Gaultier edges closer to world title age mark

Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


Gregory Gaultier said his hopes of becoming the oldest man to win the squash world title may have been boosted more by his wife giving birth than his quarter-final victory on Thursday.

The 2015 champion's 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 win over eighth-seeded New Zealander Paul Coll takes him to the semi-finals and two wins away from becoming the oldest champion in history.

"I was a bit tense, it was a big relief," said Gaultier, referring to the arrival of his second son Liam, rather than to his success over Coll.

"I only had three hours sleep but now I am happy, and when I am happy I usually play well," added the Frenchman, who will turn 35 six days after Saturday's final.

Gaultier briefly trailed 3-0 in the second game, but had too much control and disguise for Coll, who was the first New Zealander to reach the world quarter finals in 26 years.

This enabled Gaultier to spend much of the match on the central T position, moving the ball accurately around and making Coll cover more ground.

The only difficulty he had was when he had to leave the court because there was something in his eye.

After the comprehensive win, he was applauded both for the quality of his game and his baby news.

Earlier, the other top seed Nour El Sherbini maintained her bid to win the world title for the third straight time by beating Egyptian compatriot Nouran Gohar 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 to reach the semis.

Gohar appeared to become upset by a "no let" refereeing decision at 7-7 in the first game after which her performance deteriorated, crucially costing her the next four points.

"I'm not wanting to say something bad, but she's quite often like that,? said El Sherbini afterwards.