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
"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
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
11-7, 3-11, 11-7,
Match 3: Ricketts
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
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
“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.