JAMES Willstrop’s return to the court ended earlier than he would have preferred when he was knocked out of the Swedish Open at the quarter-final stage last night.
The 31-year-old Yorkshireman had not been in competitive action on the PSA World Tour since winning the China Open back in September, having undergone a hip operation.
A first-round win against fellow Harrogate resident Chris Simpson on Thursday saw Willstrop – winner in Linkoping back in 2007 – given a much-needed 73-minute workout by his opponent before he emerged triumphant 11-9 7-11 7-11 11-4 11-8.
But the third seed’s hopes of reaching the last four were scuppered by South Africa’s Stephen Coppinger, who got the better of their hour-long contest when winning 11-7 11-9 11-13 11-7.
Four-time winner Nick Matthew earned a semi-final encounter with Germany’s Simon Rosner after beating Australia’s Cameron Pilley 12-10 11-8 12-10.