Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-1
 James Willstrop (Eng)
4/11, 11/6, 11/9, 11/5 (78m)
Matthew maintains the run
Steve Cubbins reports
Nick Matthew, appearing in his 50th PSA final, went one better
than last year when he claimed the Springfield Solutions British
Grand Prix title with a 3-1 win over top seed and Yorkshire
rival James Willstrop in tonight’s final at the National Squash
Centre in Manchester.
the reigning world champion, entered the match as favourite on
the back of an impressive head to head record against world
number one Willstrop, who had come through a gruelling two-hour
semi-final last night against third seed Gregory Gaultier of
France while Matthew spent well under half the time on court in
his win against Peter Barker.
But it was Willstrop who started the stronger, quickly taking
the lead in the first game, extending an early 5/1 lead to 8/2
and 9/4 with Matthew making uncharacteristic unforced errors -
six in all as the game finished 11/4.
settled into his game in the second, lengthening the rallies and
opening up a 7/3 lead, and he levelled the match 11/6. Many
expected him to press on from there, but it was Willstrop who
started the third game the better, leading 6/2.
Matthew kept the pressure on, pulled back to one point behind at
7/8, and although Willstrop hung in to 9-all he was having to do
a lot of work now as Matthew sent him to all corners of the
Matthew took the game and the lead, 11/9 with a dropshot that
was just too tight, and continued to play the dominant role in
the fourth. Willstrop never stopped chasing, but chasing it was
as Matthew, the early errors now a distant memory, steadily
forged ahead 4/2, 6/2, 8/5, then 10/5 with a straight drive that
was just one retrieve too many for Willstrop.
One match ball was saved, but Matthew finished it off on his
second opportunity to become the British Grand Prix champion.
wasn’t one of those who thought James wouldn’t be ready for
tonight, he’s one of the best competitors there is whether he’s
plays one or four hours before, and he’s so mentally strong.
“His physicality much better these days - I’ve got my own
physical trainer to thank for that! - and his reach is even
longer than mine, you really have to work to win any point.
“I was in two minds at the start whether to go for it or to keep
it long, and I made a few mistakes, but I managed to get it
together in the end.
“It feels great to win this title, it’s a tremendous tournament,
the sponsors and the organisers do a great job, and I’m sure
that James and I are looking forward to coming back here for the
Nationals next year, and then the World Championships in
was a good quality match, we were both hitting the areas, and
even if it maybe wasn’t our sharpest it was still a good,
“It was level, and very tough, he managed to get through the
crucial end of the third game better and that helped him push on
in the fourth where I couldn’t quite get it together.
“There’s some stuff I could have done better, but he made it
very difficult for me, all credit to him.
“It was a good week, great atmosphere, I really enjoyed it here,
you just have to move on, learn, and keep pushing.”