Thu 27th Mar, Day FOUR:
 Nick Matthew (Eng)
3-0  Miguel Angel Rodriguez
11/4 11/2, 11/9 (39m)
Willstrop (Eng) 3-0  Peter Barker (Eng)
12/10, 11/2, 11/7 (50m)
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
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
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
“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
“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.”