NICK Matthew admitted he was beaten by the better player after seeing his bid for a second US Open title end at the hands of in-form top seed Gregory Gaultier.
The 33-year-old from Sheffield, a winner in the final against fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop back in 2007, went down 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 in a typically hard-fought 51 minute encounter at Philadelphia’s Drexel University.
Next up for both players is a visit to Manchester towards the end of this month when they will compete in the World Championship – Matthew looking to lift his third title, with three-time finalist Gaultier aiming for his first one.
World No 2 Gaultier had carved his way through the world-class field to the final without dropping a game and took early leads in all three games. Only in the second game did third seed Matthew, the world No4, threaten to close the gap.
Afterwards, Matthew – recently-returned from a five-month break over the summer – conceded his French opponent was a deserving winner.
“Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say that despite giving it everything you were beaten by the better player,” said Matthew on his Twitter feed.
Gaultier was delighted to add a second title to the one he won back in 2006.
“It’s amazing,” said the 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence after notching up the 25th PSA World Tour title of his career.
“The last time I won this was seven years ago, so to win it again here in this great venue is like a dream.
“I gave 500 per cent today. I tried to play fast and use a lot of variation as he’s so strong in the middle of the court.
“For me it’s my fifth tournament in a row, Nick has only just started after five months off, so I have the matches in my legs - maybe that was the difference tonight.
“I’m sure he’ll come back strong, maybe we can have another match in the World Open final next week!”
In the women’s event, the final was a true classic, with defending champion and undisputed world No 1 Nicol David coming from behind to defeat England’s Laura Massaro.
In what was the first US Open final to go the full distance in 10 years, saw Malaysia’s David fought back from 2-1 down to defeat world No 2 Massaro 13-11, 11-13, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5 in 84 minutes – sweet revenge for here defeat to her opponent at the British Open in Hull earlier this year.
“I knew Laura was playing well and I would have to dig deep,” said David. “When I was down in the fourth, she maybe stepped off it a little, I just knew I had to keep going and going to the last point.
“This is such a fantastic event - all credit to US Squash, the sponsors and the venue. Making the prize money equal is putting the women’s game where it deserves to be and we all look forward to coming back for the next ten years!”