20-Sep-04:
British Rule in
US Open Semis

Top seeds Peter Nicol and Lee Beachill set up an all-English final of the US Open, both beating Australian opposition at Symphony Hall, and the winner will have the added bonus of being world number one in October ...

Colleen Turner reports

Nicol Knocks off Kneipp
  
Joe Kneipp came out kicking in the first game of US Open Squash semi-finals in Boston's Symphony Hall.

He quickly went up 4-love before world-number-one and defending champion, Peter Nicol, responded in kind, tying it 4-all. Nicol ultimately went on to take the game 11-6, but not before dazzling the near capacity crowd with a 90-second rally that had both players reaching, spinning, wheeling and dealing.

Game two started with a fetching bout of cat and mouse, but Nicol was his typical purr-fect self and with an identical score as the first game, he dispatched young Mr. Kneipp in just 11 minutes.

A muffed swing by Kneipp in the third game made it 4-all about six minutes in, and a second blown return let Nicol go up 8-6 and it appeared to be the final straw as the rarely weary Nicol finished the game and match in convincing style.

Commenting on his victory, Peter explained, "I'm moving well ... very fluid ... and I'm not tiring."

Joe Kneipp concurred, "Peter's play was just too tight tonight. However, I'm not unhappy with my performance. I had good length and was able to limit how much of the front court I gave up."


Beachill Bests Palmer

Maybe they were just warming up, or perhaps Lee Beachill and David Palmer were feeling a little mineral deficient ... whatever it was, tin was abundant for the first eight minutes of this evening's second semi-final match.

It was a scrappy first game, with frequent lets and frequent discussions with the refs, something that was to continue throughout the match.

But leave it to Australia's 4th-ranked Palmer to assert his presence with authority and take a commanding 10-4 lead thanks to a series of errors from Beachill before snatching the first game 11-5.

A few words of encouragement from compatriot Peter Nicol seemed to do the trick for Beachill. He rocketed to a 6-0 lead in the second game before handing the serve to Palmer. Despite several excellent rallies, the Aussie couldn't produce and went down 11-3, the match tied at 1-all.

When a frustrated Palmer fired the ball into the stands at 3-all in the third, things appeared to be getting interesting. His bad karma must have floated out the pipe organ, as he pounded a quick three against Beachill, but that rascally Brit wouldn't say "uncle," and took the game 11-7, and a 2-1 lead in the match.

A 'no let' to Palmer when he was up 8-7 in the fourth infuriated him. Maybe it was broken focus or perhaps anger with the refs, but Beachill crept in to bring the score to 9-all, ultimately taking the game 11-9 and the match three games to one. The 2002 champion was out.

Post match, Beachill shared that he feels great physically. "I'm in control," he said, "I noticed it especially in the third and fourth games. I'm also pleased with my accuracy. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow."

All to play for in the Final

Beachill, currently ranked number two in the world, will face defending U.S. Open champ and world number one, Peter Nicol in tomorrow's all-British final.

A successful defence by Nicol would give the 31-year-old his fifth US Open title and guarantee his hold on the pole position in the PSA world rankings - but should Beachill claim only his third ever PSA Tour victory over his rival, the Yorkshireman would win his maiden US Open crown and become world No1 for the first time on 1st October.
 

En Franšais
 

SEMIS

[1] Peter Nicol (Eng) bt
[8] Joseph Kneipp (Aus)
11-6, 11-6, 11-6 (37m)

[2] Lee Beachill (Eng) bt
[4] David Palmer (Aus)
5-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-9 (64m)

 

FULL DRAW

 

Nicol v Beachill

HEAD to HEAD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FULL DRAW

 

Nicol v Beachill

HEAD to HEAD