LIVERPOOL - James Willstrop made it only the second time in 44 years that the home country had finalists in both events in the British Open when he beat Thierry Lincou, the former world champion in three impressive games. The world number three from Yorkshire has rarely played better than during his 11-7, 11-3, 11-7 victory over the 32-year-old Frenchman who says he will still try again to win the world's oldest title. But this time there was little Lincou could do against an opponent who produced an inspired performance little more than 60 miles from his home town. Willstrop had it clearly in his mind that only last month in Kuwait Lincou had come from two games down to win, and set about ensuring there was no repeat. Not only did he hustle Lincou relentlessly with fierce drives and feathery soft drop shots, he kept a tight focus and often retrieved surprisingly nimbly for such a tall man. "And he never showed any signs of fatigue," said Lincou. "He didn't give me any cheap points and he was mentally strong. He kept up the pressure and made me try to finish points a little bit too early, making me make too many mistakes." Willstrop, who was runner-up three years ago, was asked if he was better placed to win this time. "I've learnt a considerable amount since then," he said. "My little scrawny muscles have not become big bulky muscles but have become stronger and more able to play high powered squash. "Hopefully I have given myself a chance tomorrow because it is a bit of a big moment in a squash player's career. I'm looking forward to lifting the trophy but I don't know how it's going to be." Willstrop will play another former world champion, David Palmer, the Australian who came through when Karim Darwish was struck down with injury just when he seemed likely to pull through. The world number seven from Egypt appeared to be on top when he suddenly and unexpectedly quit with an achilles tendon injury. Even Palmer, who was relieved and slightly confused by a victory by 11-7, 3-11, 4-8 retired, admitted that he was fortunate to escape against an opponent who was close to his first major final. "I saw him slip and thought he caught his knee but I didn't realise that it was anything like that," he said. "I was in trouble there. I was under pressure and starting to panic a little at how quickly he was running away with it. "I would have had to fight really hard to get out of that trouble." An even greater curiosity about the result was that Darwish was not going to leave the court until the match marker noticed there was blood on his knee and advised him to get it patched up. Darwish did so and never reappeared on court. After an eight-minute delay the match was awarded to a surprised Palmer. "I slipped at the front and it sort of cracked," Darwish explained, referring to the hamstring. "We stopped because of the blood, but when came out I couldn't walk any more." Earlier Jenny Duncalf became the other English player in a final when she beat Isabelle Stoehr 4-9, 9-3, 9-6, 9-6, preventing the player from Montpellier from becoming the first qualifier to reach a British Open final. Duncalf now has the formidable task of facing Nicol David, who is aiming to win back the British Open title after losing from match point up in last year's final. The world number one from Malaysia produced a hugely impressive performance in overwhelming Natalie Grainger, the former world number one from the United States, 9-5, 9-1, 9-0, taking the attack away from one of the tour's best attacking players. David was 2-5 down in the first game, and then lost only one point, finishing the match in a mere 23 minutes. It was a great omen not only for Monday's final against Jenny Duncalf, the surprise survivor from England, but for the longer term prospects of David's career. David made many more and better volleys, more accurate drops, and more penetrating drives to a length than she might have done a year or two ago. "When I got my momentum, it all started to work," she said. When she gets her momentum, she is surely unstoppable."