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Nick Matthew meets Gregory Gaultier in Swedish Open final

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Gregory Gaultier fires in a tight backhand against Steve Coppinger
Gregory Gaultier fires in a tight backhand against Steve Coppinger

Top seed Gaultier glides into final without dropping a game, but Matthew has to battle to beat Simon Rosner in Swedish semi-finals
By Squash Mad Reporter

England’s 34-year-old World No.3 Nick Matthew kept alive his hopes of retaining the CASE Swedish Open, PSA International 70 title, after seeing off the challenge of German World No.10 Simon Rösner during the semi-finals in Linkoping today (February 7).

Matthew, who produced an impressive display to beat Ramy Ashour 3-2 and win the title in 2014, ensured his place in the final with a hard-earned 3-1 victory over the 27-year-old from Paderborn.

He will now line-up against long-time adversary Gregory Gaultier, the man he beat in the finals of the 2011 and 2013 World Championships, to contest the final tomorrow (Sunday, February 8).

“What I was really pleased with was that when it came to the big points today I was able to raise my game and make them count,” said Matthew afterwards.

“That’s going to be especially important tomorrow against Greg because he looks in good form and I’m glad it didn’t go into a fifth game because I’ll need to be fresh tomorrow for the final.”

Simon Rosner bends into a drop shot against Nick Matthew
Simon Rosner bends into a drop shot against Nick Matthew

The Englishman, a notoriously strong starter, lived up to his billing as he tested the tall German’s physical abilities from the off, taking the opening game after 14 minutes. But Rösner mounted a spirited fight-back in the second game and levelled the scores following some impressive action.

After restoring his advantage in the third, Matthew was forced to use everything in his locker to prevent the match from going into a fifth game, a scenario he has never experienced against Rösner in their five previous meetings. He showed his mental composure and resolve to save four game-balls before eventually sealing the match in a tight tie-break, winning 11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 13-11 in 62-minutes.

“I was maybe a little guilty in the fifth game at 5-1 up of thinking about the next day and you can’t do that against someone like Simon,” he said.

Nick Matthew plays a quick volley
Nick Matthew plays a quick volley

“He can win points quickly and he’s a very exciting player. He’s an up and coming player so I’m happy to have won in four.”

Gaultier, the current World No.2, ensured his place in the final with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Stephen Coppinger, ending the South African’s hopes of reaching back-to-back finals on the PSA World Tour with a dominant 11-4, 11-3, 11-6 win which took just 33 minutes.

The victory means the Frenchman goes into the title-decider without having dropped a single game during the tournament.

Case Swedish Open, Linkoping, Sweden.

Semi-finals:
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [8] Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-3, 11-6 (33m)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [4] Simon Rösner (GER) 3-1: 11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 13-11 (62m)

Final:
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [2] Nick Matthew (ENG)

Pictures by TOMMI TAPOLA

 

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