Willstrop bids to end six year hoo-doo for New York final spot

Pontefract's James Willstrop takes on Amr Shabana in the semi-finals in New York today. Picture Bruce Rollinson.
Pontefract's James Willstrop takes on Amr Shabana in the semi-finals in New York today. Picture Bruce Rollinson.
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Harrogate-based squash ace James Willstrop will be looking to end one of sport’s longest running strangleholds tonight.

Willstrop will tackle world champion Nick Matthew for a place in the Tour of Champions final at 8pm.

Matthew’s stranglehold over Willstrop stretches back more than six years. The Harrogate player’s last victory against the South Yorkshireman came at the English Open in 2007.

The fourth seed has made steady progress through the competition and beat fellow Englishman Peter Barker 3-1 in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.

The competition has taken place at New York’s Grand Central station, the most prestigious venue on the international squash circuit.

Chris Simpson lost in the last 16 to England’s Daryl Selby 11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6.

Simpson had earlier beaten tricky Egyptian Ali Farag in four games in round one.

He said: “It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience winning for the first time at Grand Central.

“But I was a little disappointed with my performance against Selby,

“I made some bad decisions at the crucial stage in the second game.”

However, seventh seed Jenny Duncalf suffered a shock exit in the women’s competition.

Duncalf lost a marathon first round match against compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry.

Duncalf bravely fought back from two games down before losing to the qualifier 11-5, 11-9, 8-11, 9-11, 11-4.