England’s world No2 Nick Matthew added a new trophy to his already extensive collection when he beat defending champion Gregory Gaultier, the world No1 from France, in the final of the KPMG Grand Slam Cup – the unique “One Night Only” squash event staged on a stunning ASB ShowGlassCourt at the iconic The Squaire in Frankfurt, Germany.
The KPMG Grand Slam Cup, launched last year, featured five of the world’s top players – four of whom have topped the world rankings. Matches were played in an innovative best-of-three-games “Shootout” format – with the third game, if required, played to 1 or 3 points.
German number one Simon Rösner took home interest into the semi-finals when the world No12 beat event newcomer Amr Shabana, the four-time world champion from Egypt, 11-10, 11-8 in the opening quarter-final play-off.
Matthew claimed his place in the final after seeing off Egyptian rival Ramy Ashour, the world No4, 11-7, 11-9. In the other semi, 2013 champion Gaultier disappointed the partisan crowd with an 11-8, 8-11, 1-0 victory over Rösner – the Frenchman quickly justifying his single-point shootout choice when an early crosscourt shot went into the side-wall nick!
The final truly went the full distance – world champion Matthew taking the opener before the Frenchman fought back in the second to force a decider. As winner of the first game, the Englishman chose ‘first to three points’ as the format for the third – and soon saw his decision rewarded when Gaultier won the opening rally.
Gaultier took the second for match-ball – but Matthew battled on to save two before contesting the final double-match-ball-point and ultimately clinching the title 11-4, 3-11, 3-2!
Live coverage of the action was streamed worldwide by SquashTV, presented by ROWE Motoroil.