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Squash: David retains Commonwealth gold; Ghosal denied medal

World No. 1 Nicol David (right) beat World No. 2 Laura Massaro 3-0 in the women's final, which hinged on a dramatic end to the first game. Photos: AFP.

World No. 1 Nicol David (right) beat World No. 2 Laura Massaro 3-0 in the Commonwealth Games women’s singles final, which hinged on a dramatic end to the first game. Photos: AFP.

July 29, 2014: Top seeds Nicol David and Nick Matthew marked an historic Commonwealth Games double when both successfully retained their singles titles in Glasgow.

 

David – the World No. 1 from Malaysia competing in her fifth successive Games – beat England’s world champion Laura Massaro 3-0 (12-10, 11-2, 11-5) in the women’s final, while World No. 2 Matthew survived a five-game battle with fellow Englishman James Willstrop in a repeat of the 2010 men’s final in Delhi.

 

The matches brought to a close an exhilarating five-day festival of squash staged on a spectacular all-glass showcourt at Scotstoun Sports Campus in Scotland’s largest city, watched by unprecedented crowds in excess of 2,000 each day.

 

Massaro, the only player who has beaten David five times, led 8-4 and 9-7 in the opening game before reaching game-ball at 10-9. But the 30-year-old Malaysian, No. 1 since August 2006, played the shot of the match – a forehand boast that just cleared the tin – to draw level before clinching the game 12-10.

 

David went on to take the next two games comfortably to claim the gold medal for the second time in a row, after 44 minutes.

 

“Winning the first game was crucial. It was really tough out there. I had to put the pressure on,” said David, who will now bid to retain her titles at the Hong Kong Open and Asian Games. “Laura is the most competitive player on the Tour. She’s so determined, she just doesn’t let go.”

 

David made her Commonwealth Games debut in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 at the age of 15 and said her second gold held special significance as it fell on Hari Raya, the celebration marking the end of Ramadan.

 

Massaro, David and bronze medallist Joelle King (right) with their medals in Glasgow.

Laura Massaro (left), Nicol David (centre) and bronze medallist Joelle King (right) with their medals in Glasgow.

“It’s only just hit me that I am the Commonwealth Games champion for the second time. It really is remarkable. Today is the Malaysian festival of Hari Raya, which makes it even more special for me. I really wanted this gold.”

 

Massaro, the World No. 2, won her first medal at the Commonwealth Games, but the Prestonian admitted she was targeting gold.

 

“Before the event, my goal was to get a medal,” Massaro said. “I was desperate for gold and when you spend the whole time aiming for that, this is a bit disappointing. I know when Nicol gets in front and gets the first game, it settles her down. She played really well, but I felt I was playing really well, too.”

 

Joelle King of New Zealand won the bronze by beating England’s Alison Waters 11-7, 11-7, 11-5.

 

England men sweep medals

The men’s final also featured the top two seeds, with Matthew boasting a 41-11 career lead over Willstrop, his fellow Yorkshireman. Both players arrived in Glasgow following injury scares after Matthew underwent knee surgery six weeks ago and Willstrop suffered a mystery ailment that hampered his preparation.

 

Matthew took the opening game after 25 minutes, but Willstrop recovered from an early Matthew lead in the second to draw level. Willstrop seemed tired in the third as Matthew regained his lead, but the Harrogate-based underdog dug deep to win the fourth to set up a decider. Matthew led throughout the fifth before raising his arms in joy after securing his 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5 title triumph in exactly 100 minutes.

 

“Considering what we’ve both been through, this match is a testament to both of us. We were both winners out there and both deserve to stand at the top of the podium,” said the Sheffield-based Matthew.

 

“I was on a hospital bed six weeks ago and James was told he might never play again. My coach Chris [Robertson] reminded me of that when I came off court at 2-2 and he said, ‘You’re a winner whatever happens’. I’m very proud to win a second gold medal.”

 

Fourth seed Saurav Ghosal was denied India’s first squash medal at the Commonwealth Games when he lost to England’s Peter Barker in the bronze-medal playoff.

Fourth seed Saurav Ghosal was denied India’s first squash medal at the Commonwealth Games when he lost to England’s Peter Barker in the bronze-medal playoff.

Third seed Peter Barker ensured England won all three men’s singles medals when he beat India No. 1 Saurav Ghosal 11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6 in the bronze-medal playoff.

 

Ghosal, 27, was the first Indian to reach the semis and the fourth seed was hoping to become the first player from his country to win a squash medal at the Commonwealth Games.

 

“Right now I’m just gutted,” Ghosal said. “To do everything I’ve done and not come away with anything tangible is super depressing. Yesterday I played really well, but I’ve come up against two players really sharp on the day. However, I’m happy I could back up four days in a row.”

 

Ghosal could have a golden opportunity to win a medal in Australia’s Gold Coast in 2018 considering the ages of Matthew (34), Willstrop and Barker (both 30). “It’s hard right now to think of that,” Ghosal said. “I’ve trained really hard for this. Four years is too far away.”

 

Ghosal needed five games and 86 minutes to beat Australia’s Steven Finitsis in the round of 16 then came from two games down to beat New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson 3-2 in 93 minutes in the quarters. The Indian lost 3-0 in the semis to Willstrop, his good friend and former teammate in Pontefract.

 

Malaysia’s Ivan Yuen shocked sixth seed Alister Walker of Botswana 3-1 to reach the quarters before losing to Willstrop.

 

Commonwealth Games Squash, Scotstoun Sports Campus, Glasgow, Scotland

 

Men’s Final

[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [2] James Willstrop (ENG) 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5 (100m)

 

Bronze-medal playoff

[3] Peter Barker (ENG) bt [4] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6 (53m)

 

Semi-finals

[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [3] Peter Barker (ENG) 11-3, 13-11, 11-6 (63m)

[2] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [4] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 (49m)

 

Quarter-finals

[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [7] Chris Simpson (GGY) 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 (53m)

[3] Peter Barker (ENG) bt [5] Cameron Pilley (AUS) 11-8, 11-4, 11-5 (52m)

[4] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [12] Campbell Grayson (NZL) 8-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (93m)

[2] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [15] Ivan Yuen (MAS) 11-1, 11-7, 11-3 (29m)

 

Round of 16

[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [9] Alan Clyne (SCO) 11-4, 11-5, 11-8 (38m)

[7] Chris Simpson (GGY) bt [11] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 11-7 (85m)

[3] Peter Barker (ENG) bt [10] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 (52m)

[5] Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [16] Greg Lobban (SCO) 11-6, 11-4, 11-6 (51m)

[12] Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt Kelvin Ndhlovu (ZAM) 11-4, 11-6, 11-4 (35m)

[4] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [14] Steven Finitsis (AUS) 11-2, 11-5, 4-11, 6-11, 11-8 (86m)

[15] Ivan Yuen (MAS) bt [6] Alister Walker (BOT) 11-8, 9-11, 11-2, 11-8 (65m)

[2] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [13] Martin Knight (NZL) 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (31m)

 

 

Women’s Final

[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [2] Laura Massaro (ENG) 12-10, 11-2, 11-5 (44m)

 

Bronze-medal playoff

[3] Joelle King (NZL) bt [4] Alison Waters (ENG) 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (42m)

 

Semi-finals

[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [3] Joelle King (NZL) 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (39m)

[2] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [4] Alison Waters (ENG) 11-5, 12-14, 11-3, 11-8 (65m)

 

Quarter-finals

[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [8] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 11-9, 11-7, 5-11, 11-4 (56m)

[3] Joelle King (NZL) bt [7] Madeline Perry (NIR) 11-6, 11-4, 11-6 (42m)

[4] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [6] Dipika Pallikal (IND) 8-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-6 (44m)

[2] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [5] Low Wee Wern (MAS) 11-3, 11-2, 11-6 (35m)

 

Round of 16

[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [16] Megan Craig (NZL) 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 (26m)

[8] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [14] Samantha Cornett (CAN) 11-4, 11-5, 11-7 (34m)

[3] Joelle King (NZL) bt [12] Joshana Chinappa (IND) 11-3, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5 (48m)

[7] Madeline Perry (NIR) bt [10] Kasey Brown (AUS) 11-4, 10-12, 11-8, 11-5 (57m)

[6] Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt [15] Delia Arnold (MAS) 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 (40m)

[4] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [9] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 11-5, 2-11, 14-12, 11-9 (49m)

[5] Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt [13] Tesni Evans (WAL) 11-5, 11-7, 12-14, 11-9 (83m)

[2] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [11] Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 15-13 (39m)

 

Source: WSF (www.worldsquash.org); Editing by SportAsia

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