Bermuda Masters 2005
Power Claims Masters Hat-Trick In Bermuda
Jonathon Power confounded majority opinion in Bermuda with a straight
games upset over England's Lee Beachill in the final of the Virtual
Spectator Bermuda PSA Masters, presented by Logic and hosted by
Endurance, to secure his third Masters title at the Jessie Vesey Sports
Centre in Hamilton.
While the world No3 from Pontefract in Yorkshire had waltzed through the
$120,000 PSA Super Series event dropping only one game in the process,
Power had fought three five-game marathons against Gregory Gaultier,
Thierry Lincou and John White - battles lasting a total of 257 minutes!
And to all but the most ardent optimist, there was no doubt in
anybody's mind that Beachill would be far too fresh and far too sharp
for the mercurial Canadian.
From the very start, however, the rigours of the early rounds did not
seem to have made a significant impact on Power's speed and movement.
Indeed it was second seed Beachill who looked somewhat nervous and
flat, making a number of unnecessary errors in the first and handing the
initiative straight to Power, the sixth seed.
In marked contrast to his semi-final, the Canadian looked calm, assured
and determined, shunning his trade-mark verbal jousts with the referee.
Yet in truth he rarely needed to, so clean and clinical was the quality
of his squash. Having looked so dominant in his semi-final against
compatriot Peter Nicol, Beachill was a rabbit caught in the headlights
of Power's Humvee, and his usual brand of tight, conventional squash was
simply not the order of the day. Playing continually up and down the
walls and refusing to force the issue, Beachill was playing palpably
into Power's hands.
Never able to gain a foothold in the match, the Englishman looked
increasingly tetchy and began to lose his customary ice-cool temperament
while Power moved in for the kill, racing to an 8-0 lead in the third
Beachill did try to stick in there by slowing the pace, playing deep and
cutting down the errors. In the end, however, there really was only
going to be one winner - and 30-year-old Power's 11-7 11-4 11-2 triumph
in 48 minutes made him an enormously deserving one at that.
The win, his second PSA Tour success this year and revenge for his
defeat by Beachill in the 2004 event, brings Jonathon Power's career
haul to 35 titles, from 58 final appearances. It also brings him a
hat-trick of PSA Masters' crowns, after winning the 2001 title in
Hurghada, Egypt, and the 2002 trophy in Doha, Qatar.
Jonathon Power & Lee Beachill
To Meet In Bermuda Final
Jonathon Power and Lee Beachill will meet
in the final of the Virtual Spectator Bermuda PSA Masters after the
sixth-seeded Canadian toppled Scotland's John White in a dramatic
five-game marathon and Beachill breezed to a straight games win over
England team-mate Peter Nicol in the other semi-final of the $120,000
PSA Super Series squash event, presented by Logic and hosted by
Endurance, at the Jessie Vesey Sports Centre in Hamilton, Bermuda.
The Power/White encounter encapsulated all the intensity, speed and
excitement of top-class squash. The clash of the game's two most
exciting stroke-players was eagerly awaited by the near capacity crowd -
and right from the beginning, the quality of the squash did not fall
short of such massive expectations. Both players were coming off
brutal, five-game quarter-final encounters - although both looked fresh
and determined at the outset.
The gifted Canadian was first out of the blocks, however, stunning White
with a number of delightful back-hand drops and clever deception to take
the first game. The trend continued for much of the second, as White's
perennial inconsistency seemed to come back to haunt him following a
number of unnecessary tins under little pressure. At 4-10 down, the
31-year-old Scot was up against it, and it was only through sheer will
power and a critical lapse in concentration which has undermined the
Canadian throughout his entire career, that kept White in the game.
What followed was a number of jaw-dropping rallies, with both players
wowing the crowd with their speed and movement. White levelled the game
at 10-10 with a rolling forehand volley nick, before claiming his first
game point in the tie-break. But a sloppy backhand error let sixth seed
Power off the hook and the players swapped serves several times to leave
it at 3-3 in the tie-break. Back came White, however, stepping up the
court when he had to take the ball early and work Power out of position
- a tactic which paid off handsomely as he claimed the tie-break 5-3 to
level the match.
Power, 30, from Montreal, won the third game as a number of close
refereeing decisions threw White off his concentration. But the 12th
seed was back to his best in the fourth, taking the game 2-0 on a
tiebreak with a drilled forehand drive to the back, with Power smashing
his racquet angrily against the glass in frustration at having let the
Neither player had enjoyed a straightforward route through the
tournament - White having played three successive matches each longer
than an hour - and it was impossible to tell who would have enough gas
in the tank for the crucial decider. But despite being in his third
five-game match in a row, Power threw himself into the last like a man
possessed, dominating play from the centre of the court, and pouncing on
anything remotely short from White. Although he tried manfully, the
Aussie-turned Scotsman's lunges were looking increasingly desperate and
his length, particularly cross-court, began to falter.
Power ultimately took the match 11-5 10-11 11-8 10-11 11-4 in 89
minutes, punching the air in triumph as White lay prostrate on the
ground in the back forehand corner, every last ounce of his energy used
It was Power's first PSA Tour win over White since beating him on the
same court in the Bermuda Open in March last year - since when the Scot
has twice had the measure of the Canadian.
In the second semi-final, Lee Beachill gave his great rival and friend
Peter Nicol a lesson in precision squash - taking the match comfortably
11-9 11-6 11-8 in 47 minutes. Rarely could Beachill have played as well
as he did in the first, pushing his illustrious opponent to all parts of
the court with squash which could not have been any tighter. Nicol, as
he has done for the past decade at the top level, gamely chased down
every ball and continually took the pressure off with a number of
But Beachill was in a world of his own, looking every inch a Masters
champion in the making. Even at the start of the second, as Nicol
rallied briefly, it was clear that the rigours of the first game had
sapped him of the requisite strength.
Beachill continued to be ruthless, keeping Nicol pinned behind him and
forcing him to scramble around in the back corners. In truth, the match
never really caught fire and the man from Pontefract ran away with the
second and third to repeat his last victory over Nicol in the US Open in
September - by an almost identical straight games scoreline.
Power and Beachill will therefore face each other in the final - the
Englishman now in his 13th on the PSA Tour and the Canadian celebrating
his 58th. Beachill has looked imperious throughout the week, dropping
only one game so far. Power, by contrast, his been pushed to the limit
of his physical capacity in all but one round. Whether the greatest
ever North American player, believed by many to be one of the finest
stroke players in the history of the game, has enough left to challenge
the flying Yorkshireman remains to be seen. Their last meeting was in
the PSA Masters just a year ago in Qatar - where Beachill secured his
first ever win over the former world No1.
Draw and Results
Wild Card Kye
Power upsets Lincou
Quarter-final win for Power over World Champion Lincou in marathon
takes a game but White comes back against Palmer in the second
round and is then unstoppable.
Nicol makes a
good start with first round win over Hindi on second day.
through in five against Gough in first round
Local hope Nicholas
Kyme pushes Thierry Lincou into a third game tie-break in the
4-9 April, Bermuda, $120k
 Thierry Lincou (FRA)
11-3, 11-7, 11-10 (3-1)
Nicholas Kyme (BER)
6-11, 11-7, 11-10 (2-0) 11-3 (53m)
9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8 (96m)
(3-5), 11-8, 10-11 (0-2), 11-4 (89m)
11-7, 11-4, 11-2
 Amr Shabana (EGY)
11-7, 11-7, 11-8
Renan Lavigne (FRA)
 Jonathon Power (CAN)
11-2, 11-2, 11-7
Mark Chaloner (ENG)
10-11 (0-2), 11-1, 5-11, 11-3, 11-2
 Gregory Gaultier
11-4, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7
Simon Parke (ENG)
 David Palmer (AUS)
11-6, 11-2, 11-1
Paul Price (AUS)
7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6 (68m)
9-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-9, 8-11, 11-8
 John White (SCO)
9-11, 11-5, 11-6, 8-11, 12-10
Alex Gough (WAL)
 Nick Matthew (ENG)
11-8, 11-4, 11-4
Shahid Zaman (PAK)
11-8, 11-9, 11-9 (72m)
Ong Beng Hee
 Mohammed Abbas
11-8, 11-3, 8-11, 11-2
Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
 Anthony Ricketts
11-6, 11-6, 11-4 (44m)
Shahier Razik (CAN)
11-6, 11-8, 7-11, 3-11, 11-8 (97m)
11-5, 10-11 (1-3), 11-4, 11-3 (50m)
11-9, 11-6, 11-8
 James Willstrop
7-11, 11-10 (4-2), 11-6, 11-10 (4-2) (64m)
Rodney Durbach (RSA)
 Adrian Grant (ENG)
11-9, 11-9, 2-11, 11-6 (62m)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar
11-10 (3-1), 11-5, 11-9 (45m)
 Peter Nicol (ENG)
11-8, 11-3, 11-6 (39m)
Wael El Hindi (EGY)
 Joseph Kneipp (Aus)
11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (27m)
Olli Tuominen (FIN)
11-5, 11-5, 11-7 (37m)
7-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-9 (54m)
[ Karim Darwish (EGY)
11-6, 11-10 (2-0), 11-3 (39m)
Dan Jenson (AUS)
 Graham Ryding (CAN)
8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 (46m)
Mansoor Zaman (PAK)
11-4, 11-7, 11-2 (40m)
 Lee Beachill (ENG)
11-3, 11-4, 11-6 (30m)
Bradley Ball (ENG)
Controls World No1 Lincou
To Reach Bermuda Semis
"Squash at its best" was how one observer described the dramatic
quarter-final in the Virtual Spectator Bermuda PSA Masters between sixth
seed Jonathon Power and top seed Thierry Lincou - in which the mercurial
Canadian prevailed in a five-game marathon to upset the French world
number one and world champion to reach an unexpected semi-final berth on
the all-glass court at the Jessie Vesey Sports Centre in Hamilton,
In a remarkable semi-final line-up of the $120,000 PSA Super Series
event presented by Logic and hosted by Endurance which features four
former world number ones, Power will face Scotland's 12th seed John
White, whilst second seed Lee Beachill will take on third seed Peter
Nicol in an all-English affair.
The Power/Lincou clash promised to be spectacular and more than lived up
to its name. The match started at a slow pace, with both players making
uncharacteristic unforced errors, trying to play the tightest of shots
from the outset. The first game remained close to 9-9 until Lincou
rattled off two points to take a 1/0 lead.
The pace picked up in the second with Power showing his amazing array of
deceptive shots which caused even the world champion to be constantly
changing direction. At seven-all it was anyone's game until Power
reeled off four unanswered points to level the match at one game each.
From the third game on, the quality of squash was superb - with neither
player giving any quarter. Power continued to demonstrate why he is
considered one of the greatest stroke players in the modern game and
soon moved into a 2/1 lead. But Lincou, chasing every ball and playing
superbly, seized the initiative in the fourth and won a closely-fought
duel to set the scene for a fifth game thriller. If the first four
games were hot, the fifth was a sizzler!
Both gave it their all and constantly fought to dominate the tee. Power
had been questioning the referee's decisions from the third game, always
in the belief that he can retrieve every shot, no matter how impossible
- and even Lincou started to question decisions in the final game. It
was clear that both badly wanted to claim victory and the game
progressed absolutely evenly.
At three-all, Power was accidentally struck on the right wrist by
Lincou's racket and took an injury time out - much to the consternation
of his opponent. When play resumed they went straight back into the
fray until seven-all. The next rally was unbelievable and had the
audience on edge while each player put away irretrievable winners only
to see them returned with interest. A perfect back hand drop shot by
Power forced Lincou into the front left corner where he played a cross
court lob, only to have Power hammer an overhead smash into the front
right nick to end the rally - and raise his racket as if victory was in
But the match was not quite over. During the next rally Power flinched
when struck in the face by Lincou's racket but went on to win the point
before claiming a second injury time out to stop the bleeding to his
When they finally returned to the court, Lincou took the next point.
But Power was not to be denied and he put away the last two points to
take the game and the match 9-11 11-7 11-6 9-11 11-8 after a gruelling
96 minutes on court.
The last time the pair met, in the quarter-finals of the Windy City Open
in January, Power beat the Frenchman to set up a semi-final meeting with
John White. The Canadian will hope, however, that history will not be
repeated in Hamilton - as White defeated Power in Chicago en-route to
picking up the title.
Both players will clash following almost identical quarter-final
workouts - as White needed a minute more than Power to see off England's
Nick Matthew in the next match on the all-glass court.
Seventh seed Matthew won the first game after being given a conduct
warning with the score at 3-3 when he continued to argue with the
referee after what he considered to be a dubious let call. White, the
12th seed, was visibly playing himself back into form, as he has
throughout the tournament, and won the next two games before Matthew,
tenaciously chasing down every ball, took the fourth to force the match
into a decider.
There was no telling who would triumph as they each vied for the lead,
but White suddenly decided to play a series of devastating drop shots as
Matthew perhaps showed slight signs of slowing down. The Scot
ultimately took the fifth game to win the match 9-11 11-10 11-9 8-11
11-8 in 97 minutes.
The rigours of James Willstrop's epic 96-minute encounter the previous
day against Australia's Anthony Ricketts were clearly evident as he
faced fellow Englishman Peter Nicol in the next quarter-final.
Nicol, by contrast, looked sharp and fresh in the first game, pushing
Willstrop from corner to corner and generally looking the more
aggressive. In the second, Willstrop started to get it together - more
by sheer will power than anything else - and what followed was a
spectacular exhibition of athletic squash. One rally in particular -
won by Willstrop, which saw both players at full stretch and included a
full-length dive by Nicol at the back of the court to stay in the rally
- will live long in the memory. As Willstrop clinched the tie-break
game with a delicate forehand drop-shot into the nick, the enthusiastic
crowd could have been forgiven for thinking they had a serious game on
But the wily Nicol had other ideas in the third, retrieving with grim
determination and stubbornly refusing to concede the centre of the
court. As hard as fifth seed Willstrop tried, his legs were simply not
there and by the end, his shoulders slumped with sheer fatigue, it was
clear Nicol had it in the bag as he eventually wore down a willing but
tired-looking England team-mate 11-5 10-11 11-4 11-3.
The final match of the day was a rather flat affair between England's
Lee Beachill and Karim Darwish of Egypt - with the world number two
Beachill taking the game in four 7-11 11-7 11-7 11-9.
White Knocks Out Palmer
Scotland's John White caused the major
sensation of the second round of the Virtual Spectator Bermuda PSA
Masters when he despatched Bermuda-based Australian David Palmer, the
fourth seed, in four games to secure an unexpected place in the
quarter-finals of the $120,000 PSA Super Series squash event, presented
by Logic and hosted by Endurance, in Hamilton, Bermuda.
The later victory by England's James Willstrop over the in-form Anthony
Ricketts - in a five-game 97-minute marathon - will leave the last eight
of one of the PSA Tour's leading events of the year lacking any
Australian interest for the first time for four years.
The clash between Palmer and White, the Australian-born 12th seed, was
expected to be an exceptionally tough match between two aggressive
hard-hitting players - with Palmer, runner-up twelve months ago, strong
favourite to win on adopted home soil. The Australian started
strongly, playing error-free squash, and appeared to be on course for
victory as he took four straight points to win the opening game in 20
The two continued to play at a blistering pace in the second game.
White soon levelled the match and in the third hit a higher gear,
winning seven points in a row while Palmer seemed to ease back and lose
his edge. The Scot never looked in any danger for the rest of the
match, taking control of the third with a series of blistering nicks in
the front right corner and looking more and more confident with each
Palmer looked physically out of sorts and resorted to arguing with the
referee over calls which even his partisan supporters in the audience
would not have disputed. It was a clear sign of frustration and it was
no surprise when White again surged ahead in the fourth and ultimately
clinched the match 7-11 11-9 11-4 11-6 in 68 minutes.
White's next opponent will be England's seventh seed Nick Matthew who,
in his first PSA Tour event since withdrawing from last month's Kuwait
Open with a back injury, needed 72 minutes to overcome Malaysia's Ong
Beng Hee 11-8 11-9 11-9.
All who witnessed the second round match between Anthony Ricketts and
James Willstrop - currently ranked seven and eight, respectively, in the
world - agree that it not only lived up to all expectations but it also
proved to be the match of the tournament so far. A thriller from start
to finish, this 97-minute marathon saw 21-year-old Willstrop, the fifth
seed, play brilliantly for the first two games, constantly playing to an
immaculate length and simply making no mistakes on a court where
patience was a necessity.
Ricketts, the 11th seed, fought back valiantly to win the third and
appeared to have finally found the measure of Willstrop when he also
cruised through the fourth. But, in the decider, Willstrop showed that
he has both the willpower and wherewithal to dig deep when it is most
needed, and fought to the finish to emerge the victor 11-6 11-8 7-11
In the last eight, Willstrop will face his England team-mate Peter
Nicol, the defending PSA Masters champion who also won the title in
2000, the event's inaugural year.
Nicol simply outclassed his young adversary Mohd Azlan Iskandar in
straight games. While the Malaysian pushed hard in the first, forcing
Nicol into some uncharacteristic errors at the front of the court, the
impression was very much that the title-holder was biding his time.
And so it was in the second, as third seed Nicol markedly upped the
tempo, taking the ball earlier and forcing Iskandar back into the
corners, before bringing him scrambling forward with a number of
delicate drops. It was not long before the pressure began to tell, with
Iskandar tinning a number of relatively straightforward shots in quick
succession before Nicol strode to his 11-10 11-5 11-9 win in 45 minutes.
Top seed Thierry Lincou, the world No1 from France, made a series of
uncharacteristic unforced errors in the early stages of his match
against Amr Shabana. The left-handed Egyptian, one of the most exciting
players on the tour, played with consummate grace and elegance -
constantly wrong-footing Lincou. Shabana won the first game and
continued to look impressive in the second, but Lincou suddenly took
charge, playing to an immaculate length, and the positions were
reversed. Shabana was doing most of the running and Lincou refused to
relinquish the tee.
Despite a determined effort by Shabana in the third game to force a tie
breaker, Lincou took the next three games to win 6-11 11-7 11-10 11-3 in
Lincou will now face Jonathon Power, the sixth-seeded Canadian who
needed 72 minutes to overcome Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the ninth
seed, 10-11 11-1 5-11 11-3 11-2.
In the final match of the night, second seed Lee Beachill looked in
ruthless form against the dogged Canadian Graham Ryding. Moving
languidly around the court, Beachill's length was immaculate throughout
the 40 minutes as he set about patiently dismantling Ryding's game.
While a large Canadian contingent in the crowd tried hard to get behind
their man, Ryding was never able to break the Englishman's stranglehold
on the match.
The world number two's 11-4 11-7 11-2 victory takes Beachill into a
quarter-final against Egyptian Karim Darwish. Darwish dashed Olli
Tuominen's hopes of further progress in the event, beating the unseeded
Finn 11-5 11-5 11-7 in 32 minutes.
ROUND 1: Day 2
Olli & Azlan Celebrate Upsets
Unseeded Olli Tuominen and Mohd Azlan Iskandar claimed notable upsets on
the second day of first round action in the Virtual Spectator Bermuda
PSA Masters to secure places in the last sixteen of the $120,000 PSA
Super Series squash event presented by Logic and hosted by Endurance at
the Jessie Vesey Sports Centre in Hamilton, Bermuda.
Tuominen, the fighting Finn from Helsinki, despatched 15th seed Joseph
Kneipp, the world No14 from Australia, 11-6 11-4 11-5 in 27 minutes to
set up a second round clash with Egypt's eighth seed Karim Darwish, the
11-6 11-10 11-3 victor over another Australian Dan Jenson.
In their last two meetings on the PSA Tour last year (in the German Open
and Hong Kong Open), Iskandar extended Adrian Grant to five games, but
was unable to beat the higher-ranked Englishman. Now ranked 18 in the
world, the Malaysian this time had the edge on the left-hander from
London, beating 14th seed Grant 11-9 11-9 2-11 11-6 in 62 minutes.
Sarawak-born Iskandar, 22, now has another Englishman in his sights:
Peter Nicol, the former world No1, celebrated his 32nd birthday in fine
style, beating Egypt's Wael El Hindi in straight games.
Any doubts about Nicol's intentions were dispelled by his 39-minute
match over the unseeded Egyptian who, the pundits were predicting, might
pull off a first round upset over the third seed. Hindi started
positively, playing aggressive attacking shots on a hot humid court, but
Nicol had all the answers. The first game stood at 8-all before Nicol
took complete control and won the next three points in quick succession.
The former Scot stormed through the second game, during which he
dispatched the ball to all corners of the court almost at leisure.
Left-hander Nicol was simply stronger in every element of the game, but
his most effective weapon was a series of front wall drop shots which
consistently hit the nick for at least a dozen outright winners.
Nicol's 11-8 11-3 11-6 win may have sent a slight shiver through some of
the other players in his half of the draw - with the possible exception
of last year's Bermuda Open winner Lee Beachill, who systematically
despatched fellow Englishman Bradley Ball in just 30 minutes, 11-3
11-4 11-6. Ball has lots of power, but he paid the price for costly
unforced errors against a man who seldom made mistakes and practically
camped out on the tee.
In the toughest match of the day, England's James Willstrop defeated
South African Rodney Durbach in a close encounter after losing the first
game. Willstrop, the fifth seed who eventually triumphed 7-11 11-10
11-6 11-10, may rue the 64-minute match when he meets Anthony Ricketts
in the next round. The Australian cruised to a comfortable 11-6 11-6
11-4 win over Shahier Razik of Canada.
In other action, Canadian Graham Ryding lost the first game but managed
to pip Pakistan's Mansoor Zaman at the post in each of the next three
games to take the match 8-11 11-9 11-9 11-9 in 46 minutes.
ROUND 1: Day 1
WHITE PREVAILS IN
Aussie turned Scotsman John White got the tournament off to a truly
sensational start on the beautiful island of Bermuda yesterday with a
narrow five game win over Welshman Alex Gough - a match overflowing with
tension and excitement.
On a hot and bouncy court, both players stretched themselves to the very
limit of their ability - thrilling the crowd with a bewildering
succession of lightning fast rallies and remarkable gets. White was
consistently the aggressor, using his rubbery wrists and incomparable
power to dominate the majority of rallies from the center of the court
as Gough, ever the willing workhorse, strained every sinew to stay with
his talented opponent.
Occasional lapses in concentration on White's part kept Gough in the
match, and it was two needless tins at the end of the first that handed
the Welshman the early initiative. White stormed back in the second,
however, taking it 11-5 in a matter of minutes following a wonderful
attacking display to which Gough had no answer. And with the third game
also comfortably in the bag and his opponent sucking heavily on the
humid air, it looked for all the world that White would emerge a
But back came Gough in the fourth, refusing to meekly wilt on a court
where the temperature touched 80 degrees Fahrenheit - although again
White's sloppy errors at crucial moments cost him dear.
The decider was an absolute humdinger as both players ran down every
ball, stubbornly declining to concede the initiative. Gough had match
ball at 10-9 but was unable to convert - an untimely framed error which
opened the door ever so slightly for White, who claimed match ball at
11-10. A lethal forehand kill into the front-corner finished the
absorbing encounter, with White no doubt grateful that he now has a day
off to recover.
By contrast, the second match in the afternoon session involving the
Australian duo of Paul Price and David Palmer was significantly more
Palmer, a Bermuda resident and clearly anxious to impress squash fans in
his adopted home, strode onto the court exuding confidence and
self-belief. The same could not be said for his opponent, however, who
due to a number of other commitments, including a burgeoning career as a
musician, had not been involved in a competitive match since November.
Unfortunately, it showed, as Palmer swept aside the former world number
four in a little over 20 minutes. Palmer will need every drop of that
saved energy in a mouth-watering second round encounter with his friend
and rival John White on Wednesday.
The evening session saw the local fans out in force as Bermudian
national champion Nick Kyme took center stage against world number one,
Thierry Lincou of France.
Despite a noisy partisan support, the world number 84 looked a little on
edge in the opening exchanges, snatching a little at his shots when
under pressure from the impressively mobile Frenchman. Lincou took the
first 11-3 and looked to be cruising to victory in the second, taking it
But against all the odds, the 24-year old Bermudian began putting it
together in the third as Lincou took his foot ever-so-slightly off the
gas. At 10-9, Kyme found himself match ball down, but hung on bravely to
level the game and even command a game point. It was not to be, however,
as Lincou effortlessly clicked through the gears in the face of the
spirited resistance to take the third 11-10 (3-1).
In the final match of the night, the highly-talented Amr Shabana of
Egypt swept aside Renan Lavigne of France in three straightforward games
(11-7, 11-7, 11-8) - with Shabana rarely looking under pressure.
Meanwhile at Bermuda Squash Racquets Association headquarters on the
other side of island, Canadian Jonathan Power was at his mercurial best
against Mark Chaloner of England. Imperious throughout, Power made a
good player in Chaloner look ordinary with his mesmerising speed and
deception. It was simply the best 31 minutes squash you are ever likely
to see as Power took the match 11-2, 11-2, 11-7.
Meanwhile, after months of poor form, Ong Beng Hee secured an
encouraging four-game victory over the Egyptian Mohammed Abbas, 11-8,
11-3, 8-11, 11-2.
Bermuda Open 2004 semi-finalist Nick Matthew of England defeated Shahid
Zaman of Pakistan 11-8, 11-4, 11-4.
And Frenchman Gregory Gaultier beat Simon Parke of England in a grueling
71 minute, four-game encounter 11-4, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7.
Bermuda 'Buzzing With Excitement' At
Arrival Of World's Top Squash Players
Squash fans around the world will be focused on the tiny city of
Hamilton in Bermuda this week as all of the world's top 31 squash
players have arrived on this semi-tropical mid-ocean paradise for the
2005 Virtual Spectator Bermuda PSA Masters, presented by Logic and
hosted by Endurance.
More than 140 volunteers have been working around the clock to complete
final preparations on the 600-seat auditorium housing the specially
imported all-glass court.
"Although Bermuda's total population is less than 60,000, the Island is
buzzing with excitement at the prospect of seeing the world's finest
players from five continents battling it out for the prestigious Masters
Championship," said Tournament Director Ross Triffitt.
A wildly enthusiastic packed house is expected for the opening match of
the week between world No1 Thierry Lincou, of France, and local
wild-card favourite, Nicholas Kyme, currently ranked 68 in the world.
Kyme, the national champion, will surely have a baptism of fire against
the world champion - but if he falls in round one, local fans will
quickly change their allegiance to Bermuda resident David Palmer, the
Australian world No2 who is determined to perform well in front of his
adopted home crowd.
The auditorium is replete with high quality technology offering
web-streaming of matches via the internet on the PSA's website
www.PSALIVE.tv - while title sponsors Virtual Spectator are testing
their own cutting edge technology on site. Most matches are scheduled
between 12 noon and 2.30pm Bermuda time (one hour ahead of EST), and
from 6pm to 8.30pm daily.
Predicting a winner of this year's $120,000 PSA Masters, the second
Super Series event of the year, is a risky business - with any one of
the top 10 capable of taking the title. But Lincou has to be the
favourite by a whisker, with superfit Australian Anthony Ricketts; along
with last year's winner of the Bermuda Open 2004, Englishman Lee
Beachill; brilliant Canadian Jonathon Power; and Bermuda-based David
Palmer all strong contenders for the top spot.
Triffitt added: "The stage is now set for the biggest and best sporting
event ever held in Bermuda. Our team of volunteers has done a superb
job preparing the venue from scratch and all the players have arrived
from all corners of the globe. Even the weather seems to be cooperating
as the forecast for this week is clear and sunny. We look forward to a
superb week of squash."
Wild Card Kyme Gets Toughest
Bermuda Masters Draw
Bermuda's National champion Nicholas Kyme, awarded a wild card in Virtual Spectator Bermuda PSA Masters Squash Championship, finds
himself facing top seed Thierry Lincou, the world No1 from France.
The $120,000 PSA Super Series Platinum event, presented by Logic &
hosted by Endurance, will be staged on an all-glass court at the Jessey
Vesey Sports Centre in Hamilton from 4-9 April - featuring the world's
top 31 players.
It is the first time in the event's six-year history that the event has
welcomed a 'wild card' player - an honour which Kyme, ranked 68 in the
world, is determined to do justice.
"I'm absolutely ecstatic about the wild card - what a fantastic
opportunity!" said the 24-year-old who won the Bermuda National title in
February. "To be the first player outside the world's top 32 to play in
this tournament is a dream come true and makes all the training and the
hard work seem worthwhile.
"I'd like to pay tribute to the Bermuda Squash Racquets Association
(BSRA) for all their efforts towards making this opportunity possible.
To be able to play in the largest professional squash tournament in the
world bar the World Open, in front of my own countrymen on the island of
my birth - well, it's pretty special."
Ross Triffitt, Director of Bermuda Squash, said Kyme "fully deserved"
the wild card slot: "Nick is the best Bermudian squash player ever and
is a product of our thriving junior programme," he said. "He's been a
professional for close to two years now and we are starting to see signs
of genuine progress in his game. He earned the wild card at the
inaugural Bermuda Open in 2004 and acquitted himself admirably against
Peter Nicol, losing in three well-contested games. I'm confident Nick
learnt a great deal from that experience and, coupled with the
improvements in his game over the last year, will be more than capable
of holding his own in the main draw. I wish him the very best of luck."
This is the first time the PSA Masters has been held in the western
world since its inception in 2000 (it has previously been held in Egypt
and in Qatar), and it brings to Bermuda the world's best players from 11
countries and 5 continents.
England's Lee Beachill, the world No2 from Yorkshire who won the Bermuda
Open last year, is the No2 seed and drawn to face compatriot Bradley
Ball in the first round. Third seed Peter Nicol, the former world No1,
is also in the lower half of the draw and expected to meet compatriot
Beachill in the semi-finals.
Australia's David Palmer, last year's runner-up who has a base in
Bermuda, is the fourth seed and drawn to meet fellow Australian Paul
Price in the first round. His anticipated semi-final opponent is French
There will also be a number of additional events taking place at around
the same time as the PSA Masters, including the Bank of Bermuda
Foundation Junior Open 2005, to attract overseas juniors, along with the
Bermuda Open Graded Championships, specially-designed to attract
overseas amateurs to visit the Island and compete in a tournament while
also being able to watch the world's best in action.
Bermuda is one of the most isolated and beautiful places on earth,
approximately 650 miles off the coast of North Carolina, USA, and just
over 3,000 miles from London, England. In travel time, Bermuda is just
over two hours from most US East Coast gateways, two and a half hours
from Toronto, Canada, and six hours from London.