JAMES Willstrop may not have been able to mark his first tournament as world No 1 with a victory, but he is still the man to beat on the PSA World Tour.
The 28-year-old Yorkshireman went out at the semi-final stages of the World Series Finals at London’s Queen’s Club, losing 13-11 11-5 to eventual winner Amr Shabana on Saturday in front of the live TV cameras.
There was also semi-final disappointment for Harrogate’s world No 2 Jenny Duncalf, who went down 11-13, 11-8 11-5 to Ireland’s Madeleine Perry.
Fortunately for Willstrop, he has an ideal chance to boost his No 1 status – gained last month after three straight tournament victories – with the next event being the Tournament of Champions in New York, one of his favourites on the tour and one which he won back in 2010.
Shabana was able to repeat the form he showed in defeating Willstrop by winning his first ever title on UK soil in Sunday’s final against France’s Gregory Gaultier.
The Egyptian former world No 1 won 5-11, 12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, after an epic 90 minutes play.
Now into her sixth year as world No 1, Nicol David took the women’s title, defeating Perry 11-9, 11-9, 11-9.