Willstrop ends long wait for gold as ‘everything clicks’ in final

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James Willstrop used one of the best performances of his career to end his long wait for Commonwealth gold by beating New Zealand’s Paul Coll 3-0 in the men’s singles final on the Gold Coast.

Willstrop twice had to settle for silver behind Nick Matthew in Delhi and Glasgow over the last eight years but the 34-year-old is at last on the top step.

If he has been waiting all his career to claim this title, Willstrop certainly looked like a man short on patience as he dispatched Coll in less than 50 minutes, winning 11-9 11-4 11-6.

“It just clicked,” he said. “It’s the stuff you dream of. You wake up and think if only. It’s one of the brilliant performances. In my career I’ve had maybe 25 where it’s just great and everything clicks.

“The hours of solo work I’ve put in on my own, it just clicks together and it’s incredible to make it happen on a big day like that. That’s one of my best.”

Sarah-Jane Perry had to settle for silver in the women’s final as New Zealander Joelle King triumphed 3-2 to take gold.

Perry battled back to 2-2 from 2-0 down in an often feisty match in which she clashed with the referee and crashed heavily into the side of the court, but could not stop King in the decisive game.

“I’d have taken a silver medal before I got here so I’m really pleased with that, but at the same time massively gutted after being so, so close,” Perry said.

“I was three points away from gold. That’s what I kept telling myself at the end. One game to make all this hard work you’ve been doing pay off.

“I kept pushing. I threw the kitchen sink at her and she just threw it back. Fair play to Joelle, she’s an amazing player and she deserved that.”

Earlier, Tesni Evans won Wales’ first Commonwealth squash medal in 20 years as she beat Malaysian great Nicol David for bronze in the same competition.

Evans battled her way to an impressive 3-1 win over David, who arrived on the Gold Coast as the two-time defending champion.

“I’m absolutely over the moon,” Evans said. “I’ve had a great week and to beat someone like Nicol for bronze, if you’d asked me 10 or five years ago, I never thought I’d be here playing an absolute legend and managing to beat her.”

However, Joel Makin was unable to match Evans in the men’s singles bronze medal match as Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan rallied from 2-1 down to win 3-2.

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