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Squash - 23. September 2007.

Bailey Leads Lone Home British Open Challenge

Dunlop British Open Squash Championships, Manchester, England


Women's quarter-finals:


[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [5] Natalie Grainger (USA) 9-3, 9-3, 7-9, 2-9, 9-0 (53m)

[4] Tania Bailey (ENG) bt [6] Vicky Botwright (ENG) 6-9, 10-8, 9-4, 2-9, 9-0 (69m)

[3] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [8] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) 7-9, 9-7, 9-6, 9-0 (75m)

[2] Natalie Grinham (AUS) bt [7] Madeline Perry (IRL) 9-3, 9-6, 9-7 (54m)




Tania Bailey to lead a sole English challenge into the semi-finals of the world-renowned event at the National Squash Centre at Sportcity in Manchester.



In the women's event, fourth seed Tania Bailey faced England team-mate Vicky Botwright - the sixth seed from Manchester who views the NSC as her 'home club'. Bailey came back from a game down to win 6-9, 10-8, 9-4, 2-9, 9-0 in 69 minutes.


"We were both hitting the ball well and it was really hot on there, we were both picking stuff up really well," said Bailey. "It was nip and tuck all the way in the first three, then Vicky played really well in the fourth – I don't think I did anything wrong, she just played better than me.


"I never really felt in control, but I really wanted to win - winning this title would be the best thing I can do, so I came out in the fifth determined to play my game and fortunately it all went well for me," added the 27-year-old from Stamford in Lincolnshire who was runner-up in 2002.


Bailey will face top seed Nicol David - but the world number one from Malaysia who is bidding for a third successive title was taken the full distance by Natalie Grainger, the fifth seed from Washington DC who is making the first appearance in the city of her birth since becoming a US citizen earlier this year.


David took the first two games, but Grainger struck back to draw level before the favourite upped her game to win 9-3, 9-3, 7-9, 2-9, 9-0 in 53 minutes.

"I felt good in the first two games and went for it right from the start, but then she started going for her shots and hit some really good winners," said the 24-year-old from Penang.


"This event on its own is the highlight of the year, along with the worlds; you just have to give it your all however you feel and whatever's happening."

Grainger made no secret of her disappointment at losing - especially to 9-0 in the fifth game: "But I'm glad I finally managed to impose myself on her. In the fourth I could feel it, the aura had gone!"


The other women's semi-final will provide the latest chapter in the sibling rivalry between Australian sisters Natalie Grinham, the No2 seed, and Rachael Grinham, the third seed.


Natalie, the younger, and runner-up in 2005, defeated Ireland's No7 seed Madeline Perry 9-3, 9-6, 9-7 in 54 minutes, while Rachael, runner-up last year, outlasted Dutch number one Vanessa Atkinson, the eighth seed, 7-9, 9-7, 9-6, 9-0 in 75 minutes.


At 8-3 to Grinham in the third game, an accidental clash resulted in Atkinson taking more than an hour-long break to treat a cut to her racket hand.

"I was just panicking in the break," admitted Grinham senior afterwards. "Vanessa is playing very well at the moment; your best chance is to wear her down, which I'd started to do in the third. The last thing you want is a break where she can come back out fresh again.


"I totally expected her to come out attacking when we started again; she had nothing to lose and knew it would be mentally devastating for me if I'd lost that game from 8-3 up."


Men's semi-final line-up:

[1] Amr Shabana (EGY) v [3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)

[2] David Palmer (AUS) v [4] Thierry Lincou (FRA)

Women's semi-final line-up:

[1] Nicol David (MAS) v [4] Tania Bailey (ENG)

[2] Natalie Grinham (AUS) v [3] Rachael Grinham (AUS)

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