Willstrop and Matthew forced to work hard at Canary Wharf

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WORLD No 1 James Willstrop showed impressive endurance for a second night running to reach the semi-finals of the Canary Wharf Classic in London.

The 28-year-old, from Leeds, spent 84 minutes on court on Tuesday night before seeing off training partner Saurav Ghosal in five games. And in last night’s quarter-final with Egypt’s Tarek Momen, Willstrop again did it the hard way, prevailing 6-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3, 11-9.

“I’m very relieved to be in the semi-finals,” said three-time winner Willstrop afterwards, “For the second day running I have played an opponent who has shown how narrow the gap is between the top players and those a little further behind.

“Tarek is a very dangerous player. He was attacking non-stop and I had to try to find a way to stop him hitting winners.”

Yorkshire rival and world No 2 Nick Matthew, from Sheffield, also reached the last four, but only after spending more than an hour on court before beating Daryl Selby 11-8, 11-7, 11-9.

Matthew, 31, will now face Peter Barker – who defeated Germany’s Simon Rosner – while Willstrop takes on Egypt’s Mohamed El Shorbagy, who breezed past Adrian Grant in the last quarter-final.

“Our match was as long as James’s five-setter so it shows how intense it was,” said Matthew, who at one stage during his match with Selby was forced to seek treatment for an injured knee after an on-court collision.

“I didn’t really think about tactics before the match. I didn’t want to over-complicate things and just wanted to use my experience and instincts to get through the match and it seemed to work.

“Daryl just caught me on my knee at the end of the first game. It was painful for a moment but it didn’t bother me after that.”