Rises to Occasion
Canada’s Jonathon Power, the defending champion, left the showcourt of the Brit Insurance Super Series Squash Finals at the Broadgate Arena in London last night with damaged ligaments after turning his left ankle chasing a drop shot at 5-10 in the third game against England’s Peter Nicol in the dead rubber play-off for third place in the Harrrow Qualifying Group, Power was taken off to hospital on crutches for precautionary x-rays, unable to take any further part in the tournament. His left ankle was swollen to twice its normal size by the time he left the arena. Nicol won the match 2-1 - his only victory of this year's finals - to take third place in the Harrow group.
“I just want to get home,” said Power, who was called in at the last minute after the withdrawal of Australia’s Anthony Ricketts and after he had himself withdrawn from the Canadian National Championships with a strained gluteus maximus. “I am so fed up with this. I can hardly step on court without getting injured. At least I have the summer to recover.”
Nick Matthew will face the top seeded Frenchman, Thierry Lincou, in Thursday’s
second semi-final after losing in the last Harrow Group qualifying match
9-11 11-3 11-5 11-5 in 45 minutes to Scotland’s second seeded John
Matthew, a Sheffield 23-year-old who will have been forced to face four players in a row this week who have recently held World No1 ranking, defeated Jonathon Power of Canada and Peter Nicol of England on his way to the semi-finals but just could not raise the speed of reaction to deal with White’s fearsome pressure tactics.
The lanky adopted
Scot might have been designed to play the new PSA 11 point scoring system
in use for the first time at Broadgate. By the time his opponents have
adjusted to the power and speed of his shotmaking, they are too far behind
in the shortened games to realistically attach themselves to the competition
Lincou too was beaten in the last qualifying round at the Broadgate Arena tonight, 11-9 9-11 11-10 11-5 by Amr Shabana, the Egyptian World Champion, who had already lost the chance of a place in the semi-finals but was determined to leave the London crowd with a good impression of himself.
Limited by shin splints and bruised heels, Shabana was moving stiffly but, when he reached the ball, he produced a range of shots good enough to delight the audience and to stifle the ambition of an opponent already through to the later stages of the event at the top of the Fleet Group and anxious to save his firepower for Matthew tomorrow.
Shabana is the first in a long line of distinguished Egyptian players to have lifted the world crown, which he won beating Lincou 15-14 9-15 15-11 15-7 in Lahore last December on the day the Frenchman became the first of his nationality to become World No1 and spent most of the preceding 24 hours giving telephone interviews to French journalists. With more at stake, this might have become a mighty battle for revenge.
Hitting long deceptive drop shots, surprise angles and high hovering lobs on either hand, the left-handed Egyptian took the first and third games from 6-8 down, then ran through then fourth in just four hands.
“I wanted to do well here for the London fans but now I will have to come back next year to win when I don’t have injuries to worry about,” Shabana said. “But most of the people here have not seen me play so I wanted to show them something to make them welcome me back again.”
WITH A VENGANCE
week at Broadgate has been almost a reverse of Kniepp’s. He started
well against Shabana on the first day and played with real verve until
two games and 7-2 up against Lincou in the second round. But the energy
reserves noticeably expired at that point and last night it was plain
they had not been restored.
Third Qualifying Round Results