Nick Matthew is still on top of the world after retaining his World Open title in Rotterdam.
The Sheffield star came through a tough half of the draw to beat France’s Gregory Gaultier 3-1 (6/11, 11/9, 11/6, 11/5) over 92 frantic minutes in the final.
It maintains 31-year-old Matthew’s position as the undisputed world number one and puts him on an elite list of players who have won the sport’s defacto World Championship more than once.
Despite losing the first game of the final Matthew’s fitness and strength gradually wore down his opponent.
He said: “I don’t think I did one thing particularly to grind Greg down, it was more a combination of several factors. First, I tried not to panic in the first game, like I did in the quarters against Peter.
“I knew that I was not playing badly, not doing anything wrong in particular, but that he was just playing better than me.
“I stuck in, stuck in, stuck in, and just started to attack a little bit. I got a finger in the door, and then my body through, and saw a chink of light and went for it.”
There’s no rest for Matthew. He flies out to Hong Kong at the end of the week to try and win a tournament that, by his own admission, he has never done well at.
For now though he’s more than happy to savour the winning feeling, which was made all the more special by his parents being courtside in the Netherlands.
He said: “It’s (the winning feeling) still there now. It was amazing for my family to be there and it made it a special moment.”