Slick Nick finds the stamina to quelle British Grand Prix challenge of brave French ace Mathieu
NICK MATTHEW became only the ninth player ever to win 30 PSA World Tour titles after defeating French World No.15 Mathieu Castagnet in the final of the 2014 AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.
Englishman Matthew, a three-time World Champion and two-time Commonwealth Games Gold Medal winner, earned his place in the final following a physically draining 103-minute battle against French World No.2 Gregory Gaultier in the semi-final but showed his tremendous stamina to back-up and see off Castagnet 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 in 50-minutes.
Castagnet, conquerer of current World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy in the quarter-finals, got off to a spirited start in the opening game and opened up an early lead, but the ever relentless 34-year-old from Sheffield showed all the attributes that have led him to capture every major title in the sport as he went on to dominate the remainder of the contest, imposing himself on Castagnet and controlling the court to complete an impressive victory.
“I like it here in Manchester,” said Matthew. “I’m so comfortable here and I think I’ve had more success on this court than anywhere else in my whole career so I wish I could take it with me.
“It was a great match against Mathieu today – it’s credit to him that the crowd were cheering loudly for him at the end – I’ve never heard French people get so much support in England!
“Winning the title feels great and is a great way to end the year.”
Despite the defeat, 28-year-old Castagnet, currently occupying his highest ever position in the PSA World Rankings, said that there were many positives to take from the encounter.
“I didn’t expect to reach a final this week and it was such a great pleasure for me to make it,” he said.
“I did my best but he was too strong for me today and even when I was pushing hard he was playing well and I want to congratulate him.”
Results – Final: AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix:
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 [50m])