Squash: Sheffield’s Nick Matthew denied British title by Gregory Gaultier

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Nick Matthew must be fed up of facing Gregory Gaultier after missing out on a fourth British Open title.

The 33-year-old was beaten in last night’s final to the Frenchman, ranked number one in the world, 11-3, 11-6, 11-2 at the Sports Arena in Hull.

It is the 17th time Gaultier has prevailed in 30 PSA meetings against Matthew. His latest success atoned for his loss in last year’s world final to Matthew.

It is also the second successive year Gaultier has beaten Matthew in the tournament, having eliminated the Sheffield player in the semi-finals in 2013.

Matthew, the top seed, said: “Greg got off to a great start and that was key. He just carried it on.

“I lost to a guy who was by far the better player on the day. It reminded me of when he beat me in the US Open final. You have days like that.

“I wanted to give the crowd something to get behind but I never quite did it. I was looking for a chink in his armour but it was so hard to put any pressure on him. The quality of his squash prevented me from playing my best.

“I was struggling with my strategy and I struggled to find a ‘plan b’ but I gave it everything I can.

“I’m disappointed. If you’re not disappointed it means you don’t want it enough, but I can take it on the chin that he was too good today. My game plan was to match him early on but he was like a man possessed.”

Matthew, who suffered from a stomach bug during the earlier rounds, edged out Mohamed Elshorbagy of Egypt 3-2 in a titanic last four clash on Saturday. He triumphed 4-11, 14-12, 3-11, 11-7, 11-8 in a meeting which lasted one hour 44 minutes.

Gaultier said Matthew, a three-time world champion, appeared “tired” yesterday following his semi-final exploits.

“I knew had to bring a lot of pace and step on it from the start because he was tired but it’s not easy to play at full speed continuously and to push above the T line,” said Gaultier, who admitted it was an “unbelievable feeling” to lift the title. “But Nick is a physical monster.

“I had to make him work very hard at the start of the second, and if my lungs were on fire, I thought that his were probably burning as well.”

Matthew refused to blame fatigue for his defeat. He will now turn his attentions to Glasgow where he will look to defend his Commonwealth Games singles gold medal for England.

“My last memory on court (from this final) will be a negative one, so I’ll have that bit between the teeth,” he said.

“I suppose it’s a good thing, it will give me that little bit of hunger in my training.”