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Matthew & Barker Make All-English Swedish Open Final

Londoner Peter Barker upset second-seeded Egyptian Karim Darwish in the semi-finals of the Case Swedish Open to set up the third all-English final of the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event at Linköping Sporthall inLinköping in the last four years.

Third seed Barker battled for four games to overcome Darwish, the world No3 from Cairo who was competing in his first event since sustaining a hamstring injury in December’s World Open in Saudi Arabia.

“It’s sad that Karim’s not 100% fit,” said world No8 Barker after his 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8 victory in the day’s first semi-final. “I’m glad that I handled the pressure it means to step on court at this major tournament.

“Now in the final, it doesn’t matter who I play, because they’re both my best friends on tour (Selby and Matthew), and I know their style of playing well,” added the 2008 runner-up, now in his 19th Tour final.

The other semi was an all-English clash between world number one Nick Matthew and fourth seed Daryl Selby, the world No10.

Matthew, the 30-year-old from Sheffield hoping to win the title for the third time in a row, seemed to be one step ahead of his England team-mate and took the first two games.

However, Selby mounted a huge comeback in the third and, with an array of dazzling shots which impressed the crowd, reduced the deficit.

But top seed Matthew upped his game in the fourth to close out the match 11-4, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5.

“Squash players are mentally ridiculous, because when I threw away my headband it felt like I got my energy back and was back in the match again,” said a humorous Selby afterwards.

Matthew added: “I felt fresh today even though I’m probably the hardest trainer on the tour.

“And Daryl was a good competitor – with or without a headband,” said Matthew, now celebrating the 39th Tour final appearance of his career.

The final will mark the two Englishmen’s 12th Tour clash since April 2007 – and, incredibly, their third encounter this year, since meeting in the ATCO PSA World Series Finals in London and the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions last month.

Semi-finals:
[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [4] Daryl Selby (ENG) 11-4, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5
[3] Peter Barker (ENG) bt [2] Karim Darwish (EGY) 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8

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    PSA
    [1] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
    [2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy)
    [3] Nick Matthew (Eng)
    [4] Ramy Ashour (Egy)
    [5] Amr Shabana (Egy)
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    [1] Nicol David (Mas)
    [2] Laura Massaro (Eng)
    [3] Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
    [4] Joelle King (Nzl)
    [5] Camille Serme (Fra)
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