After a tough battle at the Dunlop British Open in Manchester, HEAD pro Rachael Grinham fought her way to victory.
In the longest played women’s final on record, HEAD player Rachael Grinham of Australia saved a match-ball to defeat overwhelming favourite Nicol David at the Dunlop British Open Squash Championship in Manchester.
Malaysia’s world No. 1 David opened up a two-game lead on her way to an anticipated third consecutive title.
However, third-seeded Grinham, who plays with a Metallix 130, wasn’t going to be defeated by the dominant Malaysian who had won the duo‘s previous 14 meetings, since April 2005. In fact, prior to her competition against David, Grinham upset her higher ranked younger sister and fellow HEAD player Natalie Grinham in the semi finals. Natalie Grinham plays with the Metallix 140.
Headed for a comeback, 30-year-old Grinham successfully beat David in the third match, then saw the fourth go to eight-all before David served for the championship ball at 9-8.
But the Australian recovered to force the match into a fifth game and immediately raced to 8-0, also winning her first match ball. Attempting to claim her projected title win, David took a further point, but Grinham was not going to be denied her shock victory as she clinched the title after 87 minutes in a 7-9, 4-9, 9-3, 10-8, 9-1 match.
"It’s the best win I ever had. I already won two titles, but that was a couple of years ago, and I haven’t won any major tournaments since,” said world No 3 Grinham. “I felt quite focused, but I was a little slow in the beginning, not as good as yesterday. Then I thought, come on, the pressure is on her, make her work for it.”
The victory marks a notable milestone for Grinham who now boasts 24 WISPA World Tour titles. The success also extends Grinham's lead over Nicol David as the current WISPA player with the most Tour titles.
“Winning the third gave me a lot of confidence, and she was not as quick as she was at the start,” Grinham added.
On the men’s side, fellow Australian HEAD player and No. 2 seed David Palmer headed off a strong challenge against England’s James Willstrop in a late-night quarterfinal lasting nearly two hours. Palmer, who plays with the brand new MicroGel Extreme, prevailed to win 11-10 (2-0) 6-11 11-10 (2-0) 6-11 11-5. The victory enabled Palmer to move on to the semi finals to compete against No 4 seed Frenchman Thierry Lincou. After he won the first game 11-5, a leg injury in the second game stopped David Palmer on his way to the final.
The new Squash product line including the MicroGel Extreme racquet will hit the shelves in February 2008.