Hull of a battle in both finals as Matthew and Perry push champions all the way
By SEAN REUTHE in Hull
French World No.3 Gregory Gaultier and England’s World No.5 Laura Massaro triumphed on finals day at the 2017 Allam British Open, claiming respective wins over Nick Matthew and Sarah-Jane Perry at the World Series tournament held in Hull’s Airco Arena.
Gaultier will become the oldest player ever to top the PSA world rankings next month after the 34-year-old recovered from a game down to beat Matthew, capturing his third British Open crown in the process.
Gaultier, who also lifted the sport’s oldest and most established title in 2007 and 2014, will overtake Egypt’s Mohamed ElShorbagy at the summit of the world rankings and, at 34 years and three months, he eclipses the record of women’s former world No.1 Sarah-Fitz Gerald by a month after a 8-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-3 victory saw him take the iconic title.
“It was a massive day for me,” said Gaultier. “I only found out a few days ago that there were three of us who could get to No.1. I wasn’t thinking about that during the week, I was focusing on playing well and executing my tactics.
“I had a great week and a great feeling on court, I was moving well and to be number one as well again at my age is an amazing feeling – it’s pure pleasure.”
In the women’s event, Massaro became the first Englishwoman since Janet Morgan in 1951 to lift the prestigious Allam British Open title on two occasions after she saw off Perry in four games.
Massaro, the 2013 champion, and Perry were contesting the first female all-English British Open final since Lisa Opie and Sue Wright in 1991 after they achieved respective semi-final wins over defending champion Nour El Sherbini and five-time winner Nicol David.
And it was 33-year-old Massaro who imposed her game plan on the encounter to seal the win by an 11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6 scoreline.
“It’s just unbelievable,” said Massaro, who will move up to world No.2 in next month’s rankings.
“When I won the British Open for the first time I was so happy. There was a little bit more pressure coming into today as I beat Nicol, who was World No.1, for my first title and at the time there was absolutely no pressure on me.
“I’m proud of myself for the week and for bouncing back because this has probably not been my best season. I’m just happy I managed to tough it out in the end and keep getting balls back and it paid off. It’s a little bit different because the first one was so special.”
2017 Allam British Open, Airco Arena, Hull, England.:
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt  Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-1: 8-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-3 (67m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6 (55m)
Pictures courtesy of PSA