Draw & Results

Frustrated Palmer implodes against Nick Matthew

It was always going to be hard for David Palmer to perform the day after his loss in the five game final at the Liverpool08 event. And so it proved. He was well in with a shout against Nick Matthew but the compounding pressures of a lack of sharpness at the end of each game, frustration with himself and the referee, combined perhaps with a little despondence following his Liverpool experience engineered his downfall.

Palmer took the first game authoritatively but then went down 7-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7.

“David played so many matches in Liverpool that he was striking the ball well and I had to grind him down,” said Matthew. “It was a bit strange at the start and I was thinking more about his condition than getting my length and width. Paul Carter helped me with that after the first game.”

“I can relax now. I wasn’t relaxed because I was aware it was a good opportunity.”

This was a hard physical confrontation with Palmer striking the ball furiously. He had the edge with volley kills, kills from deep and beautiful deception especially when Matthew was on the wrong end of a rally. A game apiece and 7-all Palmer’s outstretched volley was passed by a beautifully weighted crosscourt from his opponent that died as he chased it frantically around the back court. Palmer categorised the experience as similar to interaction with a very loose women, a comment that passed referee Foster by, and he sacrificed the game in a hand.

Matthew had the advantage but Palmer and was still in it with a lead 5-3 in the fourth but was becoming increasingly tetchy lost the rally on tinned forehand volley drop and rebounded his racket of both side walls. That did not pass the referee by and a conduct point against him compounded his misery as Matthew went through to take the game 11-6.

“I found the court hard and it was not easy to get my touch. I struggled with the pace of the court. The referee was up and down. He was trying to make it a physical match by awarding no lets when it was not necessary,” said Palmer.

Palmer, the top seed, must now conjure two wins from his remaining too pool matches. For Matthew the pressure is off a little.

Match 2
In the second match on James Willstrop’s put in a determined shotmaking performance to overwhelm the Commonwealth Games gold medallist Peter Nicol 11-8, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5 in just 46 minutes. Nicol put up determined resistance in the third establishing a 5-1 lead and went on to take the game 11-7 but fell behind 6-2 in the fourth and was not able to close the gap.

Match 3
Shabana has had a poor record at the Super Series Finals. That is something he is resolved to rectify here.

“I was injured last year. I think I have won just two matches out of seven here but hopefully that will change this year,” said Shabana.

Shabana started at a frantic pace. He was serious now. The clown that had often some to the fore was under control. He was able to blend length and extravagant width with deadly attack all at high pace. This was a high intensity match. Shabana’s fast hands barely let the ball rise off the floor as he stunned kills from deep, plucking volleys of the wall and high out of the air all with minimal margins.

Lincou got into his game and chased. He hung onto every ball never having time but somehow got there to just get it back, lobbing, floating it down the wall whenever he could to try and grab a few tenths of a second of precise time and each time Shabana was waiting there ready to smash it away and send Lincou chasing again.

A few errors crept into Shabana’s play. Lincou got back into the rallies and attacked superbly when the slightest chance arose, attacked without margins and got back into the match.

“I was 2-0 up last year and lost. He was two down in Liverpool but came back. I though he was going to do it again in the fifth.”

Lincou was under incredible pressure but he absorbed it. Shabana had him all over the court but he kept coming back, lead 4-3 in the fifth, but was forced to go for low margins and the crucial mistakes came and tipped the balance Shabana’s way.

“I love the game. As long as I can run I try,” said Lincou.

It was a valiant effort after his 83 final battle in Liverpool but it was not quite enough.

“I will get better each day,” said Shabana. He is serious. This was a very serious opening. It had a pace and intensity beyond the other matches. There is however a long way to go.