World champion Nick Matthew happy to be under the radar as he faces Shabana showdown
By NATHAN CLARKE (PSA Correspondent)
Four-time World Champion Amr Shabana eased into the semi-finals of the 2014 Delaware Investments US Open courtesy of a comfortable 3-0 victory over compatriot Omar Mosaad at Philadelphia’s Drexel University earlier today.
The two-time US Open champion took just 36-minutes to see off Mosaad, nine years his junior at 26-years-old, in a standout performance that saw the ‘Maestro’ produce some dazzling skills whilst displaying his impressive physical prowess.
Shabana will now take on current World Champion Nick Matthew, whom he beat at the quarter-final stage of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champion in New York in January, for a place in the final on Saturday.
“I was fortunate in that I played my best today and Omar was a little off his game as he usually gives me a pretty tough battle,” said Shabana.
“But I’ll take it to get to the semi-finals and I’m happy to be through.
“Nick is an unbelievable athlete and I will have to give it my all against him in tomorrow’s semi-final. I will need to be at my best to be able to compete with him but I hope I can do that and put on a great show for the fans.”
Victory in that match-up against Matthew could see Shabana, who held the number one ranking slot for 33-months from 2006 – 2009, deny the Englishman the chance of regaining the No.1 ranking he last held in March as he enters a three-way battle with current incumbent Gregory Gaultier and World No.2 Mohamed Elshorbagy to top the chart in November.
Matthew (right), who booked his semi-final place following a 3-0 win over Fares Dessouki, has to win the tournament in order to have any chance of returning to No.1 but he says his eyes are not fixed on the rankings table.
“All the talk about rankings has been about Mohamed and Greg and I’m happy to fly under the radar at the moment,” he said.
“A lot has been said about those two and rightly so, they are the best two players around at the moment and everyone else is trying to get up to their level but there’s a lot of good squash to be played in the bottom half of the draw as well and it’s always a great game against Shabana.
“This is my first tournament back after a long summer break after the Commonwealth Games so I’m taking the pressure off and just enjoying playing my squash.”
2014 Delaware Investments US Open: Quarter-finals, Bottom Half.
 Amr Shabana (EGY) bt  Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-8, 11-8 [36m]  Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Fares Dessouki (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-6 [35m]
Semi-final Draw [Friday October 17]:
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v  Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY)
 Amr Shabana (EGY) v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
Pictures courtesy of PSA and US Open Squash