England’s top seed Nick Matthew won his first ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic title by overpowering Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in the final of the $52,500 PSA World Tour event at East Wintergarden in London.
The 69-minute victory crowned a magnificent week for the 29-year-old world No2 from Sheffield, who was kept on court for more than two hours in his semi-final battle with fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop the previous evening.
Matthew showed few signs of fatigue following one of the most epic battles in squash history and it was Gaultier who blamed tiredness for letting slip a 6-2 lead in the third game.
The Frenchman was still ahead at 9-6 but was unable to convert that lead as Matthew forced the second tie-break of the match, finally clinching it 13-11 after the 27-year-old from Aix-en-Provence held game ball at 11-10.
Matthew then ran out an easy winner in the final game as Gaultier’s challenge wilted.
Earlier, Matthew had won the crucial opening game 12-10, despite Gaultier holding game ball at 10-9.
The Frenchman, who topped the world rankings in November, responded in stunning style, racing to a 5-0 lead and winning the game comfortably by a five-point margin.
Gaultier continued the attack in the third game but was unable to maintain his control as Matthew mounted a phenomenal physical response to clinch the title 12-10, 6-11, 13-11, 11-3 and continue his quest for the world No1 slot.
“It’s a bit of a miracle I pitched up today,” said a jubilant Matthew after his third successive PSA Tour title success this year and his 13th undefeated match in a row. “Lots of thanks to Sylvan (Richardson) – a 20-minute session today turned into two hours as he found one sore point, then another, then another and fixed them all up!
“I got a bit lucky today – Greg could easily have won 3/0 but I won some big points at the crucial stages.
“If there’s two tie-breaks in a match, you sort of expect them to go one each. I was feeling and playing better at the end and it may have been preying on his mind that he could have won 3/0,” concluded Matthew, who now has 13 PSA World Tour titles to his name.
The dejected runner-up was full of praise for Matthew: “Congratulations to Nick, I was a bit unlucky to miss out on game balls in the first and third, but he stuck in well – and he’s big too!” Gaultier said.
“I’m happy to be almost back to my best after some good training and I’m enjoying playing now.
“I hope Nick gets to number one soon, before I get back up there!”
In the earlier Legends of Squash Tour match, Simon Parke beat former England team-mate Peter Nicol, promoter of the Canary Wharf Classic, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7.
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt  Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 12-10, 6-11, 13-11, 11-3 (69m)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt  James Willstrop (ENG) 11-7, 5-11, 18-20, 11-8, 10-8 ret. (127m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt  Peter Barker (ENG) 11-7, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7 (63m)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt  Thierry Lincou (FRA) 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 (42m)
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt  Daryl Selby (ENG) 9-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-8 (61m)
 Peter Barker (ENG) bt  Alister Walker (ENG) 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 (55m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt  David Palmer (AUS) 11-3, 6-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-6 (81m)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [Q] Chris Ryder (ENG) 11-3, 11-6, 11-3 (34m)
 Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt [Q] Simon Rosner (GER) 11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 11-3 (40m)
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 (40m)
 Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Tarek Momen (EGY) 7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4, 11-7 (54m)
 Alister Walker (ENG) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 11-3, 6-11, 12-10, 11-4 (47m)
 Peter Barker (ENG) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 11-5, 11-6, 11-7 (37m)
 David Palmer (AUS) bt [Q] Davide Bianchetti (ITA) 11-2, 7-11, 12-10, 11-5 (61m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 11-7, 11-3, 11-2 (30m)