2012 promises to be one heck of a year for rivalry between two Englishmen currently topping the squash world rankings.
James Willstrop and Nick Matthew, won their respective places in the final of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in Grand Central Station, New York on Wednesday evening. The clash sets up the first showdown between the pair since Willstrop dethroned Matthew at the top of the world rankings at the beginning of the January.
Whilst the two Englishmen in New York are national team mates, the personal rivalry between the pair is further fueled by the fact that both men hail from Yorkshire with Sheffield based Matthew and Leeds born Willstrop both striving for the unified title of World, British and Yorkshire number one!
Willstrop easily defeated another Englishman Daryl Selby, 11-2,11-3,11-3 in a stunning semi-final performance. Selby has never beaten Willstrop and therefore the expectation was that Willstrop would certainly move past his unseeded opponent into the finals. The brevity of the match however, was still a little bit surprising.
The battle between Matthew and Willstrop at the Tournament of Champions is merely the hors d’eouvre for a mouth watering few months for squash fans. In less than a fortnight the National Championships in Manchester bring Willstrop and Matthew together again, whilst all roads lead to London in May for the renewal of the Allam British Open Squash Championships, O2 Piazza 14-20 May, arguably the most important title in the calendar for these two professionals.