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Matthew reclaims World Squash Championship

ESPN staff
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Nick Matthew saw off a spirited rally from Gregory Gaultier to prevail in five games © PA Photos
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England's Nick Matthew claimed his third World Squash Championship title in four years with a five-game victory over Gregory Gaultier.

The 33-year-old saw a two-game lead wiped out by the French second seed but Matthew rallied to with an emphatic win in the fifth for a 11-9 11-9 11-13 7-11 11-2 victory in front of a home crowd at the National Squash Centre.

"It was tough, it was such a mental battle," Matthew said. "What people don't see is that mental torment, that mental chess. There's no space to breathe, to move. It's such a mental battle. I need a month off after that.

"I could gladly retire tomorrow - I won't, but I could."

The match was finely balanced from the off, with Gauthier - considered the man to beat as his form in Manchester suggested his record as a three-time runner-up was set to come to an end - opening up a 9-6 lead in the opening game.

But Matthew hit back with the next five points, repeating the feat in the second where he rallied from 7-4 down to move within a game of the title. Both games were sealed after the Englishman was awarded a stroke after interference from the Frenchman.

Gauthier saved a match point in the third with a superb winner and rode the momentum into the fourth, a 14-minute epic. But the comeback had clearly taken its toll on the 30-year-old, who was struggling with cramp as Matthew ran away with the decider.

"The fourth game went like a blur really," Matthew said. "I was having nightmares there for a moment. It took a lot of mental strength to come back and start the fifth game well."

Gaultier congratulated Matthew before hinting that the tournament organisers had cost him a fair shot at victory.

"Nick played well, he did his job," said the Frenchman. "I played better in the third and fourth games but at the end of the fourth I started to feel cramp in my thigh, and in the fifth I just could not move because of the cramp.

"Of course the schedule plays a role. My schedule was the worst the whole week, all the last matches. He played all the first matches, had much longer recovery.

"When you finish like 11pm every night and you can't go to sleep before 3am after food and recovery, at the end of the week it will take its toll."

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