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Sport - Squash Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Matthew and Willstrop in title clash

Kamesh Srinivasan

Jenny Duncalf and Kasey Brown sail through in the semifinals

Photo: Sandeep Saxena

QUICK WIN:England's James Willstrop had an easy outing against Hisham Mohammed Ashour in the semifinal. —

NEW DELHI: It was one match that everyone was anxious to watch. However, it was one anti-climax that nobody had bargained for. The battle between the current World champion Nick Matthew of England and four-time World champion Amr Shabana of Egypt ended abruptly, with the latter conceding the contest after two games, reportedly owing to a stomach muscle injury, in the semifinals of the $192,500 Punj Lloyd PSA Masters squash tournament at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here on Saturday.

“Nobody wants to win a match like that. He is a professional who will not continue when he can't be 100 per cent. It is a shame, but it is a tough schedule and very testing to stay fit,'' said Matthew who had taken an 11-9, 11-4 lead in the 22-minute span.

After hitting the tip of the tin on the fourth game point in the first game, former World No. 1 Shabana looked to be ready for a fight when he led 4-3 with a few rousing shots. However, it was clear that he was not in his best shape as he continuously hit the tin, even as Matthew smashed three shots in between, in winning eight points in a row.

After the game, Shabana just threw the ball to the referee and shook hands with the opponent, expressing his inability to continue any further.

It will be a repeat of the Commonwealth Games and World Open final, as Nick Matthew will be confronted by compatriot James Willstrop.

Second-seeded Willstrop subdued another Egyptian, Hisham Mohammed Ashour, who lacked the magic and energy this day, 11-8, 11-2, 11-5 in 32 minutes

“Am just thrilled to be in the final. I feel alright,'' said Willstrop.

Matthew said he would not take his opponent in the final for granted despite his recent domination, particularly in the big finals, and said he was ready to push himself one more time, so that he could enjoy Christmas better.

“I want to finish the year on a high note. I have beaten him a few times, and he may think that it is his turn! Win or lose, I will give everything tomorrow,'' said the World champion, who will be ending the season as World No. 1.

“After the Commonwealth Games I was not at my best, as singles and doubles took a lot out of me. But I regrouped for the final stretch, and it is a testament to my teammates and the training,'' said Matthew, quite pleased with the quality of his game in an exacting season.

Meanwhile, it was a keen tussle in both the semifinals of the women's $36,500 event, but the top two seeds Jenny Duncalf of England and Kasey Brown of Australia were able to assert themselves at the business end, to set up another clash.

It was a terrific fightback by Kasey as she beat Annie Au of Hong Kong for the first time in three meetings, recovering from 5-8 in the decider.

The results (semifinals): PSA Masters: James Willstrop (Eng) bt Hisham Mohammed Asour (Egy) 11-8, 11-2, 11-5; Nick Matthew (Eng) bt Amr Shabana (Egy) 11-9, 11-4 (conceded).

WISPA Masters: Jenny Duncalf (Eng) bt Camille Serme (Fra) 11-9, 8-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-5; Kasey Brown (Aus) bt Annie Au (Hkg) 11-6, 11-9, 4-11, 2-11, 11-8 .

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