Willstrop & Matthew Storm Into World Series Finals Semis

4 Jan 13

James Willstrop and Nick Matthew set up the tantalising possibility of an all-British men's final at the ATCO PSA World Series Squash Finals after the two Yorkshiremen reached the semi-finals of the flagship PSA World Tour championship at The Queen's Club in London.

Matthew was cheered on by Team GB Olympians Greg Searle, Victoria Pendleton and Joanna Rowsell in today's final pool match against compatriot Peter Barker. "I want to say thank you to the Olympians for coming. It means a lot to have them supporting squash," said Matthew after delivering an 11-2, 12-10 win, which proved enough to see him finish second in Pool A behind Amr Shabana, the defending champion from Egypt.

"It was getting a bit edgy towards the end of the second," added the 32-year-old from Sheffield. "I got a bit tentative but that's what happens when it's all on the line," said Matthew, who faces a tough semi-final against feisty Frenchman Gregory Gaultier on Saturday.

Willstrop will take on Shabana in the other semi after sealing his spot with a vital 11-4, 11-8 win in 29 minutes over Germany's Simon Rosner in what was a must-win final group match for him.

"It was a very physical match," explained the 29-year-old from Leeds. "Simon's improved massively. He's very strong and an incredible athlete. I had to be really on it tonight to win it."

Shabana, the 33-year-old four-time world champion, became the only player to win all his pool encounters when he beat rising compatriot Mohamed El Shorbagy. But the 21-year-old from Alexandria delighted the packed Queen's crowd when he levelled the match after Shabana took the early lead. And the decider was nip-and-tuck all the way before the experienced Shabana pulled off a trademark volley into the nick to take the match 11-7, 8-11, 11-9.

Gaultier, with two wins to his credit and the certainty of a place in the last four, faced fellow former world number one Karim Darwish, the Egyptian looking for this first win. And the 31-year-old from Cairo duly claimed his maiden Queen's success by beating Gaultier 11-3, 12-10.

Both men's semi-finals will be screened in the UK on Sky Sports 3, starting at 18:00 GMT on Saturday. The final (on Sunday) will also be broadcast live.

Semi-final line-up:
[5] Amr Shabana (EGY) v [1] James Willstrop (ENG)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [2] Nick Matthew (ENG)

Picture by www.squashpics.com[/i]

Official website: www.worldseriesfinals.com

For all the latest Tour news: www.psaworldtour.com

3rd & final pool round:
Pool A
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [7] Peter Barker (ENG) 11-2, 12-10 (42m)
[5] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [4] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) 11-7, 8-11, 11-9 (39m)
Pool B
[1] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [8] Simon Rosner (GER) 11-4, 11-8 (29m)
[6] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 11-3, 12-10 (21m)