Top seeds through to U.S. Open finals in Philly

Matthew Extends Willstrop Run To Make US Open Final

18 October 2013

RESULTS: PSA World Series Delaware Investments US Open, Philadelphia, USA

[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [4] Karim Darwish (EGY) 11-7, 11-4, 12-10 (46m)
[3] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [2] James Willstrop (ENG) 11-3, 11-6, 11-5 (42m)

Nick Matthew extended his unbeaten Tour run against fellow Englishman James Willstrop to 16 matches over almost seven years when he upset the world No3 in the Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships to reach the final of the fifth PSA World Series event of the year at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

The 2007 champion from Sheffield will face top-seeded Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the 2006 champion who defeated Egypt’s No4 seed Karim Darwish, also in straight games.

Former world number one Matthew, currently ranked just a single place behind Willstrop, started well – taking a 6-1 lead in the opening game before closing it out 11-3.

The second was level up to five-all – but Matthew then pulled away again, taking it 11-6.

Second seed Willstrop, runner-up to his Yorkshire rival in the 2007 final, came out strongly for the third to lead 4-2.

But nemesis Matthew reclaimed the upper hand to secure seven points in a row before taking the match 11-3, 11-6, 11-5 after 42 minutes.

“I got a couple of errors and strokes out of him early in the first game, and I managed to carry that momentum through to the next two games,” said 33-year-old Matthew.

“It’s good to get through in three. Greg’s in great form so I’ll need to be as fresh as possible for the final.

“I’m not putting any pressure on myself: he’s played 75 matches this season and I’ve played four, so he’s much more match sharp than I am! I’ll just go out to express myself and enjoy it and if I happen to win that would be great!”

The earlier semi-final was a repeat of last year’s quarter-final, which Gaultier took more than an hour to win, en-route to the final.

Gaultier, bidding to make his fourth Tour final in a row, was in control from the outset, controlling the pace and controlling his opponent’s movement. The favourite from Aix-en-Provence led 6-3. Darwish threatened a comeback but, from 7-6, Gaultier eased away again.

The second was all Gaultier, who moved from 6-0 to take the game 11-4.

Darwish stayed close in the third, but Gaultier was always ahead. The 32-year-old from Cairo appealed a let that became a stroke to level at nine-all, then saved a match ball on a further stroke.

But a volley drop shortly afterwards clinched the match 11-7, 11-4, 12-10 in 46 minutes for Gaultier – who becomes the first player to reach a second successive US Open final since England’s former world number one Lee Beachill in 2005.

“I stuck to my game plan and was pleased with how I played in the first two games,” said Gaultier, whose defeat of Darwish ends a four-year Egyptian stranglehold on the title. “He played unbelievable squash to beat Shorbagy 3/0 yesterday: I was aware of that and knew I had to be focused from the start.

“In the third I went too short, and he’s better at the front than me, so it became tough and I was just lucky enough to win the points at the end.

“I’m happy to win in three and really pleased to be in another final, it’s what we’re all here for.”

Matthew is celebrating the 55th Tour final of his career, while Gaultier is marking his 54th.

The climax will be the pair’s 25th Tour meeting since September 2002 – and third this year, with 2013 honours shared. Their career head-to-head record to date is 14/10 – in Gaultier’s favour.

Official website:

Nicol David & Laura Massaro To Meet In US Open Final

18 October 2013

RESULTS: Women’s Delaware Investments US Open, Philadelphia, USA

[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [5] Joelle King (NZL) 14-12, 11-4, 11-6 (38m)
[2] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [6] Low Wee Wern (MAS) 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 (86m)

Top seeds Nicol David and Laura Massaro will contest the Women’s Delaware Investments U.S. Open Championship final at Drexel University in Philadelphia after coming through contrasting semi-finals of the Women’s Squash Association World Series Platinum event, which – for the first time ever – is providing equal prize money to the men’s event.

Second seed Massaro, the world No2 from England, reached her second US Open final in three years – but needed five games and almost one and a half hours to get past surprise opponent Low Wee Wern, the No6 seed from Malaysia who ousted last year’s Egyptian runner-up Raneem El Weleily in the previous round.

Massaro recovered from 1-4 to take the first game 11-6. The Malaysian underdog was ahead for most of the second game before drawing level.

Again the next two games were shared, 29-year-old Massaro reclaiming the lead after the third and her 23-year-old seven-ranked opponent coming back from 1-4 down to take the fourth.

The Englishwoman took the lead in the decider, 3-1 then 6-4, but a determined Low brought it back to seven-all.

Massaro again took the lead at 8-7 before appealing a let which was over-ruled into a stroke for 9-7. A winning boast and a crosscourt dropshot gave Massaro the 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 victory after 86 minutes.

“I started well, it’s just a pity I couldn’t carry on like that for the whole match,” said Lancashire lass Massaro. “But she played well, she’s like a human sponge, she just keeps soaking everything up and you end up just having to go for something.

“It’s great to be back in the final in a big event like this. It was a long break over the summer so it feels good to be back playing these events again.”

It took less than half the time for favourite Nicol David to earn her place in the final for the second year in a row.

The world number one faced Joelle King, the No5 seed from New Zealand. Playing with her usual authority, David led 8-2 in the opening game. But the Kiwi world No5 mounted an impressive comeback, drawing level at eight-all before moving ahead to game ball at 10-9.

The world number one held firm though, taking the game 14-12 – and soon after wrapping up the match 14-12, 11-4, 11-6 in 38 minutes to move one step closer to becoming the first player for more than 20 years to successfully defend the US Open title.

“I started well but Joelle came back strong at the end of the first,” said David. “I told myself I couldn’t let her get that one, so I dug in, then managed to push through in the next two games.

“It’s good to be back in the final. I’ll just rest up, focus on what I need to do and go out and give it all.”

David is celebrating the 88th WSA Tour final of her career, while Massaro is marking her 25th.

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