Willstrop now top of the world

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JAMES Willstrop is set to replace fellow Yorkshireman Nick Matthew as the world’s top player after gaining victory over Gregory Gaultier in the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in New Delhi.

The 28-year-old, from Leeds, made it three tournament injuries in a row with a gruelling 19-21, 11-8, 11-4, 6-1 triumph over his French opponent, who was forced to retire through injury.

It’s been a memorable year for both Willstrop and Sheffield-born Matthew, but it is the former who will enter the New year as world No 1 after after a remarkable two months which also saw him win Hong Kong Open and the Kuwait PSA Cup before he headed to India last week.

Willstrop first rose to No 2 in the world at the age of just 21 and, after injury saw him drop as low as 12th in the wiorld two years ago, the Yorkshireman has fought his way back up the standings, returning to No 2 last month before his latest triumph which will see him above Matthew, who was forced to sit out the New Delhi event due to injury.

Willstrop had made it through to the final after another fine display saw him see off fellow Englishman Peter Barker 11-4, 11-3, 11-3 on Saturday.

Barker had gone into the game on a high after defeating former world No 1 and tournament favourite Ramy Ashour 11-13, 11-7, 11-8, 11-1 in the quarter-finals on Friday.