Barker Breaks His Duck Against Willstrop To Reach Cassic Canary Wharf Final
World No.7 Peter Barker finally broke his long losing run against
England team-mate James Willstrop to reach the final of the ISS Canary Wharf
Classic against world champion Nick Matthew
Top seed Matthew received a walk-over into the final when his
opponent Gregory Gaultier quit through illness with the score at one game each.
Matthew admitted he felt deflated at winning in such an
unfortunate fashion, but No.4 seed Barker was delighted to break his duck in
front of a full-house crowd at the spectacular East Wintergarden venue.
The 27-year-old Londoner had lost to No.2 seed Willstrop on every
occasion they had played throughout their junior and professional careers, so
achieving a maiden victory in front of his home crowd tasted even sweeter.
Barker said: "I had a game plan tonight, but I have had a game
plan against James since the age of ten and I'm very pleased that it finally
paid off, 17 years later."
As his mother cried tears of joy in the front row, Barker showed
his respect for his opponent by saying: "I have played James for years, ever
since our junior days, and never beaten him, so tonight is very special,
especially as it's here in London, and at such a wonderful venue with a sell-out
crowd every night.
"James is not only a great squash player but a great guy and I
knew it would require a massive effort to beat him."
Barker revealed that he will now have to cancel plans to travel
to France with his fiancee to celebrate his future mother-in-law's 60th
added: "It's a shame to miss out on a lovely trip to Paris but I hope my
girlfriend appreciates the fact that I have to go back to work tomorrow."
Barker was apologetic after breaking his racket on his leg after a momentous
tiebreak at the end of the first game. "That was a mixture of adrenalin and
stupidity," he said.
"I felt I should have won that first game and I had to quickly
refocus for the second.”
Barker came out for the second with all guns blazing, and powered
through 11-1 as Willstrop, a three-time Canary Wharf champion, began to look
The 6ft 4in Yorkshireman responded positively to lead 7-5 in the
third game, but Barker hit back to win six points in a row to win it 11-7.
From 3-3 in the fourth game, Barker pushed ahead to 8-5. Again
Willstrop fought back to level at 8-8, but the effort took its toll and Barker
reeled off the final three points, with Willstrop conceding defeat with a weak
shot down the middle of the court to concede a penalty point.
No.3 seed Gaultier was taken to hospital for a check-up after
retiring against Matthew with a mystery virus.
Astonishingly, he had begun the match in superb style, moving
ahead from 5-5 to win the opening game 11-5.
However, at 4-4 in the second game he seemed to be in obvious
distress as Matthew took control and picked up a string of points in quick
succession to win it 11-5.
Gaultier complained of feeling faint at courtside between games
and, after being treated by a doctor and paramedics, he was taken to hospital
Matthew said: “Nobody likes to win a match like that. Apparently
Greg was up all night feeling unwell so I find it amazing that he started the
match playing such great squash. He made me look very average at times.
“At the moment I can’t begin to think about the final because my
thoughts are with Greg. I just hope he’s OK.
The unlucky Gaultier had only recently returned to the PSA World
Tour after suffering a hamstring injury in the World Open in Saudi Arabia in
GNAT’S THE WAY TO DO IT AS MATTHEW SWATS SELBY
World champion Nick Matthew led a trio of
Englishmen into the semi-finals of the ISS Canary Wharf Classic – and then
described his England team-mate Daryl Selby as a “giant gnat”.
Matthew gained revenge after losing to Selby in
the final of the National Championships in Manchester last month, winning 11-1,
12-10, 7-11, 11-5 in 71 minutes of punishing squash.
He then said: “Daryl’s like a giant gnat.You
keeping trying to swat him away but he keeps coming back. He is such a difficult
player to play against and he’s beaten me in the past from 2-1 or two games down
so I knew what to expect, even though he had been on court for 97 minutes last
night in the first round.
“To be honest I would rather play him fresh. I
won the first game 11-1 and I think Daryl was just getting the lactic acid out
of his legs. After that it was a bit of a struggle and Daryl had me playing his
type of game, working the ball up and down the side walls. I am very happy and
relieved to be in the semi-finals.”
Matthew meets French ace Gregory Gaultier tonight
(Thursday) at the East Wintergarden in a replay of last year’s final, when
Matthew won his first Canary Wharf title.
Gaultier overcame battling German Simon Rosner
11-7, 11-7, 11-6 in 52 minutes of high-quality squash. Gaultier said: “I am so
happy to be back playing after my injury at the World Open. I am feeling good
and moving well. I just want to find a French chef somewhere in London tonight
so I can have a decent meal before the final.”
Earlier, James Willstrop and Peter Barker set up
an all-English semi-final in the bottom half of the draw by overcoming Stewart
Boswell and Joey Barrington respectively.
Veteran Australian Boswell certainly made No.4
seed Barker work hard for his victory. The 32-year-old, who is based in
Manchester with his squash-playing wife Vicky Botwright, won the opening game
and kept Barker on court for 88 minutes before the Londoner triumphed 8-11,
11-4, 11-7, 17-15.
Willstrop admitted he was guilty of some untidy
play as he beat Barrington 13-11, 11-5, 14-12 in 44 minutes. “There are no easy
games in this sport,” said Willstrop. “There were several scrappy passages and I
was very pleased to win through.”
Both players were frequent users of the new TV
appeal system being introduced by the PSA at Canary Wharf this year and
Willstrop is a big fan of the initiative.
He added: “This is a very forward-looking move by
the PSA and it brings us in line with many other sports where it is an integral
part of the presentation. It really helps to get the crowd involved in the whole
process and we have the perfect venue here at Canary Wharf with the giant screen
above the front wall of the glass court.”
British squash champion Daryl Selby has another chance to topple world No.1 Nick
Matthew when they meet in the quarter-finals of the ISS Canary Wharf Classic
this evening (Wednesday).
Selby overcame Matthew in the final of the National Championships in Manchester
last month but nearly blew his chance of joining him in the last eight at Canary
wasted 12 match balls in the fourth and fifth games before finally overcoming a
massive fightback from rising Surrey star Tom Richards.
Selby eventually won 11-13, 11-9, 11-7, 14-16, 11-9 in 97 minutes of brutal
first match ball came at 10-7 in the fourth but Richards fought back to win the
Richards looked exhausted at the start of the final game and it looked all over
as Selby led 10-3.
Richards dug deep and won six points in a row as the crowd roared their
produced some stunning winners before Selby finally put the winning ball beyond
Selby, who is also the national racketball champion, said: “That was not exactly
the ideal way to prepare to face the world champion the next day. That was total
squash carnage out there.
is a very dangerous player and he showed in the recent North American Open that
he is capable of hurting the top guys when he came very close to beating Ramy
Ashour. The way he came back at the end was unbelievable.”
seed Matthew launched his bid to retain the Canary Wharf title in solid style by
overcoming Spanish No.1 Borja Golan in straight games.
30-year-old world No.1 from Sheffield won 11-8, 11-2, 11-8, producing an
outstanding spell of form in the second game when he looked invincible.
seed Gregory Gaultier, runner-up to Matthew last year, overpowered Finnish No.1
Olli Tuominen in straight games to clinch a quarter-final clash with German No.1
Simon Rosner, who beat Leamington’s Chris Ryder in four games.
England have five representatives in the quarter-finals.No.2 seed James
Willstrop from Leeds, a three-time champion at Canary Wharf, meets Joey
Barrington, the world No.31 from Somerset. No.4 seed Peter Barker from London
meets Australia’s Stewart Boswell.
Under-19 champion Charles Sharpes was given a squash lesson by world No.4 James
Willstrop in the first round of the ISS Canary Wharf Classic.
three-time winner of the tournament, took just 26 minutes to complete a
straight-games victory but the talented teenage qualifier impressed his opponent
with a battling performance.
27-year-old Willstrop said: “I have known for some time that Charles is going to
be a very good player. He has everything going for him in terms of shot-making
ability and he didn’t look out of place on the glass court tonight.
have been playing on the pro circuit for a number of years and in a big rally I
have the experience to do things that Charles is still learning. But this is a
very successful era for English squash, with four players in the world top ten
and plenty more following on behind.
are critical of our junior progress in England and asking where the next top
players are coming from, but I certainly do not subscribe to that view. Charles
is like a lot of English juniors who seem to mature slightly later than players
from the Eastern countries.”
joined in the first round by another rising England player, Robbie Temple, who
gave a good account of himself against No.4 seed Peter Barker.
The match was
a historic encounter as it was the first to feature the new TV referee system
which is on trial at Canary Wharf this week.
Barker won in
straight games but the match took 74 minutes to complete following a delay
caused by a number of the court lights going out after overheating.
There were six
video reviews and they all went against Barker, who was philosophical when he
said: “I have been an advocate of the system for a very long time.
"This is long
overdue. Other sports are using the technology and making it part of the show
and I am very pleased that this has come in. It needs to be speeded up a bit but
it is definitely a step in the right direction for the sport.” And he joked:
“It’s just a shame that Robbie’s Mum and Dad were doing the video reffing.”
qualifier Henrik Mustonen lasted just 22 minutes before falling to Australian
tour veteran Stewart Boswell. But Matthew Karwalski, who has been training in
Manchester with fellow Aussie Boswell for the past few weeks, kept Joey
Barrington on court for 68 minutes before the Englishman triumphed 11-4 in the
in his corner, offering advice between games, Karwalski played some adventurous,
the first game but Karwalski used the TV review system to good effect when he
was game ball down at 10-9 in the second.
He was given a
let but upon appeal the decision was overturned to give him a stroke to make it
10-10. He then struck a lucky nick in the back left corner to lead 11-10 and
Barrington chopped a ball into the tin to make the match level at one game all.
7-5 in the third after some tight drop shots but Barrington tightened up to win
the game 11-8. However, the 25-year-old Australian powered through the fourth
11-6 to take the match the full distance.
opened up an early lead and maintained the momentum as Karwalski faded to book a
quarter-final clash with Willstrop.
Nick Matthew begins the defence of his Canary Wharf title this evening (Tuesday)
as he tackles Spanish No.1 Borja Golan.
seed Gregory Gaultier, who lost to Matthew in last year's final, meets Finnish
No.1 Olli Tuominen.