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Aussie world champion Grinham beaten

MANCHESTER, England (AFP) — World Open champion Rachael Grinham suffered one of the most astonishing defeats of her career as her title defence ended in the second round against an opponent who is about to retire.

The second-seeded Australian was beaten 5-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-8 by Vicky Botwright, who has already taken up a job as head coach at the national squash centre in her home city here and is playing her last professional tournament.

"And I've never been beyond the quarter-finals here in any tournament in ten years so I don't know where this came from," said the 31-year-old world number 11, whose greatest publicity had previously come from modelling a thong at the British Open, a decision she later regretted.

But the former England number one has always enjoyed playing against Grinham, giving little pace for the lob-and-drop specialist from Toowomba to feed off. "She's a brilliant player, but I just like playing her," Botwright said.

Grinham gave credit to Botwright's fine performance but criticised the point-a-rally scoring which is being used in the women's World Open for the first time.

"I am struggling with that," Grinham said. "You start the game and feel like it is half over very quickly. You can't play yourself into the game - it's panic mode immediately.

"It's like oh my god, the game is almost over. I think it's going to take six months to get over it," she added.

Grinham's preparation has also been disrupted by the need to change her training base from Cairo, where she has been for five years, to Amsterdam, where her sister Natalie, the number three seed, lives. The move has not been completed.

Her defeat may give further confidence to Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia, who is trying to win back the World Open title, having already regained the British Open from Rachael Grinham five months ago in Liverpool.

David has had a rest day and will restart her challenge with a second round match against Rebecca Chiu of Hongkong on Thursday.

Botwright's shock success has guaranteed a home semi-finalist because she next plays Alison Waters, the British national champion, in the quarter-finals on Friday.

Earlier Natalie Grinham suffered no such alarms as her sister, reaching the quarter-finals by beating Annie Au of Hongkong 11-6, 11-7, 11-4. She now plays Jenny Dincalf, the British Open finalist from England.

Women's 2nd round (lower half of draw):
[5] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [12] Kasey Brown (AUS)
11-8, 11-2, 13-11 (33m)

[3] Natalie Grinham (NED) bt [Q] Annie Au (HKG)
11-6, 11-7, 11-4 (27m)

[7] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [15] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA)
11-3, 11-1, 11-7 (25m)

[11] Vicky Botwright (ENG) bt [2] Rachael Grinham (AUS)
5-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-8 (47m)

--Photos by Fritz Borchert