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
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
“I never get off easy with Peter," said Ricketts afterwards.
Match 2: Beachill
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
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
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
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