Gaultier & Willstrop impress in Delhi

Frenchman Gregory Gaultier reached his third major final of 2011 as he turned in a consummate performance in the first semi-final of the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters in Delhi, ending the run of young Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy.

Shorbagy, who reached his second successive World Series semi-final with victory over compatriot Karim Darwish – who had beaten him in that match in Kuwait – competed well in a first game that went point for point, but it was Gaultier who took the game on extra points.

The Frenchman was in control for the rest of the match, taking a good lead before closing out the second, and going 10-0 up in the third. Shorbagy raised his hands in relief as he took his first point of the game, but it was to be his last as Gaultier finished off the match in style.

In the final he’ll meet James Willstrop, the in-form Englishman who has won the last two World Series events, in Hong Kong and Kuwait, and would become world number one should he make it a hat-trick of titles here.

Willstrop faced compatriot Peter Barker for the sixth time this year, and the tall Yorkshireman made it five wins in a row as he took control from the outset and never let an opponent who didn’t appear to be at his best get a look in.

So in the final, Gaultier and Willstrop will meet for the sixth time in 2011. The Frenchman won the first three, in Australia, Qatar and Rotterdam, but Willstrop was the victor in Hong Kong and Kuwait – there was a lot at stake in those matches of course, but certainly from Willstrop’s point of view tomorrow could be described as ‘the big one’ …

[4] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bt [6] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)  12/10, 11/7, 11/1

[3] James Willstrop (Eng) bt [5] Peter Barker (Eng)  11/4, 11/3, 11/4

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