Squash: Nicol captures first British Open title

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The Independent Online
PETER NICOL, Scotland's world No 1 took his career to new heights on his 25th birthday yesterday, beating Jansher Khan 17-16, 15-4, 15-5 to win the British Open title at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.

Early in the opening game it looked like proving a closely-fought contest to rival last year's 126-minute final between the duo in Cardiff, where Jansher claimed his sixth successive British Open crown.

The 28-year-old Pakistani moved 13-10 ahead this time when a penalty stroke went against Nicol, but the Scot then strung together four winning rallies to reach game ball at 14-13.

Another penalty stroke saved Jansher, Nicol earned his second game ball at 16-15 but wrapped up the game on his third as his opponent started showing signs of tiredness.

It was one-way traffic from there on as Nicol raced into commanding early leads in the next two games and Jansher looked out of sorts, providing little resistance as Nicol became the first British winner of the men's title since Jonah Barrington in 1975.

"This is the greatest thing yet," said Nicol, who took over as world No 1 after beating Jansher in the Mahindra final last December. "I've finally proved myself in one of the game's two major finals, even though I lost my concentration a bit towards the end of the first game.''

Michelle Martin beat Sarah Fitz-Gerald 9-4 9-2 9-1 to successfully defend her women's title in an all-Australian final. It was the sixth successive win for second seed Martin against the top-seeded world champion.