Nick is ready for big rival

Date in the capital: Sheffield squash star Nick Matthew
Date in the capital: Sheffield squash star Nick Matthew
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The next instalment of the big duel for world supremacy between Nick Matthew and James Willstrop continues in London next month.

By then, Willstrop will have taken the World No 1 mantle from Sheffielder Matthew as the two undergo a rivalry that is intriguing squash followers.

However, it is Matthew who goes into the Canary Wharf Classic in London on March 19 as the top seed despite his fellow Yorkshireman regaining the World top spot from Matthew when the latest rankings are published this week.

Willstrop warmed up for the London event by winning the North American Open in Richmond, Virginia.

Matthew commented: “I don’t think many people expected that result in the Richmond final but James played a tactical master-class and deserved the win.”

Willstrop, who is bidding for a fourth Canary Wharf title, is enjoying the best form of his career having reached the final of six of his last eight tournaments and racking up four PSA World Series titles since November in the game’s elite series of events.

However, despite these current successes of Willstrop, it is Matthew who has had a hold over him.

The man from Sheffield has beaten him 15 times in a row.

However, they avoided meeting in the North American Open as Matthew crashed to a rare straight-games defeat to Egyptian Ramy Ashour in the semi-finals.

Willstrop went on to beat Ashour.

Matthew was realistic about his own form and shortcomings in the Richmond event, especially in his loss to Ashour.

The first two games went to tie breaks and Matthew admitted: “I have got some important lessons to learn.”