Squash: Jansher in cruise control

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The Independent Online
JANSHER KHAN, playing his first tournament since regaining the World Open title last month, reached the final of the NCM Dutch Open - but only after his opponent, Tristan Nancarrow, had gained much of the attention and a code of conduct warning here yesterday, writes Richard Eaton from Amsterdam.

Jansher, who now holds the big three prizes (the World Open champion, the world No 1 and the British Open champion) overcame Nancarrow, the sixth-seeded Australian, 15-12, 15-12, 9-15, 15-7, in a semi-final that could hardly have been bettered for entertainment, but raised questions at to why the Pakistani ever gets beaten.

For two games he attacked with such a wide and well-controlled mixture of strokes, balancing the long and the short games masterfully. Then, for the second night in succession, he drifted unaccountably into casual-looking errors.

On Sunday this failing contributed to dangerous 5-10 and 10-12 fourth-game deficits against the fifth-seeded Australian, Brett Martin. This time he lost the third game to an unpredictable opponent who made a rush of winners from 2-3 to 8-3, before getting the code of conduct warning.

This happened at 10-7 when the referee inexplicably called a beautifully played backhand boast from Nancarrow down. Nancarrow earned a let on appeal, but then gained his warning for unwise remarks. Early in the fourth game, having been manoeuvred all round the court by Jansher during his periods of concentration, the Australian started to feel the pace - and the champion's journey to the final became swift.