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.
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.
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)