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Netsuite Open 2012
17-23 Oct, San Francisco, Usa, $70k

23-Oct, Final:

[3] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) 3-0
[2] Nick Matthew (Eng)
11-7, 13-11, 11-9 (62m)

C’est Magnifique
Jay Prince reports

The headline pretty well sums up Gregory Gaultier’s performance tonight over Nick Matthew in the final of the NetSuite Open Squash Championships in San Francisco, California.

The only disappointing part was that when sell-out crowds are witness to a stellar performance, they always want an encore.

Unfortunately for them, Gaultier didn’t cooperate by not allowing the former World No. 1 to earn a single game. Matthew himself was left with little to do but applaud the Frenchman’s performance.

“I don't think I've ever played so well only to lose 3-0.” That was how Nick Matthew summed it up. And he’s probably right.

Gaultier was simply unstoppable tonight, putting his astounding quickness and relentless attacking style to full effect. From the start, Gaultier owned the left wall. More specifically, he owned the back left corner where ball after ball found the full depth of the court.

Gaultier never looked back once referee Mike Riley said, “Love all”—racing out to 6-2 and 7-3 up before Matthew began to recover from what had hit him.

“In every game I was always two or three points behind,” said Matthew. “When it was my turn I was always able to bring it back level. But then he would go again. I was never ahead in the business end of the games.”

In fact, Matthew held a lead just once at any point in the match, and that came when he snuck ahead at 2-0 to open the third. His best opportunity was in the second game. Gaultier had jumped out early, leading 5-2 and 6-4, but Matthew simply could not find a way to garner a lead. From 7-7, the pair traded points to 11-11, but once Gaultier had secured the lead at 12-11, he played a masterful drop (a step-back backhand drop that would have made Michael Jordan proud) at the left front, leaving Matthew stumbling—and behind two games to love.

Throughout the match, Gaultier kept Matthew’s strength—cutting the ball off at mid-court—at bay, while simultaneously controlling his own tempo.

“I managed not to play too fast all the time; to mix the rhythm by hitting some high balls to take control of the T,” said the newly crowned champion. “I tried to take a few things out of his game as well. It’s always interesting to watch all the guys play and see how they play tactically. I was happy to do it.”

When asked about Gaultier’s ability to neutralize Matthew’s typical dominance at the middle of the court, Matthew simply said:

“He’s always really deadly when he’s attacking on the left side. But that’s the best he’s played against me in terms of his defensive work,” conceded Matthew.

Perhaps the most impressive difference with Gaultier tonight was his ability to maintain his composure—not only when referee decisions didn’t go his way but, in particular, when Matthew succeeded in closing gaps midway through each game. He credits a new perspective on life after becoming a father for the first time eight weeks ago.

“I realize life is not only squash, and that was all my life before. I always put squash into one box and it was only it. And when you win life is beautiful, and when you lose it’s the end of the world. So now it gives me a great balance.

"There’s other things important in life. It gives me wings and has changed my attitude as well. It makes me more calm on court. I’m a really happy dad, and my girlfriend is really doing well. As long as Nolan is healthy, I’m happy. It’s an amazing feeling.”

So a fabulous week by the Bay comes to a close, with players loving what for most of them has been their first visit to San Francisco. “It’s been a great week. You know, you get to a stage where you play the same tournaments year in year out, and you come to somewhere new, it’s been one of my most enjoyable weeks on tour for a long time,” said Matthew.

Jay D.Prince/Squash Magazine


Première victoire depuis un petit moment...

J'ai vraiment bien joué ce soir, j'avais une bonne longueur puis j'ai réussi à rentrer pas mal de coups gagnants. Je suis vraiment satisfait de ma semaine. Et demain, depart pour le Mexique.

Le tournoi était sympa, les clubs sont magnifiques ici et l'endroit où le court vitré était placé etait magnifique.

Merci aux organisateurs et sponsors et espérons un autre tournoi l'année prochaine.

Pour ma part,  je tiens à remercier tous les gens qui m'ont soutenu sur place, ainsi que toute mon equipe en France, la Fédé, mes sponsors, mon club le Set Aix, le Creps, Thomas, Mathieu, Caroline, Stéphane, Renan et Dédé, mes partenaires d'entraînements ainsi que ma famille et tous mes amis,  désolé si j'en oublie...

Un très grand merci à Yves Tastet, Thomas Adriaens et Francois Perrin pour leur aide cette semaine qui m'ont beaucoup aidé car j'ai rencontré pas mal de problèmes, et qui m'ont sorti de la m....e pour pouvoir rester performant durant le tournoi.

Merci à Monsieur Marche pour le coaching toute la semaine et la venue de Cedric Hateau qui était très sympa.

A bientôt et merci à SquashSite pour la couverture du tournoi.


Netsuite Open 2012
17-23 Oct, San Francisco, Usa, $70k
Round One
19 Oct, Various Clubs
20/21 Oct
22 Oct
23 Oct
[1] James Willstrop (Eng)
11-4, 11-9, 11-9 (34m)
[Q] Alan Clyne (Sco)
[1] James Willstrop
11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (53m)
Amr Shabana
Amr Shabana

 11-7, 12-10, 11-8 (43m)

[3] Gregory Gaultier

[3] Gregory Gaultier


11-7, 13-11, 11-9 (62m)


[2] Nick Matthew

Amr Shabana (Egy)
11-8, 5-11, 11-3, 11-5 (49m)
Alister Walker (Bot)
Tarek Momen (Egy)
11-7, 11-3, 11-7 (32m)
[Q] Gregoire Marche (Fra)
Tarek Momen
11-4, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10 (58m)
[3] Gregory Gaultier
[3] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
11-4, 7-11, 11-1, 11-1 (52m)
Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
Hisham Ashour (Egy)
11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (33m)
[4] Peter Barker (Eng)
[4] Peter Barker
 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 (47m)
Laurens Jan Anjema
[4] Peter Barker

11-7, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6 (56m)

[2] Nick Matthew

Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
11-8, 11-4, 11-9 (48m)
[Q] Chris Simpson (Eng)
Daryl Selby (Eng)
12-10, 11-7, 11-4 (50m)
[Q] Martin Knight (Nzl)
Daryl Selby
11-6, 12-10, 11-4 (53m)
[2] Nick Matthew
Julian Illingworth (Usa)
11-8, 11-9, 11-3 (53m)
[2] Nick Matthew (Eng)
18-Oct, Qualifying Finals:

Martin Knight (Nzl) 3-0 Siddarth Suchde (Ind)                     11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (61m)
Gregoire Marche (Fra) 3-1 Matthew Karwalski (Aus)     11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5 60m)
Chris Simpson (Eng) 3-1 Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)               7-11 11-8, 11-8 11-5 (76m)
Alan Clyne (Sco) 3-1 Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak)            11-6, 12-10, 10-12, 11-3 (45m)

17 Oct, Qualifying Round One at various SF Clubs:

Martin Knight (Nzl) 3-1 Steve Coppinger (Rsa)            7-11, 15-13, 11-4, 11-6 (80m)
Siddarth Suchde (Ind) 3-0 Armando Olguin (Mex)                 11-0, 11-6, 11-4 (21m)
Gregoire Marche (Fra) 3-0 Shahjahan Khan (Pak)                  11-1, 11-6, 11-5 (39m)
Matthew Karwalski (Aus) 3-1 Zac Alexander (Aus)                 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 (39m)
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) 3-0 Chris Gordon (Usa)                        11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (56m)
Chris Simpson (Eng) 3-1 Shawn Delierre (Can)            11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5 (77m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak) 3-0 Campbell Grayson (Nzl)           13-11, 11-8, 11-8 (41m)
Alan Clyne (Sco) 3-0 Jeff Young (Usa)                                  11-4, 11-3, 11-4 (24m)
Gaultier dispatches Shabana,
Matthew takes out Barker

Jay Prince reports

Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, playing tight squash to take away the angles that are favored by Egyptian Amr Shabana dominated their three-game semifinal in the NetSuite Open Squash Championships in San Francisco. Gaultier’s court coverage neutralized Shabana’s attacking short game, and his length was just good enough to keep Shabana trapped in the back corners.

Two nights ago, Shabana looked fluid in his movement in the cold Bay Area conditions, but tonight he was a step slow, despite building a small cushion of 8-6 and 10-8 in the second game. Gaultier, showing patience and precision, scratched his way back to draw even at 10-all before finishing off the game 12-10.

It was more of the same in the third. Neither player appeared to be too eager to draw points out, but instead chose to attack short off the volley. An early lead by Gaultier to 3-1 was quickly erased and became a 5-3 advantage for Shabana in a single hand. From there, Gaultier drew even and they exchanged points to 8-all before Gaultier slammed the door, 11-8.

In 18 career meetings on the PSA Tour, Nick Matthew has dropped just a single match to his good friend and fellow Englishman, Peter Barker. That single loss came in the Hong Kong Open in 2010. Prior to that, Matthew had strung together eight-straight wins, and has since rattled off nine more. Make that ten after tonight.

The World No. 2 and second seed in San Francisco had little trouble securing the first two games, though he needed 32 minutes to do it. In both games, Barker held his own until the midway point then watched Matthew run away from him. Matthew played error-free and utilized his wing span at the mid-court to prevent Barker from ever getting comfortable—11-7 and 11-5 to Matthew.

The third, however, was totally out of character for Matthew who prides himself on keeping his errors to a minimum. But up 5-2, the former World No.1 committed three unforced errors and had three consecutive stroke decisions against him to carry Barker all the way to 9-5 in a single hand. Another pair of tins from Matthew in the front court after he had reached 6-9 and the game was Barker’s.

With renewed focus, Matthew quickly put Barker away in the fourth. Matthew punished Barker with pace and length, perhaps anticipating the downpour of rain that let loose in San Francisco just minutes after the match ended. Barker, too, apparently was ready to put an end to his nightmare fourth game but committing three straight unforced tins, handing Matthew the game 11-6.

With the bleachers covered for the night, crews will have their work cut out for them in the morning if the rain continues to fall.

Tomorrow it will be the Frenchman Gregory Gaultier taking on Matthew for the 19th time on the PSA Tour, a rivalry in which Gaultier holds a slight edge, 10-8.

Jay D.Prince/Squash Magazine


Deuxième finale consecutive, je suis content du niveau de performance que je produis depuis le retour à la compétition, malgré une préparation cet été perturbé par de nombreux évènements. J'arrive à produire du super squash et suis plutôt en bonne forme physique.

Aujourd'hui une autre finale et je compte bien la prendre ce coup-ci


21-Oct, Quarters Part Two:
English double in quarters part two

Jay Prince reports

Despite falling behind Daryl Selby in the second game of this evening’s first quarterfinal match at the NetSuite Open Squash Championships, 10-7, World No. 2 Nick Matthew never looked to be out of control of the match.

Matthew simply did what he does best—play error-free squash with commanding court presence by driving the ball deep to both corners to force his opponent into scramble mode. In that second game, Matthew ran the table with five consecutive points to erase the deficit built by his English countryman and good friend, taking the game 12-10.

The opening game was Matthew’s from the start. With long rallies, neither player appeared to be eager to take the ball short. The cold conditions suit Matthew’s reach across the mid-court, and he ran out to a comfortable 5-3 lead before extending it to 8-4. Midway through the game, Matthew started taking the ball short on the backhand side, and Selby couldn’t answer.

The third and final game was never in doubt. Matthew needed just nine minutes to finish Selby off, 11-4.

The nightcap showed off Peter Barker’s short game and total court control in dispatching Laurens Jan Anjema, a methodical 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 47-minute encounter.

Afterwards, when asked about the cold San Francisco evening air, Barker acknowledged that the conditions are more suited to his game than Anjema’s. “Obviously with the court playing more dead, I like to attack the front of the court,” commented Barker.

Jessica Winstanley, interviewing Barker, noted that steam was rising off his warm body. The bundled capacity crowd got a good laugh watching the steamy man his friends call Spider Man.

Anjem, spent the majority of the match trying to solve the puzzle of how to get Barker out of the middle of the court. When successful, Anjema capitalized by taking the ball early with sharp drops. Barker, however, was moving fluidly and reaching virtually every length Anjema placed without much difficulty.
20-Oct, Quarters Part One:
Shabana and Gaultier Rule the Night

Jay Prince reports

For the eleventh time since 2004, England’s James Willstrop and Egypt’s Amr Shabana squared off in a PSA quarterfinal, with Willstrop holding a slight edge (6-4) before tonight’s opening match on the spectacular McWil Courtwall glass court at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco, California.

In Philadelphia a week ago, Shabana looked as lean and fit as he’s been in the last five years. And it showed tonight as he took out the No. 1 seed in three straight—11-8, 11-8, 11-9.

The chilly San Francisco air favors the Egyptian’s attacking style, mixing knee-bending boasts from the back and mid-court with inch-perfect length. When asked about the conditions, Shabana said, “I actually don’t like the cold. It does help with control of the court, but I’m not used to it and worry about getting injured. So I never stop moving around.”

Willstrop just never seemed to get going. After dropping the opener with several errors and strokes against him, Willstrop did pull himself together early in the second game while building a sizable lead, 7-2. But Shabana simply kept making the court longer and wider, while also drawing gasps from the capacity crowd with eye-popping court coverage.

In essence, this was Shabana’s match from the start. Willstrop appeared to be suffering from a cough, though earlier in the day he was excited to get going.

In the second quarterfinal, Gregory Gaultier of France hammered away at Egypt’s Tarek Momen to run away with the first two games. Relentless length on both sides of the court, made possible by the supreme quickness and balance of Gaultier who seems to be able to reach any ball on the court.

In the third, Momen played a more free-flowing game, attacking short—particularly on the left side—with positive effect. Drop exchanges were going Momen’s way for the duration and he cut Gaultier’s margin to 2-1.

In the fourth, Momen again ran away with the game while Gaultier became frustrated and made a handful of errors that he can be prone to make when he becomes distracted by referee decisions with which he disagrees. But down 10-6 and staring straight into the headlights of a deciding fifth game, the wheels came off for Momen. Coupled with a pair of errors and Gaultier stepping forward to attack with higher pace, Gaultier rattled off six straight points to punch his ticket into the semifinals where he will face Amr Shabana.

Jay D.Prince/Squash Magazine

19-Oct, Round One:
England Stars Shine Bright in San Francisco

England’s James Willstrop and Nick Matthew, seeded No. 1 and No. 2 respectively took the first step toward meeting for the 46th time in the last 11 years—a rivalry that has been dominated by Matthew with 35 wins to his credit (the World No. 2 hasn’t lost a PSA match to Willstrop since 2007, a run that includes 15-straight)

Up first at the San Francisco Bay Club tonight, the 6’ 4” Willstrop took on a 5’ 8” qualifier in the form of Scotland’s Alan Clyne. In a fast and furious display of volleys, drops and attacking boasts from both players, the first game went to Willstrop 11-4. But Clyne kept things close in the second, ultimately falling 11-9. The third game is where things got interesting. With nothing to lose, Clyne stepped up the attack by cutting balls off and sending Willstrop to the front court repeatedly, racing out to a seemingly commanding lead. Willstrop, however, recovered and put his World No. 1 experience to work, rattling off nine consecutive points, taking the game 11-9.

Next on court was Shabana taking on a feisty Alister Walker of Botswana. Despite beating Shabana just once in seven career meetings, Walker has only fallen in three games once. Though close to the end, Shabana took the opener 11-8, but then nearly disappeared in the second, falling 11-5 quickly. Shabana snapped out of it after a few tins early in the third, using near-perfect length to run away with the third, 11-3. The fourth brought a bit of controversy after Shabana apparently requested a “non-audible let.” Once sorted out, Shabana found his focus and rolled into the quarterfinals with a convincing 11-5 fourth game.

After failing to qualify for the Delaware Investments U.S. Open in Philadelphia a week ago, Frenchman Grégoire Marche booked his place in the main draw of the NetSuite Open but unfortunately for him, drew Egyptian Tarek Momen in the first round. Momen’s surgical precision from the word go was simply too much for Marche who fell in just 32 minutes.

Momen will have his hands full on Saturday evening when he seeks to win for just the second time in six attempts against the third-seeded World No. 3, Gregory Gaultier of France. Though Gaultier’s first two games in the opening round with Switzerland’s Nicholas Mueller were hotly contested, with Gaultier taking the first 11-4 but dropping the second 11-7, Gaultier never looked back in the final two games, dropping just a single point in each.

With four matches on the docket at Stanford University, England’s Daryl Selby, seeded No. 7, kept the evening on schedule with a solid 50-minute win over qualifier Martin Knight (New Zealand). But it wasn’t easy by any stretch. Selby and Knight traded points throughout the opening game with good use of length and drops that stayed tight to the walls. All square at 10-10, Knight chastised himself, saying, “I’ve got to hit the ball away from the middle.”

Problem was, the tin got in the way in each of the succeeding two points, handing the game to Selby, 12-10. From there, Selby asserted his control of the court, forcing Knight to retrieve balls to the point of near exhaustion in the middle of the third game. Selby finished off the match in style, with a dominant third game, 11-4.

Up next for Selby, on Sunday, will be compatriot Nick Matthew. Standing in Matthew’s way at Stanford was American Julian Illingworth. Currently World No. 28, the 8-time U.S. National Champion jumped out to a solid start, taking a 6-3 lead over Matthew. A nick that moved Illingworth to 7-3 seemed to get Matthew going as he leveled the game at seven, then took advantage of four errors by the American, ultimately taking the game 11-8. In the second game, both used high volley’s to good effect while attacking and defending, but the difference in the game was a number of unforced tins from Illingworth from the mid-court area while Matthew played error-free—securing the game 11-9. Matthew took control of the final game at 2-2 when Illingworth lost some of his sharpness. Not to pass up an opportunity, Matthew finished off the match 11-3.

The sole qualifier from England, Chris Simpson, faced a formidable task in the first round when meeting World No. 9, Laurens Jan Anjema of the Netherlands. Anjema put his elevated stamina to excellent use by playing tight drives mixed with sharp balls to the front corners to win the 15-minute opener, 11-8—which is when he stepped on the accelerator. The second game was noticeably quicker in pace, with Anjema putting his southpaw reach to good effect, forcing Simpson into hurried recoveries and riskier shots. The result was a methodical 11-4 for Anjema. It was more of the same to 7-5 in the third in favour of Anjema, when Simpson let everything go in a desperate attempt to stay alive. That approach worked, temporarily, when Simpson garnered a 9-8 advantage. At least until Anjema woke up and finished off the match with three quick points, 11-9.

The second shortest match of the night featured England’s Peter Barker who jumped all over Egyptian Hisham Ashour in just 33 minutes. Ashour, like his younger brother Ramy, is creative on court. But tonight, that creativity caused him more harm than good. Barker, seeded No. 4, dominated the early stages, racing out to a 7-1 lead before Ashour showed any resistance. After surrendering a handful of points, Barker played near flawless squash, using a combination of length and drops to finish the game off, 11-6. From there it was all Barker. Ashour simply offered little hope in the final two games, dropping them 11-4, 11-3.

18-Oct, Qualifying Finals:
Fast Paced Qualifying finals in San Francisco

Fast-paced play seemed to be the recipe for success at the Bay Club for the qualifying finals of the Netsuite Open, as first New Zealand’s Martin Knight ramped up the pace to put an end to Siddharth Suchde’s hopes of reaching the main draw, and  Frenchman Gregoire Marche followed Knight’s lead in his four-game win over Matthew Karwalski of Australia. They face Daryl Selby and Tarek Momen.

The evening’s longest match took place at Stanford University where England’s Chris Simpson and Australian Ryan Cuskelly traded the first two games. With the match in the balance to start the third game, the pair punished each other with brutally long exchanges—until Cuskelly appeared to run out of steam. After seventy-six minutes Simpson was into the main draw and up against LJ Anjema.

Scotland’s Alan Clyne punched his ticket into the main draw by upending Pakistan’s Aamir Atlas Khan in four games, where he now faces top seed James Willstrop. 

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