Julian Illingworth (Usa)
11-8, 11-9, 11-3 (53m)  Nick Matthew (Eng)
Qualifying finals: Martin Knight (NZL) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-6,
11-5, 11-6 (61m) Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 11-6,
11-7, 6-11, 11-5 (60m) Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 7-11, 11-8,
11-8, 11-5 (76m) Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) 11-6,
12-10, 10-12, 11-3 (45m)
Greg Grabs Golden Gate City Glory
"That's probably the best I've ever played when losing 3/0!" was how
world number two Nick Matthew described his defeat to
lower-ranked Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in the final of the
NetSuite Open Squash Championship, the PSA World Tour
International 70 event staged on an all-glass court at Justin
Herman Plaza in San Francisco, USA.
pretty well sums up Gaultier's performance tonight," said tournament
spokesman Jay Prince. "The only disappointing part was that when
sell-out crowds are witness to a stellar performance, they always want
Unfortunately for them, Gaultier did not cooperate by not allowing
England's former world No1 to earn a single game. Matthew himself was
left with little to do but applaud the Frenchman's performance.
Gaultier was simply unstoppable, putting his astounding quickness and
relentless attacking style to full effect. From the start, the world No3
from Aix-en-Provence owned the left wall. More specifically, he owned
the back left corner where ball after ball found the full depth of the
Frenchman - who boasted a pre-match 10-8 career record over Matthew, but
lost their previous meeting this year, in New York - never looked back
once referee Mike Riley said "love all". Gaultier raced out to
6-2 and 7-3 up before Matthew began to recover from what had hit him.
every game I was always two or three points behind," said Matthew. "When
it was my turn I was always able to bring it back level. But then he
would go again. I was never ahead in the business end of the games."
fact, Matthew held a lead just once at any point in the match, and that
came when he snuck ahead at 2-0 to open the third. The 32-year-old from
Sheffield's best opportunity was in the second game. Gaultier had jumped
out early, leading 5-2 and 6-4, but Matthew simply could not find a way
to garner a lead.
From 7-7, the pair traded points to 11-11, but once Gaultier had secured
the one point cushion at 12-11, he played a masterful drop (a step-back
backhand drop that would have made Michael Jordan proud) at the left
front, leaving Matthew stumbling - and behind two games to love.
Throughout the match, Gaultier kept Matthew's strength - cutting the
ball off at mid-court - at bay, while simultaneously controlling his own
managed not to play too fast all the time; to mix the rhythm by hitting
some high balls to take control of the T," said the newly-crowned
champion, now winner of 21 PSA Tour titles. "I tried to take a few
things out of his game as well. It's always interesting to watch all the
guys play and see how they play tactically. I was happy to do it."
When asked about Gaultier's ability to neutralise his typical dominance
at the middle of the court, Matthew simply said: "He's always really
deadly when he's attacking on the left side. But that's the best he's
played against me in terms of his defensive work," conceded the
Perhaps the most impressive difference with Gaultier was his ability to
maintain his composure - not only when referee decisions didn't go his
way but, in particular, when Matthew succeeded in closing gaps midway
through each game. He credits a new perspective on life after becoming a
father for the first time eight weeks ago.
realise life is not only squash, and that was all my life before,"
explained the 29-year-old Frenchman. "I always put squash into one box
and it was only it. And when you win life is beautiful, and when you
lose it's the end of the world. So now it gives me a great balance.
"There's other things important in life. It gives me wings and has
changed my attitude as well. It makes me more calm on court. I'm a
really happy dad, and my girlfriend is really doing well. As long as
Nolan is healthy, I'm happy. It's an amazing feeling."
a fabulous week by the Bay comes to a close, with players loving what
for most of them has been their first visit to San Francisco. "It's been
a great week. You know, you get to a stage where you play the same
tournaments year in year out, and you come to somewhere new, it's been
one of my most enjoyable weeks on tour for a long time," said Matthew.
Gaultier & Matthew Make NetSuite
Open Final In San Francisco
England's world No2 Nick Matthew and Frenchman Gregory
Gaultier, the world No3, will contest their sixth PSA World Tour
final at the NetSuite Open Squash Championship after taking out
their semi-final opponents in the PSA International 70 event
staged on an all-glass court at Justin Herman Plaza in San
Gaultier, playing tight squash to take away the angles that are favoured
by Egyptian Amr Shabana, dominated their three-game semi.
Gaultier's court coverage neutralized the four-time world champion's
attacking short game, and his length was just good enough to keep
Shabana trapped in the back corners.
nights ago, Shabana looked fluid in his movement in the cold Bay Area
conditions, but tonight he was a step slow, despite building a small
cushion of 8-6 and 10-8 in the second game," explained tournament
spokesman Jay Prince. "Gaultier, showing patience and precision,
scratched his way back to draw even at 10-all before finishing off the
more of the same in the third. Neither player appeared too eager to draw
points out, but instead chose to attack short off the volley. An early
lead by Gaultier to 3-1 was quickly erased and became a 5-3 advantage
for Shabana in a single hand. From there, Gaultier drew even and they
exchanged points to eight-all before Gaultier slammed the door, 11-8.
career meetings on the PSA Tour, Matthew has dropped just a single match
to his good friend and fellow Englishman Peter Barker. That
single loss came in the Hong Kong Open in 2010. Prior to that,
Matthew had strung together eight-straight wins, and has since rattled
off nine more.
that ten after tonight!" added Prince.
world No2 and second seed in San Francisco had little trouble securing
the first two games, though he needed 32 minutes to do it. In both
games, Barker held his own until the midway point then watched Matthew
run away from him. Matthew played error-free and utilized his wing span
at the mid-court to prevent Barker from ever getting comfortable - 11-7
and 11-5 to Matthew.
third, however, was totally out of character for Matthew who prides
himself on keeping his errors to a minimum. But up 5-2, the former world
number one committed three unforced errors and had three consecutive
stroke decisions against him to carry Barker all the way to 9-5 in a
single hand. Another pair of tins from Matthew in the front court after
he had reached 6-9 and the game was Barker's.
renewed focus, Matthew quickly put the London left-hander away in the
fourth. Matthew punished Barker with pace and length, perhaps
anticipating the downpour of rain that let loose in San Francisco just
minutes after the match ended. Barker, too, apparently was ready to put
an end to his nightmare fourth game - committing three straight unforced
tins to hand Matthew the game 11-6.
the bleachers covered for the night, crews will have their work cut out
for them in the morning if the rain continues to fall.
NetSuite climax sees Gaultier celebrating his 47th Tour final, with
Matthew marking his 51st. The clash will be the pair's 19th PSA Tour
meeting - and sixth in the US, two of which were also finals. Gaultier
holds a slight 10-8 edge over their career rivalry.
English Finalist Assured In San Francisco
Straight games victories by Nick Matthew and Peter Barker
in the quarter-finals of the NetSuite Open Squash Championship
will ensure English representation in the final of the PSA World Tour
International 70 event staged on an all-glass court at Justin
Herman Plaza in San Francisco, USA.
Despite falling behind compatriot Daryl Selby in the second game
of the first quarter-final, world No2 Matthew never looked to be out of
control of the match. The 32-year-old from Sheffield simply did what he
does best - play error-free squash with commanding court presence by
driving the ball deep to both corners to force Selby into scramble mode.
that second game, Matthew ran the table with five consecutive points to
erase the deficit built by his fellow countryman and good friend, taking
the game 12-10.
opening game was Matthew's from the start. With long rallies, neither
player appeared to be eager to take the ball short. The cold conditions
suited Matthew's reach across the mid-court, and he ran out to a
comfortable 5-3 lead before extending it to 8-4. Midway through the
game, Matthew started taking the ball short on the backhand side, and
Selby could not answer.
third and final game was never in doubt. Matthew needed just nine
minutes to finish Selby off, 11-6, 12-10, 11-4 in 53 minutes.
nightcap showed off Londoner Barker's short game and total court control
in despatching Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema in a methodical 11-7,
11-4, 11-4 47-minute encounter.
Afterwards, when asked about the cold San Francisco evening air, fourth
seed Barker acknowledged that the conditions are more suited to his game
than Anjema's. "Obviously with the court playing more dead, I like to
attack the front of the court," commented the world No6.
interviewing Barker, noted that steam was rising off his warm body. The
bundled capacity crowd got a good laugh watching the steamy man his
friends call Spider Man.
Anjema, spent the majority of the match trying to solve the puzzle of
how to get Barker out of the middle of the court. When successful,
Anjema capitalised by taking the ball early with sharp drops. Barker,
however, was moving fluidly and reaching virtually every length Anjema
placed without much difficulty.
Shabana Shocks Willstrop In NetSuite Upset
reaching at least the semi-finals in 14 successive appearances on the
PSA World Tour since September last year, England's world number one
James Willstrop crashed out of the NetSuite Open Squash
Championship quarter-finals - overwhelmed in straight games by
Egypt's Amr Shabana in the PSA International 70 event in
the eleventh time since 2004, Willstrop and Shabana squared off in a PSA
quarter-final, with the Englishman holding a slight edge (6-4) before
the opening NetSuite Open match on the spectacular McWil Courtwall
glass court at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco, California.
Philadelphia a week ago, Shabana looked as lean and fit as he's been in
the last five years," said tournament spokesman Jay Prince. "And
it showed tonight as he took out the No1 seed in three straight—11-8,
chilly San Francisco air favoured the 33-year-old Egyptian's attacking
style, mixing knee-bending boasts from the back and mid-court with
asked about the conditions, world No7 Shabana said: "I actually don't
like the cold. It does help with control of the court, but I'm not used
to it and worry about getting injured. So I never stop moving around."
Willstrop, a finalist in nine Tour events in the past 13 months and
winner of four titles, just never seemed to get going. After dropping
the opener with several errors and strokes against him, the tall
Yorkshireman pulled himself together early in the second game while
building a sizable lead, 7-2
Shabana, the four-time world champion from Cairo, simply kept making the
court longer and wider, while also drawing gasps from the capacity crowd
with eye-popping court coverage.
essence, this was Shabana's match from the start," added Prince.
"Willstrop appeared to be suffering from a cough, though earlier in the
day he was excited to get going."
second quarter-final, Gregory Gaultier of France hammered away at
Egypt's Tarek Momen to run away with the first two games. There
were relentless lengths on both sides of the court, made possible by the
supreme quickness and balance of Gaultier who seems to be able to reach
any ball on the court.
third, Momen played a more free-flowing game, attacking
short—particularly on the left side—with positive effect. Drop exchanges
were going Momen's way for the duration and the 24-year-old from Cairo
cut Gaultier's margin to 2/1.
fourth, Momen again ran away with the game while Gaultier became
frustrated and made a handful of errors that he can be prone to make
when he becomes distracted by referee decisions with which he disagrees.
down 10-6 and staring straight into the headlights of a deciding fifth
game, the wheels came off for Momen. Coupled with a pair of errors and
Gaultier stepping forward to attack with higher pace, the 29-year-old
Frenchman, ranked three in the world, rattled off six straight points to
punch his ticket into the semi-finals where he will face Shabana.
Matthew On Course In
James Willstrop and Nick Matthew, seeded one and two respectively in
the NetSuite Open Squash Championship, took the first step towards
meeting for the 46th time in the last 11 years — a rivalry that has been
dominated by Matthew with 35 wins to his credit.
The world No2
has not lost a PSA World Tour match to Willstrop since 2007, a run that
includes 15 straight. But Willstrop got off to a solid start in the first round
of the PSA International 70 event in San Francisco in his quest to
reverse the trend with Matthew, should the pair reach the final.
2004, England's James Willstrop and Egyptian Amr Shabana have
faced each other 30 times, with Shabana holding a slight edge, 16-14. In that
first encounter, at the Swedish Open, Shabana was world No5 and seeded one in
the event; Willstrop was world No13 and the eighth seed. On Saturday, on an
all-glass court at Justin Herman Plaza on the San Francisco waterfront,
the illustrious pair will meet again after both secured their places in the
quarter-finals of the NetSuite Open.
Up first at
the San Francisco Bay Club, the 6' 4" Willstrop took on a 5' 8" qualifier
in the form of Scotland's Alan Clyne. In a fast and furious display of
volleys, drops and attacking boasts from both players, the first game went to
Willstrop. But Clyne kept things close in the second, ultimately falling 11-9.
The third game is where things got interesting: With nothing to lose, Clyne
stepped up the attack by cutting balls off and sending Willstrop to the front
court repeatedly, racing out to a seemingly commanding lead. Willstrop, however,
recovered and put his world No1 experience to work, rattling off nine
consecutive points, to take the match 11-4, 11-9, 11-9.
next on court, taking on a feisty Alister Walker of Botswana. Despite
beating Shabana just once in seven career meetings, Walker has only fallen in
three games once. Shabana plays the game with style, putting on a textbook show
of fluid, classic strokes. Both are phenomenal movers on court, and the crowd
was mesmerized by their ability to retrieve even the most deftly placed shots.
Though close to the end, Shabana took the opener, but then nearly disappeared in
the second, falling 11-5 quickly. The Egyptian snapped out of it after a few
tins early in the third, using near-perfect length to run away with the third.
The fourth brought a bit of controversy after Shabana apparently requested a
"non-audible let." Once sorted out, Shabana found his focus and rolled into the
quarterfinals with a convincing 11-8, 5-11, 11-3, 11-5 win.
to qualify for the Delaware Investments US Open in Philadelphia a week ago,
Frenchman Gregoire Marche booked his place in the main draw of the
NetSuite Open by upending Australia's Matthew Karwalski in the qualifying
finals in San Francisco. Unfortunately for Marche, he drew Egyptian Tarek
Momen in the main draw. Momen's surgical precision from the word go was
simply too much for Marche who fell 11-7, 11-3, 11-7 in just 32 minutes.
have his hands full on Saturday evening when he seeks to win for just the second
time in six attempts against the third-seeded world No3 Gregory Gaultier
of France. Though Gaultier's first two games in the opening round with
Switzerland's Nicolas Mueller were hotly contested, with Gaultier taking
the first 11-4 but dropping the second 11-7, Gaultier never looked back in the
final two games, dropping just a single point in each.
matches on the docket at Stanford University, England's Daryl Selby,
seeded No7, kept the evening on schedule with a solid 50-minute win over New
Zealand qualifier Martin Knight. But it wasn't easy by any stretch: Selby
and Knight traded points throughout the opening game with good use of length and
drops that stayed tight to the walls. All square at 10-10, Knight chastised
himself, saying, "I've got to hit the ball away from the middle."
the tin got in the way in each of the succeeding two points, handing the game to
the Englishman asserted his control of the court, forcing Knight to retrieve
balls to the point of near exhaustion in the middle of the third game. Selby
finished off the match in style, with a dominant third game, 11-4.
Up next for
Selby, on Sunday, will be compatriot Nick Matthew. Selby has only come
out on the winning end of two clashes with Matthew, and both required five games
that lasted over 80 minutes. Standing in Matthew's way at Stanford was American
in the world, the 8-time US National Champion jumped out to a solid start,
taking a 6-3 lead over Matthew. A nick that moved Illingworth to 7-3 seemed to
get Matthew going as he levelled the game at seven, then took advantage of four
errors by the American, ultimately taking the game 11-8.
In the second
game, both used high volleys to good effect while attacking and defending, but
the difference in the game was a number of unforced tins from Illingworth from
the mid-court area while Matthew played error-free - securing the game 11-9.
control of the final game at two-all when Illingworth lost some of his
sharpness. Not to pass up an opportunity, Matthew finished off the match 11-3.
qualifier from England, Chris Simpson, faced a formidable task in the
first round when meeting world No9 Laurens Jan Anjema of the Netherlands.
Anjema, fresh off several weeks of training in Colorado, put his elevated
stamina to excellent use by playing tight drives mixed with sharp balls to the
front corners to win the 15-minute opener - after which he stepped on the
game was noticeably quicker in pace, with Anjema putting his southpaw reach to
good effect, forcing Simpson into hurried recoveries and riskier shots. The
result was a methodical 11-4 for Anjema.
It was more of
the same to 7-5 in the third in favour of Anjema, when Simpson let everything go
in a desperate attempt to stay alive. That approach worked, temporarily, when
Simpson garnered a 9-8 advantage - at least until Anjema woke up and finished
off the match with three quick points, 11-9.
shortest match of the night featured England's Peter Barker who jumped
all over Egyptian Hisham Mohd Ashour in just 33 minutes. Ashour, like his
younger brother Ramy, is creative on court. But tonight, that creativity caused
him more harm than good. Barker, seeded No4, dominated the early stages, racing
out to a 7-1 lead before Ashour showed any resistance. After surrendering a
handful of points, Barker played near flawless squash, using a combination of
length and drops to finish the game off, 11-6.
From there it
was all Barker. Ashour simply offered little hope in the final two games,
dropping them 11-4, 11-3.
& Matthew Eye Up Latest Clash - In San Francisco
James Willstrop and Nick Matthew - the world's top two squash players
- are scheduled to meet for the fourth time in a PSA World Tour final
this year in the NetSuite Open in the USA.
PSA International 70 event - which has attracted 11 of the world top 20 -
gets underway today on an outdoor all-glass court on the San Francisco
waterfront, on the south lawn at Justin Herman Plaza, opposite the
one Willstrop, from Leeds, will get his campaign underway against qualifier
Alan Clyne. The Edinburgh-based Scot earned his place in the main draw at
the Olympic Club, where he defeated Pakistan's Aamir Atlas Khan
11-6, 12-10, 10-12, 11-3 in the qualifying finals.
like Willstrop will be keen to make up for a surprise semi-final exit from last
week's US Open in Philadelphia, takes on US wild card Julian
Illingworth in the first round.
interest in the main draw was boosted to five after Guernsey-born Chris
Simpson pulled off a qualifying finals win at Stanford University,
beating Australian Ryan Cuskelly 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 in a 76-minute
25-year-old world No38 now meets Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema.
In the opening
qualifying final match at the San Francisco Bay Club, New Zealand's world
No45 Martin Knight put an end to Indian Siddharth Suchde's hopes
of reaching the main draw. The Kiwi responded to Suchde's relentless attacking
to win 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 in 61 minutes.
lines up against Englishman Daryl Selby, the world No11.
qualifying slot went to Gregoire Marche, also at the Bay Club. Frenchman
Marche made it a disappointing day for Australians when he ousted New South
Welshman Matthew Karwalski 11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5 in exactly an hour.
doubling up French interest in the main draw behind third seed Gregory
Gaultier, will take on rising Egyptian star Tarek Momen, the world
No13 from Cairo.