Willstrop set to meet Yorkshire rival for final spot

James Willstrop.
James Willstrop.
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Pontefract’s James Willstrop and fellow Yorkshireman Nick Matthew are set to meet in the semi-final of the 2013 US Open Squash Championship in Philadelphia today when they will renew their long-standing rivalry.

Willstrop and Matthew came through their quarter-final matches against Simon Rosner of Germany and England’s Pete Barker, respectively, and both men are relishing the prospect of potentially competing in a World Tour final a week before the 2013 AJ Bell World Squash Championship gets underway in Manchester on October 28.

“To be in the semi-final of any World Tour event is great, just to be through to the final four at a major competition like this always gives you a great confidence boost,” said Pontefract’s Willstrop, who beat German Number One Rosner in a gritty 3-1 contest.

“Winning a World Series title like this is a tremendous feeling but it is so hard to do. To get through the semi-finals and put myself in the frame to win would be a great step as I think the winner of this competition will go into the World Championships in great fettle.

“I have to get past Nick first before that can be considered and I know that will be a tough game. Nick’s achievements speak for themselves, he’s a double world champion and an exceptional player and what ever happens you know you’re going to be in for a battle against him.”

Sheffield’s two-time World Champion Matthew, who beat compatriot Barker 3-1 in the quarter-finals, said: “It’s great to be in the semis and I’m just delighted to be back enjoying my squash again.

“I had a bit of time out last summer at the back end of the season and I struggled a bit with my form and for that passion for the game but that’s back now so win or lose that’s the main thing for me currently.

“James is in great form at the minute but he’s always in great form really. Our quarter-final games were very similar where we both had tough games so we’re going into the semi on an even keel and confident so it should be a good game and I’m really looking forward to it.”