9:09 pm
20 May 2024

Matthew & Duncalf Celebrate Qatar Classic Double

23 Nov 2009

In a sensational day for English squash at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in the Qatar capital Doha, Nick Matthew and Jenny Duncalf both beat higher-ranked opponent in today's finals of the Qatar Classic in straight games, to claim their biggest titles on the international Tours.

Matthew, fourth seed in the men's $147,500 PSA Tour Super Series event, knocked out Karim Darwish, the defending champion from Egypt who has topped the world rankings for most of this year.

Earlier Duncalf, who like Matthew is also from Yorkshire, followed her second upset in two weeks over Malaysia's world number one Nicol David yesterday, to crush Australia's world No4 Rachael Grinham in the climax of the $74,000 WISPA World Tour championship.

Indeed, it took 27-year-old Duncalf, the world No6 from Harrogate, only 23 minutes to despatch Grinham 11-5, 11-3, 11-3 - thus reducing the 8-4 career head-to-head lead the Queenslander boasted before today's clash.

The stunning victory brings Duncalf's tally of Tour wins this month to three - following the Soho Square Championship success in Egypt on the first of the month, and her triumph in the US Open in New York just seven days later.

Winner of the British National Championship at the beginning of the year, Duncalf has enjoyed a remarkably consistent run on the WISPA Tour since last year's appearance in the Qatar Classic in October 2008 - reaching at least the quarter-finals in the 16 events since.

"I think it was a combination of me playing well and Rachael not being on today - she wasn't moving well and made quite a few errors," Duncalf told www.squashsite.co.uk after her career-best success.

"It's a funny sort of win - there's no adrenalin pumping or anything - but I've won the Qatar Classic, even though I can't quite believe it yet!
"I was thinking beforehand that this would be my 13th win a row, hoping it wouldn't be unlucky 13! I wish there was another tournament next week now!"

Nick Matthew has enjoyed a stunning return to top form after a nine-month layoff following shoulder surgery at the beginning of last year. But top seed Darwish boasted a 3-1 head-to-head record over the 29-year-old from Sheffield going into today's meeting.

However, while Matthew prevailed in a semi-final which lasted only a game and a half after his England team-mate opponent Peter Barker was forced to retire injured, Darwish reached the final following two hard five-game battles over former world champions Thierry Lincou, of France, and compatriot Ramy Ashour.

The final took 51 minutes, but it was Matthew who emerged triumphant in an 11-5, 12-10, 11-6 scoreline.

"Karim is such a great champion, he's been the world number one for a long time and he's played some fantastic games over the past years," said the new Qatar Classic men's champion. "Today, he was bound to be tired, having had had a couple of three-twos with Thierry and Ramy.

"I know I've had a bit of 'bad luck' recently with my injuries - but, for me, the glass is always half full. Actually, it's always three-quarters full! I never let myself feel sorry for myself; there are things much more important that can happen to you than a little injury. Look at (Anthony) Ricketts and (Lee) Beachill - they had to give up because they had major troubles, so as long as it's little things like that, I'm not complaining," added Matthew.

"I really would like to thank Neil (Guirey) who was here with me this week; my team back in Sheffield; and DP [David Pearson] for all the efforts they've been doing with me since I was a teenager. It's nights like this one that makes it all worthwhile for us all."

The Qatar triumph brings Matthew's career Tour tally to ten titles, including the Swedish Open and British Open trophies this year.

Men's final:
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [1] Karim Darwish (EGY) 11-5, 12-10, 11-6 (51m)

Women's final:
[4] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [2] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 11-5, 11-3, 11-3 (23m)