play squash just about as well as anybody," said a jubilant Willstrop
afterwards. "I've got the belief that I can beat these top players now."
Willstrop now faces 1999 champion Jonathon Power, the No4 seed from Canada
who beat England's unseeded Mark Chaloner, from Lincolnshire, 15-9 15-10
15-5 in 65 minutes. "It wasn't until the second game that I felt
comfortable, but I'm glad to get the first match behind me," conceded the
former world No1 from Montreal.
"Initially, I wasn't sure about entering this year's British Open, having
already won the title once, but decided to do so when I realised that the
new promoters were reinvigorating the event to ensure that it continues to
appeal to all the world's top players," said Power. "And I still think I am
one of the world's top players," added the 29-year-old who has just slipped
to No5 in the world.
Earlier in the day, defending champion Peter Nicol stormed into the
quarter-finals, admitting afterwards that "I'm definitely more relaxed than
I've ever been before."
England's world No1 beat his former Scottish compatriot Martin Heath 15-6
15-10 15-4 in 41 minutes on the state-of-the-art all-glass court at the
Albert Hall in an almost faultless display of world-class squash.
"It's great to get my first match out of the way and I now just can't wait
for the next one," said the exuberant 30-year-old from London. "In previous
British Opens, I've always found the first rounds hard, but I was really
pleased with today - I felt that the first few points I played in each game
couldn't have been played any better."
Since winning the US Open two weeks ago, Nicol has taken a week off and
hardly touched a ball. "This has been a totally different preparation to
previous British Opens - and it feels great!"
The top seed will take on his Commonwealth Games doubles gold medal-winning
partner Lee Beachill in Friday's quarter-finals after the Yorkshireman from
Pontefract defeated Welsh qualifier Alex Gough, a quarter-finalist for the
last three years, 15-12 15-10 12-15 15-13 in 85 minutes.
England's Cassie Jackman, the sixth seed from Norwich, reached the women's
semi-finals for the second successive year after a hard-fought 9-1 9-5 9-7
win over her third-seeded compatriot Linda Charman. After being handed a
first round walkover after the sudden withdrawal of fellow countrywoman
Jenny Tranfield, Charman was playing her first match in the 2003 event.
"We've played each other loads of times in the past, but it must have been a
bit of a nightmare for her not to have an earlier 'warm up'' match," said
Jackman, the five-times British National champion. "Though she's ranked
above me, I haven't lost to Linda for quite a while, though we always have
"You can see what the British Open means to everyone, as everyone's in it,"
Jackman added. "This title is up for grabs, with no-one in the women's draw
ever having won it before."
Jackman now meets former compatriot Natalie Grainger, the world No2 now
representing the USA, who beat England's 8th seed Rebecca Macree 9-3 9-6 9-1
in 39 minutes in the other women's quarter-final match today.