No final reckoning for Yorkshire rivals

FIERCE rivals James Willstrop and Nick Matthew came close to setting up a dream all-Yorkshire final at the US Open, before falling at the crucial moment.

Both players had negotiated their way through a tough draw in Philadelphia, only for world 
No 1 Willstrop to go out in straight games to France’s Gregory Gaultier, who enjoyed a 11-7, 11-2, 11-8 victory.

Matthew followed them on court to face Egypt’s Ramy Ashour and after 74 minutes he also found himself heading for the exit door, losing 15-13, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4 to the former world No 1.

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Given the quality of their opponents, there was always a chance at least one of Yorkshire’s hopefuls would suffer a last four exit, but both of them losing out will have surprised many.

Afterwards, a disappointing Matthew said: “I think I should have won the first and if I’d gone 2-0 up it might have been different.

“He played well though – he adapted to tonight’s slower conditions better than me, and my defence wasn’t as good as Pete’s (Barker, who ,lost to Ashour in the quarter-finals on Wednesday night).

“The work he made me do took its toll and I faded a bit in the fourth.

“In the end he got on top and deserved to win.”