Peter Barker's breakthrough run at British Open ends in semi-finals
Peter Barker admitted he had no complaints after his breakthrough run at the British Open ended in a straight-sets semi-final defeat by Nick Matthew
Peter Barker admitted he had no complaints after his breakthrough run at the British Open ended in a straight-sets semi-final defeat by Nick Matthew.
Barker, from Limehouse, had illuminated the tournament at the National Squash Centre in Manchester on Saturday with an upset victory over world No2 and former champion Gregory Gaultier in the last eight.
His shock 76-minute win - Barker had never previously won a game off the Frenchman on tour - also sent three Englishmen into the semi-finals for the first time in the professional era.
But Barker failed to match his quarter-final form in Sunday's last-four clash, as England No1 Matthew prevailed 11-6 11-5 11-6 to set up a final showdown with Canary Wharf Classic finalist James Willstrop.
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Matthew, who shared a hotel room with Barker during the tournament, had not dropped a game all week and produced another impressive display that Barker proved unable to match.
"That's the best he's ever played against me. And when you get beaten by a better player, it's somewhat easier to take," Barker said afterwards.
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"I did everything to win, but it wasn't good enough. I can't argue with the result."
Barker, 26, had earlier revealed that a new summer fitness regime was responsible for his improved showing against Gaultier in the tense five-set quarter-final marathon.
The 11-7 7-11 11-3 7-11 11-8 triumph gave Barker one of his biggest scalps and has raised hopes that he can challenge for a place in the world's top five this year.
Barker said: "I've been training really hard over the summer - endless bikes and swims for up to three sessions a day.
"Greg is a class act. But I needed to get myself fitter so that I could deal with his pace.
"I've had a terrible record against Greg, so I'm over the moon to have beaten him - especially at the Open.