Thursday 7th April:

 Framboise reports on the quarter-finals

[6] Jonathon Power (Can) bt [1] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
       9/11, 11/7, 11/6, 9/11, 11/8 (96m)     

[12] John White (Sco) bt [7] Nick Matthew (Eng)
      9/11, 11/10(2-0), 11/9, 8/11, 11/8 (97m)

[3] Peter Nicol (Eng) bt [5] James Willstrop (Eng)
      11/5, 10/11(1-3), 11/4, 11/3 (50m)

[2] Lee Beachill (Eng) bt [8] Karim Darwish (Egy)
      7/11, 11/7, 11/3, 11/9 (54m)


NINE new stories
from Bemuda  ...


Framboise reports ...

It was so entertaining. Not. But still. It was a match full of tension, drama, even blood...

Jonathon Power knows how to entertain a crowd, that's for sure... Bargaining with the ref on a regular basis, the whole panel of facial expression and body language, the ups, the downs, the injuries...

But not a pleasant match that was...

It did start quite well though, with a good first game, very few decisions, a Thierry Lincou very concentrated, moving very fast on the ball, although his backhand drives were not tight enough, allowing the Magician to find some great angles.

And after that, it all went pear shaped. Jonathon asked for let after let after let after let, trying to get on Thierry’s nerves… And unfortunately for the Frenchman, getting right under his skin…

To the point where, in the third, at 6/5 for Power, Thierry actually started to speak in French to his opponent, asking him to stop that behaviour, and they started to talk throughout the rest of the match…

“I told you not to do that anymore”, “but I didn’t do anything”…

etc; etc; etc.

Not sure that was the right thing to do...

Then we had a horrible 5th game

At the start of the game, the Canadian seemed to have a few cramps. After games like those ones, not surprising. Suddenly, he gets hit on the hand. Of course, the game stops... three minutes injury time.

What we didn't realise at the time, is that if Jonathan was hit, it must have been on the left wrist, as the "stop frame" clearly show that his right arm, holding the racquet, is still up in the air...

So, no wonder that he could play so well when he came back on court... We just assumed he was talking about his right wrist....

We are now at 5/5. Thierry takes the lead 7/5, but is unable to return a glued to the wall forehand drop shot, and then finds the tin instead of a drive. 7/7. Another tin for the Frenchman. 8/7 Power.

And then, it’s again very confusing. We are now in the right corner. Thierry goes to play a redrop, hits Jonathon with his racquet, stops right away, asks for a let, doesn’t get it. All that while Power, who has been hit on the lip, is  going “I’ve just been hit in the face, I don't feel that well, I'm bleeding...”, the whole shabam…

And off the court he goes for the second time in the game…

At his return, Thierry will place one more great volley backhand drop shot, before finding another tin that will give Power match ball, and after only a few shots, Jonathan sealed his victory with a forehand volley drop shot.

So, after looking at the stop frame, it's now clear that Jonathan was not over acting as much as I thought he did. My apologies, Jonathon...

But still, playing Jonathon Power seems to be like playing John McEnroe at Wimbledon on a rainy day. You’ve got to be prepared to get on and off court on a regular basis, to ignore his discussions with the ref, and to concentrate on what’s important, dealing with his amazing shots and his fantastic game....

[6] Jonathon Power (Can) bt
[1] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
 9/11, 11/7, 11/6, 9/11, 11/8 (96m)

"I got myself into a « let game », and I don’t understand how that happened. That is the game he dwells on, he loves breaking the rhythm…

"Now, he was very prepared for this match, mentally and physically. We had a big game, we gave it all, and it was all played on a few winning points.

"My only regret is to have lost my focus in the second and in the third…"

Thierry Lincou

Framboise reports ...

This was another looooong encounter, 97 minutes for 96 for Lincou/Power. A match that I was, in my eyes anyway, quite significant on the levels.

One. Nick Matthew is getting dangerously close to reaching the top four. His determination today, his retrieving abilities, his fighting spirit and focus, not to mention how great his volleying is are all signs of his imminent landing at the very top of the game.

Two. John White is back at his best. Of course, he will lose some, win some. But the brain is connected, the fitness is back (did a week touring with James and Malcolm Willstrop in Canada have anything to do with it??), the length is in place, and the genius can explode and firework us away.

I’m not sure exactly why Nick got a conduct warning, for “delaying the game”. Very calmly, very politely, he was trying to say something to the ref. He was not arguing. He was not shouting. And the ref wouldn’t let him finish his sentence. Not sure if that’s the correct procedure, especially as it was only the second decision of the match. Was the ref trying to make an impression? It didn’t impress me… Maybe it did Nick though…

The match started at a rather slow pace to gradually increase to a seesaw battle, and with rallies that would go on and on, both men being patient, no cutting the shots, no trying to get a cheap point, working harder and harder, waiting for the right opportunity to present itself. It’s enough to look at the timing of each game to see how hard they worked: 18 minutes in the first, then 21m, 17m, 13m and 16m.

Each game was so close, John finding his rhythm and length from the second, very few unforced errors (2 in the first, 2 in the second, none in the third, 3 in the fourth, 2 in the fifth), great attacks and retrieving. Same for Nick, very few unforced errors (none in the first, 4 in the second, 2 in the third, 2 in the fourth, 1 in the fifth), hanging in there when John was attacking, retrieving so many “lost” points, running probably twice as far as John did…

The fifth was nail biting stuff. 4/4. 5/5. 6/6. 7/7. John gets “the lead” by 2 points. 9/7. John’s shot is called not up, he contests it, but the decision stands, 9/8. Nick asks for two lets, and finally, thanks to an exquisite forehand drop shot, John eventually gets a rally where Nick made some breathtaking retrieving, match ball 10/8. One will be enough, a last backhand volley, and John gets to play the semi-final…

It was a close encounter… Some great rallies, a few lets that did slow down the pace asked by Nick, but really nothing bad, no arguments, no injuries, no blood, and a good solid match that entertain the crowd… And me…
"John played the last three rallies of the games better than I did…

"I was trying to tell myself to stay calm, because I got excited in the second and the third. But it’s so hard to play John, as although he's dropped in the rankings, he is still regarded as one of the top four.

"It’s so frustrating, it was the same at the Nationals against Lee, in the National League against David Palmer. I’m so close, so close every time…

"I think that I played well enough to win today. John also was playing very well, he made very few mistakes.

"The game is very open at the moment, it’s anyone’s really. So, it’s disappointing, because you could scrape through  and find yourself in the semis or the final.

"Oh well, you’ve just got to stick to it…"

Nick Matthew
[12] John White (Sco) bt
[7] Nick Matthew (Eng)
9/11, 11/10(2-0), 11/9, 8/11, 11/8 (97m)

"When you get down, so down in the rankings, and you want to get up there again, you’ve just got to dig in, and have a look at what took you up there in the first place, the hard work, the hours and hours of training, etc, and get back to the basics… Also, winning Chicago a few weeks ago, and Canary Wharf gave me a lot of my confidence back, mentally and physically. Because if you want to get up there, you’ve got to beat them all.

"Nick played very well, he’s beaten all of us at some time or another. He is very strong, he’s got  great speed on court… So, another few months, and he’ll be at the very top.

"It was the first time I think I've played Nick in a PSA event, and you can play a lot of practice, but it’s always different in a tournament. In the beginning, I was a bit scrappy, probably due to the fact that he was volleying everything, putting me under a lot of pressure. Also, my cross courts were constantly hitting the side wall, giving him too much space, too much angle.

"So I just kept my game soft, tight, good length like I did yesterday. Luckily, he made the unforced errors to end the rallies.

"This is the last major tournament of my season, as I’m not playing the Super Series finals, and so far, I’m pretty happy. David Palmer in front of his home crowd, Nick Matthew in five, just need to keep it up and win against JP tomorrow… Hopefully…!

John White

Robert Edwards: "So does Suzy still keep an eye on the ranking points?"

John: "Suzy doesn’t care about the rankings, about the points, she just want to see the cash, it’s called women, mate…"


A very tired James Willstrop, but up for the battle, who gave it all in the second, and didn't have much left after that… A strong, calm and in control Peter Nicol who never gave his opponent much room to find his marks…

A fantastic second game, where James was up 6/3, then went down 9/7, then 10/8, saved three game balls, forced a tie-break, saved another game ball to finally win the game 13/11. All that with breathtaking rallies, both guys attacking like lunatics, and James in particular retrieving shots that I honestly never would have believed anybody could get.

And then nothing left in the tank for the 21 year old.

The Boss feels good, he knows he is not as fit as he used to be, but he attacks more than he used to… And the spirit, the hunger are still here… He wants his 50th title bad… A Bermuda Trophy would look darn good on his mantelpiece…

"It was a good match, but it was obvious from the start that James was very tired from his match yesterday against Anthony. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, after a match of that intensity, you are going to struggle with it.

"Also, I had the advantage of having played all week on the glass court, whereas James has played all his matches so far on a traditional court, and it’s always a big disadvantage to start on a new court.

"I can also add that I’ve been playing on the glass court for about 15 years, whereas James is just starting…

"I feel fine physically. I can’t play five hard games and still play another one the next day, like I used to do, but I’m getting there, I’m getting there… For example, in the second, I worked very hard, we both worked did, and still, in the third, I was able to stand and hit, I was able to find a good length, and get control again. It means that I stayed strong…

"In the third, he struggled a bit, but after that, that was it really, I was lucky that he had that hard match yesterday…"

Peter Nicol

"Adrenaline carried me through the second game. I wanted to stay on there as long as possible, but I was just tired, very tired.

"I thoroughly enjoyed it, a wicked atmosphere, a great great occasion, a great match…"

James Willstrop

[3] Peter Nicol (Eng) bt
[5] James Willstrop (Eng)
     11/5, 10/11(1-3), 11/4, 11/3 (50m)


I found myself smiling as Karim Darwish took the first game with brio against the “Controller”, as Mr Robert Edwards has nicknamed Lee Beachill, as behind the scenes, the only comments I could hear before the match were “oh that’s going to be an easy game, another easy win for Beach”…

Well, sorry guys, but I did saw Karim play in Kuwait, and I saw how he pushed Thierry in four… I knew that the Egyptian didn’t come in this game to go through the motions… He thought he had a chance to win, and he certainly proved that he was no laughing matter.

Lee also was expecting a lot from Karim, he knew how dangerous he could be, but was still surprised by his intensity. As usual, Lee adapted perfectly to the challenge, it took him a game and an half to react, but after that, the Englishman was as imperial as ever. A little lapse of concentration in the fourth that helped Karim to find his, and come back from 9/4 to 9/9…

Nevertheless, Darwish should be proud of his performance today. He was quick, sharp, fit, precise, patient… He probably deserved a fifth game… But the last two shots that Lee played were just exquisite, and there was nothing that Karim could do about them
"I felt very good before the match, I played very well in the first two rounds, and I was pretty confident that I could win the match.

"In the first game, I was moving very well, my shots were very tight. In the second game, I was still fine, until the second part of that game, where my concentration seemed to vanish. I lost the third easily, in 5 minutes.

"In the fourth, my focus wasn’t good enough, I found myself down 9/4. Only then I started to play my game again, came back to 9/9, and really believed I was going to equalise 2/2.

"Unfortunately, he played two super shots, and that was it.

"He played extremely well, but I’m happy with my performance today…"

Karim Darwish

[2] Lee Beachill (Eng) bt
[8] Karim Darwish (Egy)
      7/11, 11/7, 11/3, 11/9 (54m)

"I followed Karim’s first two rounds results, and I was expecting a hard match, but still, I was surprised by the quality of his squash in the first game. I really struggled, my length was not where it should be.

"He got a good lead and succeeded to keep it throughout the game.

"In the middle of the second, I eventually got a better length. It was rather easy in the third, and in the beginning of the fourth, up to 9/4, and when it seemed that there was nothing to be gained, he started playing very tight shots again, got some errors out of me, and we were back at 9/9.

"And I played two good rallies, and won the match…"

Lee Beachill