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Lincou Celebrates Early Birthday Present In Canada

Bluenose Classic 2012
26-31 Mar, Halifax, Nova Scotia, $55k
Round One
28 Mar
29 Mar
30 Mar
31 Mar
[1] Amr Shabana (Egy)
11-9, 12-10, 11-4 (33m)
[Q] Chris Simpson (Eng)
 Amr Shabana
6/11, 11/8, 11/6, 11/9 (48m)
Thierry Lincou
Thierry Lincou
12/10, 11/5, 11/5 (36m)
Hisham Ashour
Thierry Lincou
9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4 (92m)
Daryl Selby
Thierry Lincou (Fra)
11-2, 11-9, 11-4 (30m)
Martin Knight (Nzl)
Steve Coppinger (Rsa)
11-6, 11-8, 11-2 (31m)
Andrew Schnell (Can)
Steve Coppinger
11/8, 11/9, 6/11, 11/6 (52m)
Hisham Ashour
Shahier Razik (Can)
 11-3, 11-4, 2-0 ret (20m)
[3] Hisham Ashour (Egy)
[4] Daryl Selby (Eng)
11-6, 11-3, 11-8 (40m)
[Q] Cesar Salazar (Mex)
Daryl Selby
 11/6, 11/7, 11/7 (56m)
Borja Golan
Daryl Selby
11/7, 11/8, 11/7 (53m)
Laurens Jan Anjema
Borja Golan (Esp)
11-5, 11-4, 11-7 (42m)
[Q] Jan Koukal (Cze)
Julian Illingworth (Usa)
11-2, 9-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-8 (69m)
[Q] Shawn Delierre (Can)
Julian Illingworth
11/4, 13/11, 11/7 (38m) 
Laurens Jan Anjema
Cameron Pilley (Aus)
11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8 (63m)
[2] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)

Lincou Celebrates Early Birthday Present In Canada

Just two days before his 36th birthday, unseeded Frenchman Thierry Lincou emphatically showed what a major force he still is after upsetting fourth seed Daryl Selby in a marathon Bluenose Squash Classic final to win the PSA World Tour International 50 event at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The pair had met four times previously, with Englishman Selby losing the first three but winning their most recent encounter last month at the Swedish Open.

It was also a repeat of the 2010 final in which Lincou, then ranked higher than Selby, edged to a four-game victory.

Both players had reached the climax after notable upsets, world No12 Lincou over Egyptian favourite Amr Shabana, the world No6, and Selby over second-seeded Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema, ranked nine in the world.

It was the biggest Tour final of Selby's career - and the 29-year-old world No11 from Essex came back from behind in the first game to take an early lead.

But, to the sheer delight of the packed crowd, the match ebbed to and fro - with Lincou drawing level after the second and the next two games shared, leading the contest into a fifth game decider.

"Down 7-2, the crowd began egging Daryl on, but it was becoming clear that Lincou's earlier attacking work was having its desired effect in slowing Selby down," explained tournament spokesman Jeff Cullis. "But Selby would never stop trying, making four or five back-wall returns as Lincou pinned him in the back court before taking the point on an unreasonably short backhand drop.

"Selby then hit a beautiful backhand drop from the back court into the straight nick to make it 8-4. From here it was all Lincou, however, as Selby found tin twice on tired shots to end the game 11-4 after 92 minutes. The crowd were again on their feet, showing their thanks for a spectacular final match."

Selby was quick to sum up the match on Twitter: "Well I take my hat off to the legend Thierry Lincou. He played perfect squash in the fourth and fifth when I thought he was dead on his feet.

"I couldn't have played too much better and definitely couldn't have given any more. I am proud to play in that type of match.

"And the crowd were just immense tonight! Unbelievable atmosphere and the people in Halifax are just amazing. What a tournament!"

Lincou, whose remarkable PSA Tour record now reads '44 final appearances and 23 titles', was delighted to have successfully defended his 2010 title after being forced to miss last year's event through injury.

"I am delighted with my performance this week - I had some meaningful wins and I felt really sharp," said the former world number one and world champion, who arrived in Halifax after reaching last week's final of the Open de Squash Banque Nationale Groupe Financier in Montreal.

"I think that my form was due for some part to the four big matches in Montreal in hard conditions (bouncy panel courts). It really strengthened my fitness and my mental focus.

"After a poor beginning of the year, I really found my way back, my determination, my fitness and the desire of winning. This was a sweet victory two years after my last one - which was also in Halifax!!

"I am a happy man - and it's a great early birthday present, as I am 36 in two days!"

Selby & Lincou Back For Second Bluenose Classic Final

England's Daryl Selby and Frenchman Thierry Lincou will replay the 2010 Bluenose Classic final when they meet in this year's edition of the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event climax at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

But it isn't the finale predicted by the draw, after Selby ousted second-seeded Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema and unseeded Lincou, the 2010 champion, followed his quarter-final win over top seed Amr Shabana by despatching Egypt's No3 seed and last year's runner-up Hisham Mohd Ashour in just 36 minutes.

Fourth seed Selby romped to an 8-2 lead in the opening game against Anjema, though the 2008 champion closed the gap to 7-10 before the Englishman took the game on a nice drop.

In the second game, Selby continued playing flawless squash, not giving Anjema any place on the court to score a point as he patiently worked up to another 8-2 lead. Anjema was able to finally get some momentum in his favour for a few minutes as he fought his way back into the match down 8-10. On game ball however, Selby again found that perfect length to the back corner to take the second game.

Anjema, the world No9, led briefly in the third, but Essex man Selby, ranked two places lower, was now in the zone and closed out the match 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 after 53 minutes.

"I was up against a tough opponent but I was feeling 100% confident on this court," said Selby, now in the 16th PSA World Tour final of his career. "I only feel like I play like this a couple of times a year, I'm just glad that it's here at a five star event. I felt like I was in control of the match. I managed to hang in there and forced LJ to go a little lower and hit the tin several times.

"Tomorrow is going to be one of the biggest matches I have had on the PSA World Tour and I'm looking forward to it."

Anjema's comments after the match really underscored the quality of play in the match. "Daryl played beautifully," said the 29-year-old from The Hague. "I really enjoyed playing tonight. I played my heart out there and that is all I can ask of myself. I didn't lose tonight's match, Daryl simply won it."

Veteran Frenchman Thierry Lincou eased into his second PSA Tour final this month - and the 44th of his distinguished career - after beating Cairo-based 29-year-old Ashour 12-10, 11-5, 11-5.

After the game Lincou, the 35-year-old former world champion and world number one, said that he "felt really up for" the game and his game plan was to "try and contain his attacking" and to "try to close the court down," also noting that he was "moving well today".

Lincou Prevails Over Shabana In Bluenose Classic Classic

A clash between two giants of squash in the quarter-finals of the Bluenose Classic in Canada saw unseeded Frenchman Thierry Lincou upset Egypt's top seed Amr Shabana to secure a place in the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour International 50 event at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The two legends had previously met a total of 22 times on the PSA World Tour, with Shabana holding a 13-9 record. The match started out well for the "Prince of Cairo" who took the first game 11-6.

The two former world number ones and world champions traded points back and forth to six-all in both the second and third games - but it was 35-year-old Lincou who applied the pressure from this point forward and was able to secure both games.

With Shabana the victor in their last meeting in the US Open last year, the packed crowd no doubt expected a comeback from the left-hander - and the 32-year-old Egyptian again forced the pace to take the fourth game to six-all.

But strong play from Lincou, and a few unforced errors from Shabana, saw the Frenchman move three points clear. Lincou was able to maintain the pressure to secure his 6-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9 upset after 48 minutes.

"I am very pleased," 2010 champion Lincou told event MC Neil Harvey afterwards. ""He's a legend of the game.

"I had to make sure I really pushed him to the back - and not give him any loose balls.

"Some days you are very focussed, and other days not," added the world No12 from Marseille. "But today was a good day for me."

Lincou, the only unseeded player to make the last four, will now take on another Egyptian Hisham Mohd Ashour. The No3 seed from Cairo beat South African Stephen Coppinger 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6.

England's Daryl Selby had cause for celebration in his clash with Borja Golan when he beat the top-ranked Spaniard for the first time in his career. Indeed, it was only in the pair's fourth meeting that Selby earned his first game against Golan.

But fourth seed Selby, runner-up in 2010, was in the mood for revenge, and despatched his unseeded opponent 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 in 56 minutes to reach his second semi-final in three years.

"Well if only I could play like that every time I stepped on a squash court!" tweeted the world No11 from Chelmsford later. "Very pleased with a 3-0 win against Borja. @ljanjema tomorrow."

It was in the final match of the evening that Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema, the No2 seed, ended North American interest in the event by beating US champion Julian Illingworth 11-4, 13-11, 11-7.

Anjema, the world No9 from The Hague, was the Bluenose Classic champion in 2008.

Illingworth Survives Bluenose Classic Opener

US champion Julian Illingworth survived a 69-marathon opening match in the Bluenose Classic and put paid to home interest in the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in Canada.

The 28-year-old from New York, winner of a record eighth successive US Nationals' title earlier in the month, faced Canadian qualifier Shawn Delierre. The Montreal-based 29-year-old is ranked 54 in the world, 26 places below Illingworth, but boasted a 3/2 winning record over his North American rival going into the match - and beat Illingworth in straight games in their last meeting in the 2011 US Open.

Delierre took a 2/1 lead, winning the third game in a tie-break, and moved 8-4 ahead in the fourth. But Illingworth recovered to draw level after another tie-break game - and again came from behind in the decider before clinching his 11-2, 9-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-8 victory.

Illingworth will now face second-seeded Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema, the world No9 who faced Australian Cameron Pilley - again a player who boasted a winning Tour record over his higher-ranked opponent.

But Dutch champion Anjema reduced the deficit by beating world No15 Pilley - albeit in 63 minutes - 11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8 to claim his place in the last eight.

Frenchman Thierry Lincou, the highest-ranked unseeded player in the draw, eased into the quarter-finals after beating New Zealand's Martin Knight 11-2, 11-9, 11-4.

In a match befitting a final in most PSA Tour event, the 2010 Bluenose champion will now face fellow former world number one and world champion Amr Shabana, the top seed from Egypt making his debut in Halifax.

The charismatic left-hander got off to sluggish start against qualifier Chris Simpson as the Englishman quickly established a 6-1 lead. But Shabana soon settled into the match and took just 33 minutes to beat the Guernsey-born 24-year-old 11-9, 12-10, 11-4.

Shabana and Lincou, who first met on the PSA Tour in September 2001, will celebrate their 23rd clash on the all-glass court at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium - with the Egyptian currently boasting a 13-9 head-to-head lead.