Natalie Grinham & Thierry
Lincou Win European Titles
the world No4 from the Netherlands, and Thierry Lincou, the world
No8 from France, have been crowned European Individual Champions
after first-time triumphs in the European Squash Federation event
Flemish Squash Center in
It was a long-awaited maiden
title success as a Dutch player for Natalie Grinham, the Queensland-born
31-year-old who became the first player ever to win three squash gold
medals in the Commonwealth Games in 2006 before becoming a Dutch
national at the beginning of last year.
Grinham recovered from a
game down to beat compatriot
the former world champion and world number one, 9-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-4
in 35 minutes.
"I made a few errors at the start,"
admitted Grinham afterwards. "First, itís all about getting used to the
court again, getting the feel of it, but also, Vanessa played very
well. I was a bit nervous, because I was out at the start of the year,
Iíve been ill, so Iím still not that confident, Iím coming back into it
"Also, Iím still not that
confident about the change of scoring. Before, I could be at 6-0 down,
I was pretty confident I could come back, whereas now, if you donít take
a good start, you are really in trouble.
"I still havenít won a world
title though, and this year itís in Holland so thatís something I really
want to achieve," Grinham added. "And I havenít decided yet when I want
to stop and try having kids. One thing I know, now is not the time, Iím
not ready for it yet, Iím too busy!"
The men's final was a repeat
of last year's all-French climax in which Gregory Gaultier beat
Thierry Lincou to win his fifth title in a row. But this year's meeting
- the pair's 21st since December 2004, with their head-to-head record
poised at ten-all - was to bring Gaultier's 29-match unbeaten run in the
event to an end when the 26-year-old from Aix-en-Provence was forced to
retire injured with the score standing at 12-10, 8-3 in Lincou's favour.
"This was a great week for
me - I was very keen to play here," said a delighted Lincou, the former
world champion and world number one from Marseille, afterwards. "Maybe
Greg wasnít as determined as I was today, and I was lucky in the final.
"But at 33, I havenít
retired - Iím still here - and for that, Iím happy. And Iím happy to
keep going a bit longer!"
Lincou & Atkinson Charge Into European Finals in
and French winners of the European Individual Squash Championships'
titles are assured after Thierry Lincou and
claimed unexpected places in the finals of the European Squash
Federation event at the expense of English opponents at the Flemish
Squash Center in
Frenchman Thierry Lincou, the former world champion and world number one
from Marseille, secured his first victory over world No6 Nick Matthew
for almost three years when he beat the second seed from Sheffield 6-11,
11-8, 11-4, 11-7 in 65 minutes.
"I hear that some people say that I donít attack enough, that my game
compared to the Egyptians is not as flamboyant, I donít play that many
nicks, that I play 'the old squash' way," explained Lincou
I do attack - another way, thatís all. And I think I probably showed it
today, by finding some good short game, by mixing the shots, high, low,
in the front, at the back - but still, as ever, itís my length that
saves me. Thatís where I win the match.
the first game, he was in total control of the T, so I forced myself to
take the ball earlier, to play faster, and I was lucky, all my shots
repeat of last year's final, 33-year-old Lincou will face national rival
Gregory Gaultier, the favourite from Aix-en-Provence who is now one step
away from winning the title for a sixth successive year. In a game
which also lasted more than an hour, the world number two beat Laurens
Jan Anjema, a 5/8 seed from the Netherlands, 5-11, 11-8, 11-1, 11-9.
men's final is sure to be a close-fought affair, with the French duo
poised on ten wins apiece in their career head-to-head tally!
Vanessa Atkinson, also a former world champion and world number one,
pulled off one of her best victories in recent times when she upset
world No7 Laura Lengthorn-Massaro, the No2 seed, 12-10, 11-9, 10-12,
11-5 in 44 minutes to reach the women's final for the first time since
winning the title in 2005.
nice to play well, and still be able to compete at that level," said the
Hague who is studying for an English Literature degree in Leeds,
England. "If I had lost today, I would have been disappointed, but
still happy I was able to compete at her level - itís nice to feel that
fire in the belly.
is a strong and fit player, she had some pretty good results lately.
Itís a good win. She is motivated, something Iím struggling with at the
moment," added Atkinson.
times Dutch National champion will now face her new national rival
Natalie Grinham, the former Australian who became a Dutch national last
year and is competing in the event for the first time. Favourite
France's 3/4 seed Isabelle Stoehr 15-13, 11-8, 11-6.
first game was crucial - especially for Isabelle, I think," said
Grinham, the world No4. "It was a big mental blow for her. Not so much
for me, fitness is not so much of a problem; I know she is recovering
from injury. Only thing, after winning that game, I was able to play
"Tomorrow, it will be a good day for
Netherlands - number one and number two playing in the final!"
Anjema Beats Barker To
Book Semi Slot in Belgium
Dutchman Laurens Jan
Anjema brings a surprise look to the semi-final line-up of the
European Individual Squash Championships after upsetting England's
3/4 seed Peter Barker in the men's quarter-finals of the
European Squash Federation event at the Flemish Squash Center
in Herentals, Belgium.
Anjema is back in action
after being forced to miss the European Team Championships at the
beginning of the month following an ankle injury. But the world No19
from The Hague was in stunning form against fellow left-hander Barker,
now ranked eight in the world, winning 11-9, 9-11, 11-2, 11-2 in 57
minutes to reach the semi-finals for the second successive year.
The four-time Dutch National
champion now faces favourite Gregory Gaultier, the world No2 from
France who is bidding to win the title for the sixth year in a row.
Gaultier, 26, from
Aix-en-Provence, was taken to four games by Englishman
before beating the 5/8 seed 11-4, 7-11, 11-4, 11-6.
English hopes for men's
success in Herentals now rest on the shoulders of second seed Nick
Matthew, the world No6 from Sheffield who defeated Frenchman
Renan Lavigne 11-4, 11-5, 15-13. The former British Open
champion will now renew his rivalry with another Frenchman Thierry
Lincou, the former world champion and world number one from
Lincou, runner-up twelve
months ago, ended Spanish interest in the event when he beat Borja
Golan 11-7, 11-5, 11-1.
The women's semi-final
line-up is the one predicted by the seedings - but Dutch favourite
Natalie Grinham, the world No4, had to battle for 45 minutes to
overcome 5/8 seed Camille Serme, the 20-year-old from France
ranked 30 places lower. Grinham ultimately prevailed 11-8, 11-9, 9-11,
11-7 to set up a meeting with a further French opponent Isabelle
Defending champion Stoehr
ended the giant-killing run of tournament organiser Kim Hannes,
the 9/16 seed from Belgium who claimed an unexpected quarter-final berth
following her second round upset over 5/8 seed Orla Noom.
But Stoehr, the 11 times
French national champion, was too strong for Belgian champion
Hannes, winning 11-0, 11-4, 11-8 in just 18 minutes.
The prospect of an all-Dutch
final was kept alive when former world champion
beat Italian Manuela Manetta 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10. The 3/4
seed from The Hague will now face England's No2 seed Laura
Lengthorn-Massaro, who needed just 20 minutes to overcome Dutch
opponent Annelize Naude 11-8, 11-3, 11-6.
Gaultier Sets Off On
Super Six Sortie in Belgium
Gaultier marked up his 26th successive match victory in the
European Individual Squash Championships as he began his bid to win
a sixth men's title in a row in the European Squash Federation
event at the
Flemish Squash Center
The 26-year-old world number
two from Aix-en-Provence despatched Russian qualifier Valery Litvinko
11-3, 11-2, 11-6 to set up a second round clash with Rasmus Nielsen,
a 9/16 seed from Denmark who beat Czech teenager Petr Martin
11-4, 13-11, 11-3.
Top seed Gaultier is
expected to meet English rival Nick Matthew in Saturday's final.
The second seed from Sheffield, a quarter-finalist two years ago, beat
Belgian qualifier Mats Raemen 11-2, 11-3, 11-5 and will now face
Austrian number one Aqeel Rehman for a place in the
Whilst there were no
surprises in the men's competition, there was domestic delight in the
women's event when tournament organiser Kim Hannes pulled off a
notable upset over 5/8 seed Orla Noom to claim an unexpected
place in the quarter-finals.
The 30-year-old nine-time
Belgian champion, a runner-up in the European Junior Championships 12
years ago, defeated Noom, ranked 41 in the world, 11-4, 11-6, 11-1.
Hannes will now face 11-time French national champion Isabelle Stoehr,
the defending champion, for a place in the last four.
Top seed Natalie Grinham,
the former Australian looking to win her first squash title since
becoming a Dutch national 15 months ago, beat Maud Duplomb 11-4,
11-9, 11-3 and will now take on a second French opponent Camille
Serme for a place in the semi-finals.
Serme, a 5/8 seed and a
record three-time winner of the European Junior Championship crown,
avenged her defeat by England's Victoria Lust in the Welsh
Open in January by defeating the former British Junior champion
11-4, 11-6, 11-4.