NICK MATTHEW will try to ‘rip up the rule book’ one more time today when he goes for a fourth British Open title in Hull.
The 36-year-old from Shefffield powered past world No 1 and pre-tournament favourite Mohamed ElShorbagy to book a showdown at the Airco Arena against fellow veteran star Gregory Gaultier on Sunday afternoon.
The Yorkshireman fought back from 8-6 and 7-3 down in the opening two games to go 2-0 up before seeing ElShorbagy hit back to halve the deficit.
But the three-time champion, who last won the event in 2012, rallied to close out an 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5 victory in a breathtaking 75 minutes.
“I was trying not to let the adrenaline get to me, I could feel my heart beating through my head knowing the crowd were cheering,” said fourth seed Matthew.
“I felt him wavering at the end which gave me belief. Never mind the world rankings, I’m the World No 1 for my age. The peak is about five years ago, but me and Greg are trying to rip up that rule book, we are always exchanging text messages saying stuff like ‘there is still life in the old dog’.
“I’ve not been in many World Series finals recently. I know what I need to be doing, but it’s not always as easy as that. Once you get to a certain age you know what it looks like, but in many ways that makes it harder to implement.”
Gaultier, 34, was given an easier passage into the final after yet another injury blow to semi-final opponent Ramy Ashour saw the Egyptian star forced to retire after losing the first game.
This time a hip injury was to blame and Gaultier knows a win against Matthew will see him replace ElShorbagy as world No 1 on April 1.
“I could see in the first game, in the first few points, Ramy was struggling a little bit and he was going for quick points,” said Gaultier.
“I just hope it’s not too bad because he’s been struggling for a while now and hopefully he can play next week in El Gouna.”
English squash is guaranteed a winner in the women’s draw after Laura Massaro and Sarah-Jane Perry emerged victorious.
Fifth seed Massaro, the 2013 winner, saw off defending champion Nour El Sherbini in a five-game thriller, clinching a hard-fought 5-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 win in just over an hour.
Perry, meanwhile, defeated five-time champion Nicol David 11-8, 7-11, 13-11, 11-7 in just under an hour.
Men’s semi-finals:  Nick Matthew (ENG) bt  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5 (75m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt  Ramy Ashour (EGY) 3-0: 11-9 ret. (20m)
Women’s semi-finals:  Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 3-2: 5-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 (63m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt  Nicol David (MAS) 3-1: 11-8, 7-11, 13-11, 11-7 (56m)