By ALAN THATCHER
Gregory Gaultier of France overwhelmed England’s Nick Matthew to win the US Open men’s title.
A rampant Gaultier triumphed 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 in 51 minutes, 33 minutes shorter than the women’s final which had preceded it.
Gaultier dominated throughout, producing a result that illustrates the passage of power at the top of the men’s game.
With world champion Ramy Ashour absent from Philadelphia, Gaultier took advantage to prove that he is the second-best squash player on the planet on current form.
Not many players can produce three consecutive games of controlled, attacking squash against a fiercely determined opponent like Matthew, but that’s what Gaultier achieved this evening.
The packed Drexel crowd, having witnessed a women’s final that could have gone either way, were stunned by the Frenchman’s control.
Matthew, having demonstrated his domestic dominance over James Willstrop in the semi-final, simply ran out of ideas in this deciding contest.
“It’s amazing,” said a delighted Gaultier. “The last time I won this was 2006 so to win it again here in this great venue is like a dream.
“I gave 500% today, I tried to play fast and use a lot of variation as he’s so strong in the middle of the court.
“For me it’s my fifth tournament in a row, Nick has only just started after five months off, so I have the matches in my legs—maybe that was the difference tonight. I’m sure he’ll come back strong, maybe we can have another match in the World Open final next week!
“The sponsors, the organization and the venue here are all fantastic, and they’re doing great things in helping to raise the women’s game too.”
Afterwards, Nick said:” Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say that despite giving it everything you were beaten by the better player.”
Forget about half the World’s best missing the Men’s event, forget about injuries that, in the past, have made a mockery of seedings and ranking positions, forget about which players were brushed aside in previous rounds with clinical skill, and forget about the difference in the number of previous events contested by the two finalists in the run-up to the US Open ( as Nick Matthew clearly showed how prepared he was by his match with on-form James Willstrop ). Greg Gaultier was much more than a worthy winner, he is a player who, in this form, must be considered one of the best ever in the Sport. It has taken him many years to arrive at this stage, he has overcome obstacles both on and off court, and it is so nice to see Greg enjoying his life, also on and off court.As always, Nick was honest and respectful in defeat, but he most certainly deserved his place in the Final, No doubt he will be reviewing the match to see whatever needs tweeking to get his revenge. The referee had little to do, except to call the score, a sign of good clean Squash. Greg’s performance will become the ultimate lesson for what it takes to be a Champion Squash Player.
The US Open Ladies Final was a cocktail of amazing skills from both players, costly unforced errors by both, and finally decided more by Lady Luck than anything else. Nicole’s retrieving was stunning, and usually followed by “the right shot”. Laura suffered from repeated poor shot selection at times, and poor length with the ball landing on the short line too often. “Sluggish” was mentioned on commentary, and I must agree; Laura’s reaction time was too often too slow. With her height and reach used to full advantage, Laura could have won the match 3-0, but Nicole was let off the hook far too much, all she needed to come out on top !