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20 Jun 2024

Lincou & Duncalf Win European Titles

30 May 2010

Thierry Lincou & Jenny Duncalf celebrate their European success

Contrasting finals in the 10th European Individual Squash Championships saw the men's title retained by Thierry Lincou - extending French 'ownership' of the trophy to seven years - and the women's crown regained by England's Jenny Duncalf at the Tennis & Squash Centre in Saarbrucken, Germany.

Top seed Duncalf, the European Individual champion in 2006 and 2007, arrived in Germany following three confidence-shaking defeats to lower-ranked opponents in the European Team Championships France.

And the world No2 from Harrogate immediately took a two-game lead against one of those victors, Dutch star Vanessa Atkinson, the 34-year-old former world number one now in the twilight of her career and ranked 11 places lower than Duncalf.

But Atkinson, a 3/4 seed who reached the final for the second year in a row after despatching second seed Camille Serme, battled back to win the third game and survive a tie-break fourth to level the match.

However, 27-year-old Duncalf reclaimed the advantage and closed out the match 11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 10-12, 11-5 to win her third tile - and extend her unbeaten run in the event to 12 matches.

It was clear that the men's final may not be the all-French classic which the Saarbrucken crowd were hoping for. Defending champion Thierry Lincou, the No2 seed, faced national rival Gregory Gaultier, the top seed who was appearing in the climax for the seventh year in a row, after winning the title on five of those occasions.

The Gallic duo have been fierce rivals throughout their careers - and their tournament head-to-head tally was delicately poised on 11 wins apiece on the eve of the match.

But Gaultier, the 27-year-old world No6 from Aix-en-Provence, suffered a twisted ankle during his semi-final victory over Hungarian Mark Krajcsak - and despite a hospital examination which showed no serious damage, but just bruising, it was never likely that the former champion would be 100% for the climax.

The favourite matched Lincou until midway through the first game - but the title-holder pressed home his advantage thereafter. Gaultier conceded after the second game, leaving Lincou the 11-5, 11-2 (ret.) winner.

It was the third time the two Frenchman had battled for the title in the final - and the second title triumph for Lincou, the 34-year-old world No8 from Marseille.

Men's Final:
[2] Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 11-5, 11-2 ret.
Women's Final:
[1] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [3/4] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) 11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 10-12, 11-5