Double success for England as Grant and Whitlock celebrate victory on home soil
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Contributor
ADRIAN GRANT became the first Londoner to win the Coronation London Open title when he beat Chris Simpson in the all-English final at the Cumberland Lawn Tennis Club.
The London-born-and-bred 33-year-old, who was making his debut in the event, made his breakthrough in the previous round where he upset second-seeded South African Stephen Coppinger.
Seeded three, world number 23 Grant faced fellow countryman Simpson – a 26-year-old from Guernsey, ranked just two places lower, to whom he had never lost in three Tour meetings since 2009.
But fourth seed Simpson took the opening game, determined to make a career breakthrough.
However, the experienced left-hander Grant, a former World No.9 and a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, turned the tables to take the next three games to win 7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6 in 60 minutes.
The title triumph brings up Grant’s 20th Tour title – a feat matched, or bettered, by only 11 other players on the current PSA World Tour.
“I’ve known Chris for years,” Grant told reporter Kate Mason later. “We’re great friends, on and off the court, we train together with the England squad – there’s a mutual respect there.
“I know that he’s improved a lot he’s beaten a lot of people in the top twenty so you know I was wary about him. I had to focus 100 per cent. And I had a tough game yesterday and he had an easier game, you know so I had to really come out of the blocks quick.
“But the first game he came out quicker than me and I think as the match progressed I got stronger and stronger.”
Simpson, who celebrated a career-high 21 world ranking in October, said: “I was disappointed not to finish the year on a win – but it’s been a good year overall and I played some good squash this week.
“I felt like I was playing well for the first game and a half, then Adrian found a great length and was in charge for the rest of the match,” added the runner-up as he headed back to Harrogate where he is now a proud first-time house-owner.
Emily Whitlock, from Colwyn Bay, overcame French number two Coline Aumard three love to take the women’s title and record her eighth WSA Tour title.
The 19-year-old world number 24 knocked out the number three seed Tesni Evans in the semi-finals and despite squandering three game balls in the second game, Whitlock rarely looked troubled against the number four seed as she powered to an 11-8, 12-10, 11-5 success in just 37 minutes.
The win gives Whitlock her third Tour title this year and further boosts her hopes of representing England at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year.
It's been a great year, I would have loved to have finished it with a win but @adrian1grant played very well tonight.
— Chris Simpson (@simposquash) December 15, 2013
 Adrian Grant (Eng) 3-1  Chris Simpson (ENG) 7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6 (60m)
 Emily Whitlock (Eng) 3-0  Coline Aumard (Fra) 11-8, 12-10, 11-5 (37m)
London Open image courtesy of Arthur Curran
SEMI FINAL REPORTS
CHRIS SIMPSON will be looking for his first ever win over compatriot Adrian Grant when the pair meet in a surprise all-English final of the Coronation London Open at Cumberland Lawn Tennis Club today.
Simpson, the number four seed from Guernsey, maintained a clean sheet in the PSA World Tour International 25 squash event with his third successive straight games victory – ending teenage Egyptian qualifier Fares Mohamed Dessouki’s run 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 in 45 minutes.
“Got a 3-0 win today against a very talented young Egyptian,” tweeted the 26-year-old to his followers after reaching his ninth PSA World Tour final. “Starting to feel like a veteran on the tour!
“Into the final of the London Open tomorrow, hoping to finish the year off on a high!” added the world number 25.
London left-hander Grant, the third seed, avenged his career-first loss to Stephen Coppinger in January’s Tournament of Champions in New York by upsetting the higher-ranked South African in the other semi-final.
But the 33-year-old world number 23 had to fight back from 2-1 down to overcome the in-form Coppinger, ranked three places higher, winning 11-9, 7-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6 in 83 minutes to reach the 32nd Tour final of his career.
Both Grant and Simpson, appearing in the first all-English London Open final since 2009, are celebrating their third Tour finals of the year.
Harrogate-based Simpson (pictured right) boasts an impressive seven title wins from his eight final appearances – but has yet to beat his senior fellow countryman after six national and international meetings since 2009.
Meanwhile in the women’s draw, Cheshire’s Emily Whitlock kept alive hopes of an English double after defeating third seed Tesni Evans in straight games.
The world number 25 knocked out Wales number two Deon Saffrey in the quarter-finals and she ended Welsh hopes again with an 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 11-3 victory over the world number 39 in 58 minutes.
The 19-year-old now faces fourth seed Coline Aumard, after the French player advanced at the expense of number one seed Nicolette Fernandes, of Guyana.
Fernandes, who reached the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Open last week, was trailing 11-7, 2-0 before being forced to retire due to illness.
Aumard will now be looking to avenge her 2012 Swiss Open final defeat to Whitlock and will be gunning for her third WSA Tour title this year.
Semi-finals – Men’s Results:
 Chris Simpson (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Fares Mohamed Dessouki (Egy) 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 (45m)
 Adrian Grant (Eng) bt  Stephen Coppinger (Rsa) 11-9, 7-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6 (83m)
Semi-finals – Women’s Results:
 Emily Whitlock (Eng) 3-1  Tesni Evans (Wal) 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 11-3
 Coline Aumard (Fra) 3-0  Nicolette Fernandes (Guy) 11-7, 2-0 rtd