Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Nick Matthew’s huge fightback to beat Marwan Elshorbagy

Nick Matthew and Marwan Elshorbagy in action at Grand Central Terminal
Nick Matthew and Marwan Elshorbagy in action at Grand Central Terminal

The Wolf rolls back the years to keep Marwan at bay


World No.3 Nick Matthew had to call on all 18 years of his vast experience to recover from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Egypt’s Marwan Elshorbagy in the Men’s event.

The result keeps alive Matthew’s hopes of adding to the title he last won in 2012. But he had to dig deep to survive a tremendous performance from the Egyptian.

An irresistible display from Elshorbagy in the first half of the match looked poised to hand the 22-year-old his first victory over the Englishman but ‘The Wolf’ roared back with a performance that embodied the mental resilience that has personified his career, taking the match 10-12, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6 to move on to the semi-final where he will meet long-term adversary Gregory Gaultier.

“Credit to Marwan, I felt really good in the first game and felt like I was playing well,” said Matthew.

“I put together some really good stuff and all of a sudden I found myself 2-0 down and it shows you in any sport, but especially in this one, how quickly things can go away from you. I really had to regroup. I’ve not won from 2-0 down for a good while.”

Gregory Gaultier celebrates victory over Simon Rosner
Gregory Gaultier celebrates victory over Simon Rosner


In the semi-finals, Matthew will meet European rival Gaultier, who came through another ferocious battle against Germany’s Simon Rosner. Gaultier won 3-1, taking the third and fourth games 14-12 and 12-10 as Rosner refused to lie down. The match took 78 minutes, three minutes shorter than Matthew’s five-game heroics.

Mathieu Castagnet’s win over Borja Golan had already placed one Frenchman in the semi-finals, where he will face top seed Mohamed Elshorbagy, who must have been proud of his younger brother’s performance under the Vanderbilt Hall chandeliers.

J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, Grand Central Terminal, New York, USA.

Men’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half):

[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [6] Simon Rösner (GER) 3-1: 11-8, 9-11, 14-12, 12-10 (78m)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [8] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 10-12, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6 (81m)

Men’s Semi-Finals:
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v [7] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [2] Nick Matthew (ENG)

Picture by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com) courtesy of PSA


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