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Squash » Qatar Classic 2011

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Main Draw: PSA / WISPA (Updated on 21st Oct 2011 at 22:00hrs)

Qualifying Draw: PSA / WISPA (Updated on Saturday - 15th Oct 2011)

Gaultier storms to Qatar Classic success

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 capital Doha.

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 advantage.

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 mine.

"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 Leeds.
"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 better.

"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.

Final:
[6] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [4] James Willstrop (ENG) 11-8, 11-7, 2-11, 11-8 (70m)
Source: PSA

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