MAKES FINAL AFTER MARATHON BETWEEN TOP BRITS
(1) Nick Matthew (Eng)
beat (3) James Willstrop (Eng) 11-7, 5-11, 18-20, 11-8, 10-8 retd. (127
(2) Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
beat (4) Peter Barker (Eng) 11-7, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7 (63 mins)
Top seed Nick Matthew
reached the final of the ISS Canary Wharf Classic when his big rival
James Willstrop retired injured on match ball down after an astonishing
Matthew meets French
world No.2 Gregory Gaultier in tomorrow’s final after a dramatic finish
to the longest match in the tournament’s seven-year history which
included an astonishing 20-18 tiebreak finish to the third game.
Willstrop’s left leg
cramped up after he crashed into the back left corner of the glass court
chasing a winning drive from Matthew after the players had battled toe
to toe for 127 minutes of brutal squash.
Matthew punched the air
with relief at winning the point after one of many physically depleting
rallies but his expression turned to concern for his opponent as
Willstrop was clearly in agony.
Referee Dean Clayton
rushed down to the court as two physios treated Willstrop and informed
the sell-out crowd that as the injury was self-inflicted the 6ft 4in
world No.4 would have to concede the match unless he was unable to play
Yorkshireman Matthew refused to accept victory in such conditions and
offered Willstrop a three-minute break.
But Willstrop was unable
to continue and had no alternative but to concede the match.
The two players hugged
in the middle of the court, and now Matthew will have to hope his body
holds up in tomorrow’s final against Gaultier.
Matthew stayed in front
throughout a demanding opening game that lasted 25 minutes, maintaining
the high-speed pressure squash that saw off former world champion
Thierry Lincou in the quarter-finals.
responded brilliantly in the second game, reducing his error count and
mixing up tight drives with delicate touch shots at the front of the
Willstrop moved 7-4 up
in the third as the match moved beyond the hour mark but Matthew hit
back to force the game to a tiebreak at 10-10. Willstrop kept getting
his nose in front but conceded several penalty strokes as Matthew
constantly fought back. Willstrop finally clinched it 20-18 after 38
minutes of pure drama as Matthew drove his shot into the tin.
Willstrop led 6-3 in the
fourth game but was unable to sustain the pressure as Matthew fought
back to win 11-8.
In the fifth, Willstrop
took a three-minute injury break after receiving a knee in the back of
the calf but he returned to the court to again open up an early lead of
But Matthew continued to
reel in the points, finally taking the lead at 8-7. Then, at 9-8, he
unleashed a stinging backhand drive into the back corner. Willstrop, who
had been forced to chase the ball all over the court, fell in a heap as
the ball raced beyond his reach.
Matthew sportingly said:
“Nobody wants to win a match like that. We always have long battles but
that was by far the hardest-ever. I just hope my body will hold up in
the final tomorrow.
“The crowd were
absolutely brilliant all the way through, cheering us both on and
creating a fantastic atmosphere.
“This is one of the best
tournaments in the world and I’m delighted to get through to the final
for the first time.”
Ironically, Matthew lost
in the first round of the event last year after receiving a dead leg
from Egypt’s world junior champion Mohamed El Shorbagy.
Former world No.1
Gaultier was made to work hard by England’s No.4 seed Peter Barker
before clinching his first appearance in the Canary Wharf final.
Gaultier powered through
the opening two games before Barker launched a solid counter-attack in
the third game. He dropped his cautious approach and began matching
Gaultier with some outrageous winners.
Barker led 5-4 in the
fourth game but Gaultier regained control to win 11-7, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7
in 63 minutes.
Gaultier said: “It was a
hard match and Peter played very well. We have both had injuries this
season but we are both playing a lot better now.
“The first match was
unbelievable and it was difficult to cope with the long delay in waiting
to go on court. You go the loo 25 times and warm up six times.
“Nick is a very strong
guy and I am sure he will have lots of energy left for the final.”
Former world champion
Peter Nicol will return to the court before the final as the Legends of
Squash World Tour makes its London debut.
Nicol, who beat his
great rival Jonathon Power recently when the Legends Tour was launched
at New York’s Grand Central Station, will be taking on former England
star Simon Parke.
As promoter of the
Canary Wharf event, Nicol has already achieved one massive success this
week with sell-out crowds every night at the superb East Wintergarden
Finals night line-up:
6.15pm: Legends of Squash Challenge: Peter Nicol (Eng) v Simon Parke
7.30pm: Final (1) Nick Matthew (Eng) v (2) Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
all the Canary Wharf action LIVE on
Willstrop and Matthew Set for Semi Final Clash
By ALAN THATCHER
England team-mates James Willstrop and Nick Matthew will
continue their fierce rivalry when they meet in the semi-finals of the
ISS Canary Wharf Classic.
World No.2 Matthew looked ruthlessly efficient as he beat
former world champion Thierry Lincou in straight games but Willstrop was
given a difficult time by rising star Daryl Selby.
Before a sell-out crowd at Canary Wharf’s superb East
Wintergarden venue tonight, No.3 seed Willstrop overcame Selby 9-11,
11-9, 11-3, 11-8 in 61 minutes of high-quality and often physical
World No.12 Selby, from Essex, began solidly and was
obviously high on confidence as he produced a succession of stunning
winners to win the first game.
He led 7-5 in the second but Willstrop won four points in
a row to put himself in a strong position. Selby drew level at 9-9 but
mistakes cost him the game.
He struck the tin with a drop shot to give Willstrop game
ball at 10-9 and was surprised by Willstrop’s bodyline serve on match
ball. Selby shaped to receive serve on his backhand but was unable to
react quickly and sent a weak forehand into the floor as Willstrop fired
the ball towards the other side of his body.
Willstrop, the 26-year-old world No.4 from Leeds, led
throughout the third game to win 11-3 but Selby resumed his attack in
the fourth. He was unable to convert a 7-6 lead and Willstrop finished
strongly to win 11-8.
Both players spent a lot of time on the floor following a
succession of collisions and there were frequent arguments with referee
Willstrop admitted that he was surprised by the challenge
Selby mounted. He said: “He has been playing in Canada for three weeks
and flew back after his final on Sunday night. Frankly I was amazed he
got through the first round against Tarek Momen on Monday after a
schedule like that. I know I couldn’t have done it.
“Daryl has worked hard to become a very good professional
squash player and I am sure he is certainly good enough to get into the
world top ten if he carries on playing like that.”
Matthew has beaten Willstrop in their three matches so
far this year and looked in top form as he removed Lincou with a fast,
But he warned: “Results in the early rounds don’t mean
anything. James is playing very well at the moment and it seems like we
are playing each other every week.
“We have played each other hundreds of times over the
years and it’s bound to be another difficult match.”
French No.2 seed Gregory Gaultier reached the semi-finals
with a battling victory over reigning champion David Palmer, the Orlando-based
Gaultier began superbly, winning the opening game for the
loss of just three points, but he fell awkwardly on game ball and had to
received treatment at courtside.
He came back on to clinch the game but Palmer sensed an
opportunity and dominated the next two games. Then it was Gaultier’s
turn to fight his way back into the match and he led 5-1 in the fourth
before Palmer turned the tables to draw level at 6-6.
Gaultier maintained his control to win 11-7 to take the
match to a fifth game. He built up a 6-2 lead but the 33-year-old Palmer
again dug deep to launch a comeback.
At one stage he left the court to argue with referee Jos
Aarts and accused Gaultier of blocking his path to the ball. It was a
fiery finish to the match but again the Frenchman held his nerve to win
11-3, 6-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-6 in 81 minutes of classic squash.
A relieved Gaultier said: “David has been a great
champion down the years and he is still playing amazing squash at 33. I
have so much respect for what he has done in the game and I am very
pleased to win. I want to thank my physiotherapist for getting me back
in shape after my fall and I am so pleased she travelled to watch me
Gaultier meets No.4 seed Peter Barker after the
left-handed Londoner beat Leeds-based Alister Walker with a clinical
display of tight, attacking squash.
Barker won 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 in 55 minutes to send out the
message that he is back near his best after a disappointing start to the
year that followed his rise to No.6 in the PSA world rankings.
Walker, who has risen to 13 in the world on the back of
some impressive performances on the world tour, struggled to find a
suitable length or width on the glass court and was punished for his
6.30pm (1) Nick Matthew (Eng) v (3) James Willstrop (Eng)
8.00pm: (2) Gregory Gaultier (Fra) v (4) Peter Barker (Eng)
ADMITS STRESS OF LIFE AT THE TOP
(7) Alister Walker
(England) beat Tom Richards (England) 11-3, 6-11, 12-10, 11-4 (47 mins)
(4) Peter Barker (England)
beat Adrian Waller (England) 11-5, 11-6, 11-7 (37 mins)
(2) Gregory Gaultier
(France) beat (Q) Nicolas Mueller (Switzerland) 11-7, 11-3, 11-2 (30
(5) David Palmer
(Australia) beat (Q) Davide Bianchetti (Italy) 11-2, 7-11, 12-10, 11-5
French squash star Gregory
Gaultier reached the quarter-finals of the ISS Canary Wharf Classic last
night and revealed that he had to take a break from the game to cope
with the enormous emotional stress he suffered after reaching the world
No.1 spot last year.
Number two seed Gaultier
eased past Swiss qualifier Nicolas Mueller, winning 11-7, 11-3, 11-7 in
just 30 minutes.
He then admitted that he
had taken a rest from the game to deal with the psychological impact on
his life after taking over at the top of the rankings in November.
He said: “It all got to me
and I needed to take a break. I was No.2 for so long and it was hard
work doing all that chasing. The pressure just built up.
“But I have been training
hard for three weeks and I am now very happy with my life. I travel the
world and play in different countries all the time. I am 27 now and want
to continue playing for many years to come, and I want to enjoy it.”
Gaultier faces David Palmer
in the quarter-finals after the Australian overcame fellow veteran
Davide Bianchetti in a tempestuous battle.
With the match poised at
one game all, the crucial third game was a tempestuous affair, with
constant physical contact resulting in explosive verbal confrontations
with referee John Massarella. Bianchetti twice opened the court door to
rant at the official after decisions had gone against him.
It was pure theatre and the
sell-out crowd at Canary Wharf’s East Wintergarden venue loved it.
Palmer won the game 12-10
and encountered little resistance as he powered home in the fourth,
clinching victory with a spectacular volley kill into the front right
The Australian’s triumph
sets up a repeat of last year’s semi-final with Gaultier, which Palmer
won with a magnificent fightback from two games down before going on to
win the tournament.
World No.12 Alister Walker
booked a place in the quarter-finals by beating English rival Tom
Walker, the No.7 seed, won
a hard-fought first round first round encounter 11-3, 6-11, 12-10, 11-4
in 47 minutes.
Walker, a shock
semi-finalist at Canary Wharf two years ago, finished as strongly as he
started, playing tight, aggressive squash.
Richards had a purple patch
in the middle of the match, winning the second game with some deft drop
shots and battling all the way through the third until Walker won the
tiebreak on a hotly disputed penalty stroke.
No.4 seed Peter Barker
meets Walker in the quarter-finals after subduing Adrian Waller in an
all-London derby clash.
Barker was in control
throughout the match, winning 11-5, 11-6, 11-7 in 37 minutes.
The Islington-based Barker,
who has struggled to hit peak form this year despite his rise up the
rankings, is determined to do well in front of his home crowd this week.
He said: “I had an injury
in training at the start of the year and that put me back. But maybe
that disappointment helped me to refocus on my game.
“There are so many good
young English players coming through that I feel like an old man at 26.”
Matthew and Willstrop Through to Q/F
At Canary Wharf
English rivals Nick Matthew and James Willstrop powered through their
first round matches in the ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic in front of a
sell-out crowd at the spectacular East Wintergarden venue.
Top seed Matthew, the world No.2 from
Sheffield, took just 34 minutes to remove qualifier Chris Ryder, the
world No.40 from Leamington Spa.
Matthew, who faces former world champion
Thierry Lincou in the quarter-finals on Wednesday, said: “It’s good to
get the first one out of the way and I was feeling nice and sharp. I
haven’t played a tournament for three weeks and I wanted to get things
right from the start.
“I played Chris in the Premier league
last week so I had a good idea of what to expect. I'm looking forward to
playing Thierry. He is someone I have always looked up to throughout my
Matthew is seeded to meet fellow English
powerhouse James Willstrop in the semi-finals. The 6ft 5in Yorkshireman
overpowered 5ft 6in Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 in 40
minutes of high-quality squash. Willstrop did not have things all his
own way as his Pontefract training partner led 7-4 in the opening game
and 7-5 in the second. Willstrop admitted: “Saurav is one of the fastest
players on the world tour. He is a very difficult and frustrating
opponent because he keeps getting the ball back and forces you to play a
lot moré shots than you would like to.
Lincou was made to fight by German
qualifier Simon Rosner, who played exceptional squash to win the second
game. Lincou, the 33-year-old former world champion from Marseille,
squeezed home in a tight third game and then asserted his authority to
race home 11-3 in the fourth.
No.3 seed Willstrop meets world No.12
Daryl Selby in Wednesday’s quarter-finals. Essex ace Selby defied jetlag
to beat talented Egyptian Tarek Momen. Selby won the Rocky Mountain Open
in Calgary on Sunday and flew back to London yesterday morning. He
struggled to move fluently at the start of the match as Momen fired in a
succession of dazzling winners to win the opening game. The score
see-sawed throughout the match as Selby won the second game, producing
gasps from the crowd with an audacious shot played behind his back.
Momen asserted himself again to win the third game but Selby produced a
gutsy performance to win the fourth and draw level again. Selby
maintained the pressure in the fifth as Momen’s touch deserted him.
Tuesday’s schedule sees the bottom half
of the first round draw.
5.30pm: (7) Alister Walker (England) v Tom Richards (England)
6.30pm: (4) Peter Barker (England) v Adrian Waller (England)
7.30pm: (2) Gregory Gaultier (France) v (Q) Nicolas Mueller
8.30pm: (5) David Palmer (Australia) v (Q) Davide Bianchetti (Italy)
Jonah & Joey Team Up For Squash TV
Webcast At Canary Wharf
distinguished father and son Jonah & Joey Barrington will
team up as commentators for the first time at this week's ISS Canary
Wharf Squash Classic, the 5-star PSA World Tour event which
gets underway at Canary Wharf’s spectacular East Wintergarden
venue in London.
still the most famous British player of all-time, who won a then record
six British Open titles between 1967 and 1973, and England
international Joey, currently ranked 28 in the world, will cover the
semi-finals and final (on Thursday & Friday) for the new PSA webcasting
The ISS Canary
Wharf Classic, in its seventh year at East Wintergarden, has attracted a
star-studded field led by England's top two players Nick Matthew
and James Willstrop – ranked two and four in the world,
respectively - plus three former world number ones, including the
Australian defending champion David Palmer, a twice former world
"It's going to be
really interesting – I'm the lead commentator, so I'm going to have to
keep him in order, which will be a first," joked Joey.
"But there's no
better commentator on the game than him – everybody knows that. I know
I'm going to learn a huge amount from him."
The pair will
stage an exhibition match on the all-glass court at East Wintergarden on
the afternoon of the semi-finals – in which 30-year-old Joey will be
playing with a traditional wooden Dunlop racket as used by his
illustrious father in the seventies, while Jonah, now aged 68, will have
at his disposal the brand's latest high-tech model.
"I've never played
with a wooden racket before so I don't know how I'm going to manage.
But Dad still hits the ball so well – so it should be fun."
Ryder Boosts Home Interest In Canary Wharf Classic
boosted English interest in the ISS Canary
Wharf Classic after coming through the qualifying finals of the 5-star
PSA World Tour squash event in its seventh year in London.
The 29-year-old world No40 from Leamington Spa
battled for 56 minutes to overcome France's Mathieu Castagnet 12-10,
6-11, 11-5, 11-6.
The 2006 World University champion's reward is a
clash with top seed and fellow countryman Nick Matthew in the first round
at Canary Wharf’s spectacular East Wintergarden venue.
Remarkably, the two 29-year-olds will be
celebrating their first meeting on the PSA World Tour. Favourite Matthew, the
world No2 from Sheffield, will be hoping to lift the Canary Wharf crown for the
first time in his first tournament appearance on home soil since winning his
third British National Championship title in February.
Ryder will be joined in the main draw by fellow
qualifiers Simon Rosner, Nicolas Mueller and Davide Bianchetti
– German number one Rosner and top Swiss player Mueller earning their debuts in
the event while top-ranked Italian Bianchetti will be appearing in the main draw
for the fourth year in a row.
Mueller, the 20-year-old world No42 from Hirzel,
near Zurich, fought back from match ball down to win a fifth game tie-break
against Englishman Chris Simpson, from Guernsey. The match lasted 73
minutes and Simpson, ranked 48 in the world, came desperately close to beat the
Swiss number one before going down 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 3-11, 13-11.
Simon Rosner became the first qualifier to reach
the main draw after winning a bruising, brutal 70-minute battle against
Hungarian Mark Krajcsak. It was a high-quality contest with some
dazzling shots throughout, from which the world No35 from Paderborn ultimately
prevailed 13-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9.
The often volatile Davide Bianchetti gained the
final place in the main draw with a disciplined and stylish display against
Julien Balbo of France, winning 12-10, 11-4, 11-5 after 50 minutes.
ISS CANARY WHARF CLASSIC QUALIFYING FIRST ROUND
Wimbledon Rackets and Fitness Club, London:
Mark Krajcsak (Hungary) beat
NeilHitchens (Eng) 11-4, 11-5, 11-7 (32 mins)
Simon Rosner (Germany) beat Max Lee (Hong Kong) 14-16, 11-5, 11-3, 11-4 (53 mins)
Nicolas Muller (Switzerland) beat Eddie Charlton (England) 11-9, 10-12, 9-11,
11-6, 11-4 (58 mins)
Chris Simpson (England) beat Joe Lee (England) won 9-11, 11-4, 17-15, 12-10
Chris Ryder (England) Kashif Shuja (New Zealand) 11-7, 12-10, 11-4 (38 mins)
Mathieu Castagnet (France) beat
Yann Perrin (France) 12-10, 13-15, 6-11, 11-0, 11-6 (77 mins)
Davide Bianchetti (Italy)
(England) 11-5, 12-10, 11-1 (29 mins)
Julien Balbo (France) beat
Robbie Temple (England) 9-11, 11-6, 11- 8, 11- 2
reports from WimbledonRackets and Fitness Club
Hungary's Mark Krajcsak made a flying start to the ISS Canary Wharf Classic
qualifying competition, sweeping past England's NeilHitchens in straight games.
Playing fast, attacking squash, Krajcsak moved the ball and his opponent around
the court in a dominant display.
Germany's Simon Rosner overcame a nervous start to power past Max lee of Hong
Kong. Lee won the opening game 16-14 on a tiebreak but Rosner emerged for the
second game with a more solid game-plan.
He produced almost error-free squash to race through the next three games and
will need to maintain that level of performance against Krajcsak in the
Swiss ace Nicolas Muller overcame a tired-looking Eddie Charlton in a gruelling
five-setter. Charlton lost a tight first game after taking an early lead, and
almost surrendered the second before finally clinching it on a tiebreak. He
squeezed home in the third with a nick on game ball but Muller maintained a high
level of consistency to take the fourth game. He powered through the fifth game
with minimal resistance from a clearly wilting opponent.
Chris Simpson booked his place in the qualifying finals against Muller after
beating Joe Lee in a hard-fought 82-minute marathon encounter.
Simpson won 9-11, 11-4, 17-15, 12-10, with the scoreline clearly reflecting the
closeness of the match and the physical investment made by both players. The
third game tiebreak was a brutal affair, with the Guernsey player Simpson edging
it 17-15. The fourth game was a similarly close battle with Simpson winning
another tiebreak 12-10.
Chris Ryder was too sharp for a strangely subdued Kashif Shuja. The New Zeaand
number one has a sublime touch but was clearly lacking in the mobility
department as Ryder eased home in straight games.
Ryder sneaked a second-game tiebreak 12-10 and Shuja had little left in the tank
during a one-sided third game. Ryder fired in a succession of sharp, fast boasts
that Shuja either saw late or decided not to pursue.
Italy’s Davide Bianchetti eased past his English Premier League team-mate Ben
Ford. The two play for Surrey Health and Rackets Club and Ford started in a very
friendly fashion as he allowed Bianchetti to open up a huge lead in the opening
The Kent county captain began to get some points on the board but had given his
opponent too big a lead to think about winning the game. The second was a much
closer affair and Ford struck some superb winners to take the game to a tiebreak
before two errors allowed the Italian to win 12-10.
The effort clearly took its toll on the 34-year-old Englishman as Bianchetti
powered home 11-1 in the third, with Ford receiving a conduct warning for racket
abuse in the process.
An all-French encounter finished with Mathieu Castagnet overcoming Yann Perrin
in a 77-minute see-saw battle. In an extraordinary match, Perrin led two games
to one but lost the fourth without securing a single point as his exertions
caught up with him.
Castagnet opened up a solid lead in the fifth game and withstood a ferocious
recovery by his compatriot to clinch victory 12-10, 13-15, 6-11, 11-0, 11-6.
Another Frenchman, Julien Balbo, secured the final berth against Bianchetti by
beating England’s Robbie Temple in a scrappy, ill-tempered affair. Temple
received a conduct warning for arguing with the referee as he lost the third
game from 7-6 up. Balbo then took complete control to clinch victory 9-11, 11-6,
11-8, 11-2 in 55 minutes.
Qualifying finals (Sunday 3pm):
Rosner v Krajcsak
Muller v Simpson
Ryder v Castagnet
Bianchetti v Balbo