Tennis/Squash

Franklin loses to idol

  • Franklin made a fist of his match against idol Palmer, but ultimately came off second best (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

David Palmer and Peter Nicol remained on course to reach the final of the Legends of Squash tournament at the Bermuda Squash Racquets Association in Devonshire last night.

Palmer, the defending champion, kept his bid for a third title on track after breezing past local champion Micah Franklin, while Nicol had an equally convincing victory over another former world champion Jonathan Power.

The crowd were kept on the edge of their seats as the players put on an exhibition of high-intensity squash punctuated by some exquisite stroke play, long and exciting rallies and real showmanship.

But while there was a feel-good factor on court it was also serious business, with Australian Palmer taking nothing for granted against Franklin, who upset two-times European champion Nick Taylor the previous night.

Palmer saw off Franklin in straight games 11-7, 11-5 with a polished display.

“I knew he was going to run all day,” Palmer said. “He’s fit and he’s fast, and so it was important to close that one out 2-0 because I really didn’t want to go to a third game.

“I watched him last night and I knew I had to be up for it. It was probably my hardest match for the week, and so I had to be up for it tonight.

“We had some great rallies and good spirits, so it was a great thing.”

Franklin made a fist of it, occasionally bringing the crowd to their feet with some clinical execution of his own, but was simply no match for his idol.

“I’ve been raised watching that guy especially,” Franklin said.

“He is one my idols and to be on court against him and have him say he treated me as an equal was pretty special to me.”

Taylor rebounded from his opening lost to Franklin, coming from behind to beat winless Joe Kneipp 4-11, 11-4, 11-5 in last night’s remaining Randall & Quilter group.

“I was pleased with the win tonight to get my campaign back on track,” Taylor said.

Also improving to 2-0 was Nicol who beat former world No 1 Power 11-8, 11-3.

Power led twice in the opening game but suffered a setback when he injured his lower back and was unable to regain his early form, which his opponent ruthlessly exploited the rest of the way.

“Jonathan is so good that if I let him back in for a second he would be all over me and won easily,” Nicol said.

“He’s so talented with a racquet and such a good mover and strong player you just can’t lay off him for a second.”

Power, who is also a former British Open champion, slipped to 1-1.

The night’s remaining Sompo International Group match saw John White beat winless Simon Parke 11-9, 8-11, 11-8 to improve his overall record to 1-1.

“It was an enjoyable game,” White said. “We fought for every single point.

“There was a lot of grunting, grinding, dives, sweat and everything else but that’s the nature of the game.”

Tonight’s final round-robin matches will determine the two finalists and third/fourth play-off spots.