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14 Apr 2024

Tuominen Topples Palmer In Richmond Rout

28 Feb 2008

Australia's third seed David Palmer suffered a shock defeat at the hands of 11th seed Olli Tuominen of Finland in the second round of the 2008 Davenport Professional Squash Championship at the University of Richmond in Virginia, USA. This was the second bad result in as many weeks, Palmer having to bow out of the Canadian Classic two weeks ago because of lower back problems.

But the Australian's problem in the last sixteen of the $77,500 PSA Super Series event was not his back, but the sizzling run of form that Tuominen produced to bamboozle him. The Finn was playing at his very best, pasting the ball tight to the walls and getting to everything that Palmer hit. There is no hiding place for the ball when Tuominen is in this form, which hasn't happened very often lately. He was truly the Flying Finn - and there was very little Palmer could do about it!

"Palmer also found some of the decisions from the three-referee panel not to his liking and the Palmer temper started boiling," said an event spokesman. The 28-year-old from Helsinki won the first game but Palmer asserted his authority to lead the second game 8-3 - which is when the decisions started to irk Palmer. Unbelievably Tuominen put together a run of eight points to win the game 11-8, the final decision of the game left Palmer fuming.

In the third game, the former world champion's concentration was broken and although he managed to pull back from 3-9 to 8-10, Tuominen's drive, determination and pace was always going to win the day and he took the game for a shock 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 victory.

Tuominen tackles John White in the quarter-finals after the seventh-seeded Scot beat Frenchman Renan Lavigne, the 16th seed, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5.

Egyptian Mohammed Abbas is now ranked 13 in the world - his highest ever ranking - and may not get higher unless he overcomes the jitters that visit him when about to beat one of the top ten. It happened again in Richman when he outplayed fifth-seeded Frenchman Thierry Lincou for three games and stood at match ball 10-7 when the referees called a Lincou shot up when Abbas was convinced it had hit the tin.

The Egyptian fumed and fumed, but the decision stayed. From then on, Abbas simply cold not get his concentration back again. He lost the game 12-10 in the tie break and his nerve and determination diminished in the final two games to allow Lincou to escape with a victory that he should never have had.

"I just kept running, running after the ball," said Lincou later. "In the first two games, he just outplayed me and I couldn't do anything. I was always behind him on the court. In the third I finally managed to get in front of him. I am just relieved to have won."

Top seed Ramy Ashour of Egypt got a little revenge from Julian Illingworth, the unseeded American who had knocked out the favourite's elder brother Hisham in the first round in one of the shock wins of the tournament. Illingworth gave a very good account of himself and although he went down in straight games, he forced a tie-break in both the second and third games, to show that he is good enough not be outclassed by the best player in the world today. It was a well-contested match with a high standard of squash, with Illingworth shooting in his share of winners. But the Ashour speed is startling and eventually overwhelms his opponent.

James Willstrop and Lee Beachill repeated their performance of last week's British National Championship final when Willstrop beat his training partner to retain the title. The two Yorkshireman put on a startling display of speed squash in Richmond which was pure entertainment. The ball was cracked with accuracy down the walls and into the nicks. This was squash of a very high order: the standard and speed were maintained for 43 minutes before fourth seed Willstrop emerged an 11-5, 11-8, 11-6 victor. It wasn't that Beachill played badly; it was that 24-year-old Willstrop played so well.

2nd round:
[1] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Julian Illingworth (USA) 11-6, 11-10 (3-1), 11-10 (2-0) (53m)
[6] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [12] Alex Gough (WAL) 11-8, 11-9, 11-5 (40m)
[4] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [9] Lee Beachill (ENG) 11-5, 11-8, 11-6 (43m)
[8] Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt [13] Shahier Razik (CAN) 11-9, 7-3 ret. (29m)
[7] John White (SCO) bt [16] Renan Lavigne (FRA) 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5 (45m)
[11] Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt [3] David Palmer (AUS) 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 (49m)
[5] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [10] Mohammed Abbas (EGY) 7-11, 9-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-6, 11-5 (79m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [15] Cameron Pilley (AUS) 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (38m)