Draw & Results

Lincou keeps coming through

Match 1: Lincou bt Palmer

David Palmer had a very difficult task to keep this Super Series Finals hopes alive at Broadgate and in the mood he was in it was improbable. He had not had a win as yet, although a three way tie would have given him a chance, he needed a 3/0 win over Lincou, the player who beat him in the final of the Liverpool 08 event. It was improbable because he was not really in the mood for this.

Thierry Lincou, on a warm May evening in London, was fine with the bouncy ball, constructing his rallies well, hitting straight, varying the pace with very high clinging straight lobs, whipping fast crosscourts across Palmer's body before he had a chance to intercept and move the ball with a fine variety of shots.

Palmer worked hard initially but in truth his movement was a little jaded on his recovery and change of direction. He had his hands full with Lincou but insisted on doing battle with referee Jill Wood who had managed to antagonise Jonathon Power on this same court for some of the most spectacular tantrums in recent memory.

Lincou took the first 11-6 and Palmer's feud with Wood had totally disheartened him early in the second to the extent that he had all but stopped running.

"Come on Palmer," called a voice in the crowd and he raised himself, just a little, but lost it 11-2 to some embarrassment.

A play-off place lost he decided to come out and go for it, got up the court and slammed his volleys around, hit some spectacular nicks and suddenly found himself in the game. He took it 12-10 but they were just his old competitive instincts in action and he got back into serious mode to lose the fourth convincingly 11-2 in 58 minutes.

"I've had enough," said Palmer afterwards "and my mind is other places. This was one match too many."

"Last week I did the job and secured the no.2 sport for the rest of the year."

Lincou will be pleased it was not harder. He is due for a rest and he was lucky the lapse when Palmer came back in the third did not hurt him more.

"You never know, it is such a mental game when you lose your focus you can go down quickly," he said.

"As long as I can stand up I will keep going."


Match 2: Beachill bt Nicol

11-7, 3-11, 11-7, 11-8.


Match 3: Ricketts bt Willstrop
11-9, 3-11, 11-7 11-6.

James Willstrop has been busy. He helped England retain the European title and fought up in Liverpool. Basically that was the story of this match and will in all probability be the story of this tournament. At his best he played superbly. The second game was near to squash perfection but Ricketts had let the pressure off a bit – or perhaps Willstrop was so tight with his varied pace clinging lines and deceptive attack and reach that Ricketts had no room for anything else.

The first game was crucial with the hot ball, Ricketts applying the pressure and making just three errors as he forced the pace. He was ahead 7-4 but in a hand Willstrop took the lead before one huge rallied ended it for him and let Ricketts through.

Willstrop levelled the games superbly 11-3 while Ricketts let the pace drop, ventured short too frequently, and allowed his opponent to demonstrate all his masterful skills.

Ricketts needed to desperately up the pace and that’s what he did. It was tight, he had to wait for the opportunities but when they came he slammed the ball away. At 6-2 Willstrop didn’t run for a ball for the first time and just when he had his opponent on the ropes Ricketts lapsed into error and let his opponent back into the game to 5-7. Then however the tired Willstsrop tinned twice, was harshly stroked, and Ricketts was in the driving seat 11-7.

Ricketts was away to 5-0 in the fourth and at 6-1 Willstrop recovered a whole succession of pressure shots from Ricketts brilliantly but lost the rally – it would have hurt! Amazingly Willstrop started a comeback but this would have needed a miracle. Ricketts saw it out 11-6.

“I didn’t have the physical resources to cope with Anthony tonight,” he said to sum it up. There was too much pressure.”

Ricketts is through to face Beachill.


Match 4: Shabana bt Matthew
Nick Matthew was bitterly disappointed after his performance against Amr Shabana in which he went down to the Egyptian 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 in just 31 minutes.

“I was playing a guy on one leg and I couldn’t trouble him,” said Matthew. “I was embarrassed with my performance. It was poor.”

Shabana who had been largely untroubled had a few kind words. “Sometimes you have a bad match but Nick is a credit to the sport,” he said. That didn't make Matthew feel a whole lot better.

Shabana would have been pleased enough to be off easily. He had jammed his foot between the glass and the floor against Palmer on Tuesday, it was tender and he was skipping around the court favouring the other leg.

“It was OK but I didn’t want to put my weight on it,” said Shabana.

He had treatment courtside from Podiatrist Steven Avil who adapted his insoles building up the inside and putting a stabilizer on the outside to take the pressure off the injured area.

Shabana should be OK but it may just give his opponent Ricketts that little bit of extra motivation of run the extra mile - if that is possible. In the other semi-final clash Lincou has Beachill.