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(Updated on 21st Oct 2011 at
(Updated on Saturday - 15th Oct 2011)
Gaultier storms to Qatar Classic
DOHA, Qatar, 21 October 2011 - In his first major title success
for more than two years, France's Gregory Gaultier stormed to
victory over England's higher-ranked James Willstrop in the
final of the 2011 Qatar Classic to pick up the trophy for the
first time in the sixth PSA World Series event of the year at
the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in the Qatar
Both playing in their second Qatar Classic final - Willstrop was
champion in 2005 and the Frenchman runner-up in 2007 - both
players had been in impressive form in the run up to the final,
and delivered a quality match to the packed audience in the
glass court arena.
After pulling clear from seven-all in a tight first game to go
1/0 ahead, Gaultier was on top early in the second, establishing
a 6-2 lead which, despite the fourth-seeded Englishman's
efforts, Willstrop couldn't close down as Gaultier doubled his
The third game was all Willstrop, and after the Englishman had
pulled clear Gaultier let the last few points go, clearly
preparing himself for the fourth.
And it was Willstrop again who made the stronger start, leading
4-1 and 7-4. But, with the crowd noisily on his side, Gaultier
fought back to draw level at eight-all.
After numerous lets in the closing stages, it was Gaultier who
eventually took the final three points to claim his first World
Series title since winning the PSA World Series Finals crown for
the second time in a row in March 2009.
"We've been playing each other since we were that high, since we
were juniors," the delighted Gaultier told www.squashsite.co.uk
after his 11-8, 11-7, 2-11, 11-8 victory. "We had some memorable
battles. It's actually nice to see each other back in the final.
He is just a gentleman on court, such a fair player - I have
tremendous respect for him.
"Doha is my second home now," continued the 28-year-old world
No6 from Aix-en-Provence. "Joking apart, I've been coming here
since the age of 16 or 17, and I've seen all the great players
win this title - so for me, it's like a dream come true,
especially as I haven't won a major event for two years now."
Yorkshireman Willstrop, celebrating his 25th appearance in a
Tour final, was full of praise for his opponent: "In the first
two games Greg played down the backhand side and was much better
than me, which is a bit frustrating as it's normally considered
my strength. He played some super squash, his attacks were
better than mine, his accuracy and length was just superior to
"In the third, I put it together better, I used my brain plus
the help of Chris (Robertson, the England national coach), as I
knew something had to change," continued the world No4 from
"I had to find a way to stop him damaging me on that backhand
side, as he was in a comfortable position to hurt me with his
shots. Maybe I made a few too many errors there, but it was
probably something to do with the way he was playing!
"There are reasons why he keeps on winning matches like that, my
length and width was just not good enough to preventing him from
attacking, which means that, at the end of the day, he played
"He's been going on all week about how good he felt, how good he
played - and he proved it tonight."
The win marks the 19th PSA Tour title of Gaultier's career - and
will boost the former world number one's confidence on the eve
of next month's PSA World Open in Rotterdam.
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt  James Willstrop (ENG) 11-8,
11-7, 2-11, 11-8 (70m)
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