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Barker out after semi-final defeat

By Brentwood Gazette  |  Posted: May 24, 2012

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SHENFIELD squash star Peter Barker lost out in the semi-final of the Allam British Open on Saturday to the eventual winner Nick Matthew.

Having shocked world number three Gregory Gaultier in an epic quarter-final the night before a tired Barker, 28, ran out of steam in his last four encounter.

"It was a good week now I've had a chance to reflect," he said.

"I don't think I have trained harder for a competition in my life so to get the reward of beating Gaultier in the quarter-finals was great.

"I think the match took its toll emotionally and was a little flat in the semis versus a tactically sharp Nick Matthew.

"It was a good way to finish the season though at a career high of world number six.

"I feel I have a great platform now to crack the top five."

It was always going to be a tough task for Barker at the O2 Arena, particularly when you consider he's lost 20 of his last 21 meetings against Matthew – his 11pm finish the night before certainly didn't help.

Matthew, the new world number one, blew Barker away in straight games with a dominant display in both volley drops and physical brutality, eventually winning 11/5, 11/8, 11/6.

The real triumph for Barker though had come the night before against Gaultier, the talented Frenchman.

It was a long an tense match with Barker coming from 2/1 down to beat the second seed and ensure an English men's finalist.

Matthew went on to defeat Ramy Ashour 3-0 to claim his third British Open title.

In the first round of the tournament Ashour had dispensed Brentwood's Daryl Selby.

Selby, ranked world number nine, just missed out on a seeding and was left with the unenviable task of facing the World number four.

Despite a spirited challenge, including winning the first game, Selby struggled to handle the mercurial Egyptian.

Selby led the fourth, and had several game balls before Ashour finally took it 16/14 with a nick at the back of the court which only added to his frustration.

He said: "It was an unfortunate draw really. I would have felt that I'd have had a massive chance against anyone else and I've spoken to a lot of people who thought the match should have been a semi-final and not a first round match given the quality of squash.

"It was a really, really close match and if I could have won the fourth game then anything could have happened."

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