By LEE HORTON
NICK MATTHEW wrestled the world number one ranking from the head of Ramy Ashour today after banking the winner’s cheque and the Hong Kong Open title with a display of clinical squash to defeat Spain’s Borja Golan.
The current World Champion downed the Spanish number one in the Cathay Pacific sponsored final at the Hong Kong harbour to replace Egyptian maestro Ashour at the top of the rankings. The win also denied Frenchman Gregory Gaultier who would have gone top if Matthew had lost.
But there was little chance of that as the Englishman imposed his will and superior strength to halt Golan, who was appearing in his first World Series final.
Matthew, who was crowned World champion in Manchester two months ago, continued his golden run taking the first game in clinical fashion 11-1. His only problem in the opener was a 15-minute delay after the lights went out on court due to a power shortage.
Golan steadied the ship in the second, despite being outgunned 11-8 in the second game, and continued his high-energy assault by grabbing the third 11-5.
But Matthew was in no mood to surrender the chance of finishing the year as world number one and he stepped up the pace and accuracy to clinch a 3-1 victory taking the fourth 11-5.
It was his first Hong Kong title which left him thrilled. ““I knew my body would hold up even though it was a very tough match yesterday,” said Matthew, “so it was a mental challenge again really.
“It was always going to be hard to keep up the level of that first game, Borja is very strong and very determined.
“You’ll take any win in a final but I was pleased with how I played. I really thought I was going to go grey before I managed to win here, I’ve been coming since 2001 and I’d never got to play on the harbour before so this is really special for me, I’m really delighted.”
Pictures by Steve Cubbins (SquashSite)