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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

US OPEN: Gaultier stars in the French connection

Lee Hortonhttps://squashmad.com
Former Sun, Mirror, People and Sunday Express sports executive. Knows a bit about newspapers and the art of talking a good game. Brighter than some but a way to go to match others.

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GREG GAULTIER last night took a giant step towards his fourth PSA World Tour final in a row when he removed unseeded French compatriot Mathieu Castagnet 13-11, 11-8, 11-6 to book his place in the last four against Karim Darwish.

Underdog Castagnet, a surprise quarter-finalist after ousting No7 seed Borja Golan in the previous round, got off to a flyer, building up a 6-0 lead.

The unperturbed event favourite calmly worked his way back into the game to draw level at eight-all before taking the lead 9-8 with another crisp volley.

Castagnet came back to save a game-ball at 9-10 before getting his own game-ball at 11-10. But Gaultier pushed to take the game 13-11.

The experienced 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence led in both the next two games before closing out the match 13-11, 11-8, 11-6.

“He started really fast and took me a bit by surprise,” admitted Gaultier. “It was maybe a bit faster than he usually plays, so I knew I had to make the game tough even if I lost it. Once I got a few points I was confident I could win the game, but I had to work hard.

“He didn’t slow down at all in the second, he played just as well as he had in the first, so I h

SH596Castagnet wasn’t done though, firing in a volley winner of his own, then after a stroke brought up game ball to Gaultier the youngster took two in a row for a chance of his own. Gaultier had to push, but push he did to take the game 13-11 .

Conventional wisdom would have it that the senior player would then assert himself, and to some extent Gaultier did just that, opening up to 6-2 in the second. Castagnet continued to play well though, and keeping Gaultier honest he closed up the gap, to 8-6 but still Gaultier took it 11-8. Again in the third Gaultier always led, but never comfortably. A couple of dives from Castagnet kept the crowd entertained, but Gautlier still had enough of a grip on the match, and he closed it out 11-6 after 47 minutes.

SH599“He started really fast and took me a bit by surprise,” admitted Gaultier. “It was maybe a bit faster than he usually plays, so I knew I had to make the game tough even if I lost it. Once I got a few points I was confident I could win the game, but I had to work hard.

“He didn’t slow down at all in the second, he played just as well as he had in the first, so I had to really dig in to stay in front.

“We’ve played together for so long it’s really hard to play in a match like This, but you just have to forget about that and find a solution to win.”

 

[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)  13-11, 11-8, 11-6 (47m)

 

 

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