Draw & Results

Day 2: Nicol Out Overwhelmed by Ricketts

Match 1: Ricketts beats Nicol
Peter Nicol attempted to claw this way back into the Brit Insurance Super Series Finals after his first day loss to James Willstrop but despite taking the first game and looking good he was eventually overwhelmed by British Open Champion Anthony Ricketts who won in four games 9-11, 11-10 (3-1), 11-10 (4-2), 11-5 in 68 mins.

Nicol, in his 11th Super Series Finals is now out. With two loses he is down and will not be especially motivated again Beachill on Wednesday. It was a somewhat dejected Nicol who commented, “I haven’t won a game here in two years.”

This was a tough physical match with Nicol good early on taking the first and coming back from 8-10 to level in the second, before losing it 13-11.

“I played well all the way through but needed the second and the third, and after that I was done," said Nicol.

Nicol had the initiative at 10-8 in the third but Ricketts came back aided by a stroke and from 11-12 ground out hard rallies to assert himself as Nicol gradually seemed to run out of steam and was unable to cover the final shot in each rally.

"It was tough. The whole match rested on the third game. Whoever won that knew the other would struggle," said Ricketts. "I realised how important it was so I dug deep and it paid dividends.

In the fourth Ricketts was away to 6-0 and that was Nicol’s lot. He got a point at 9-1 but there was no way back as Ricketts went through in 68 minutes.

“I never get off easy with Peter," said Ricketts afterwards.


Match 2: Beachill beat Willstrop

James Willstrop again failed to beat his Pontefract stablemate Lee Beachill and has yet to score his first win over him. If he is to do that he needs to get a better start than he did here for after Beachill secured the first 11-3 it was always going to be hard work for Willstrop. Beachill kept it hard throughout his 11-3, 10-11 (3-1), 11-4, 11-9 win in 55 mins.

Beachill knows he must keep his talented England teammate back and not let him dominate the middle nor give him ample opportunities to attack.

Willstrop won the tiebreak in the second but served just four times in the third and although he staged something of a revival in the fourth leading 8-6 Beachill was able to grind it out. With Nicol tomorrow Beachill looks good for a semi-final place.

I came here wanting to show the crowd a good match, said Willstrop afterwards but perhaps he was just a little to jadded for it to really sparkle.


Match 3: Shabana beat Palmer
World no.1 Amr Shabana looks on course for a semi-final place after dumping world no.2 David Palmer out of the Super Series Finals 10-11 (0-2), 11-6, 11-10 (2-0), 11-8 in 59 minutes.

Palmer was not too pleased with the strokes that went against him at the end of the fourth nor with his exit from the event and he was playing well enough to make the play-offs himself. Still with an opening loss to Nick Matthew followed by defeat to Shabana he is packing his bags. He has Lincou tomorrow in a replay of their Liverpool08 final but has nothing to win.

Shabana had game ball at 10-8 in the first, succumbed to Palmer’s power 10-12 but then ripped through the second in just 9 sharp minutes. The third was, again, the crucial battle with Shabana taking the early lead 4-2 only for Palmer to come back to 8-6. It levelled at 10-all but by now Shabana’s shots were hurting Palmer and the Egyptian had the edge to take the game 12-10.

Shabana, got away to 4-1 and although at this stage he looks the best player in this event he is still prone to errors and he let Palmer back in to level the score. A devastating overhead clinger to perfect dying length was virtually unplayable, two stroke against the unhappy Palmer and a tin and Shabana was through.

He is fresh having sat out the Liverpool gauntlet and can be very happy with his progress.


Match 4: Lincou beat Matthew
Thierry Lincou, who was runner-up to Jonathon Power in last year’s final, kept his hopes of a play-off place alive with a physically committed and skilful performance to beat Nick Matthew 11-10 (2-0), 11-9, 10-11 (0-2), 11-5 (65m).

This was another gusty performance from Lincou who would not lie down and whose grunts at breathtaking recoveries reverberated throughout the Arena at Broadgate. Both players rallied and chased everything but in the end Matthew could just not shake Lincou off.

At 2/1 up and leading 7-5 in the fourth Lincou survived tough running rallies to pull out four winning shots under great pressure and it was almost a resigned effort from Matthew as his last forehand found the tin.

Matthew now has the awesome job of defeating Shabana to give himself a chance of a semi-final place, Lincou needs to beat Palmer who is already out.