8:37 am
14 Apr 2024

Golan Reaches New Heights In Paris

26 Sep 2008

In what he described as "the best win of my career", Spaniard Borja Golan upset local hero Thierry Lincou in a dramatic five-game encounter in the Internationaux de France to reach the semi-finals of the $62,000 5-star PSA Tour event in Paris.

Golan, the sixth seed from Santiago DC, will now face England's second seed James Willstrop in one semi-final, while local interest in the event will now be led exclusively by Gregory Gaultier in the other, where the top seed takes on Englishman Nick Matthew, the fourth seed.

The final match of the day in the first major squash championship to be held in the French capital since 1995 saw third seed Lincou 4-7 down in the deciding game as underdog Golan looked the likely shock winner.

But, to the delight of the packed partisan crowd at Stade Charlety, Lincou won five points in a row to put the former world number one from Marseille back on track.

Then, match-ball down, the Frenchman hit the ball back at himself - and Golan celebrated his golden success.

"Right now, I feel nothing - this is the best win of my career. Sometimes, things are actually possible," exclaimed the 25-year-old Spanish number one to www.squashsite.co.uk.

"I really tried to put him under pressure with my volleying, cross-courting a lot. But, most of all, I concentrated on my length - because with Thierry, if your length is not perfect, he volleys
everything. So first, I was thinking about perfect length, and then, I tried and attacked more than I normally do.

"This is an incredible feeling - it's like a dream come true. But also, I know that he lost here, in front of his home crowd, and that I feel for him, I know what it is to lose when you are home, and he must be feeling terrible," added Golan.

The ten times French National champion clearly felt under pressure: "I was far too stressed, the expectations from everybody, and I so wanted to do well. It's a shame, because yesterday I was feeling really good, and today too I thought, and I really wanted to go to the end," explained Lincou.

"And that desire to please people, to respond to their expectations. I have the feeling I didn't show enough tonight. Borja didn't put a foot wrong the whole match. He was hungrier than me for victory."

In a close encounter earlier in the day, James Willstrop beat England team-mate Joey Barrington 13-11, 11-8, 11-6 - and is now one match away from his seventh final in eight successive PSA Tour ranking events.

An all-French clash saw Gregory Gaultier prevail 11-5, 11-4, 11-7 over eighth seed Renan Lavigne to set up the predicted semi-final against English rival Nick Matthew, the fourth seed who beat Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema, the No5 seed, 11-7, 11-2, 11-5.

Quarter-finals:
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [8] Renan Lavigne (FRA) 11-5, 11-4, 11-7 (44m)
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [5] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 11-7, 11-2, 11-5 (43m)
[6] Borja Golan (ESP) bt [3] Thierry Lincou (FRA) 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-9 (85m)
[2] James Willstrop (ENG) bt Joey Barrington (ENG) 13-11, 11-8, 11-6 (47m)