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Throwback Thursday: Matthew Defeats Willstrop in Climactic Canary Wharf Clash

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The 2016 Canary Wharf Classic gets under way on Monday March 7 with a host of whirlwind fixtures set to feature in London’s iconic East Wintergarden in an event that has made the step up to a PSA M70 tournament for the first time in its history.

A number of gruelling battles and thrilling spectacles have lit up East Wintergarden in the past – none more so than the encounter between bitter rivals Nick Matthew and James Willstrop in the semi-final stage of the 2010 instalment.

One of the most intense grudges in the sport’s history, Willstrop even went so far as to refer to his opponent as ‘pretentious and vicious’ in his autobiography Shot and a Ghost in reference to their fixture in the final of the 2009 British Open where Willstrop surrendered match ball to lose. With the duo clashing an astonishing 33 times on the PSA World Tour over a 15-year period, we wanted to have a look back at arguably their greatest meeting – that 2010 semi-final.

Matthew was yet to win the Canary Wharf Classic title and came up against an opponent in Willstrop who had managed that feat three times previously, in addition to reaching the final the year before.

Both players got their tournaments off to fine starts with Matthew beating fellow Englishman Chris Ryder and Willstrop easing by close friend and sparring partner Saurav Ghosal.

Matthew made a real statement of intent in the quarter-final with an impressive straight games dismantling of 2006 winner and former World No.1 Thierry Lincou while Willstrop battled to supremacy over Daryl Selby to set up a mouth-watering semi-final matchup with Matthew.

Less than a year after that British Open final and with the defeat still raw, Willstrop threw everything into his exciting encounter with Matthew in a match that has been dubbed by some as one of the greatest ever squash matches.

This brutal clash was so good that we’ve included the whole match FREE below

For more Canary Wharf battles between Matthew and Willstrop, head to SQUASHTV where you can find the 2014 final.

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