LEWISTON — Just when he thought his momentum had run out, Thierry Lincou somehow got it back. Lincou overcame a miserable fourth set and a 4-1 deficit in the fifth to defeat Australian David Palmer for the 2013 Bobcat Classic Saturday, the first leg for both on this season’s Pro Squash Tour.

Lincou captured the first two sets (11-9, 11-8) to put Palmer in a deep hole for second time Saturday. In an earlier semi-final match against reigning United States Intercollegiate champion Amr Khaled Khalifa, Palmer roared back to advance after spotting his opponent the first two sets.

“It’s tough, two matches in one day,” said Palmer. “It’s early in the season and I perhaps didn’t do enough in the summer. We both had tough matches earlier in the day. (My semi final) match was more physical than Thierry’s.”

Palmer took the third set 11-9 and overwhelmed Lincou 11-2 in the fourth before opening up the quick 4-1 lead in the final set.

“I was really in control of the pace,” said Lincou. “I was able to be quick and stay ahead of him. I just lost my momentum and I said a few jokes.”

The one-sided play for Palmer had come quickly and so had the points.

“He was building up his confidence,” said the French native. I was trying to get back to my game again. I was finally able to get a few big points.”

Lincou ran off a streak of five unanswered points to turn the match back into his favor. A few minutes later, the score stood 8-8.

“When it was 8-all, I had a chance,” said Palmer. “He played the last few points better than me.”

Lincou went on the advantage when a Palmer return struck the lower tin. Palmer suffered the same result on the next point which came after the match’s longest rally which brought an applause from the fans watching to set up match point.

Palmer would close the gap to 10-9, but Lincou took home the title when Palmer’s final shot went out of play.

“It was a good match,” said Palmer. “We know each other’s games. It’s early in the season and was a good eye-opener for me.”

Palmer and Lincou are both former top-ranked players on the Tour. The Bobcat Classic allows a blend of some of the top professional players as well top collegiate players who are just getting ready to begin their season.

The two finalists both had to overcome adversity in their semi-final matches earlier in the day. Palmer had the physical match with Khalifa while Bates sophomore Ahmed Abdel Khalek gave Lincou fits by winning the first and third sets and staking himself to a 2-1 advantage.

“This morning, it was tricky,” said Lincou. “I had never played (Khalek). I was a little bit on my heels. I don’t like not having seen my opponent.”

The experience of playing one of the sports’ top players was one Khalek will cherish. Unfortunately, Khalifa injured his back in the semis, so Khalek was unable to play his friend and fellow Egyptian countryman in the consolation match. Khalifa was forced to withdraw, conceding third place to Khalek.

“I was thrilled to death to play against Lincou,” said Khalek when reached by phone Saturday night. “After I won the third, I was like, wow, I can win this.”

Lincou’s stamina was too much for Khalek as the veteran wore down the amateur.

“He had very strong legs,” said Khalek. “Toward the end, I was tired and he still wanted to play, but I was happy. I had a very good weekend.”


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