Friday, February 23, 2024

World Open: Palmer bows out, battling bravely to the end

DAVID'S LAST DIVE: David Palmer, battling to the end. Picture by STEVE CUBBINS

Palmer says goodbye as Australia’s World Open challenge over


Australia’s World Open squash challenge ended in Rotterdam on Friday as both Kasey Brown and David Palmer bowed out at the quarter-final stage.

Palmer went down to third seeded Egyptian Karim Darwish 11-9, 11-7, 11-1 before Brown was beaten by world number one Nicol David of Malaysia 11-7, 12-10, 11-4.

It was the 35-year-old Palmer’s last match on the Professional Squash Association tour and he took to the court with his right leg heavily bandaged.

He fought hard against the world number three but once he lost the first two games, he faded in the third as Darwish moved into a semi-final against top seeded Englishman Nick Matthew.

“I’ve been thinking about retiring for a while,” the Florida-based Palmer said after his match.

“Over the summer I thought I would give it one last push with the big tournaments, and playing one last team event for Australia was important for me.

“Playing the Australian Open back in Canberra and reaching the semis was a good thing, but I was talking to my wife Melinda this week and decided this was the perfect time to go.”

In a glittering career, Palmer won 27 tournaments on the PSA tour, including two World and four British Opens.

He spent an incredible 100 consecutive months in the top 10 and retires from the sport ranked ninth in the world — considered as one of the greatest players in the game’s history.

Brown couldn’t repeat her heroics from earlier this month when she beat David at the US Open, however, she once again showed her improvement by pushing the Malaysian all the way.

“The score doesn’t reflect how hard it was on there, it was maybe 3/0 but it felt more like five or six games actually,” David said.

“Kasey had a very hard game yesterday, but still, she is such a strong player she’s stepped up her game so much, if you lower your guard ever so slightly she gets on it.”

David plays Australian-born Dutchwoman Natalie Grinham in the semi-finals, with the winner to play either Jenny Duncalf of England or Mexico’s Samantha Teran.


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