TODAY at the Canary Wharf Classic
Wed 24th March,
Willstrop (Eng) bt  Daryl Selby (Eng)
9/11, 11/9, 11/3, 11/8 (61m)
 Nick Matthew (Eng) bt  Thierry
11/8, 11/5, 11/5 (42m)
 Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bt 
David Palmer (Aus)
11/3, 6/11, 4/11, 11/7, 11/6 (81m)
 Peter Barker (Eng) bt  Alister
11/6, 11/8, 11/4 (55m)
TO CLASH IN SEMIS
By ALAN THATCHER
England team-mates James Willstrop and Nick Matthew will
continue their fierce rivalry when they meet in the semi-finals
of the ISS Canary Wharf Classic.
No.2 Matthew looked ruthlessly efficient as he beat former world
champion Thierry Lincou in straight games but Willstrop was
given a difficult time by rising star Daryl Selby.
Before a sell-out crowd at Canary Wharf’s superb East
Wintergarden venue tonight, Willstrop overcame rising Selby
9-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-8 in 61 minutes of high-quality and often
World No.12 Selby, from Essex, began solidly and was obviously
high on confidence as he produced a succession of stunning
winners to win the first game.
He led 7-5 in the second but Willstrop won four points in a row
to put himself in a strong position. Selby drew level at 9-9 but
mistakes cost him the game.
struck the tin with a drop shot to give Willstrop game ball at
10-9 and was surprised by Willstrop’s bodyline serve on match
ball. Selby shaped to receive serve on his backhand but was
unable to react quickly and sent a weak forehand into the floor
as Willstrop fired the ball towards the other side of his body.
Willstrop, the 26-year-old world No.4 from Leeds, led throughout
the third game to win 11-3 but Selby resumed his attack in the
fourth. He was unable to convert a 7-6 lead and Willstrop
finished strongly to win 11-8.
Both players spent a lot of time on the floor following a
succession of collisions and there were frequent arguments with
referee Wendy Danzey.
Willstrop admitted that he was surprised by the challenge Selby
mounted. He said: “He has been playing in Canada for three weeks
and flew back after his final on Sunday night. Frankly I was
amazed he got through the first round against Tarek Momen on
Monday after a schedule like that. I know I couldn’t have done
“Daryl has worked hard to become a very good professional squash
player and I am sure he is certainly good enough to get into the
world top ten if he carries on playing like that.”
Matthew has beaten Willstrop in their three matches so far this
year and looked in top form as he removed Lincou with a fast,
But he warned: “Results in the early rounds don’t mean anything.
James is playing very well at the moment and it seems like we
are playing each other every week.
“We have played each other hundreds of times over the years and
it’s bound to be another difficult match.”
POWERS PAST PALMER
French No.2 seed Gregory Gaultier reached the semi-finals
with a battling victory over reigning champion David Palmer, the
Gaultier began superbly, winning the opening game for the loss
of just three points, but he fell awkwardly on game ball and had
to received treatment at courtside.
He came back on to clinch the game but Palmer sensed an
opportunity and dominated the next two games. Then it was
Gaultier’s turn to fight his way back into the match and he led
5-1 in the fourth before Palmer turned the tables to draw level
Gaultier maintained his control to win 11-7 to take the match to
a fifth game. He built up a 6-2 lead but the 33-year-old Palmer
again dug deep to launch a comeback.
At one stage he left the court to argue with referee Jos Aarts
and accused Gaultier of blocking his path to the ball. It was a
fiery finish to the match but again the Frenchman held his nerve
to win 11-3, 6-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-6 in 81 minutes of classic
A relieved Gaultier said: “David has been a great champion down
the years and he is still playing amazing squash at 33. I have
so much respect for what he has done in the game and I am very
pleased to win. I want to thank my physiotherapist for getting
me back in shape after my fall and I am so pleased she travelled
to watch me play.”
Gaultier meets No.4 seed Peter Barker after the
left-handed Londoner beat Leeds-based Alister Walker with a
clinical display of tight, attacking squash.
Barker won 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 in 55 minutes to send out the
message that he is back near his best after a disappointing
start to the year that followed his rise to No.6 in the PSA
Walker, who has risen to 13 in the world on the back of some
impressive performances on the world tour, struggled to find a
suitable length or width on the glass court and was punished for
"It was a bit of an uneven start, I felt a bit ploddy, I wasn't
injecting pace at the right time and my short game wasn't going.
There was no real turning point, it was just a bit of a scrap
"But what a great effort from him, just back after three weeks
in Canada while I've been putting my feet up and training - I
certainly couldn't do that."
Willstrop (Eng) bt  Daryl Selby
9/11, 11/9, 11/3, 11/8
Daryl makes James work
What a match Daryl Selby made of the first quarter-final. For
two games there was nothing in it, nothing at all, and if Daryl
succumbed to tournament fatigue and/or jetlag in the third, it
was perfectly understandable.
Still, he managed to keep James honest in the fourth, holding
the three-time champion to 8/7 despite several times looking out
on his feet.
That the third seed managed to finish the game off to move into
yet another Canary Wharf semi wasn't a surprise either, in the
end, but all credit to Daryl for a great effort.
"It was really
close at the start, just a couple of points at the end of the
second and that made a big difference. I was feeling it in the
third, and in the fourth I was going for it whenever there was a
chance and a few of them came off."
"The atmoshpere was good with a lot of people supporting me,
which helped pick me up in the middle of the fourth for a bit of
extra effort. But at the end of the day James was just too good
and deserved to win."
Matthew (Eng) bt  Thierry Lincou
11/8, 11/5, 11/5
Matthew profits from French errors
While top seed Nick Matthew was probably playing well enough
tonight to have won anyway, his caused was greatly helped by an
error-strewn performance from Thierry Lincou.
Competing well in the rallies, the Frenchman made unforced
errors time after time, particularly in the second where Matthew
went from 2/3 down to 7/4 up largely on the back of Lincou's
errors, several from winning positions.
someone I've looked up to for a long time, he wasn't at his best
tonight but he'll be back and he's still got a lot to offer.
"James and I seems to play every week, so tomorrow will be a
battle and just as tough as all the others.
"You don't win anything playing well in the early rounds, he's
playing well and is confident, so I'll have to be at my best
Gaultier (Fra) bt  David Palmer
11/3, 6/11, 4/11, 11/7, 11/6 (81m)
Gaultier survives, Palmer deposed
Gregory Gaultier may have won seven of his last eight meetings
with David Palmer, but significantly their last meeting was when
the Australian came from two behind to win in last year's
The Frenchman looked like he was determined to put that memory
to rest as he started out strongly, reaching 10/1 in the first
before he took a three-minute break after slipping on his ankle.
Palmer seemed to take heart, pulled a couple of points back in
that one before really capitalising in the second and third
games, looking really up for it now as he hunted the ball,
forcing Gaultier to play tighter and tighter and make mistakes.
Gaultier pulled himself together for the fourth, took a good
lead but almost squandered with two careless tins to let Palmer
back to 6-all. The danger was quickly snuffed out though as he
levelled, much to his own delight, and that of the crowd's who
He took another good lead in the decider, 5/2 and 8/3 and
although Palmer kept him working, Gaultier was flowing now and
soon enough the defending champion was out.
started pretty strong, felt really easy and moving well. I maybe
lost concentration a bit after the first, but he changed the
rhythm and I wasn't upping the pace any more.
"At 2/1 down I got some good advice from Thierry who was in my
corner tonight, and I really didn't want to give up this match,
I've lost too many over the last four months.
"I upped my rhythm and I'm really happy to win, even 3/2, but
all credit to David he's a great champion."
Barker (Eng) bt  Alister Walker
Barker sets up Gaultier semi
Peter Barker got the better of his English Rival Alister Walker
in the last of the quarter-finals, always seeming to hold the
edge in a match that was never easy.
Walker took a little while to find his range, playing quite
loosely at the start, but once he tightened his play up it
developed into an even contest, played mainly at the back of the
However Barker was able to pull away at the end of the final two
games to clinch a semi-final spot against Gregory Gaultier.
key is to get in front on that court and I managed to do that a
little better than him tonight.
"I'm very pleased with that, on for it's a good win for me,
especially to win 3/0. I've not been playing well, he's had some
good results and isn't far behind me in the rankings, so
hopefully I can continue on from here ..."