ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic:
Matthew lands revenge clash with Selby
By ALAN THATCHER
World champion Nick Matthew has an early opportunity to gain revenge over Daryl Selby following his shock defeat in the final of the British National Championship.
The two English stars have been drawn to meet each other in the quarter-finals of the forthcoming ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic, a PSA World Tour event which takes place from March 21-25.
World No.10 Selby produced the best performance of his career to beat top seed Matthew in Manchester on Sunday and said: “I hope this provides the catalyst for me to rise even higher.”
It was a rare defeat for world No.1 Matthew, who sportingly conceded: “Daryl didn’t give me anything. He played almost error-free squash and deserved to win.”
Selby, a 26-year-old from Witham, Essex, triumphed 3-2 after 84 minutes of physically draining combat and added: “I feel I played really well, but I had to against the world number one.
“I knew I had a chance but I had to raise my game to his level. In fact, I feel I played a phenomenal match. I’m 10 in the world and results like this show that I can go higher.”
Selby was delighted to add his name to an illustrious list of British champions and adding the Canary Wharf title to his career tally would be another enormous achievement.
However, he has to battle his way through a difficult first round match against fellow Englishman Tom Richards, who also enjoyed a successful week in Manchester.
Richards, from Guildford, reached the semi-finals for the first time before bowing out to Matthew, who is seeded to meet his great Yorkshire rival James Willstrop in the Canary Wharf final.
Their showdown in last year’s semi-final has been rated as one of the greatest squash matches in the history of the sport, with Matthew triumphing after two hours and ten minutes of brutal, high-quality competition.
Matthew went on to win the ISS title for the first time, beating French ace Gregory Gaultier in the final, and that victory helped to propel him to the top of the PSA world rankings. He became world number one for the first time on June 1 during a year when he dominated the international tournament scene.
Matthew and Willstrop met in many important finals and semi-finals, including the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and the World Open final in Saudi Arabia, with Matthew triumphant on every occasion.
Tournament director Tim Garner said: “It promises to be another massive showdown if these two can reach the final again, but there will be plenty of players trying to stop them get there.
“Their semi-final last year was an astonishing match with both players in top form and going absolutely flat out. They literally played themselves to a standstill. James ended up being treated for cramp as Nick went to match ball and he needed two hours with the physio before being able to front up for the final the following night.”
Matthew has continued his fine form into 2011, reaching the final of the Tournament of Champions at New York’s Grand Central Station and winning the Swedish Open for a second year running before missing out on the chance of a fourth National title on Sunday.
Willstrop is the most successful player in the history of the Canary Wharf tournament, winning the final in 2004, 2007, 2008 and finishing runner-up to Australia’s David Palmer in 2009.
The third seed is Gaultier, who is returning to London determined to follow Matthew’s example and win the tournament for the first time. English players Peter Barker and Essex team-mate Selby are the third and fourth seeds, followed by Australian Stewart Boswell, Finland number one Olli Tuominen and Spanish number one Borja Golan.
Germany’s leading player Simon Rosner, plus England’sTom Richards, Chris Ryder and wild card Joe Lee, make up the 12 competitors in the first round. They will be joined by four rising stars from the qualifying competition which takes place at Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club on March 19-20 ahead of the main draw action on the glass court at the East Wintergarden venue at Canary Wharf.
Tickets are selling out fast and Garner added: “Last year’s attendances were simply phenomenal. We sold out every ticket on every day of the tournament and so we are urging spectators to book early again to avoid disappointment.”
The fabulous East Wintergarden venue offers superb opportunities for corporate hospitality, with the gallery restaurant offering “the best view of squash anywhere in the world” according to Garner.
Tournament Title Sponsor: ISS Facility Services, London Division
Host Sponsor: Canary Wharf Group plc
The ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic at the East Wintergarden is jointly promoted by Eventis Sports Marketing and SquashUK.
Tournament Dates: March 21-25, 2011
Venue: East Wintergarden, Bank Street, Canary Wharf, E14
Corporate Hospitality: Superb packages are available, enabling spectators to wine, dine and watch all the gripping squash action from the Gallery restaurant within the East Wintergarden.
Full details from Tim Garner at Eventis Sports Marketing
Telephone: 07973 817468. Email: [email protected]rts.com