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• Canary Wharf Squash Classic • 24th to 28th March 2014 • London •  

Today ] [ SEMIS ] QUARTERS ] Day TWO ] Day ONE ] Qualifying ]

Thu 27th Mar, Day FOUR:

Semi-Finals: 

[1] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-0 [8] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col)
                                        11/4 11/2, 11/9 (39m)


[2] James Willstrop (Eng) 3-0 [3] Peter Barker (Eng)
                                         12/10, 11/2, 11/7 (50m)

Matthew and Willstrop set up all-English final
Alan Thatcher reports

Top seeds Nick Matthew and James Willstrop resume their intense rivalry in what promises to be an epic battle in the final of the Canary Wharf Classic.

Both swept aside their semi-final rivals in straight games, meaning that both players have reached the final without dropping a game all week.

Willstrop almost slipped up in the first game against England team-mate Peter Barker as his opponent drew level from 10-8 down, but the number two seed recovered to win 12-10.

The second game was actually longer, although the 11-2 scoreline reflected the number of errors from Barker as he attempted to bring massive rallies to a conclusion with ambitious shots that frequently clipped the edge of the tin.

Barker led 4-2 in the third and his fans in a sell-out crowd at the East Wintergarden were willing him to make an impact on the match, but Willstrop strung five points together with some devastating drop shots on both sides of the court to regain the ascendancy.

Barker fought bravely but Willstrop closed out the match to reach his seventh Canary Wharf final.

He lost in the final to Matthew two years ago and the two great Yorkshire rivals produced one of the greatest matches in the history of the sport when they contested a two-hour battle in 2010 that ended with Willstrop lying in a heap in the back left corner after an attack of cramp.

Matthew had taken just 39 minutes to see off the challenge of acrobatic Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez, winning 11-4, 11-2, 11-3 in just 39 minutes.

The 33-year-old world champion knew he had to be mobile around the front of the court to combat the Colombian’s trickery, and his fast-paced attacking game prevented his opponent from building any momentum.

Rodriguez played several astonishing shots between his legs but Matthew was finding all the corners of the court as he dominated proceedings throughout the match.



He said: “It’s nice to know that people think I’m speeding up as I get older, so these days it can sometimes be a relief to lose early in a tournament so that you can give your body a rest and prepare for the next tournament.

“That happened when I lost in the quarter-finals in New York and then won the Swedish Open and the British Nationals. You don’t always have much time to prepare between events.

“I have felt good on court this week and I was pleased to contain Miguel to just the one dive tonight when I was on match ball.”

Willstrop hates anyone bringing up the subject of his long losing run against Matthew in PSA events. He said: “It might be something that everybody outside this glass court wants to talk about but in reality it’s just the kind of thing that sport throws up.

“Naturally I hope it comes to an end on this court, where I also ended a similar run against Lee Beachill a few years ago. I have enjoyed some great moments on this court, and naturally hope to put on another good performance in the final.

“It’s been a great week for English squash with Laura Massaro winning the world title at the age of 30 and gaining a deserved reward for her years of hard work and dedicated training.

“With Nick as world champion and England the world men’s team champions it has been a magnificent period for squash in this country.

“I am sure the crowd will be looking forward to another all-English battle between Nick and me. We’re both playing well and it should be a great match.”

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