open this page in new window                                              Day NINE in Hull  

The Finals:

 [1] Nicol David (Mas) 3-1 [2] Laura Massaro (Eng) 
                          8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 (64m)

 [2] Grťgory Gaultier (Fra) 3-0 [1] Nick Matthew (Eng)

         11-3, 11-6, 11-2 (45m)

Latest En bref: Omar Elborolossy is the only Egyptian winner... La Belle Equipe... A tour of the Stadium... Heather for her first ever British Open... Read all about it in the En Brefs...

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Finals Day Gallery
Nicol makes it Five

Nicol David regained the British Open title in Hull, avenging last year's final defeat at the hands of Laura Massaro to make it five times she's held the famous trophy aloft -  her 74th WSA title.

The Englishwoman made the better start, taking the first 11-8.

There was never much in it, but it was the Malaysian world number one who got the better of the next three games, letting out a little whoop of delight and punching the sidewall as Massaro's final shot hit the tin.

Greg doubles up

Grťgory Gaultier made it a double triumph for the top seeds as he collected the men's title for a second time with a superb performance against Nick Matthew.

The Englishman, three times a champion and coming into the final on the back of a mammoth semi-final, simply couldn't get a foothold in the match as Gaultier raced to an early lead and never let the momentum slip.

 [1] Nicol David (Mas) 3-1 [2] Laura Massaro (Eng)
                            8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 (64m)


I remember May last year, when I did that week feature on Liz Irving, coach to Nicol, smiling when I heard Liz stating that there was still room for improvement for Nicol. I was like, yeah right. And you know what? There was.

If last year Ė last time I saw those two playing against each other Ė Nicolís accuracy, in particular on the backhand was poor, truly poor, this year, I had the impression of watching Lee Beachill at his best!!! I mean, his drives, both sides, were pure Ponte Class. Tight. Glued. Tighter and you are digging a trench inside the glass kind of.

And in my view, that was made the difference today. Because Laura was able to attack just a bit less than normal, just put under that much more under pressure, although her attacking boasts were even more lethal than normal. Today, they both brought to the Arena their A+++ game. But like Laura stated, Nicolís physicality made the difference today.

First game, stunning game, truly, from the English number 1, world champion, title holder. Good start from Nic, 2/0, but quickly Lauraís nerves settle down, at 3/4, she gets her first COME ON trademark. From that point on, she is the one on top, 7/4, 8/5, and if Nicol comes back close at 7/8, Laura is not to be stopped. Her boasts are hurting Nicol, and although the Malaysian is making Laura work a heck of a lot, she canít stop her from taking the game 11/8 in 13m.

Bad start for Laura, 3 errors, Nicolís points are only her mistakes. Uncharacteristic. But Nicol is also making errors. Both are nervous, and trying so hard, the errors come at the end of long and gruelling rallies where basically Laura is at the front, attacking, attacking, while Nic is beaming herself from side to side, front to front.

Nicol is doing ďun travail de sapeĒ, she is truly grinding her opponent away. And that hard work pays off at the end of each of the games. Each game, Laura stays close point wise up to 6/6. But then, she just cannot keep up with the Machine de Guerre, the War Machine that seems to inhabit Nicol.

And it will be the same scenario in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th. 5/5 in the 2nd, 6/6 in the 3rd and 4th. Then Nicol cannot be stopped. If she is at the back up to that point, she then steps in front and blasts her lengths, crosscourt kills or volley drop shots against a Laura that has been pinned so far away from the ball it drains her energy again, and again, and again.

In the 4th, Laura is digging in Nickís style, but no matter her willpower, she just cannot impose her game anymore. Too tired, the errors start to creep in. And Nicol hammers the nails in the coffin, rally after rally. Laura will save two match balls. The crowd is carrying her. Encouraging her. But Laura canít get the ball in the court at 10/9. Nicol David will be lifting the trophy for the 5th times.

And like Nick, Laura shows her class in the after match interview. Bowing to Nicol. Giving her all the credit. And if Nicol is such an Ambassador for our game, England can be proud of their number one.

Two true champions.  

"I am so humbled by the integrity of Nicol.

Her drive, her work ethic. She worked hard for this title!

A real inspiration!"

"Itís not a relief, itís a satisfaction to win this title back. It means so much to me. Winning the British Open means the world, Laura played a great match today and I really had to dig deep to win this title back.

Itís good to be back in Hull for the second time, and thank you to everybody that came to watch us play. The crowd was great, they kept on cheering, we could feel it in the court, and thatís so important for us.

Match was a bit up and down, come and go, one minute I was ok, just going through the motions, just playing, and then it would be oh yes, I really want to win this!

There was not much difference between us two, I had to fight hard on every point. I think she made a few unforced errors at the end, and that made the difference. She didnít give me an inch, she played such a great squash.

I had to stick to what I was doing, to my game plan, put the pressure on her as much as I could, itís only at the end of the 4th that she finally made a few errors. But it was not easy, it was brutal out there!!!!

Basically, my aim was to get the job done. I focused today, I was playing for my life out there. It felt great to come out on the winning end knowing that all the hard work that you put in does pay off. That feeling that comes from putting it together, and it just works.

My motivation is very simple: I love the game so much that I just have to keep on playing it. Itís a tough sport, and youíve got to keep working very hard to stay at the top. My ambition is not to win as many titles as I can. Itís more about understand myself through squash. Itís a sport that has got so many aspects, every time I get on court, I learn something new all the time.

Dr Allam has brought the prestige back to the British Open and it's been fantastic. We are so happy that it keeps going. Raising the prize money for the women has been tremendous for the tour. We need more people like Dr Allam involved in the sport, because our sport is a great sport.

Thanks of course to the other sponsors, ES, the Team that organised this great event. Thanks so much."

I gave it everything that I had so I can't be too disappointed with the result.

Overall I'm pretty pleased. I knew today would bring out Nicol's best level, I hoped it would. She didnít play at her best in the past and you want to play players at the top of her game.

My main goal was to play my best. I wanted to come off today knowing where I stand, whether I deserve to be anywhere near her in the rankings or if I was miles away, I'm not far away at all, we were both at our best, and it was 3/1, a tight 3/1, a long 3/1.

Today, I deserve to be number 2, and she deserves to be number 1. But even though I've lost it will give me a lot of confidence going into the next tournament. Now I can walk away and I know where I stand, what I need to improve, have a clinical approach, watch the video, and work on specific elements of the game.

It was hot on there, and it suited her game. The pressure she puts on you with your physicality is huge, and in the middle of the games, around 5/5, there are about 12 terribly hard rallies, nobody else than her can achieve that, and itís so hard that you can confront that only when you get to the final!!

I'm going to have a little break next week as it's my only chance before the Commonwealth Games. I've got a lot of doubles practise coming up and I'm really looking forward to the Games. Iím hoping for a medal, and if I can get that, Iíll be really pleased.

With the way things are going, I might retire before Nicol!!! She's a brilliant, brilliant player, but my goal is not to be a world number 2, there is nothing wrong with being a world number two, but my goal is to be number 1! I want to go to the final step and see if I can do it. If yes, Iíll be happy. If not, Iíll be able to retired knowing that I have done my best.

ďThis is the third year of my title sponsorship, Iím pleased to have it here it Hull.

Iím proud to say that we are the first sport from this area to start the process for equal prize money for men and women in squash.

I look forward to more involvement in maintaining squash in Hull at the highest level.Ē

[2] Grťgory Gaultier (Fra) 3-0 [1] Nick Matthew (Eng) 
                        11-3, 11-6, 11-2 (45m)

Grťgory Gaultier made it a double triumph for the top seeds as he collected the men's title for a second time with a superb performance against a Nick Matthew flat as a French CrÍpe.

Thatís a pancake for you guys.

The Englishman, three times a champion, simply couldn't get a foothold in the match as Gaultier raced to an early lead and never let the momentum slip, a victory reminiscent of their meeting in the U.S. Open final last year Nick admitted.

To be fair, I am stunned/impressed by Nickís attitude, not taking anything away from Gregís victory. Thatís called class.

As for the match, stats: time of each game 13, 17, 10. So even if the score is 3, 6, 2, they both worked pretty hard.

Greg played the perfect tactic, made it fast and hard, and as accurate as possible. Nick didnít exhausted, he was just slower, much much slower than normal. He didnít even had the energy to argue with the refs too much, that tells you something!!! He still managed a nice line, when one of his boasts was called down: ďItís was a clear winner, I didnít have many, so I would notice if it was downĒ.

Bless his knackered little white socks.

It was ineluctable, we all knew that there was only going to be one winner. And I blame Shorbagy anyway. He keeps upsetting everybody with his 3/2 gruelling semis! In Manchester for the Worlds, he exhausted Greg, and here, he exhausts Nick!

Vivement quíil gagne toutes les demies!!! Canít wait for him to win all the semis, give the others a chance!!!!!

The Frog, signing off.

To win this title is an unbelievable feeling. You dream of these moments when you are a child and you work so hard for them so to see them come true is amazing.

I knew I had to bring a lot of pace and step on it from the start, because he was tired, but itís not easy to play at full speed continuously, and to push above the T line. But Nick is a physical monster. I had to make him work very hard at the start of the second, and if my lungs were on fire, I thought that his were probably burning as well.

What Nick lacked today because of yesterdayís match were speed and reactivity, and thatís what made the difference today.

A very crucial point this week was the fact that all week I was relaxed and confident, I didnít put myself under any kind of pressure, I didnít have anything to lose, if it worked, fine I thought if not, tough.

Right now I feel like I want to sleep, all the tension of the week just melts away. I feel like sleeping because I only had three hours sleep last night because of the tension.

To win the trophy once again is amazing. I donít know if people can understand, Iíve been working so hard for 25 years every day, I wake up every morning to go to a training session.

So I really want to thank my coaches, physios, all my team and my family back home because they give me the extra push. Itís not an easy job, they give me my motivation, and itís difficult sometimes, with whatís happening in your head. All the work Iíve done has paid off and Iím really proud.

I want to thank the crowd, because of course they were supportive of Nick, but they were also very fair on us. We travel all around the world and itís tough to have support so Iím pleased And I think itís good for once to have two Europeans in the final! Those Egyptians are so good, so for once, itís good to have two guys from Europe. Sorry Dr Allam!!!

I have played a lot of finals during my career and been the person who does not lift the trophy so I'm really happy to win this time. It's been a great week and I feel like I have played well throughout the tournament - I came here with a lot of motivation and I was fresh and I'm really happy to win this famous trophy.

Again, thanks every so much to Dr Allam, for all his support, he is doing so much for squash, we really more people like you, like Ziad, and more people to come and watch us live or on SquashTV.

Thanks everybody, and see you next year.

I wouldnít lie to you, I swear I feel really good today so there were no excuses. Itís the best I felt all week actually by far. I tried everything, I felt good. Like Greg, I could have slept better. Greg got off to a great start and that was key, he just carried it on.

Sometimes you just have to say someone is too good, and I think that is the case today. It reminded me the US Open final, you have days like that, and today was his turn. So I am disappointed, but good disappointed.

If I wasnít disappointed, I would question it, with the week I had, I would have signed for a semi like I had, but I truly can take a lot a lot of positive from this week. And today, I woke up and felt good, maybe I felt too good, and I didnít concentrate enough on my game plan.

I wanted to give the crowd something to get behind today but I never quite did it. I was looking for a chink in the armour, but it was so hard to put any pressure on him, I would lob and he would crush it in the nick! I tried and make it long, but the boy was on a roll and walking on water!!! So I ended up opening the court too much or make the error myself. The quality of his squash prevented me from playing my best. I tried and used my brain, but it didnít work todayÖ

Long story short, sometimes you just come up against people who were too good on the day and that was the case with Greg today. I was struggling with my strategy, and I struggled to fid a plan B But I gave it everything I can. You canít be disappointed when you give it all.

Like I said, good disappointed.

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