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Thierry Lincou wins the inaugural title




[3] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [1] David Palmer (AUS)      
3-11, 10-11 (0-2), 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 (83m)


Thierry Lincou bt Karim Darwish
11-8, 5-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-6 (60m)
David Palmer bt Lee Beachill
11-9, 4-11, 11-7, 11-6 (57m).

Liverpool 08 Women's Invitation Tournament

Laura-Jane Lengthorn (Lancs) bt Emmeline Goulden (Merseyside) 9-1, 9-5       

Georgina Stoker (Merseyside) bt Kirsty McPhee (Yorks)
9-5, 2-9, 9-8

Laura-Jane Lengthorn (Lancs) bt Georgina Stoker (Merseyside) 9-2, 9-7 (19m)

Lincou Triumphs As Palmer Chokes In Liverpool 08 Final

France's Thierry Lincou claimed one of the most dramatic victories of his career when he fought back from two games down to defeat Australian favourite David Palmer in the final of the Liverpool 08 Open Squash Championship at St George's Hall in the heart of Merseyside.


The 83-minute encounter provided a sensational climax to the international squash circuit's richest ranking event in England for five years, which attracted a star-studded field for the first ever major event on Merseyside to be played on a state-of-the-art all-glass court. 


In a notable breakthrough for the inaugural event, staged to highlight Liverpool's status as the 2008 European Capital of Culture, the final was broadcast live on Sky TV.


Palmer, who boasts a 7/2 head-to-head career against the Frenchman, started off at a blistering pace taking the first game after 11 minutes.  In the second, Palmer led 9-6, but Lincou caught up to earn the first game ball.  Palmer, however, saved it and went on to extend his lead to 2/0 by winning the tie-break.


The 30-year-old world No3 from Marseille adopted a completely different tactic in the third, mixing up the pace and clearly unsettling his opponent.  Lincou took the game to reduce Palmer's advantage, but the 29-year-old from New South Wales raced to a 5-0, then 8-5, lead in the fourth and again it looked as if the title was heading to Australia.


But in a single hand, Lincou secured the game to draw level and 19 minutes later, in a fifth game decider in which Palmer was awarded a conduct stroke against him for hurling his racket out of the court in frustration, the Frenchman raised his hand in triumph in celebration of a remarkable 3-11, 10-11 (0-2), 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 victory in 83 minutes.


"That was the worst choke of my life, without doubt" said a despondent Palmer afterwards.  "It's ridiculous to lose from that position but all credit to Thierry," added Palmer who, in his 40th international final, had never before lost after winning the first two games.


Despite the final lacking any home interest, Lincou surprisingly acknowledged help from his great rival Peter Nicol, the Englishman who topped the world rankings for 60 months and won two Commonwealth Games gold medals in Melbourne in March.


"After losing the first two games, I thought about what Peter Nicol would do at this stage he has staged some fantastic comebacks, lobbing the ball and trying to break up the pace.


"Peter is so clever he has this capacity to drive me crazy and gets me really frustrated, so I thought I would try and do this to David!" said the victorious Frenchman afterwards.


"But at the beginning of the game, I just couldn't handle the pace that David was playing at he was so quick on the ball."


The Liverpool Open 08 Championship, presented jointly by Squash UK and the Liverpool Culture Company, was conceived to celebrate "Liverpool Performs" year the third themed year in the build up to 2008 when the Merseyside city is the European Capital of Culture.


The year focuses on sport and arts and presented alongside one of the biggest international squash events of the year were performances by rock band Lost for Words (featuring squash players Lee Beachill and James Willstrop); dance company X-TENSION; samba reggae band Batala; and keyboard player Peter Olude.


"The Liverpool 08 Open gave us a perfect opportunity to bring together sport and arts in an iconic venue," said John Moore, Creative Sports Manager for the Liverpool Culture Company.


"The event has been a huge success beyond our expectations.  And today's final was just the icing on the cake, a simply magnificent climax to a great week at St Georges Hall.


Tournament promoter Alan Thatcher added: "I'm sure that this match will be talked about in and around the city of Liverpool for months to come with the result that fans will be clamouring to have the event brought back again to St George's Hall in a year's time."