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By Afzal Mehmood Shaikh
QOC - Sports Editor
From Squash360.com

Malaysian ace Nicol David and Amr Shabana of Egypt, the world number one on men's and women's tours respectively, made their cut to the finals of the 2008 Qatar Classic Squash Tournament at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.

Top seed David, got the better of Natalie Grainger of USA 11-6, 6-11, 11-9, 11-2 in Thursday's first WISPA semifinals and in front of Malaysian supporters, who turned out in masses to cheer the world number one.

"I was keen on working hard and improve my performance, every time I play," said the victorious 25-year-old, David. "She (Natalie) is experienced and a true competitor and I enjoy playing against her," added the Malaysian star.

Current WISPA ranked fourth Grainger, had nothing to complain, instead she praised David's performance and felt it is a nightmare playing against her in crucial matches.

"Nicol is a class act, when it comes to action, she is anyone's nightmare," explained the 31-year-old American. "Nicol is a great ambassador of the sport and is one of the greats in WISPA," claimed Grainger.

David's third World Open title triumph on October 19, puts her on a select list of former greats who have won the world crown three or more times.

Having also reigned as the World No 1 for the last 27 months, Nicol added another accolade to her growing list of honours when she was named the WISPA Player of the Year at the 2008 World Squash Awards in Manchester.

In the other semifinal clash of the Grinham sisters, Rachael and Natalie, the younger of the two, Natalie, who started playing under the Netherlands flag from the current year, conquered the world no. 2, Rachael, 11-8, 13-15, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10 in a marathon one hour of play.

In men's semifinals, world no. 1 Amr Shabana of Egypt, got closer to defending his title after he outclassed Frenchman Thierry Lincou's 8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 to meet his countryman Karim Darwish who beat Nick Matthew of England 9-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-6.

The two defending champions in men's and women's tours respectively are yet to make their presence count as they play in the final on Friday.

Men & Women's Semi-Final Results
Nicol David (MAS) bt Natalie Grainger (USA)
11-6, 6-11, 11-9, 11-2 (37mins);

Natalie Grinham (NED) bt Rachael Grinham (AUS)
11-8, 13-15, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10 (61mins)

Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Thierry Lincou (FRA)
8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 (52mins)

Karim Darwish (EGY) bt Nick Matthew (ENG)
9-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-6 (56mins)

Final Match-ups
Nicol David (MAS) vs Natalie Grinham (NED)

Amr Shabana (EGY) vs Karim Darwish (EGY)