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World Squash Series Finals: Willstrop & Matthew make it 4 for GB in SFs

Great Britain's James Willstrop and Nick Matthew both book their places in the semi-finals of the World Series Squash Finals

Marianne Bevis
By  at Queen's Club  
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Matthew (left in blue) beat Barker at Queen's ClubPhoto: Marianne Bevis

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With two Britons already into the women’s semi-finals of the World Squash Series Finals—the end-of-season contest between the eight top-ranked players in the sport—the men ensured they would not be outdone in the limelight of London’s Queen’s Club.

James Willstrop and Nick Matthew, seeded 1 and 2 respectively for the tournament, both needed to win their final round-robin matches to head into the knock-out stages, and they did just that.

For Matthew, it meant victory over fellow-Brit Peter Barker who, returning from injury, played more strongly as the match went on. It took a gruelling 42 minutes for Matthew to win through, 11/2, 12/10, and he did so in front of an audience that including Team GB Olympians Greg Searle, Victoria Pendleton and Joanna Rowsell, there to back squash’s ‘Back the 2020 Bid’ campaign.

The two-time world champion, and a finalist in this event in 2011, will now face the No3 seed, Frenchman Gregory Gaultier who, like compatriot Camille Serme in the women’s competition, had already sealed his semi-final place before his final round-robin match.

Should Matthew win, he sets up the possibility of an all-British men’s final against the man with whom he shared the top ranking in men’s squash for the last two years, James Willstrop. It was only with his win at the world championships that Ramy Ashour took the top spot last month—but injury has prevented him playing in London this week.

Willstrop, twice a semi-finalist in this event and the top-ranked man in squash for the most of the last 12 months, faces the daunting prospect of defending champion and No4 seeded Amr Shabana. The Egyptian has found fluid form in London, not least in beating the charismatic 21-year-old, Mohamed El Shorbagy—already ranked No5 in the world and one of the new stars on the squash stage.

Shabana won all three of his round-robin matches without dropping a game, including victory over Matthews.

All the men’s and women’s semi-finals, as well as both finals, will be broadcast on Sky Sports 3.

Schedule

Saturday 5 January, 6pm

[1] Nicol David (Malay) vs [7] Camille Serme (Fra)
[2] Laura Massaro (GB) vs [6] Jenny Duncalf (GB)
[5] Amr Shabana (Egy) v [1] James Willstrop (GB)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) v [2] Nick Matthew (GB)

Sunday 6 January, 4pm

Women’s final, followed by men’s final

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