James Willstrop collected his fourth Canary Wharf Classic
title with a stunning display of quality squash to subdue his England
team-mate Peter Barker.
The No.4 seed from Essex had produced an outstanding
performance to beat reigning champion Nick Matthew in the semi-finals,
but he was unable to repeat that level of consistency against Willstrop.
Barker launched a ferocious attack at the start of the
match, winning the first four points, but once Willstrop found his
rhythm and length he began to dominate the tenth anniversary final of
this sell-out London tournament.
From 5-2 down Willstrop won four points in a row and from
7-7 he controlled the closing phase of the game to win 11-8.
The No.2 seed from Leeds looked strangely subdued as he
failed to maintain that level of consistency in the second game.
Barker made fewer mistakes and his high-paced driving had
the 6ft 4in Willstrop in all sorts of trouble, twisting and turning
However, that was Barker’s last moment of supremacy as
Willstrop reached his peak. Playing supremely accurate squash, his
drives clung to the side walls and his drop shots found their targets at
the front of the court.
He won 10 points in a row from 7-4 in the third to 6-0 in
the fourth to illustrate his control.
He even had time to throw in a few attempts at matching
the amazing triple-fake shot he produced in the recent Davenport North
American Open and launched an internet sensation.
He won the third and fourth games by an 11-4 margin to
clinch a fourth title in his sixth final at a packed East Wintergarden.
It was the first final in the tournament’s history to be concluded in
less than an hour.
While the majority of the London crowd may have been
cheering for local favourite Barker, they acknowledged the sheer mastery
of a sporting genius playing squash of a phenomenally high standard.
Willstrop, who won the very first Canary Wharf final
against Thierry Lincou as a 19-year-old in 2004, was delighted to claim
his first PSA title since beating Ramy Ashour in the final of the North
American Open in February last year.
After receiving his trophy from the Canary Wharf Group
company secretary, John Garwood, he said: “To win any final at this
level requires a massive physical and mental effort.
“Peter played superbly to win last night and any victory
against Nick requires a huge effort.
“He must have gone home feeling very happy with that
victory and it must have felt like winning the final.
“It’s so difficult to back it up the next day but the
first two games tonight were as tough as they come and I was pleased to
play so well and win my fourth Canary Wharf title.
“Winning any title is a wonderful occasion and especially
here. This is a fantastic venue, and I love coming here. To win at
Canary Wharf is very special to me.”
Barker, asked how well his opponent had played, said:
“Much better than me, that’s for sure. You saw tonight just how good a
player James is.
“It was a good win for me last night but I couldn’t back
During the presentation ceremony Mr Garwood said: “That
match, and the quality of the squash we have seen all week at Canary
Wharf, demonstrates why squash should be in the Olympics instead of a
sport like golf.”
His feelings were echoed by BBC sports presenter John
Inverdale, who was in the audience. He said: “Golf doesn’t need to be in
the Olympics because so many leading players are ambivalent about
“But there is no reason why squash shouldn’t be in the
Games because it would be the peak of any squash player’s career.
“If squash can fulfil the IOC requirements of global
participation then it stands a very good chance of being voted in.”
James Willstrop Collects His Fourth Canary
Wharf Classic Title Barker beats Matthew In
Surprise Semi Final Result Willstrop beats Shorbagy
to Make All English Final Peter Barker
beats Tom Richards in 4 Mohamed
El Shorbagy squeezes through in 5 against Henrik Mustonen
ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic
East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf,
London, England $50,000
18-22 March 2013
 Nick Matthew
9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9 (70 mins)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez
11-6, 11-4, 10-12, 11-3 (57mins)
Nick Matthew 11-7, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8
(69 mins) Peter Barker
Peter Barker 11-8, 5-11, 11-4, 11-4 (57 mins) James Willstrop
Peter Barker stunned top seed
Nick Matthew to set up an all-English final against James
Willstrop in the tenth anniversary final of the Canary Wharf
No.4 seed Barker had the packed
crowd behind him all the way as he matched Matthew’s pace and
precision, and he’s hoping for the same support in the final
when he faces the 6ft 4in Willstrop.
The East Wintergarden erupted as
Barker clinched only his second career win over the man who has
won the last three Canary Wharf finals.
Barker had to fight back from 7-4
down to win the decisive fourth game in a pressure-cooker
Barker was pumped up for the
battle and clawed his way back into the game despite two video
reviews going against him.
Playing at a phenomenal pace,
both men fought toe to toe like gladiators as the majority of
the London crowd willed Barker to win.
As he closed the gap, Matthew
conceded two penalty strokes and Barker clinched victory with a
dying length in the back left corner.
The 29-year-old left-hander from
Brentwood had promised to go flat out this week and he finished
strongly to take the first game 11-7.
With Barker leading the second
game 10-9, Matthew’s volley rattled the tin to give his rival a
massive boost of confidence to top up the adrenalin coursing
through his veins.
Barker led 5-3 in the third but
Matthew, the 32-year-old from Sheffield, matched his opponent
for aggression and took advantage of some desperate retrieving
to finish off openings at the front of the court.
As Matthew built a solid lead in
the fourth, he must have hoped to take the match to five, but
Barker’s determination and solid, constructive play helped him
home in a dramatic finale.
The applause echoed round the
packed arena for several minutes before Barker could begin his
He said: “I was glad to get
across the finishing line at the end. I admit some of it wasn’t
pretty and I was fishing a bit, but it’s great to double my win
tally against Nick in the head-to-head series. I’m now on two!
“Nick and I have grown up
together in squash and played each other so many times down the
“He is a great champion and you
know you will have to give it everything to get a win.
“The crowd were simply amazing
and I hope they can make the same noise in the final.”
No.2 seed Willstrop hit back to
beat El Shorbagy after losing the first game to the big-hitting
From 4-4 in the opening game, El
Shorbagy stepped up the pace and buried a flat-nick kill to win
it 11-6, then punched the air in delight.
Willstrop, the 29-year-old from
Leeds who was world No.1 for 11 months of 2012, dominated the
opening phase of the second game with a phenomenal display of
controlled squash to build a lead of 6-2.
The No.4 seed El Shorbagy clawed
his way back but at 9-7 he hit he ball out of court to give
Willstrop game ball. El Shorbagy responded by slamming a flat
kill but then hit the tin to give his opponent the game 11-8.
Willstrop continued to dominate
in the third but after reaching game ball at 10-6 he hit the tin
twice and conceded a penalty stroke before nailing a straight
volley kill to win the game 11-9.
The fourth game was full of drama
as 22-year-old Bristol student El Shorbagy moved 6-3 ahead
before Willstrop tightened up his play to claw his way back.
El Shorbagy claimed only one more
point as Willstrop turned the screw, clinching victory in 66
minutes of pulsating squash.
He said: “There were some very
subtle changes of pace, and at the highest levels it is a matter
of subtle differences that can mean the difference between
winning and losing.
“Mohamed and I have developed a
great rivalry and respect and he beat me in the semi-finals of
the World Championships to show how dangerous and talented a
player he is.
“We have had lots of battles all
over the world, including the semi-final here last year, and I
am very pleased to get through to another final.
“I am happy with my movement and
the way I am playing, but there’s another massive battle looming
tomorrow in the final, where I will need everything to be
Alan Thatcher Reports
Shorbagy Aims To Break English Stranglehold At Canary Wharf
Egyptian No.3 seed
Mohamed El Shorbagy is hoping to break the domestic stranglehold
on the Canary Wharf Classic.
El Shorbagy is the
lone non-English player in the semi-finals after surviving a
massive battle with Finnish qualifier Henrik Mustonen.
Egyptian meets three-times championJames Willstrop in the
semi-finals, with reigning champion Nick Matthew, who has won
the last three finals, contemplating an all-English encounter
with Peter Barker.
desperately close to springing another surprise victory.
After beating world
No.17 Adrian Grant in the first round, Mustonen adopted a
fearless policy against the world No.5 who was runner-up to Ramy
Ashour in the recent World Championship.
Mustonen, the world
No.53 from Hollola, stunned El Shorbagy with a high-paced attack
to win the opening game 11-3.
El Shorbagy was
clearly taken by surprise but worked his way into the second
game with some powerful kills at the front of the court.
Mustonen hit back to
win the third with some phenomenal retrieving but El Shorbagy
won the fourth with some positive play and devastating straight
kills at the front of the court.
He began the fifth
in sensational style, blitzing his way to a 6-1 lead, but
Mustonen staged a spectacular recovery to draw level at 7-7,
aided by two tinned service returns from his opponent.
It was anyone’s
match at 8-8 but El Shorbagy finished strongly to book his place
in the semi-finals.
He said: “I was
taken by surprise in the first game by the way Henrik played at
such a fast pace. He had nothing to lose and went flat out,
going for everything.
“I had no injury
worries or anything like that. It was all down to the way he
No.2 seed Willstrop
was on top form as he overcame the challenge of England rival
Daryl Selby in straight games.
Selby, fresh from a
win over England No.1 Matthew in Kuwait last week, was unable to
make inroads against Willstrop’s immaculate court control.
Willstrop said: “I
didn’t need to think about Daryl’s win over Nick last week to
know that he is a top player. It was always going to be a huge
battle, especially here, where he enjoys such enormous support.
“But I was very
pleased with the way I played. It was a fairly comprehensive
performance and I’m pleased to win in straight games.
“Mohamed is already
five in the world. We know what an outstanding player he is
already and it should be another great match.”
Matthew produced a
polished performance against world No.20 Steve Coppinger.
The tall South
African did well to hit back from 8-4 down to win the third game
12-10, with one amazing shot off his toes to take him to game
ball, but Matthew reasserted his authority in the fourth,
reaching 10-1 before Coppinger claimed two points to make the
scoreline more respectable.
Matthew’s opponent last night, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, is
coached by Australia’s former world champion David Palmer.
Matthew said: “David
has got together a good group of players and they can benefit
from the fact that he has only just retired and knows all of the
“He is therefore
able to pass on some significant information to his players
about their opponents.
“Steve played very
well tonight and in the third game it just shows that you can
never ease up. I was getting close to a 3-0 win but he came back
strongly to win it.
Barker fought back
from a game down to beat English rival Tom Richards 3-1 in 56
minutes to book a semi-final clash with Matthew.
Barker was runner-up
to the Yorkshireman in 2011 and last year kept him on court for
94 minutes in the semi-final before Matthew went on to win his
third Canary Wharf title against James Willstrop.
Barker said: “There
are fine lines between winning and losing at the top end of any
sport. I’m eight in the world and Tom is 12 and the match was
strongly at the start but I didn’t do anything wrong in that
game. I just decided to stick to my game plan and it worked.
“I want to thank the
crowd for staying right to the end. It means a lot to play in
front of a full house because the atmosphere gives us a big
“Nick in the
semi-finals will be another massive match. I have only beaten
him once so tomorrow would be a good day to do it again.
“I got my first win
against James Willstrop on this court so why not another one
Alan Thatcher Reports
Round One Top Half
Top Seed Nick Matthew Through To Quarters
Top seed Nick Matthew
admitted he was lucky to reach the quarter-finals of the Canary Wharf
Classic as the unseen hand of former world champion David Palmer had a
massive impact on the tournament.
The Australian, Canary Wharf
champion in 2009, is now making a name as a leading coach in Florida.
Matthew scraped past one of
his pupils, Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez, in a thrilling encounter
and meets another, South African Steve Coppinger, in the quarter-finals.
The atmosphere at a packed
East Wintergarden was more like finals night than a first round as the
crowd warmed to the acrobatic athleticism of Rodriguez in a hugely
The world No.23 from Bogota
took advantage of some unforced errors from Matthew to win the first
Matthew tightened up his
tactics to win the next three games but Rodriguez battled or every
point, pushing the reigning champion to the limit.
The fourth game was a brutal
battle as Rodriguez flung himself around the court to keep the rallies
going and produced some quality finishing at the front of the court.
From 9-9 Matthew moved to
match ball when Rodriguez failed to scrape a shot off the side wall and
the 32-year-old Englishman finally clinched a thrilling victory with a
crosscourt drop after some sensational rallying.
Matthew admitted: “Miguel
was the better player tonight and I was lucky to get through. I knew
what to expect after our massive match in America last year and he has
obviously come on a lot since then.
“I was fortunate with a few
lucky bounces at crucial times and I am very relieved to get off the
court with a win.
“He is so quick that
sometimes you are just not sure if the ball is up or not. It was great
entertainment and very enjoyable for the crowd, but not for me.”
Rodriguez said: “This is my
first time here at Canary Wharf and this is a wonderful venue and the
best crowd I have ever played in front of.
“I have been working hard
with my coach, David Palmer, and I look forward to coming back next
opponent, Coppinger, wore down Alister Walker after two tense opening
games and cruised through the third 11-1.
He said: “I am looking forward to playing
Nick in the quarters and want to thank Miguel for giving him such a
“We are both working hard with David
Palmer and he is an outstanding coach. He was watching the game on TV
and texting me advice between games.”
England internationals Peter Barker and
Tom Richards meet in the last eight after straight-game wins over Alan
Clyne (Scotland) and Ali Anwar Reda (Egypt).
The result could have a huge
bearing on England’s squad selection for the forthcoming World Team
Championships, with world No.8 Barker and No.12 Richards ranked three
and four in the country behind Nick Matthew and James Willstrop.
Barker’s knee injury, which
caused him to withdraw from last week’s Kuwait Cup quarter-final against
Gregory Gaultier of France, was a worry for tournament organisers.
But Barker dispelled those
fears with a demonstration of excellent mobility to overpower Clyne as
the Scottish world No.27 made his debut appearance in this PSA
International 50 tournament.
“Medical science is a
wonderful thing these days. The knee is holding up well and I want to
give it one big push this week then take it easy for a couple of months
before the British Open.”
Daryl Selby, who toppled
Matthew in Kuwait last week, meets No.2 seed james Willstrop in another
all-England clash, while Egyptian No.3 seed Mohamed El Shorbagy meets
qualifier Henrik Mustonen of Finland.
Alan Thatcher Reports
Round One Bottom Half
Selby Sets Up Clash With Willstrop
One week after beating former world champion Nick Matthew
in Kuwait, Daryl Selby set up another possible giant-killing clash with
No.2 seed James Willstrop in the Canary Wharf Classic.
Selby had to dig deep to recover from a 2-1 deficit to
beat Germany’s Simon Rosner in an 86-minute first round battle in this
PSA World Tour International 50 event before a sell-out crowd at the
World No.15 Selby produced some phenomenal retrieving,
and delivered plenty of outstanding winners, to wear down an opponent
just one place below him in the world rankings.
Selby raced through the first game from 3-2 down and
seemed certain to take it as he built a 9-3 lead. However, Rosner
produced a similar response to draw level at 9-9 before Selby closed out
Rosner had suffered from numerous unforced errors in the
first game but tightened up to win the second 11-4 and the third 11-7.
The fourth game was a huge battle as Selby showed his
determination to stay on court in his favourite tournament.
He continually dug out Rosner’s best shots to frustrate
the tall German and a huge roar of relief echoed round the court as he
won the game 11-8.
Rosner made too many errors in the fifth as Selby
advanced from 3-3 to 8-3.
Despite a late rally from Rosner, Selby closed out the
match to set up another huge battle with No.2 seed Willstrop a week.
Selby said: “It’s no secret that this is my favourite
tournament, with so many supporters in the crowd, and it’s unusual to
have such a closely-matched draw in the first round.
“Simon has been playing well recently and it was always
going to be a battle.
“To win here is always a good feeling and I’ve got a day
to think about facing James in the next round.
“I have a big fat zero against my name in our
head-to-head series and it would be nice to get one win on the list at
some stage in my career.
“It was good to get the win over Nick in Kuwait. As
professionals that’s what we train for.”
Willstrop, a three-time Canary Wharf champion, dropped a
game to wild card Charles Sharpes before asserting his authority to
clinch a hard-fought victory.
Willstrop, fighting the effects of jetlag after finishing
runner-up to Ramy Ashour in Kuwait, was impressed by his young
He said: “There are no easy matches at any level, and
that is exactly how it should be.
“I think Charles acquitted himself very well this
“Make no mistake, this is foreign territory for young
players who are not used to playing on the glass court before a
full-house audience like this. It’s a huge thing to deal with.”
Regarding the internet phenomenon that followed his
recent trick shot in the Davenport North American Open, he added: “The
response has been truly amazing.
“It took me completely by surprise at the beginning and
more newspapers, TV stations and websites seem to be picking it up every
“I am pleased that it has helped to raise the profile of
squash in a very important year for the sport as we seek to win a place
in the Olympic Games.”
Willstrop certainly entertained the crowd with several
fakes and holds against Sharpes, including one particular gem to win the
third game, but he said: “The trouble is, I’m so conscious of doing it
that I’m trying to do it too often. I’ve got to get out of the habit of
not being sensible.”
Two left-handers from London made first-round exits.
Finnish qualifier Henrik Mustonen sprang a major surprise
by beating world No.17 Adrian Grant to set up a quarter-final clash with
Egyptian No.3 seed Mohamed El Shorbagy, who overcame another qualifier,
Mustonen, the 22-year-old world No.53, said: That was one
of the best results of my career.
“It is always difficult for players who win through to
play on the glass court because there are lots of issues that can take
you by surprise. Just simple things, like seeing the ball, for example.
“Also, there can be mental issues. You feel happy because
you have won two important matches to get through to the main draw, but
you have to raise your game again to face a player who is much higher in
Shorbagy was full of praise for world No.36 Waller. He
said: He said: “England and Egypt are the biggest nations in squash and
any match between those two countries is a battle.
“Adrian played very well and I hope he gets the support
he deserves because players like him are the future of English squash.
“It’s a great feeling to play in front of a full-house
crowd on day one. It doesn’t happen in many tournaments but all the
players love playing before such a wonderful crowd in such a great
venue, and that’s why they love coming back year after year.”
Scots Star Clinches Debut Place in Canary Wharf Classic
Canary Wharf Squash Classic qualifying finals, Wimbledon
Racquets and Fitness Club
Alan Clyne (Sco) beat Jonathan Kemp (Eng) 11-6, 8-11,
11-9, 12-10 (43 mins) Henrik Mustonen (Fin) beat Gregoire Marche (Fra)11-6,
7-11, 11-5, 11-4 (46 mins) Ali Anwar
Reda (Egypt) beat Shaun Le Roux (England) 11-9, 11-9, 2-11,
7-11, 11-6 (80 mins) Adrian Waller (Eng) beat Joe
Lee (Eng) 11-6, 12-10, 11-6 (62 mins)
Scottish number one Alan Clyne
claimed a place in the first round of the Canary Wharf Classic
after beating two English rivals in the qualifying competition,
and was then drawn against England’s No.4 seed Peter Barker.
Clyne clinched his berth in the
main draw after beating Jonathan Kemp in four games, a day after
receiving some assistance from the referee as he beat Joel
The 25-year-old Hinds suffered a
conduct game penalty after taking more than five minutes to
repair a broken shoelace.
Clyne squeezed home 12-10 in a
fourth-game tiebreak against Kemp and was pleased with his
results in his debut appearance in this PSA International 50
tournament, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this
He said: “This
is my first time in the tournament and I’m very pleased to get
through to the first round.
“I have played
Jonathan a few times in the past and I know he likes to attack.
I knew I had to punish any loose balls and I was happy with the
way it worked today, but it could be a different on the glass
Rising Egyptian star Ali Anwar
Reda overcame South African Shaun Le Roux in an ill-tempered
five-setter and then urged his fellow professionals to mind
their manners if squash succeeds in its’ bid to be granted
Olympic status later this year.
After Le Roux had received a
conduct stroke for comments to the referee, Reda said: “I
thought the referee did well on most decisions and it was a
shame there were some incidents.
“The crowd come here to watch the
squash, not to listen to players arguing with the referee.
“Sometimes it can be funny, and
that’s OK, but if there is too much talking it gets in the way
of the squash.”
Reda, who faces world No.12 Tom
Richards in the first round, added: “If we are serious about
squash being in the Olympics then the players should not argue.
It just doesn’t look good."
Finland’s Henrik Mustonen upset
the rankings with a solid performance to see off volatile
Frenchman Gregoire Marche.
After beating Kristian Frost
Olesen in a Baltic battle on Saturday, the 22-year-old world
No.53 produced another display of solid, intelligent, controlled
squash to beat a player 31 places above him in the PSA rankings.
Mustonen’s reward is a place in
the first round against England’s world No.17 Adrian Grant, one
of several Londoners looking for success on home soil.
The final qualifying spot went to
another Londoner as tall left-hander Adrian Waller, from
Enfield, overcame Surrey’s Joe Lee to line up a mouthwatering
clash with No.3 seed Mohamed El Shorbagy, who was runner-up to
Ramy Ashour in the World Championship final in Qatar in
Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club
Clyne (Scotland) beat Joel Hinds (England) 12-10, 5-4
(conduct game), 11-6 (45 mins) (5)
Jonathan Kemp (England) beat Robbie Temple (England)
9-11, 11-8, 11-3, 14-12 (65 mins)(2)
Gregoire Marche (France) beat Chris Ryder (England)
12-10, 5-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-6 (85 mins)(4)
Adrian Waller (England) beat Tim Garner (England) 11-6,
11-5, 11-7 (29 mins)Shaun Le
Roux (RSA) beat (3) Marwan El Shorbagy (Egypt) 11-6,
13-11, 11-5 (43 mins) (7)
Mohamed Ali Anwar Reda (Egypt) beat Olivier Pett
(England) 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7 (73 mins)(6) Joe
Lee (England) beat Eddie Charlton (England) 11-7, 11-3,
11-6 (34 mins)(8)
Henrik Mustonen (Finland) beat Kristian Frost
Olesen (Denmark) 11-7, 11-7, 10-12, 11-7 (58 mins)
South African Shaun Le Roux halted the hopes of
world junior champion Marwan El Shorbagy joining his brother
Mohamed, the No.3 seed, in the main draw of the Canary Wharf
Le Roux, the 26-year-old based in Yorkshire, won
11-6, 13-11, 11-5 in 43 minutes of constructive, intelligent
His diligent approach paid off as he made
nonsense of the gap in the rankings. The 19-year-old Egyptian,
El Shorbagy, is ranked 33 in the world, 27 places higher than
But it was Le Roux who dictated long periods of
the match as he clinched a place in the qualifying finals
against another Egyptian, world No.48 Mohamed Ali Anwar Reda.
The 23-year-old from Cairo hit back from 2-1 down
in games to beat England’s Olivier Pett in 73 minutes of
Pett will be kicking himself after surrendering a
5-2 lead in the fifth game.
Rising French star Gregoire Marche also fought
back from a similar position to beat England’s Chris Ryder in
the longest battle of the day, lasting 85 minutes.
Marche meets Finland’s Henrik Mustonen, who won a
Battle of the Baltic against Denmark’s Kristian Frost Olesen.
The biggest controversy of the day occurred when
England’s Joel Hinds was penalised for taking too long to change
a broken shoelace.
Having lost the first game 12-10 to Scottish
number one Alan Clyne, Hinds was trailing 5-4 in the second when
he took more than five minutes to find a replacement shoelace
and referee Malcolm Whiteley awarded a conduct game against him.
Hinds lost the third game as Clyne booked a place
in the finals against Jonathan Kemp, who won an all-England
clash 14-12 in the fourth game after a 65-minute match.
Two Londoners, Adrian Waller and Joe Lee, are
battling for a place in the first round after straight-games
Waller overcame promoter Tim Garner, who stepped
in after Australian Ryan Cuskelly withdrew through illness, and
Lee was too sharp for Eddie Charlton.
finals2pm: Clyne v
Marche v Mustonen4.30pm: Reda
v Le Roux5.15pm:
Waller v Lee
world champion Nick Matthew is aiming to make up for a
shock defeat last week in Kuwait by storming to a fourth
consecutive title in the Canary Wharf Classic next week
The PSA World
Tour International 50 squash event takes place at the
East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf from 18-22 March following
two days of qualifying which gets underway today at Wimbledon
Racquets and Fitness Club in London.
32-year-old world No2, crashed out in straight games to England
team-mate Daryl Selby in the Kuwait PSA Cup third
round and complained of feeling flat.
However, he blamed
only himself for the loss, saying: "I have played a lot of
squash in the past few weeks, probably more than any of the
other guys. But I can't blame anybody other than myself because
I make my own schedule.
"I just want to make
one more big push at Canary Wharf. I want to do well there, then
take a rest and get ready for the British Open in May.
"I made more errors
in the match with Daryl than I have over the rest of the year
but I don't want to take anything away from him."
Matthew faces the
athletic Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the first
round on Tuesday as the South American makes his Canary Wharf
Rodriguez said: "I want to put on a good show in London because
I hear the crowd is fantastic and they love their squash.
"I had a great game
with Nick last year at the North American Open and am looking
forward to playing him again."
Selby, who lost in
the Kuwait quarter-finals to the Canary Wharf No3 seed, Egyptian
Mohamed El Shorbagy, is always guaranteed solid Essex
support in the tournament.
He was delighted by
his progress in Kuwait and said: "Nick is truly a class act. To
call his own shot down at 9-6 in the third game, to give me
match ball, shows his integrity."
Selby meets German
number one Simon Rosner in the clash of the day on Monday
at Canary Wharf. With Selby at 15 in the Dunlop PSA world
rankings and Rosner one place below, a fierce battle is
contest is assured between two southern African rivals, the
world No14 Alister Walker, from Botswana, who won the
recent All Africa Championship, and South Africa's number one
Stephen Coppinger, who is ranked 20 in the world.
England's world No2
James Willstrop will hope to avoid jetlag after flying
home from Thursday's Kuwait final, where he lost 3/1 to the
all-conquering Egyptian Ramy Ashour, who completed a
seventh consecutive tournament triumph to extend his unbeaten
run to 36 matches.
London-based wild card Charles Sharpes, who will be
aiming to spring a giant-killing surprise victory.
Sharpes said: "I
played James two years ago after winning through from the
qualifying competition. I have learnt a lot since then and hope
to out on a good show on the glass court.
"You know that any
loose play will be punished by the top players and I have been
working hard in training to peak for this tournament."
Tom Richards, the world No12, and Adrian Grant,
ranked five places behind him, both meet qualifiers in the first
Number four seed
Peter Barker is expected to play despite withdrawing because
of a knee injury in his quarter-final against Gregory
Gaultier in Kuwait.
first round draw:
Monday March 18
(bottom half of the draw):
(3) Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) v Qualifier Adrian Grant (Eng) v Qualifier Daryl Selby (Eng) v Simon Rosner (Ger)
(2) James Willstrop (Eng) v Charles Sharpes (Eng)
Tuesday March 19
(1) Nick Matthew (Eng) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez
(Col) Alister Walker (Bot) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA) Tom Richards (Eng) v Qualifier
(4) Peter Barker (Eng) v Qualifier
Alan Thatcher Reports
Willstrop & Matthew
In Record Canary Wharf Classic Bid
A record fourth
Canary Wharf Classic title is in the sights of both Nick
Matthew and James Willstrop as England's leading
squash stars prepare to renew their rivalry in next month's
PSA World Tour International 50 event which is celebrating
its tenth anniversary.
The Yorkshire pair
are seeded to meet in the final of the premier squash tournament
which takes place in London from 18-22 March. Tickets for
the final have already sold out as squash fans look forward to
another classic confrontation between the two former world
Matthew, the world No2 from Sheffield, is top seed for the
tournament, followed by Leeds-based Willstrop, the world No3.
Rising Egyptian star
Mohamed El Shorbagy is the third seed, with England's
Peter Barker, the world No8 from London, seeded four.
Willstrop have each won the tournament three times. Matthew has
been the more successful player in recent history, claiming
three consecutive victories after Willstrop dominated the early
years of the event.
Willstrop won the
first final in 2004, beating French ace Thierry Lincou in
an historic best-of-seven games final. He then overcame one of
the biggest hitters in the game as he beat Scotland's John
White in 2007 and Australian Cameron Pilley in 2008.
It was White who
smashed the world speed record for squash when he registered
172mph on the Canary Wharf radar gun in 2007, with Pilley taking
over the record with a blistering speed of 175mph recorded in
the US Open 18 months ago.
Willstrop was aiming
for a fourth Canary Wharf title when he reached the 2009 final,
but he was hampered by an ankle injury as he lost to another
powerful Australian, David Palmer.
Matthew won his
first Canary Wharf title at the East Wintergarden venue
the following year, but he had to do it the hard way. He and
Willstrop battled each other to a standstill in a two-hour
semi-final before Matthew recovered in time to beat French star
Gregory Gaultier in the final.
In 2011 Matthew beat
England team-mate Barker and last year Matthew and Willstrop met
for their first Canary Wharf final. Although Matthew won in
straight games, the match lasted 78 minutes, which illustrates
how closely-matched these two great athletes are.
Aiming to stop
another English monopoly is young Egyptian El Shorbagy, the
number three seed who beat Willstrop to reach the World
Championship final in December. Their semi-final clash
lasted 112 minutes before Shorbagy triumphed 11-8 in the
deciding fifth game.
Willstrop beat El Shorbagy in the Canary Wharf semi-finals last year but the young
Egyptian has grown in confidence since then. Behind El Shorbagy
and Barker, a group of English players will be aiming to impress
in front of a vociferous home crowd.
Daryl Selby, Adrian Grant and wild card Charles
Sharpes will be joined in the main draw by a hugely talented
group of international rivals featuring Alister Walker
(Botswana), Simon Rosner (Germany), Stephen Coppinger,
the South African who has recently reached the world top 20, and
the spectacularly-athletic Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez.
Alan Thatcher Reports
Top Stars Battle For Glory
England’s leading squash stars
Nick Matthew and James Willstrop are ready to resume their
massive rivalry in the 2013 Canary Wharf Classic.
London’s premier squash
tournament takes place from March 18-22 and tickets for the
final have already sold out as squash fans look forward to
another classic confrontation in the final of this
long-established PSA International 50 event.
Reigning champion Matthew is top
seed for the tournament, followed by Willstrop, rising Egyptian
star Mohamed El Shorbagy and England’s Peter Barker.
Matthew and Willstrop have each
won the tournament three times. Matthew has been the more
successful player in recent history, claiming three consecutive
victories after Willstrop dominated the early years of the
event, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.
Willstrop won the first final in
2004, beating French ace Thierry Lincou in an historic
best-of-seven games final. He then overcame the biggest hitters
in the game as he beat Scotland’s John White in 2007 and
Australian Cameron Pilley in 2008.
It was White who smashed the
world speed record for squash when he registered 172mph on the
Canary Wharf radar gun in 2007, with Pilley claiming the record
with a blistering speed of 175mph recorded in the US Open 18
Willstrop was aiming for a fourth
Canary Wharf title when he reached the 2009 final, but he was
hampered by an ankle injury as he lost to another powerful
Australian, David Palmer.
Matthew won his first Canary
Wharf title at the East Wintergarden venue the following year,
but he had to do it the hard way. He and Willstrop battled each
other to a standstill in a two-hour semi-final before Matthew
recovered in time to beat French star Gregory Gaultier in the
In 2011 Matthew beat England
team-mate Barker and last year Matthew and Willstrop met for
their first Canary Wharf final. Although Matthew won in straight
games, the match lasted 78 minutes, which illustrates how
closely matched these two great athletes are.
Aiming to stop another English
monopoly is young Egyptian El Shorbagy, the number three seed
who beat Willstrop to reach the World Championship final in
December. Their semi-final clash lasted 112 minutes before
Shorbagy triumphed 11-8 in the deciding fifth game.
Willstrop beat El Shorbagy in the
Canary Wharf semi-finals last year but the young Egyptian has
grown in confidence since then. Behind El Shorbagy and Barker, a
group of English players will be aiming to impress in front of a
vociferous home crowd.
Tom Richards, Daryl Selby, Adrian
Grant and wild card Charles Sharpes will be joined in the main
draw by a hugely talented group of international rivals
featuring Alister Walker (Botswana), Simon Rosner (Germany),
Steve Coppinger, the South African who has recently reached the
world top 20, and the spectacularly athletic Colombian Miguel
Tickets for the 2013 Canary Wharf Classic cost from £15 and are
available from Ticketmaster.
The qualifying competition takes
place at Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club over the weekend of
March 16-17 with four winners joining the top 12 seeds in the
Media information from Alan
Text or telephone: 07971 639829. Email:
Alan Thatcher Reports
CANARY WHARF SQUASH CLASSIC
THE HOTTEST TICKETS IN TOWN
SQUASH fans have snapped up most
of the prime seats for the 2013 Canary Wharf Classic – and the
final is already sold out.
Every prime back-wall seat has
been sold for each of the five days of competition, with
London’s premier squash tournament taking place at the superb
East Wintergarden venue from March 18-22.
After three sell-out years in
succession, early indications suggest that the full-house signs
may again be required for this hugely popular PSA International
50 event which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.
Standard back-wall seats remain
for the first round on the Monday and Tuesday of the
competition, together with side-wall seats for most other days.
Every single ticket has been
snapped up for the final, and joint promoter Peter Nicol, the
former world champion, is not surprised by the response.
Nicol, a director of Eventis
Sports Marketing, said: “All the ingredients are there for a
fantastic week of squash. The players love playing here and the
spectators know that it’s a wonderful venue with a great
“Even though many of the
spectators have become regulars down the years, it’s always a
special pleasure to welcome newcomers.
all go ‘Wow!’ when they see the glass court set up in such a
beautiful venue, and the added bonus is the view from upstairs
in the East Wintergarden gallery restaurant.
“In my mind it’s the best view of
squash anywhere in the world. Having such excellent facilities
available to provide a VIP bar and superb corporate hospitality
gives Canary Wharf the edge over most other squash venues. It is
a top-quality venue and we are fortunate that the players always
provide top-quality squash to entertain the spectators.”
Last year’s final produced a
memorable battle between England’s great rivals Nick Matthew and
James Willstrop, with Matthew clinching his third Canary Wharf
Two years earlier, the same two
players had fought each other to a physical standstill in an
epic semi-final. The second game was a marathon affair, which
Willstrop won 20-18, and the match finished with him lying
injured in the back corner, suffering from cramp, after more
than two hours and ten minutes of brutal combat. Many squash
observers rated it one of the best matches in the sport’s
Ahead of Canary Wharf, Matthew
and Willstrop are due to meet in the final of the national
Championships in Manchester, both having reached the semi-finals
of last week’s Tournament of Champions event at Grand Central
Station in New York.
The draw for this year’s event
will be published soon as squash fans scramble to claim the
remaining tickets that are still available.
Tickets for the 2013 Canary Wharf Classic cost from £15 and are
available from Ticketmaster.
The qualifying competition takes
place at Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club over the weekend of
March 16-17 with four winners joining the top 12 seeds in the
Tournament Title Sponsor: ISS Facility Services, London Division
Host Sponsor: Canary Wharf Group plc
The ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic at the East Wintergarden is
jointly promoted by Eventis Sports Marketing and SquashUK.
Venue: East Wintergarden, Bank Street, Canary Wharf, E14
Corporate Hospitality: Superb packages are available, enabling
spectators to wine, dine and watch all the gripping squash action
from the Gallery restaurant within the East Wintergarden.