10:56 pm
17 Apr 2024

Unstoppable James Willstrop Wins Major US Squash Title

2 Mar 2008

England number one James Willstrop has extended his best-ever run on the international squash circuit by beating French rival Gregory Gaultier in a dramatic five-game final of the Davenport Professional Championship in Virginia, USA, to win the third title in his fourth successive final appearance in a PSA Tour event.

It was a see-saw climax to the $77,500 PSA Super Series event in which Gaultier, the world No3, twice pegged back leads by the new world number four before Willstrop clinched the last game for the loss of just four points to claim the title in the second Super Series event of the year.

The 11-6, 6-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-4 in 83 minutes win marks the Yorkshireman's tenth PSA Tour title - and his third PSA Super Series trophy.

A thorn in his side throughout their junior days, Willstrop lost to Gaultier in countless British, European and World clashes - most of which were finals. But the Englishman finally stopped the rot in the Super Series Finals last year - and his since won three of four further meetings.

The Virginia triumph caps a sensational twelve months for the 24-year-old from Pontefract who failed to reach a single PSA final in 2006 - then began his winning Tour run in March last year with success in the ISS Canary Wharf Classic in London. The England number one followed this with title victories on home soil in the Prince English Grand Prix and the Mamut English Open, together with a runner-up berth in the US Open in New York.

After leading England to a successful defence of the World Team Championship title in India in December, Willstrop continued his Tour run by reaching the Bear Stearns Tournament of Champions climax in New York in January, before lifting the Case Swedish Open crown last month.

It was also last month that the English squash star fought through a world-class field at the National Squash Centre in Manchester to win his second British National Championship title - becoming only the second player in history to retain the men's title.

[4] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 11-6, 6-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-4 (83m)