Agence France-Presse CAIRO: David Palmer can count himself the bravest and Gregory Gaultier the unluckiest player there has ever been in a World Open final after the Australian beat the Frenchman 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-10, 11-2 in front of the illuminated Giza pyramids here on Wednesday. The up-and-down nature of this startling contest hardly paled into significance within the ambience of one of the seven wonders of the world, and people will debate for a long time how Gaultier allowed five match points get away. His superbly gifted stroke-play dominated long periods of the match, and his performance was often even better than when he had dethroned world champion Amr Shabana and stunned the home crowd the night before. Gaultier was within two points of a straight games victory at 9-7 in the third, but when the climax came in the fourth game he was unable by the narrowest of margins to get past the big frame and endless guts of Palmer. One of the match points was saved by a slight mis-hit by Palmer, who flung himself about and took five spectacular tumbles in the process. A mixture of controversial and noisily contested refereeing decisions added to the dramatic cocktail But under pressure the former world champion continued to believed in himself, while at the end the 23-year-old eighth seed ran out of energy and, after an hour and 40 minutes, was no longer able to run the last few balls down. I have been telling myself that I m not really in Cairo, but back in my home town in Lithgow (New South Wales), said Palmer, when asked what he was thinking on all those match points. There is a mountain there and I tried to imagine I was doing just one more training run there with my dad. I tried to take the pressure off myself that way. Maybe Gregory deserved to win. He played a lot of the better squash, but I am proud of the way I gutted this out and won it, added Palmer. Gaultier led 8-3 and 10-6 in the fourth game, and drew Palmer into rallies in four of the five match points, often threatening to finish it off with the sudden sliced low drives which had cause his opponent such difficulty. But amidst an increasing series of collisions between the two men, the referee shrank from awarding penalty points, and amidst a series of lets, the match somehow slipped away from the Frenchman. Gaultier was already speechless with disappointment by the time the fifth game started, and was unable to utter a word afterwards. But his long-time coach Andre Delhoste gave his version of events. The referee (Nasser Zahran of Egypt) changed radically in the middle of the fourth game, he claimed. And the decisions were in Palmer s favor with no warning. It meant that the winners Gregory had been scoring on the backhand he couldn t get any more; it was either a stroke for Palmer or a no let. What was building to this were Gregory s backhand drop or volley drop and most of them had been winner sand he didn t have them any more. What he had to do was to understand he couldn t make all these winners and maybe play a little boast (a ball of the sidewall) or a long kill. But it all happened in three minutes. It was almost all over and he was getting tireder and tireder. You need to be very alert mentally and quickly change the pattern. But Palmer disagreed. He (Gaultier) was really standing on the ball tonight, he alleged. It was frustrating. Last night the referee was different. Now he was giving no lets and tonight I was really struggling to get around him. I didn t want to turn it into a physical match but I was getting no lets.