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Matthew Downs Willstrop in British Grand Prix showdown


Defending champion Nick Matthew produced an outstanding display to defeat long-term rival James Willstrop in the quarter-final of the AJ Bell British Grand Prix, PSA M70 event.

The pair were facing each other for the first time since the Matthew beats his old foe in the 2014 Commonwealth Games final.

Both players found their feet quickly in the first and treated the capacity crowd in Manchester to some electric rallies.

However, Matthew soon stepped up the pace, playing some delightful drop shots and forcing a number of errors from Willstrop. 'The Wolf' eventually sealed the first game 11-7.

Unfortunately for Willstrop, these uncharacteristic mistakes continued into the second while he was being put under considerable pressure by Matthew. Demonstrating his physical prowess and hitting several perfect drives into the back corners of the court, Matthew clinched the second 11-5.

Determined to claw his way back into the match, Willstrop gave everything in the third, making Matthew work hard for his victory. Despite this, the World No.2 was too strong for his fellow Yorkshireman and closed out the match with an 11-7 win in the third.

“I thought I played really well,” said Matthew.

“I didn’t really expect to play that well yesterday. I tried to start well and that’s what I did. There were patches where he got on top of me because he is a good player. It was always going to be a struggle to maintain that level and I think I maintained it for more than I did yesterday, that’s all I can do.

“We’ve not played each other for a while which can be a good thing because it makes you refocus. But it can also be a bad thing because he can surprise me with something new. All I really focused on was trying to impose my game on him from the first point.”

The World No.2 now progresses to the semi-final stage where he will face Miguel Angel Rodriguez or Karim Abdel Gawad.

Result – Quarter-Final: AJ Bell British Grand Prix 2015
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [8] James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0 : 11-7, 11-5, 11-7

Report by Jonny Coverdale

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