Castagnet and Richards Set Up Final Clash at Wimbledon Club Squash Squared Open
France’s World No.28 Mathieu Castagnet and England’s World No.34 Tom Richards will face each other in the final of the Wimbledon Club Squash Squared Open after beating number two seed James Willstrop and Germany Raphael Kandra, respectively.
Number five seed Castagnet – who beat Ben Coleman and Youssef Soliman in the previous rounds – faced a tough battle against former World No.1 James Willstrop in the semi-finals.
Going into the match, the head-to-head record was in favour of the Frenchman with Castagnet winning all three of the previous encounters against the Englishman and the 31-year-old showed no signs of changing his strong record as he took a 2-0 lead against Willstrop.
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The match was a tight affair between the players with the scores locked at 9-9 in the second game before Castagnet was able to take an important first game, before Willstrop struck back in the third to get back into the encounter.
The deciding game also proved to be close, showing the quality between the two players with the scores level at 6-6 before Castagnet powered on to secure an 11-6, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6 victory in 74 minutes.
“I’ve no words to express my emotions to be honest,” said the Frenchman.
“Since I won the Canary Wharf two years ago, I have been injured maybe ten times and torn my calf seven times. So, to be here and reach the final of this PSA tournament is really special for me.
“James is such a great player, he was former World No.1 and I have so much respect for him, we have always have tough battles.
“I think he got tired and it made the difference because he made two or three mistakes at the wrong time and at this level it is really difficult to comeback from mistakes because it gives your opponent confidence.”
Castagnet will now face England’s Richards in the final of the PSA M35 tournament after he took out Germany's Kandra.
27-year-old Kandra had enjoyed big wins in the previous rounds, knocking out number six seed Greg Lobban in round one and top seed Daryl Selby in the quarter-finals. However, the German was unable to carry on his impressive form as he fell to number seven seed Richards.
The Englishman came from 10-6 down in the first game to win 15-13 on the tie-break. However, Kandra took the second to level the scores before Richards took control of the rest of the encounter to win 15-13, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6 and book his place in the final for the second successive year.
“It would be nice to go one better this year,” said the Englishman.
“Raphael is a really strong player, I really like the way he plays and he is really fair. The last time we played he beat me 3-0 so I was prepared for how difficult it was going to be.
“Throughout my career I have always been quite good at coming back. I think I started quite pensively and I just thought ‘let’s go for it’. Even at 10-6 down I still believe I can win each rally and once you get to 8-10 then it’s in their head a little bit as well. But then I lost a good lead in the second game, so it evened itself out a bit.
“Me and Matt have played since we were about ten years old, so we know each other’s games really well, so it will be a tough game.”
The final of the Wimbledon Club Squash Squared Open will take place on March 23 at 18:30 local time (GMT) and live streaming will be available here.