Pontefract star Willstrop wins five-set thriller in United States

James Willstrop: "We both played well and both had our phases where it didn't work out."
James Willstrop: "We both played well and both had our phases where it didn't work out."

PONTEFRACT Squash Club’s James Willstrop reached the last eight in the inaugural Pacific Market International Bellevue Classic in the United States by winning a thrilling five-set clash against Hong Kong’s Max Lee.

In an enthralling 73-minute match, former world number one Willstrop recovered from 9-7 down in the fifth game to reach the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour event.

Willstrop said: “I think the match was good quality. We both played well and both had our phases where it didn’t work out.

“It was solid and he was the favourite at 9-7 (in the fifth), I was up against it. I had to dig in and have faith in what I was doing. I’m very pleased to come away with the win.

“I just had to keep it as simple as I could really, once you start clouding your head with loads of thoughts it makes it worse. It’s not very easy, but you’ve got to forget about the scoreboard as much as possible.”

If the seedings work out, Willstrop will meet long time rival Gregory Gaultier (France) in the semi finals.