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Top Seed Palmer Bundled Out

David Palmer seeded
no. 1 for is out of the finals

 An elusive 4th title eludes Peter Nicol as he crashes out in 2006

By Howard Harding

Australia's top seed David Palmer crashed out of the Brit Insurance Super Series Squash Finals at the Broadgate Arena in London after failing to qualify for the final stages for the first time in four appearances in the PSA Tour event.

 

The 29-year-old from New South Wales reached the final of the Liverpool 08 Open tournament last week, but missed out on the title on Merseyside after a marathon five-game final against Franceís Thierry Lincou.

 

Palmer was then back in action 24 hours later, and after losing to Englandís Nick Matthew on the opening day, went on to fall to Egypt's Amr Shabana 10-11 (0-2), 11-6, 11-10 (2-0), 11-8 in the second qualifying round match in the Fleet Group.  And he was clearly exhausted by his hectic schedule.

 

"I was clearly disadvantaged making the final last week - it was going to be impossible for anyone to win Liverpool and win the final here," said Palmer after his third successive hour-long battle on an all-glass court in three days!

 

ďIím disappointed, Iíve been here five or six years now and this is the first time I havenít qualified for the last four.  But it's impossible to win ten matches in ten days, Iím not Superman.Ē

 

Meanwhile, Lincou seems keen on proving Palmer wrong as he beat Sheffield's Nick Matthew 11-10 (2-0), 11-9, 10-11 (0-2), 11-5 in a dramatic 65-minute match which ended the second day's programme.

 

"It was a good match but I had too many bad patches in the first two games,Ē said Matthew.  "But he is too good for you to have any bad patches. I gave him the openings and he took them and from then on it was a long way back.Ē

 

After losing the opening match to Shabana, Lincou now needs to win tonight's final qualifying clash against Palmer to have the chance of reaching the final for the fourth time in five years.

 

England's Lee Beachill booked his spot in the last four with Ďanotherí victory over training partner James Willstrop.  The duo are both coached by Jamesís father Malcolm, and on the competitive circuit Beachill has never lost to his 22-year-old best mate - a record he never looked in danger of losing as won 11-3, 11-13, 11-4, 11-9.

 

But the 28-year-old from Pontefract Ė who beat Australia's Anthony Ricketts in his first Harrow Group match Ė knows one day that his younger rival will finally get the better of him.

 

"We are great friends, we have played together for a long time and we certainly bring the best out of each other,Ē he said.  "And one day he will beat me.  I think I am the only person he hasnít beaten, which shows what a talent he is.  It just seems at the moment that Iím getting the breaks."

 

Willstrop must now beat second seed Ricketts in his final round robin match, a task that will be difficult with the Aussie ace also needing a win to progress.

 

The 27-year-old from Sydney beat England's Peter Nicol 9-11, 11-10 (3-1), 11-10 (4-2), 11-5 in 68 minutes in his second group match - a result that ended former world number one's quest to equal Jansher Khanís record of four Super Series finals titles.

 

But the Commonwealth Games double gold medallist - competing in his 11th successive Super Series Finals - had few complaints with his defeat, insisting he never believed he would lift the crown anyway.

 

"I didnít think Jansherís record was ever possible,Ē said a tired Nicol afterwards.