Thierry Lincou played well enough against Lee Beachill but the Englishman
shut him out 11-5, 11-5, 11-8 in the semi-finals of the Brit Insurance Super
Series Finals at the Broadgate Arena to win a final place.
Beachill was away well at the start and three clear winners form 1-2 gave
him a 5-2 lead. Lincou obliged with four errors to give his opponent a 9-2
lead and that was basically the first game.
Following his fine start Beachill was well into the second and moral high he
kept a tight game and picked the opportunities to volley, and there were far
too many of these from Lincou, and counter short well. Lincou never really
found his length and he was far too eager to move the ball short when out of
position and was duly punished by Beachill.
Beachill won the second 11-5 and although the third was tighter the seeds of
Lincou’s destruction where set early on.
“I was impatient in the rallies and made mistakes. You can not afford to
give points to your opponent and he was strong and focused,” said Lincou.
Shabana freak out
Amr Shabana staged a complete freak out at the end of his semi-final against
Anthony Ricketts to commit suicide but it was a ritual act as the writing
was well and truly on the wall by then.
Ricketts played well, he gave nothing away and he chased like a man
possessed. Shabana, the world no.1, displayed all his extravagant skills but
his commitment seemed to vary and he was not in it for the long haul that
Ricketts was prepared for it.
Ricketts took the early initiative and was quickly at 8-3 before Shabana
somewhat belatedly gave the scoreline some respectability 11-7. Although he
held the early initiative in the second game 3-2 he lost it to his
opponent’s winners to fall behind 6-3 and although he regained serve with a
spectacular volley nick of serve a little more commitment than a few
spectacular successes was required.
Shabana, much like Lincou had done, although Lincou had an excuse –he wanted
to finish it early and save what was left of his energy reserves – ventured
short too early, attaching when he was out of position. This may have done
against some players but Ricketts was studying him ferociously ready to
pounce. There was one telling moment when Shabana struck a superb crosscourt
drop that nicked from the back and Ricketts was onto it in a flash and
countered with a superbly faded crosscourt drop of his own.
The Australian could not match Shabana’s extravagant skills but he took his
opportunities and picking them a little better. Still it was a pleasure to
watch Shabana – the racket pausing momentarily as he weighed his options and
then struck in an unreadable blur. Ricketts kept chasing kept the pressure
on. In the third Shabana was bouncing, all business for a while and got to
7-5 but was denied a let to a little consternation. Shabana was a little
extravagant in his preparation and he certainly was looking for a stroke and
a let was perhaps not the end of the world. It was for Shabana. He took it
badly. Passed in the next rally by Ricketts crosscourt Shabana dived
forlornly back down court, didn’t connect with the ball and destroyed his
‘Amr Shabana’ signature racket on the court floor. Referee Dean Clayton had
no option but to award a conduct stroke against the World no.1. Suddenly
Shabana had lost two points and the initiative. Ricketts served ended in the
tin, and the next and the next. Shabana, steam pouring from his ears exited
the building and returned minus his new racket grabbed his bag and was gone.
“I kept the pressure on,” said Ricketts on his win. “This event is special.
I want my name on the trophy.