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13 Jun 2024

Manchester Court Set To Reignite Epic British Rivalry

20 Sep 2012

The greatest ever rivalry in British squash is set to be reignited on an all-glass court in Manchester next week when Yorkshiremen James Willstrop and Nick Matthew, the top two players in the world, meet in Monday's predicted final of the Springfield Solutions British Grand Prix at the National Squash Centre.

The PSA World Tour International 70 event - which gets underway tomorrow (Friday) - boasts 11 players from the world's top 20, three of whom are former world number ones, with domestic interest being provided by eight English players.

Willstrop, the 29-year-old from Leeds who first succeeded Sheffield-based Matthew as world No1 in January and has now topped the list since March, is the event's top seed. He is making his first appearance on the PSA Tour since reaching the semi-finals of the British Open in London in May - only the second time in ten ranking events since October that the tall Yorkshireman failed to make the final.

Matthew was world No1 throughout 2011 - and finished the year by winning the World Open in Rotterdam, where he became the first player for 15 years to defend the PSA's most prestigious title.

But the 32-year-old double Commonwealth Games gold medallist has already notched up three major Tour titles this year - including his third British Open crown - and is poised to mark his 50th Tour final appearance next week in Manchester.

The Yorkshire pair have contested Commonwealth, World and numerous National Championship finals - and already three Tour finals this year.

It is Matthew who boasts the upper hand, however, unbeaten in 14 Tour clashes since December 2007. But, away from the Tour, Willstrop has turned the tables with two wins in European league meetings over the past few months - and will be eager to reverse the Tour trend next week.

Runner-up last year, Matthew begins his 2012 campaign against England team-mate Tom Richards - while Willstrop also faces a national team-mate, Daryl Selby, the world No11 from Essex.

1st round draw:
[1] James Willstrop (ENG) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) v Jens Schoor (GER)
Simon Rosner (GER) v [Q] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG)
[4] Peter Barker (ENG) v Borja Golan (ESP)
Adrian Grant (ENG) v [Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Alister Walker (BOT) v [Q] Chris Simpson (ENG)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Tom Richards (ENG)

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