Squash: Nicol wins marathon

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PETER NICOL, who beat the world champion, Jansher Khan, two weeks ago in Cardiff, overcame another well-known Pakistani in the Portuguese Open yesterday, writes Richard Eaton from Vale do Lobo. He wore down Zarak Jahan Khan, the British Open semi-finalist, into a state of collapse to reach the quarter-finals.

The 20-year-old Scot endured a 112-minute marathon, which ended with Zarak being carried off with cramp at match point in the final game. Nicol thus won 10-15, 15-9, 17- 15, 11-15, 14-12 retired. 'I play for two hours all the time in training and I just had to make another push,' Nicol said after coming back from 5-1 down in the final game.

The rally at 13-12 went on for more than a 100 strokes until Nicol struck a forehand to the left-back corner and Zarak's plunging attempt to retrieve left him grounded for good.

Nicol may find it difficult to recover in time for his quarter- final with Brett Martin, the world No 2 from Australia, who in an extraordinary outburst yesterday described the British Open as a 'pain in the arse' and that next month's event was 'well down' his list of priorities.