Matthew looking to repeat Windy City Open title feat 10 years on
World number one Nick Matthew will be hoping to rekindle some fond memories at the Windy City Open in Chicago this week – a decade after he won just his fourth PSA Tour title at the new $115,000 World Tour Series event.
Matthew, whose victory at the Swedish Open last week boosted his overall title haul to 28, last competed in Chicago eight years ago when he lost to fellow Englishman James Willstrop in the last eight (pictured below, right).
But with the event back on the calendar again after a seven year absence, Matthew will be hoping to endorse his billing as the top seed and to further strengthen his hold on top spot in the world rankings.
“Any World Series event is one that you want to win and it’s great to have a new event join the World Series calendar,” said the 33-year-old from Sheffield.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been to Chicago but it’s a great city and there’s always a great vibe there and the university is a real grand old club.
“The glass court, which is in the Cathedral hall, is one that always looks great on photos and has really good acoustics with an enjoyable atmosphere so it’s good to be going back.
“I won there back in 2004 playing against Greg Gaultier and that was a good experience for me and I’ve got lots of friends in the city who I’m looking forward to seeing as well.”
Nick warmed up for the tournament with an exhibition match against two local players dressed as Batman and Robin. The fun evening was set up by his old friend Aidan Harrison, who is now coaching in Illinois.
Qualifying for the tournament, held at the University Club of Chicago, begins on Monday, with Matthew scheduled to open his campaign in the first round on Wednesday.
Like Matthew, second seed Gaultier faces a qualifier in the last 32, while Egyptian sixth seed Karim Darwish and Spanish number one Borja Golan face tricky tests against the unpredictable duo of Tarek Momen and Miguel Angel Rodriguez respectively.
In the first round of qualifying, world number 22 Chris Simpson has received a bye but could meet Mexican Cesar Salazar in the following round.
Scottish number one Alan Clyne will need to negotiate past Australian Steven Finitsis while in perhaps the pick of the matches, Oregon Open runner-up Omar Abdel Meguid faces Canadian Shawn Delierre.
Elsewhere, New Zealander Campbell Grayson plays home favourite Christopher Gordon, world number 29 Adrian Waller meets Martin Knight and Hong Kong number one Max Lee squares off against Mohd Ali Anwar Reda of Egypt.
First Round Draw:
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Qualifier
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) v Qualifier
Alister Walker (BOT) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
 Peter Barker (ENG) v Adrian Grant (ENG)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Qualifier
Amr Shabana (EGY) v Qualifier
Tom Richards (ENG) v Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Qualifier
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [WC] Peter Creed (WAL)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) v Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Borja Golan (ESP) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Simon Rosner (GER) v Qualifier
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Qualifier
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Qualifier
First Qualifying Round Draw:
Chris Simpson (ENG)v Bye
Cesar Salazar (MEX) v Yoni Ellous (NED)
Julian Illingworth (USA) v Todd Harrity (USA)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Shahier Razik (CAN)
Max Lee (HKG) v Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY)
Joe Lee (ENG) v Philip Demeulenaere (USA)
Alan Clyne (SCO) v Steven Finitsis (AUS)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) v Shawn Delierre (CAN)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v Jack Herold (USA)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) v Sam McCartney (USA)
Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry (EGY) v Eddie Charlton (ENG)
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) v Matthew Karwalski (AUS)
Henrik Mustonen (FIN) v Shahjahan Khan (PAK)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) v Christopher Gordon (USA)
Leo Au (HKG) v Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS)
Adrian Waller (ENG) v Martin Knight (NZL)
Pictures by Michael Catling and Deb Tessier