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Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Friday, 8 October 2010 17:30 UK

Commonwealth Games 2010: Matthew claims squash gold

James Willstrop and Nick Matthew

Matthew crushes Willstrop in squash final

Nick Matthew defeated James Willstrop 11-6 11-7 11-7 as England's men completed the first ever Commonwealth Games podium clean sweep in squash.

World number two Matthew was pushed hard in the men's final but gradually wore down Willstrop to record a 13th consecutive victory over his rival.

Earlier, Peter Barker routed Mohd Azlan Iskandar 11-5 11-4 11-2 to take bronze.

In the women's decider, England's Jenny Duncalf lost 11-3 11-5 11-7 against Malaysian top seed Nicol David.

"For me personally it's amazing to get gold but it's also great for the team to sweep the medals," reflected Matthew after the historic one-two-three.

"I was so happy for Peter [Barker] because four years ago I was in the same position but I missed out on bronze.

England's Jenny Duncalf

David too strong for Duncalf in squash singles

"I said to Peter last night, I know you're hurting but get out there and get on the podium whatever you do. I'm so proud of the three of us and it's a great moment for English squash."

Despite England's medal treble, though, Willstrop could not hide his disappointment at defeat.

"I'm disappointed with the result but Nick was on form and it's a credit to him that he didn't really let me play my game," admitted Willstrop. "I wasn't quite up to the mark and it's as simple as that."

Matthew's tactic of pinning Willstrop tight against the wall on his backhand side saw him seize the initiative early on in the all-Yorkshire match.

Pontefract man Willstrop, struggling with his length and more prone to unforced errors, was always playing catch-up against his Sheffield opponent and could only save one of five game balls in the first.

The second game proved a tighter affair but, after Willstrop made it 7-9 by ending a lengthy rally with a superb drop, the resilient top seed upped the ante again to see out the game.

World number four Willstrop rallied to open up a 3-1 lead in the third but was unfortunate when the referee called two no-lets in Matthew's favour for what appeared to be reachable balls.

Matthew restored parity before finally shaking off the tiring Willstrop by finishing off the first of three match balls to wrap up a convincing but hard-fought victory.

Pinsent witnesses England squash success

Pinsent witnesses England squash success

Duncalf, from Harrogate, had won only two of 24 previous meetings with five-time World Open winner David.

And the Briton was again second-best as David dictated from the front-court and scored freely with drops and volley drops to finally land Commonwealth gold at her fourth attempt.

"Jenny didn't play her best, but I had to take my opportunities," said David. "A Commonwealth Games gold medal is one of my highest achievements so far.

"The fact that it's in a multi-sport event, which means so much for Malaysia, makes it even more important for me."

Despite the emphatic nature of her loss, Duncalf, ranked second in the world, vowed to continue her pursuit of David's world number one spot.

"It was disappointing to lose in the final but I'll look back on it as a great week," said Duncalf.

"Nicol is a great player and she's definitely one to aim for and to try to knock off that top spot. It's a challenge I'm not going to give up on."

Another Englishwoman, Alison Waters, was forced to pull out of her bronze medal match with the left Achilles injury she sustained in her semi-final defeat against Duncalf, allowing Australia's Kasey Brown to finish third.

"I'm pretty gutted," said Waters said. "I'll be out for a couple of weeks. I'd have felt confident going into it but Kasey's playing really well so it would have been tough."

Barker, meanwhile, was delighted with his medal and the part he played in his country's one-two-three.

"It is one of the highlights of my career so far," said the 27-year-old Londoner.

"To get one, two and three in this sport really shows our domination and frustrates all the other players. Hopefully we can get some good coverage back home."



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see also
Thursday 7 October
20 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
David too strong for Duncalf in squash singles
08 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Commonwealth Games photos
08 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games


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