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25/09/2012
BRITISH GRAND PRIX 2012
 

Maestro Matthew Marks Silver Milestone In Manchester

Reports
  Final      Semi Finals      Quarter Finals     1st Round    Qualifying   Preview
21-24 September, Manchester, $70k
Round One
Fri 21 Sep
Quarters
Sat 22 Sep
Semis
Sun 23 Sep
Final
Mon 24 Sep
[1] James Willstrop (Eng)
11-8, 11-7, 11-4 (59m)
Daryl Selby (Eng)
James Willstrop
 8/11, 11/5, 11/3, 11/5 (66m)
Laurens Jan Anjema
James Willstrop
7-11, 11-6, 11-4, 14-16,15-13 (118m)
Gregory Gaultier
James Willstrop
4-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (78m)
Nick Matthew
Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (36m)
Jens Schoor (Ger)
Simon Rosner (Ger)
11-6, 11-3, 11-5 (49m)
[Q] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
Simon Rosner
12/10, 10/12, 11/5, 11/7 (68m)
 Gregory Gaultier
[Q] Adrian Waller (ENG)
11-6, 11-7, 11-4 (36m)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
Borja Golan (Esp)
11-8, 7-11, 12-10, 11-2 (85m)
[4] Peter Barker (Eng)
Peter Barker
11/8, 11/1, 11/3 (43m)
  Adrian Grant

 

Peter Barker
11-6, 11-7, 11-3 (48m)
Nick Matthew
Adrian Grant (Eng)
7-11, 7-11, 11-3, 12-10, 11-6 (87m)
[Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Alister Walker (Bot)
11-7, 14-12, 11-3 (57m)
[Q] Chris Simpson (ENG
Alister Walker
9/11, 11/8, 11/4, 11/3 (58m)
 Nick Matthew

 

Tom Richards (Eng)
14-12, 12-10, 11-0 (48m)
[2] Nick Matthew (Eng)

Qualifying finals:

Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Chris Ryder (ENG) 17-15, 12-10, 11-5 (54m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) 14-12, 12-10, 11-7 (60m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Jonathan Kemp (ENG) 5-11, 11-4, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9 (54m)
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Joe Lee (ENG) 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (50m)

1st qualifying round:
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Max Lee (HKG) 11-5, 11-8, 10-12, 12-10 (75m)
Chris Ryder (ENG) bt Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) 11-5, 8-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8 (74m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Darren Lewis (ENG) 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 (40m)
Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (70m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bye
Jonathan Kemp (ENG) bt Ollie Holland (ENG) 12-10, 11-9, 11-3 (35m)
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-6, 5-11, 12-10, 14-12 (84m)
Joe Lee (ENG) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 11-7, 11-5, 6-11, 6-11, 11-8 (94m)
 

Final  (Click on Images for larger view)

Maestro Matthew Marks Silver Milestone In Manchester

In a sensational climax to the Springfield Solutions British Grand Prix at the National Squash Centre in Manchester, England's Nick Matthew recovered from a game down to upset top seed and fellow countryman James Willstrop and claim the 25th PSA World Tour title of his career.

The final of the PSA International 70 squash event was marked by milestones: it was the 30th Tour clash between the two Yorkshire rivals since 2001, and the 50th appearance in a Tour final by Matthew, the 32-year-old world number two from Sheffield.

Unbeaten in his previous 14 encounters with Willstrop, world champion Matthew went into the match as favourite - particularly as Willstrop, the world number one, had come through a gruelling two-hour semi-final against third-seeded Frenchman Gregory Gaultier while Matthew spent well under half the time in his win over England team-mate Peter Barker.

But it was Willstrop who started the stronger, quickly taking the lead in the first game, moving from 5-1 to 9-4 with Matthew making uncharacteristic unforced errors.

After losing the game, Matthew settled into the match in the second, lengthening the rallies and opening up a 7-3 lead before taking the game to draw level.

It was Willstrop, however, who started the third game the better, building up a 6-2 lead. Matthew maintained the pressure, pulling back to nine-all and sending an increasingly tiring Willstrop to all corners of the court.

Matthew took the game with a tight dropshot - then continued to dominate early in the fourth. Willstrop dug deep to reverse the run of the game for a brief period, but after saving one match-ball the top seed succumbed to the might of Matthew as the Sheffield man clinched his 4-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 victory in 78 minutes to become the British Grand Prix champion for the first time.

"Everybody talks about James's racket skills - but he's also the toughest and fiercest competitor I've ever played. It doesn't matter what he's done before," said Matthew in response to MC Sue Wright's suggestion that Willstrop's previous match might have taken its toll.

"His physicality is something to behold," added the world champion.

"I made a lot of errors in the first game, but I got it together in the end."

"It feels great to win this title, it's a tremendous tournament, the sponsors and the organisers do a great job, and I'm sure that James and I are looking forward to coming back here for the Nationals next year, and then the World Championships in Manchester too."

Willstrop wasn't unhappy with his performance: "It was a good quality match, we were both hitting the areas, and even if it maybe wasn't our sharpest it was still a good, enjoyable match.

"It was level, and very tough, he managed to get through the crucial end of the third game better and that helped him push on in the fourth where I couldn't quite get it together.

"There's some stuff I could have done better, but he made it very difficult for me, all credit to him.

"It was a good week, great atmosphere, I really enjoyed it here, you just have to move on, learn, and keep pushing."


 

Semi Finals (Click on Images for larger view)

Willstrop & Matthew Set Up 30th Tour Clash

Englishmen James Willstrop (right) and Nick Matthew, the top two players in the world, will line up for their 30th Tour match in 11 years when they meet in the final of the Springfield Solutions British Grand Prix, the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event in Manchester.

The Yorkshire rivals prevailed in two contrasting semi-finals in front of a packed crowd at the National Squash Centre - world number one Willstrop surviving the third-longest match of his career, coming through 15-13 in the fifth in a dramatic 118-minute encounter with Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the world No3, and Matthew taking out England team-mate Peter Barker in straight games to reach a major milestone in his career, his 50th PSA World Tour final.

In the opening semi, third seed Gaultier took a 1/0 lead before allowing too many errors into his game to lose the next two to favourite Willstrop.

But the 29-year-old from Aix-en-Provence struck back to take a 5-1 lead in the fourth, and had several chances to finish it off from 10-8 up. After saving two match-balls, Gaultier finally walked off the court having levelled the match - pumping his fist with delight after a video review confirmed the stroke against his opponent.

The fifth was a thriller, with both players struggling physically at times, and Willstrop's stunning retrieving and Gaultier's occasional errors keeping it close all the way.

Gaultier was first to match-ball at 10-9, but after a series of appeals it was ultimately Willstrop who prevailed on his third match ball of the game to win 7-11, 11-6, 11-4, 14-16, 15-13.

As the two players embraced, the crowd showed their appreciation with a standing ovation.

"When it's played like that, squash is the hardest sport on earth," admitted Willstrop, 29, from Leeds. "There was some twisting and turning tonight, there was no easy point on that court, you needed to plot and plan each and every one.

"This was a pretty special thing that Greg and I could play such quality squash for such prolonged period."

Gaultier, who recently became a father, was gracious in defeat: "I really enjoyed playing today. I couldn't have my normal training preparation with the birth of my baby, but I thought I did not too badly, a bit up and down, but I managed to get through most of the match.

"Shame that tin was just too high for me tonight!"

Second seed Matthew (left) later joined Willstrop in the event's dream final when he beat London left-hander Barker, the fourth seed, 11-6, 11-7, 11-3 in 48 minutes - less than half the length of the earlier semi!

"James and Greg were a hard act to follow," admitted Matthew, the world champion from Sheffield. "Once I had the first game under my belt, I was able to relax and grew more comfortable.

"You are trying to concentrate on your own game, but you can't help thinking that if you win 3/0, you'll be fresher for tomorrow!"

In addition to countless clashes in domestic squash, Willstrop and Matthew began their Tour confrontations in the British Open qualifiers in June 2001. The pair's head-to-head count since then is 21-8 in Matthew's favour, with the Sheffield man boasting a 14-match unbeaten run since December 2007.

But, away from the Tour, Willstrop has turned the tables with two wins in continental European meetings over the past few months - and will be eager to reverse the Tour trend in Manchester.

 

 

Quarter Final   (Click on Images for larger view)

Matthew Poised To Make Half Century

England's world champion Nick Matthew is one match away from his 50th PSA World Tour final after beating former compatriot Alister Walker in the quarter-finals of the Springfield Solutions British Grand Prix, the PSA International 70 squash event at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

But the world No2 from Sheffield, who had never previously lost to Walker, was initially outclassed by the world No13 now representing Botswana, the country of his birth. The US-based 30-year-old played superbly to take the first game and build up an 8-5 lead in the second.

But like other seeded players earlier in the day, second seed Matthew weathered the storm - coming back to draw level before dominating the next two games to win 9-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-3 in 58 minutes.

"Ali sure makes you work hard, but it's funny how quickly things turn round," explained the 2011 runner-up later. "I was facing going 2/0 down and maybe going home, and the next thing I know I'm 7-1 up in the third.

"He was immaculate for the first two games and the best compliment I can give him is that I had to change my game. James (Willstrop) spoke earlier about the game of chess, that's exactly how it felt for me tonight."

Matthew now faces England team-mate Peter Barker for a place in the 50th Tour final of his career - after reaching his first in Barcelona in September 1998.

Barker faced fellow Londoner and fellow left-hander Adrian Grant. After winning the 20-minute opening game, fourth seed Barker took complete charge of the second quarter-final of the day, closing out the match 11-8, 11-1, 11-3.

"I had to be solid and focused, because I wasn't either of those things yesterday," said the 28-year-old world No7. "I'm not sure Adrian was at the top of his form or even 100% tonight, but he is still dangerous and can hit shots from anywhere, so I really had to stay focused."

The other semi-final will feature favourite James Willstrop, the world number one from England, and career-long French rival Gregory Gaultier.

Willstrop recovered from a game down against Laurens Jan Anjema to beat the seven-time Dutch champion 8-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-5 in 66 minutes.

"I had to cover a lot of ground today, LJ is very strong physically," said the 29-year-old from Leeds. "It's a good result for me to beat him 3/1. I'm happy with that, he really got me sharp for tomorrow."

Third seed Gaultier had to overcome a strong challenge from unseeded Simon Rosner. The top-ranked German stayed with Gaultier every inch of the way in the first two games, failing to capitalise on a game ball in the first, then taking the second on his second game ball.

The Frenchman dominated the third, and although world No18 Rosner was back on competitive terms in the fourth, Gaultier pulled clear to take the match 12-10, 10-12, 11-5, 11-7 after 68 minutes.

"After winning the first, I was up 4-0 and just relaxed too much," admitted Gaultier. "It's only in the third and fourth I started to vary my shots to the four corners, I was able to speed up the pace. But he didn't make it simple for me, that's for sure!"

Rosner, the six-time German champion added: "In the third, my game just wasn't there, but I got it back for the fourth. I'm proud I'm able to compete with Greg and make it a hard fight for him.

"He is one of the players I've been looking up to since I was 12, and I hope that I can sneak a win one day."

 

1st Round   (Click on Images for larger view)

Grant Survives Grand Prix Scare

Londoner Adrian Grant (right) ensured domestic representation in the semi-finals of the Springfield Solutions British Grand Prix in Manchester - but the world No15 survived a dramatic opener after fighting back from two games and match-ball down against qualifier Saurav Ghosal in the first round of the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event at the National Squash Centre.

In the longest match of the day, 31-year-old Grant - a former world No9 - recovered from the early two-game onslaught by Indian number one Ghosal, ranked eight places lower, before closing out the match 7-11, 7-11, 11-3, 12-10, 11-6 in 87 minutes.

"I have a bit of a loss of confidence at the moment, so I was not at the top of my form when I started today," said left-hander Grant. "And I really don't know why I am such a slow starter. I warm up really well, but I just cannot seem to find that burst of energy I get at the end of matches. I am trying to get the same feeling at the start of the match that I get in the third for example, but so far, I just cannot do it.

"Certain things do fire me up, like when I'm playing rubbish. I'm thinking, 'come on, this is ridiculous', or a bad decision, I get a positive reaction, but still, I just can't be fired up from the start the way I would like to."

UK-based Ghosal summed up his reaction on Twitter: "Lost 3-2 today after being 2-0 up and 10-9 match ball in the 4th!!! Absolutely gutted to say the least. Good performance...just need to win."

Grant moves on to face fellow Londoner and England team-mate Peter Barker for a place in the last four. Fourth seed Barker was also stretched in a marathon encounter with Borja Golan before beating the top-ranked Spaniard 11-8, 7-11, 12-10, 11-2 in 85 minutes.

"You know that a match against Borja is going to be ultra-competitive," admitted world No7 Barker. "I lacked a bit of mental sharpness today and when I found myself 7-3 down in the third. I knew I had to do something different. And I was a bit more precise after that."

The event's top two seeds eased into the second round, but not without demanding encounters against English compatriots.

Second seed Nick Matthew, the world No2 from Sheffield, faced Tom Richards. The world No12 from Surrey gave the world champion an almighty run for his money in the first two games. But underdog Richards was unable to capitalise on the game balls he had in each as Matthew survived two tie-break games before taking the third in a stunning white-wash.

"I think I played the important points well," said 2011 runner-up Matthew after his 14-12, 12-10, 11-0 victory. "We had two tie-breakers, and whereas he was patient all through the games, suddenly he tried to force it. I could very well have found myself 2/0 down today, after having had game balls in both games. That's why in the third I was making sure I was getting it right."

Favourite James Willstrop, the world No1 from Leeds, conceded three fewer points than Matthew in his first round win over England team-mate Daryl Selby. Like Richards, world No11 Selby contested the first two games strongly before finding Willstrop too hot to handle in the third.

"There were a few cobwebs that needed to be cleared out, there's no way you're going to be in top form at the start of the season," admitted Yorkshireman Willstrop after his 11-8, 11-7, 11-4 win. "I was ready for a physical test. I had to hang in during that second game, and when I managed to pull away it gave me a boost for the start of the third."

 

Qualifying

Waller & Simpson Boost Home Grand Prix Interest

Englishmen Adrian Waller and Chris Simpson will boost home interest in the main draw of the Springfield Solutions British Grand Prix in Manchester after claiming straight games victories in the qualifying finals of the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event at the Wolverhampton Lawn Tennis & Squash Club in Wolverhampton.

In the opening match of the evening, Waller overcome compatriot Chris Ryder after an epic first game which finally concluded in a 17-15 victory for the tall left-hander in 25-minutes. The effect of Ryder's recent illness took its toll as he became slower on the ball and the following two games were more straightforward with Waller concluding the match 12-10, 11-5.

Guernsey-born Simpson ended the brave run of fellow countryman Joe Lee - the London-born 22-year-old who produced the biggest shock in the first round by ousting Scotland's Alan Clyne. The game was played in great spirit with both players ensuring that the referee's job was easy - with Simpson easing to an 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 win in 50 minutes.

A significant upset took place on an adjacent court where Mathieu Castagnet, the world No37 from France, battled for exactly an hour to overcome Egypt's Marwan El Shorbagy, the reigning world junior champion ranked 11 places higher, 14-12, 12-10, 11-7.

In the only match which went the full distance, India's Saurav Ghosal, fresh from a bye in the previous round, dashed local hopes by beating Wolverhampton-born Jonathan Kemp 5-11, 11-4, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9 in 54 minutes.

Lee Laps Up Late Grand Prix Call

Offered a place in the qualifying draw of the Springfield Solutions British Grand Prix just hours before the beginning of play, England's Joe Lee took full advantage of the opportunity of making the main draw of the PSA World Tour International 70 squash event by upsetting Scotland's Alan Clyne in a five-game thriller at the Wolverhampton Lawn Tennis & Squash Club in Wolverhampton.

The London-born 22-year-old was called up as a late replacement for Borja Golan, the Spaniard who was promoted into the main draw following the withdrawal of Egypt's former world No1 Karim Darwish.

Clyne, the world No30 from Edinburgh, recovered from two games down to force the match into a decider - but Lee, ranked 26 places lower, regained the upper hand to close out the match 11-7, 11-5, 6-11, 6-11, 11-8 after 94 minutes - the longest match of the day.

Lee's shock victory will guarantee two additional English places in the main draw - as he faces fellow countryman Chris Simpson in one of today's qualifying finals, while another pits Adrian Waller against former Wolverhampton-based Chris Ryder.

Channel-Islander Simpson, ranked 38 in the world, also survived marathon opener, overcoming India's Siddharth Suchde 11-6, 5-11, 12-10, 14-12 in 84 minutes.

Waller also recorded a notable upset by defeating Max Lee, the Hong Kong number one ranked 16 places higher, 11-5, 11-8, 10-12, 12-10 in 75 minutes.

Ryder, the club's 32-year-old former pro, was coming back from illness - but fought back from 2/1 down to beat fellow local Jaymie Haycocks 11-5, 8-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8 in 74 minutes.

France's Mathieu Castagnet, ranked 37 in the world, proved too strong for Darren Lewis, beating the Wolverhampton club coach 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 in 40 minutes - which according to Lewis "felt more like two hours". Lewis, who retired from the PSA World Tour several years ago, had the support of a very vocal Wolverhampton crowd which carried him through the early stages of each of the three games.

In the only qualifying final without domestic interest, Castagnet will face world No26 Marwan El Shorbagy. The Egyptian teenager recovered from two games down to beat Frenchman Gregoire Marche 9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 in 70 minutes.

England's Jonathan Kemp proved too strong for fellow countryman Ollie Holland, beating the 18-year-old from Nottingham 12-10, 11-9, 11-3.

Left-hander Kemp, the Wolverhampton-born world No28, now takes on India's Saurav Ghosal. UK-based Ghosal, ranked 23 in the world, received a bye in the first round after the late withdrawal of Egypt's four-time world champion Amr Shabana, which led to German Simon Rosner's elevation to the main draw.

 

Preview
 

Manchester Court Set To Reignite Epic British Rivalry

The greatest ever rivalry in British squash is set to be reignited on an all-glass court in Manchester next week when Yorkshiremen James Willstrop and Nick Matthew, the top two players in the world, meet in Monday's predicted final of the Springfield Solutions British Grand Prix at the National Squash Centre.

The PSA World Tour International 70 event - which gets underway tomorrow (Friday) - boasts 11 players from the world's top 20, three of whom are former world number ones, with domestic interest being provided by eight English players.

Willstrop, the 29-year-old from Leeds who first succeeded Sheffield-based Matthew as world No1 in January and has now topped the list since March, is the event's top seed. He is making his first appearance on the PSA Tour since reaching the semi-finals of the British Open in London in May - only the second time in ten ranking events since October that the tall Yorkshireman failed to make the final.

Matthew was world No1 throughout 2011 - and finished the year by winning the World Open in Rotterdam, where he became the first player for 15 years to defend the PSA's most prestigious title.

But the 32-year-old double Commonwealth Games gold medallist has already notched up three major Tour titles this year - including his third British Open crown - and is poised to mark his 50th Tour final appearance next week in Manchester.

The Yorkshire pair have contested Commonwealth, World and numerous National Championship finals - and already three Tour finals this year.

It is Matthew who boasts the upper hand, however, unbeaten in 14 Tour clashes since December 2007. But, away from the Tour, Willstrop has turned the tables with two wins in European league meetings over the past few months - and will be eager to reverse the Tour trend next week.

Runner-up last year, Matthew begins his 2012 campaign against England team-mate Tom Richards - while Willstrop also faces a national team-mate, Daryl Selby, the world No11 from Essex.