16 March 2013
By ALAN THATCHER
England’s two-time world champion Nick Matthew is aiming to make up for a shock defeat last week in Kuwait by storming to a fourth consecutive title in the Canary Wharf Classic next week in London.
The PSA World Tour International 50 squash event takes place at the East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf from 18-22 March following two days of qualifying which gets underway today at Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club in London.
Matthew, the 32-year-old world No2, crashed out in straight games to England team-mate Daryl Selby in the Kuwait PSA Cup third round and complained of feeling flat.
However, he blamed only himself for the loss, saying: “I have played a lot of squash in the past few weeks, probably more than any of the other guys. But I can’t blame anybody other than myself because I make my own schedule.
“I just want to make one more big push at Canary Wharf. I want to do well there, then take a rest and get ready for the British Open in May.
“I made more errors in the match with Daryl than I have over the rest of the year but I don’t want to take anything away from him.”
Matthew faces the athletic Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the first round on Tuesday as the South American makes his Canary Wharf debut.
The 27-year-old Rodriguez said: “I want to put on a good show in London because I hear the crowd is fantastic and they love their squash.
“I had a great game with Nick last year at the North American Open and am looking forward to playing him again.”
Selby, who lost in the Kuwait quarter-finals to the Canary Wharf No3 seed, Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy, is always guaranteed solid Essex support in the tournament.
He was delighted by his progress in Kuwait and said: “Nick is truly a class act. To call his own shot down at 9-6 in the third game, to give me match ball, shows his integrity.”
Selby meets German number one Simon Rosner in the clash of the day on Monday at Canary Wharf. With Selby at 15 in the Dunlop PSA world rankings and Rosner one place below, a fierce battle is guaranteed.
Another intense contest is assured between two southern African rivals, the world No14 Alister Walker, from Botswana, who won the recent All Africa Championship, and South Africa’s number one Stephen Coppinger, who is ranked 20 in the world.
England’s world No2 James Willstrop will hope to avoid jetlag after flying home from Thursday’s Kuwait final, where he lost 3/1 to the all-conquering Egyptian Ramy Ashour, who completed a seventh consecutive tournament triumph to extend his unbeaten run to 36 matches.
Willstrop meets London-based wild card Charles Sharpes, who will be aiming to spring a giant-killing surprise victory.
Sharpes said: “I played James two years ago after winning through from the qualifying competition. I have learnt a lot since then and hope to out on a good show on the glass court.
“You know that any loose play will be punished by the top players and I have been working hard in training to peak for this tournament.”
Fellow Londoners Tom Richards, the world No12, and Adrian Grant, ranked five places behind him, both meet qualifiers in the first round.
Number four seed Peter Barker is expected to play despite withdrawing because of a knee injury in his quarter-final against Gregory Gaultier in Kuwait.
Canary Wharf Classic, first round draw:
Monday March 18 (bottom half of the draw):
(3) Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) v Qualifier
Adrian Grant (Eng) v Qualifier
Daryl Selby (Eng) v Simon Rosner (Ger)
(2) James Willstrop (Eng) v Charles Sharpes (Eng)
Tuesday March 19 (top half):
(1) Nick Matthew (Eng) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col)
Alister Walker (Bot) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
Tom Richards (Eng) v Qualifier
(4) Peter Barker (Eng) v Qualifier
Tournament website: www.canarywharfsquash.com
For all the latest Tour news: www.psaworldtour.com