Matthew claims a tenth as Evans takes one for Wales
The 2018 Dunlop British National Squash Champions are Nick Matthew – claiming a tenth title as he beat long-time rival James Willstrop in four games – and Tesni Evans, who became the first ever Welsh winner as she despatched four-time champion Alison waters in straight games.
[3/4] Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-0 [3/4] Alison Waters (Eng) 11-5, 11-9, 11-7 (43m)
 Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-1  James Willstrop (Eng) 11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6 (69m)
Matthew makes it ten
Playing in possibly his last Nationals, Nick Matthew won the title for the 7th time in a row and the 10th overall – a new record, of course – as he beat James Willstrop for the eighth time in the Nationals.
Matthew started strongly, opening up a 5-1 lead in the first game, and although Willstrop closed the lead down it was Matthew who took the game 11-7.
After an even opening to the third, it was Willstrop who moved ahead, from 5-all to 9-5, and this time he did convert, pulling a game back 11-8.
But Matthew wasn’t going to be denied tonight – Willstrop commented afterwards that he enjoyed the squash, not so much the other stuff, while Matthew admitted he could be quite nasty on court – and he forged ahead in the fourth to claim the title 11-6 on his first match ball, simultaneously dropping his racket and raising ten fingers in the air.
“I had three goals this year, one of them was to win the World Championships, and the second was to try and get a tenth National title. I’m really happy to take this one, the Commonwealth Games is my third target.
“As James said I am a pretty horrible person on the court, but James is pretty tough on there as well you know. We are both tough and that is why we have had such a good rivalry over the years.”
It’s Tesni the first
Evans was in irresistible form, opening up a 10-3 lead in the first before taking the lead 11-5, then going 6-0 and 8-3 up in the second.
Waters looked to be starting a comeback as she went 3-1 and 4-2 up in the third, but Evans wasn’t to be denied, chasing, hustling, and winning the points as she came back to lead 7-4, then 10-6 and converted her first match ball, completing a cull of three former champions in the final three rounds, all in straight games.
“I tried to say I was going into the match not feeling any pressure, but I did, I was very nervous,” she admitted.
“But I’m proud with how I played the match, and even prouder to become the first ever Welsh winner of the British Nationals!”
Preview & Stats
A Waters’ win, in this a record 10th women’s final, would bring her a 5th title to add to her victories in ’08, ’10, ’13 and ’14.
For Evans this is a first final, and a win would mean a first-ever Welsh champion, man or woman.
The H2H reads 7-3 to Waters, including just 3 PSA meetings and numerous team and league matches. On recent form Evans has won 3 of the last 4, and in the most recent two Waters took the ’17 Nationals Quarter 3-2, while Evans triumphed 3-0 in last year’s Hong Kong Open.
Bet365 has Evans as the favourite, 2/5 compared to Waters’ 7/4.
The men’s final will be contested by two players appearing in their 19th and 20th Nationals.
Between them they’ve contested 5 finals with Matthew running out the winner each time (’16, ’14, ’13, 12, and ’10). Matthew also won their semi of ’09 and the R2 meeting of ’02. So that’s 7-0 in the Nationals.
Their overall H2H is ridiculously long, with Matthew ahead 48-13 in matches going back to the British Open of ’01 . He enjoyed a decade-long unbeaten run in 19 PSA events from ’07 to ’17, including finals of the World Open, World Games, Commonwealth Games (twice), British Open, PSA Masters, ToC, Canary Wharf (twice), British Grand Prix (twice) and the Swedish Open.
After Willstrop’s win in the English Open final of ’07 his next PSA win came in the ToC in ’17, since when Matthew has won two PSL matches and in this year’s ToC.
On Bet365 you can get 4/1 on a Willstrop win, Matthew is 1/7 on.
Stats gleaned from SquashInfo.com