The 2016/17 season has played host to a number of exciting matches on the PSA World Tour, with January’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions providing another thrilling encounter between English duo World No.6 James Willstrop and World No.4 Nick Matthew.
Willstrop had downed Columbia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez in three games in the first round of action before setting up a second-round clash against compatriot Matthew, who had prevailed over qualifier Scotland’s Alan Clyne in the previous round.
The pair were meeting for the 35th time on the PSA World Tour and have maintained an acrimonious relationship since Matthew prevailed in a hot-tempered British Open final clash back in 2009.
Since that win, Matthew had dominated the pair’s bitter rivalry and during their last meeting before the Tournament of Champions event scored an impressive straight-games win in the final of the British Grand Prix.
However, under the chandeliers of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall, Willstrop proved that the past counted for nothing as he turned recent history on its head courtesy of a free-flowing attacking performance that saw him end a 10-year, 19-match losing streak against Matthew.
The World No.6 took the first game with an 11-6 scoreline before Matthew battled back to claim the next two games 7-11 and 5-11.
Willstrop, however, recovered successfully to take the fourth by an 11-7 scoreline before prevailing in the final 11-4 to seal a 3-2 games victory and record his first win over Matthew since the 2007 English Open final – where he downed his fellow Yorkshireman in his home city.
Willstrop went on to beat New Zealand’s Paul Coll in the next round before falling to Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad in the semi-finals.
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James Willstrop (ENG) bt  Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-2: 11-6, 7-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-4 (73m)