Matthew denied duel with Willstrop

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SHEFFIELD’S Nick Matthew was denied the chance to go for a fourth straight Canary Wharf Classic title after a surprise defeat to Peter Barker last night.

The Yorkshireman was expected to progress to tonight’s final at London’s East Wintergarden for another duel with Leeds’s James Willstrop, who had earlier booked his passage with a 3-1 victory over Egypt’s Mohamed El Shorbagy.

But London-born Barker pulled off only his second PSA Tour victory over Matthew, ending a run of 12 straight defeats to the world No 2 and the tournament’s top seed, with a deserved 11-7 11-9 7-11 11-8 victory.

Barker said: “I was glad to get across the finishing line.

“Nick is a great champion and you know you have to give it everything to get a win.”

Matthew was quick to congratulate his England team-mate, on Twitter, saying: “Congrats to Pete tonight, well deserved win & hope he backs up for a good final tomorrow.”

For Willstrop – himself a winner of the event in 2004, 2007 and 2008 – last night’s 6-11 11-8 11-9 11-7 victory will have given him satisfaction after losing out to El Shorbagy in the semi-finals of the World Championships in Doha in December – a result he had already gone some way to avenging by beating the Egyptian in last week’s Kuwait Cup.

He said: “Mohamed and I have developed a great rivalry and respect and he beat me in the World Championships to show how dangerous and talented a player he is. We’ve had battles all over the world – including in the semi-finals here last year – and I’m just pleased to reach the final.”