French underdog meets Nick Matthew in AJ Bell British Grand Prix final
By NATHAN CLARKE – Squash Mad Correspondent in Manchester
French outsider Mathieu Castagnet meets England’s three-time world champion Nick Matthew in the final of the 2014 AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix at the National Squash Centre in Manchester tomorrow (December 8).
The 34-year-old Matthew booked his place with a brutal, epic victory over French World No.2 Gregory Gaultier in a marathon 103-minute battle in front of a vocal home crowd.
The result once more consigned Gaultier to defeat in Manchester, just over 12 months after Matthew beat the Frenchman to claim his third World Championship title in the same city.
He will now face the French No.2 Castagnet, who saw off the challenge of Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez in straight games just a day after beating world No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy.
“When you get to my age you have a few rivals on tour and Greg and I have been playing for a very long time against each other on tour,” said Matthew.
“It never gets any easier against him. Today he made a few errors in crucial points and at this level it comes down to such fine margins – it could have gone his way in a few of those close points.
“I felt like I was due a big win like that this season so I’m really pleased and I’m ready to give it one more big push tomorrow to try and end the year on a high.”
Castagnet goes into the final in the best form of his career having scalped Elshorbagy in the quarter-finals, following his biggest ever career title triumph in Montreal in October.
He is hoping to end his year on the biggest high yet, and said: “Beating Mohamed yesterday was great for me but it was very important for me to refocus on today’s match and to try and do everything I could to reach another final.
“I’m very happy to be in the final and I’m looking forward to playing again tomorrow.”
Results: AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix, Manchester, England. Semi-finals:
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt  Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 3-2: 11-7, 10-12, 15-13, 9-11, 11-5 [103m]
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0: 11-2, 16-14, 13-11 [74m]
Final (Monday, December 8):
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
Picture courtesy of PSA