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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Nick Matthew marches into British Open quarter-finals

Alan Thatcherhttps://squashmad.com
Founder of World Squash Day, Squash Mad and the new Squash 200 Partnership, building clubs of the future. Founder of the Kent Open and co-promoter of the St. James's Place Canary Wharf Classic. Author and Public Speaker.

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Nick Matthew makes Gregoire Marche keep on the move
Nick Matthew makes Gregoire Marche keep on the move

Battling veteran Nick Matthew sees off younger, faster opponent Gregoire Marche to march into British Open quarter-finals

By Alan Thatcher, Squash Mad Editor

ENGLAND’S Nick Matthew powered through to the quarter-finals of the Allam British Open with a battling win over flying Frenchman Gregoire Marche in Hull.

Still playing his aggressive brand of squash against a mobile opponent, Matthew had to fight his way back into the match after losing the opening game. He finally triumphed 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 after 65 minutes and said: “That was tough.

“It’s hard playing someone five times faster than you. It’s a good job I’m five times more experienced!”

The Englishman had a slow start against the World No.26, going 7-1 down before losing the first game. With the support of the Yorkshire crowd, Matthew clawed his way back into the match, keeping the 34 year old on track for a fourth British Open title.

Matthew added: “I’m still not moving as well as I’d like, but the improvement in the last 48 hours in my ankle has been massive so I was a lot more confident. I’m just trying to enjoy it and remember what I do normally.

“I know it was always the right decision to play the tournament because I had nothing to lose. I’m fit enough to give it a go and then it just comes down to whether my squash is good enough and sharp enough because clearly I haven’t had the preparation I would have liked in terms of time on court.

“I guess England haven’t had the best British Open so far and I did think about that slightly, that if I did go by the wayside then it would be a bit of a shocker, so I did feel a bit of responsibility on my shoulders! I think that creeps in when you’re not quite match sharp but I’m hoping to get into that zone mentality in the next few days as I get more matches under my belt,” concluded the Englishman.

Nick Matthew is driving the ball with some power against Gregoire Marche
Nick Matthew is driving the ball with some power against Gregoire Marche

Matthew, a three-time British Open and world champion, meets another Frenchman, Mathieu Castagnet, who won 3-0 against Marwan Elshorbagy, younger brother of Egyptian top seed Mohamed.

unnamedSurrey’s Tom Richards, the only other Englishman in the draw, faces No.2 seed Gregory Gaultier tonight (Thursday). He has yet to take a game off the French maestro in eight matches.

Another talented Egyptian bit the dust as shot-maker Fares Dessouki lost to Germany’s No.7 seed Simon Rosner, who won 11-9, 11-4, 12-14, 13-11 in a classic contrast in styles lasting 91 minutes.

Rosner (left in the picture) commented: “It was very tough and very intense as well, it was going back and forth with a few referee decisions as well but that’s just part of the game.

“We both wanted to win so badly because it would mean a place in the quarter finals of the British Open, I’m very lucky and happy to be through.”

Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com) 

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