Power romps over rival

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:08 AM ET

So much for the intense match between long-time rivals that was supposed to go down last night at the 2004 PACE Canadian Squash Classic.

Playing in front of a supportive crowd at BCE Place, Jonathon Power of Montreal made short work of nemesis Peter Nicol of England. Power beat Nicol 11-7, 11-7, 11-2 in the tournament's quarter-finals.

"My hitting was probably as good as it has been in a long time," said Power, who won the event in 2003, 2002 and 2000. "I felt great -- nothing to complain about."

Power, ranked ninth in the world and seeded seventh in the tournament, will face Anthony Ricketts of Australia tonight in a semi-final. The unseeded Ricketts is ranked 14th in the world and advanced last night after upsetting Lee Beachill of England, the world's top-ranked player, 11-6, 11-4, 11-2. For the first time in tournament history, Canadians will play in both semi-finals. Graham Ryding of Toronto will face second-seeded Thiery Lincou in the other semi tonight.

Before last night, Power and Nicol had met 38 times, with Nicol holding a 21-17 advantage. But Power, playing in front of, he said, "tons" of family and friends, defeated his foe with relative ease. Using his backhand drop with pinpoint accuracy, Power had control from the opening rally and settled into a rhythm Nicol couldn't penetrate.

Nicol is ranked third in the world and was the third seed in the event,and had beaten Power in their previous five matches.

ON HIS GAME

"That was in the back of my mind," Power said. "I had both my length game and drop game working. I just felt he got frustrated that I was moving well and he was not finding any quick points."

Power acknowledged that his inability to beat Nicol in the recently was a motivating factor last night. Now, he will turn his attention to Ricketts, who he has beaten twice recently.

"He is playing well," Power said of Ricketts. "He was (leading) against me in a couple of games. I have to be ready."


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