PETER BARKER is England's newest international - having firmly established himselfwithin the country's top three, alongside Nick Matthew and James Willstrop, theplayer he battled alongside throughout his successful junior international career.
Steady progress on the PSA World Tour since going full-time in 2002 has led to the 25-year-old left-hander from Essex collecting a total of 13 Tour titles from 18 finalappearances. An unexpected quarter-final appearance in last year's QatarClassic saw Barker achieve a career-high world ranking of nine in December.
In a highly successful junior career, Barker was a British, European and WorldJunior Open runner-up. It was during the two months before he reached the finalof the World Junior Championships in India in December 2002 that he won hisfirst three PSA World Tour titles - firstly the Saskatoon Boast Open in Canada, then – asa qualifier - the Financially Plumb Open, also in Canada, and finally the TechValley Open in the USA!
In August 2005, Barker began an impressive sequence of title triumphs inColombia, winning the Colombian Open as second seed - and a year laterretaining his title. Back in Bogotá again in 2007, Barker clinched his hat-trick,after beating Spaniard Borja Golan in the final.
In his opening Tour event of 2008, Barker reached the final of the Case SwedishOpen in Linkoping after beating Alex Gough and Olli Tuominen in the previousrounds. But it was career-long rival James Willstrop that he faced in the climax,where he battled for 38 minutes before going down in straight games.
However, the achievement gave Barker his long-awaited breakthrough into theworld's top ten rankings in March.
In May, shortly after making London his home city, Barker reached the British Open quarter-finals for the second year in a row after a marathon 83-minute five game victory over England team-mate Lee Beachill in the last sixteen round.
He went on to win two Tour titles in the USA against expectations in September – firstly the Chicago Open after beating event favourite David Palmer in the final, then, just two weeks later, the Merritt Properties Open in Baltimore, again despatching the top-seeded Australian in the final.
Barker's consistency paid off in 2009 when he reached the final of the Bluenose Classic in Canada, this time losing out to Palmer.
And, in March, he cruised through to the final of the KL Open in Malaysia – his 18th on the Tour – where he beat England team-mate and fellow left-handed Londoner Adrian Grant to celebrate the 13th title of his career.
It was in December 2007 that Barker made his World Team Championship debut. He took centre stage in the final against Australia when he beat Cameron Pilley in the deciding match to keep the title in England's hands.