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Saudi PSA World Open, Al-Khobar,
Nick Matthew Wins
Historic World Open Title
Matthew overcame a tired fellow countryman
James Willstrop in the final of the $327,500
Saudi PSA World Open Squash Championship in
Saudi Arabia to become the first English World
Open champion in the 34-year history of the
sport's premier event.
The climax of the richest PSA World Tour
championship of all-time, at Sunset Beach Resort
in the Saudi Arabian city of Al-Khobar, was a
repeat of October's Commonwealth Games final in
Delhi - and extends Matthew's unbeaten Tour run
over his England team-mate and fellow
Yorkshireman to nine matches since December
Matthew, the top seed from Sheffield, reached
the final after dethroning title-holder Amr
Shabana, the former world number one from Egypt
who was in line to win the title for a fifth
But Willstrop arguably had a more brutal route
to the final, fighting off marathon challenges
from two further England team-mates Daryl Selby
and Peter Barker in the third round and
The 27-year-old sixth seed from Leeds started
the more impressively, surging ahead from
seven-all to take a well-deserved first game
lead after 21 minutes - causing Matthew to
concede his first game of the tournament.
But Willstrop's earlier toil began to take
effect as Matthew began to dominate - drawing
level after a further 18 minutes before going on
to wrap up the match, and his first World Open
title, 8-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-3 in 74 minutes.
"I only thought about winning the title in the
last few rallies, you are only human," said
Matthew after the stellar performance which adds
world champion to the world number one and
Commonwealth Games gold medallist successes the
30-year-old has achieved this year.
"At that stage you are playing against yourself
instead of your opponent. You are sort of
fighting the demons in your head. You see the
finish line and as it comes closer in terms of
score it gets further away because you are
drifting in your thoughts.
"With every single thought I tried to tell
myself 'next rally, next rally'.
"I didn't play badly in the first game but James
was just immaculate," continued the beaming new
champion. "He was unlucky that he had had those
hard matches which took it out of him."
Matthew's success comes after career-threatening
shoulder surgery in 2008 which kept him away
from the Tour for nine months.
"I never in my wildest dreams thought that all
this would happen to me. As for that shoulder
injury, it taught me to keep things in
perspective - not to get too low on the low
points, and not to get carried away either with
the high if I am in a big final."
The triumph is expected to take Matthew back to
the top of the PSA world rankings in January -
replacing Ramy Ashour, the Egyptian who was
forced to bow out in the second round with a
Official 2010 Site
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