A scintillating performance by Gregory Gaultier in today’s final of the Case Swedish Open saw the Frenchman beat England’s world No2 Nick Matthew in straight games to retain the PSA World Tour International 70 title at Linköping Sporthall in Linköping, Sweden.
It was the dream climax of the biggest event in continental Europe which was celebrating its tenth anniversary – in which Matthew was marking his fifth successive final appearance since 2004, and denied a record fourth title.
The clash brought up the 50th Tour final of Gaultier’s career – and produced his 23rd title!
World No4 Gaultier (pictured in action with Matthew) took immediate control of the match and quickly established a 5-1 lead. Despite a determined bid by Matthew to control his opponent, Gaultier soon wrapped up the opening game for the loss of just three points.
Matthew requested a three-minute injury break before the second to attend to blisters – and came back to provide a more evenly-contested game in which points were shared up to 10-all. After saving a game-ball against him, the Frenchman played a stunning backhand crosscourt winner to take a two-game lead.
Matthew built up a 9-6 lead in the third as the packed crowd sensed a comeback – and hopefully a fourth game. But after five superb winners in a row, it was Gaultier who recorded his fourth straight games win in a row to clinch the title 11-3, 10-12, 11-9 in 72 minutes.
“I am very pleased with the match,” said the 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence as he collected his trophy. “Me and Nick know each other well and have played against each other since junior time.
“It is always even and it’s important to defend the T-position. I want to thank the organisers and the audience for a great week – and I will gladly return next year.”
Matthew told his Twitter followers: “Disappointed to lose today, especially 3-0 but Greg v. sharp. Good start, immaculate width/length & play the big points well = decent combo.”
Tournament Director Fredrik Johnson thanked the sponsors, partners and audience at the trophy presentation – and said to the players: “You are true superstars and professionals and I will see you all next year again!”
Action picture of the final courtesy of Mikael Dunder