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Matthew & Willstrop To Replay Delhi Duel For Masters Crown

England squash rivals Nick Matthew and James Willstrop will line up for their third major international final in three months when they contest the climax of the $192,500 Punj Lloyd PSA Masters, the tenth and final PSA Super Serieschampionship of the year at the Sirifort CWG Block in the Indian capital New Delhi.

It was at the same venue that the pair battled for the Commonwealth Games gold medal in October – and last week Matthew repeated his victory over fellow Yorkshireman Willstrop in the World Open final in Saudi Arabia to become England’s first winner of the sport’s ultimate title.

Second seed Willstrop triumphed in today’s first semi-final when he beat surprise Egyptian opponent Hisham Mohd Ashour, the 14th seed from Cairo, 11-8, 11-2, 11-5 in 32 minutes.

The 27-year-old world No5 from Leeds is celebrating the 24th Tour final of his career, and his fifth this year.

Top seed Matthew, whose success in the previous round ensured that he will start next year as the world number one, faced Egyptian star Amr Shabana, the third seed and a four-time winner of the world title.

It was after the 30-year-old from Sheffield won the first two games that Shabana conceded the match before the third as a result of a pulled muscle in his stomach.

“It’s obviously not the ideal way to make the final, without the entire match being completed,” said Matthew later. “I hope Shabana gets well soon, because we need him strong and back on the Tour come the New Year – I wish him a speedy recovery.

“The final tomorrow is a rematch of the World Championship and the Commonwealth Games, and James is a terrific player and playing him is always a difficult proposition,” continued the current world number two, now in the 37th Tour final of his career.

“We have played scores of times against one another and I look forward to yet another episode of this rivalry.”

Semi-finals:
[2] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [14] Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) 11-8, 11-2, 11-5 (32m)
[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [3] Amr Shabana (EGY) 11-9, 11-4 ret. (22m)

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Matthew Win Ensures World No1 Ranking

Victory in the quarter-finals of the $192,500 Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in the Indian capital New Delhi ensures that Englishman Nick Matthew will regain his world number one ranking in next month’s Professional Squash Association (PSA) list.

The 30-year-old event favourite from Sheffield needed 56 minutes to see off England team-mate Daryl Selby 11-9, 11-7, 13-11 for a place in the semi-finals of the tenth and final PSA Super Series squash championship of the year at theSirifort CWG Block.

The best year of his squash life is coming to a spectacular climax after Matthew became the first Englishman for six years to top the world rankings in June. He made up for the disappointment of slipping to second place three months later by winning two Commonwealth Games gold medals in October – on the same all-glass court in Delhi which is hosting this week’s PSA Masters.

Then, earlier this month in Saudi Arabia, Matthew romped through a star-studded World Open field to become England’s first ever world champion.

“This tournament means a lot to me, because the ranking points involved will now make it possible for me to end the year as world number one,” said the jubilant Yorkshireman to Indian media today.

“I have very fond memories of the Sirifort Complex where I won two gold medals during the Commonwealth Games. It is surreal to be back at the venue of those achievements.”

Matthew will now take on third seed Amr Shabana, the former world number one from Egypt who beat fellow countrymanMohamed El Shorbagy 11-8, 11-9, 11-9.

The other semi-final will also be an Anglo/Egyptian affair, between Englishman James Willstrop and Cairo-based Hisham Mohd Ashour. Second seed Willstrop, runner-up to Matthew in this month’s World Open final, secured his anticipated place in the last four with a 12-10, 11-1, 11-3 victory over Australia’s No10 seed Cameron Pilley.

But 14th seed Ashour, the older brother of the current world number one Ramy Ashour, pulled off his second upset in a row when he beat fourth-seeded Frenchman Thierry Lincou 11-7, 6-11, 12-10, 11-5 in a dramatic 51-minute encounter.

Ashour senior’s win – his first ever over the distinguished Frenchman who was celebrating his ninth successive Super Series quarter-final appearance – takes the 28-year-old from Cairo into his first 2010 Super Series semi.

Quarter-finals:
[2] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [10] Cameron Pilley (AUS) 12-10, 11-1, 11-3 (38m)
[14] Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) bt [4] Thierry Lincou (FRA) 11-7, 6-11, 12-10, 11-5 (51m)
[3] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [8] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 (47m)
[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [9] Daryl Selby (ENG) 11-9, 11-7, 13-11 (56m)

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