11:56 pm
13 Jun 2024

Nick Matthew & Alison Waters Are New National Champions

14 Feb 2010

After two contrasting finals today at the National Squash Centre in Manchester, Yorkshire's Nick Matthew and Londoner Alison Waters emerged as the 2010 British National Squash Champions - Matthew retaining his men's title after beating fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop in straight games and Waters twice coming from behind to defeat top seed Jenny Duncalf, also from Yorkshire, in five games in the women's climax.

Ranked two in the world, Nick Matthew emphatically demonstrated that he is Britain's best player when he beat Willstrop, ranked four places lower, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 to win the men's title for the third time since 2006.

It was a repeat of the controversial clash on the same court last September when the two England team-mates contested the British Open final - when Matthew saved a match ball before winning a five-game 122-minute marathon.

On this occasion, top seed Matthew always had the upper hand and extended his unbeaten run against Willstrop to nine wins since 2007.

"That's got to go down as one of my best performances - I didn't make many errors," explained the 29-year-old from Sheffield who is now unbeaten in the championship since 2005.

"You go on the court prepared for two hours with James. I know how good he is.

"It's not often you beat him 3/0," added the new champion.

Asked how it felt to be the British National champion again, the England number one said: "It feels good - it always feels good at this venue - I'm at home on the court."

And how will he celebrate? "I'll go out with family and friends - have a meal and a glass of wine - maybe some champagne."

Willstrop, the world No6 from Pontefract who reached the final despite suffering a shoulder injury a week ago, admitted that Matthew was "just too good".

"His physical presence was so strong - he made me play bad squash," added the tall Yorkshireman who recently beat three of the top four players in the world en-route to winning the Tournament of Champions in New York.

"His superior physical condition found me out - like it hasn't done for a while.

"Physically, he's probably one of the best specimens in the sport. He's now a tremendous athlete.

"I hope I can develop over the next few years - I'm not at my peak yet.

"I just felt lacking physically - there was no spark - I couldn't use my racket like I wanted to.

"But I feel absolutely not disappointed - I couldn't do anything else," added the runner-up. "The only disappointment is that I have not produced."

Second seed Alison Waters celebrated her fifth appearance in the women's final in six years by prevailing in an epic match over favourite Jenny Duncalf, the world number three.

Duncalf, the defending champion from Harrogate, twice led her close friend and England team-mate. But Londoner Waters battled back in both cases to force a fifth game decider.

Again Duncalf moved ahead, leading 6-1 and 9-5 before reaching match ball at 10-9. Waters saved the match ball before eventually converting her own first to win 10-12, 11-7, 4-11, 11-7, 12-10 in 65 minutes.

"I think that was the best match we've ever played - I kept telling myself to keep down the errors," said the 25-year-old world No5 after the pair's third final together since 2007.

"It's hard - we're good mates. Neither of us wanted to lose.

"We've got a lot of respect for each other - let's hope that will still be the case!"

RESULTS: British National Squash Championships, National Squash Centre, Manchester

Men's final:
[1] Nick Matthew (Yorks) bt [3] James Willstrop (Yorks) 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 (49m)

Women's final:
[2] Alison Waters (Middx) bt [1] Jenny Duncalf (Yorks) 10-12, 11-7, 4-11, 11-7, 12-10 (65m)