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Sunday November 3, 2013 MYT 12:14:00 PM
Sunday November 3, 2013 MYT 12:35:33 PM
by kng zheng guan
England's Nick Matthew returning a shot to Egypt's Ramy Ashour during their semi-final clash of the World Men's Championship in Manchester on Saturday. Matthew advanced to the final after Ashour conceded a walk-over in the third set. - Pic courtesy of PSA
PETALING JAYA: World No.2 Gregory Gaultier is on the verge of winning his first world title after checking into the final of the Men’s World Championships in style at the Manchester Central on Saturday.
The in-form Frenchman overcame a slow start to beat last year’s finalist - 22-year-old Mohamed El Shorbagy of Egypt 6-11, 11-3, 11-8, 12-10.
The 30-year-old Gaultier, who is currently enjoying the best squash in his career, should certainly relish the opportunity of capturing his first world crown.
But it was an anti-climax in the other semi-final as world No.1 and defending champion Ramy Ashour was forced to retire after only playing two sets and a bit against England’s Nick Matthew.
The talented Egyptian was on fire early on in the highly anticipated contest against Matthew and blew the two-time champion away in the first set, 11-6.
But Ramy appeared to struggle in the second set and duly lost it 2-11 before conceding defeat after trailing 2-0 in the third set.
Coincidentally, it was also Matthew who last handed Ramy a defeat on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour, in last year’s British Open, before the Egyptian went on a 53-match unbeaten run.
“I started to feel pain during my last two points in my match with Cameron (Pilley) in the third round, but somehow I managed to pull through and even win against Saurav (Ghosal),” explained Ramy.
“I’ve been pushing on with one leg which is not good because it is not supposed to take as much pressure but I was hoping it would be fine.
“I’ve been told it’s fatigue in the hamstring and I’m not sure if it’ll happen again but obviously it’s a big disappointment for me here.
“But I can’t complain because I’ve had a great season and I have to accept the fact that other people have bad times as well.”
The 33-year-old Matthew, back in the world meet final since 2010, admitted that winning like this felt a little flat.
“My thoughts are with Ramy and with the crowd and everyone else really,” said the Yorkshireman.
“Now I just have to be focused for the final because I can’t be using not being fresh as an excuse.”
Matthew will certainly need to be on his toes as he was badly beaten by Gaultier the last time they met in the US Open final last month.
Tags / Keywords:
Gregory Gaultier, Nick Matthew, squash, Manchester
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