Matthew and Massaro march on but Coleman falls to Fallows
By DONNA HELMER
The 2018 Dunlop National Squash Championship swung into action on Thursday with top seeds Nick Matthew and Laura Massaro commencing their title defence.
Nine-time champion Nick Matthew showed no signs of nerves dispatching qualifier Patrick Rooney in an intense three-game match 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (46m).
However, the three-time world champion was made to work hard for his quarter-final berth thanks to a sublime effort from his 20-year-old opponent.
In a case of master versus apprentice, Rooney looked unfazed by the challenge of Matthew, pushing for victory in the first before the experienced Matthew battled to an 11-7 lead.
The four-time Commonwealth medallist upped the ante in the second, claiming an 11-5 win before Rooney went out all guns blazing in the third.
After falling to 4-1, the 20-year-old battled back impressively taking Matthew to 9-9 before the top seed charged to victory.
Speaking after the match, Matthew praised his opponent for the tough first round fixture: “It’s good when they play like that and I don’t feel like we have seen enough of it from all of the guys.
“I played Pat two or three years ago and I thought out of all the young English players he had the most about him.”
Second seed James Willstrop meanwhile also progressed through to the second round after a comfortable victory over a battling Lyell Fuller.
In a highly competitive first game, Willstrop saw his 22-year-old opponent go level at 6-6 from a lunge-busting rally before the Yorkshireman broke back to go ahead.
With the wind behind his sails, the 34-year-old turned on the heat, claiming wins in his next two games to complete the rout and finish 11-7, 11-2, 11-6 (35m).
Speaking after the match, Willstrop said: “I know he has got standard and quality, so I had to be ready to play. I managed to weather the storm in the first and I got through to him in the second,” said the 34-year-old.
“You get a different type of player in this competition which we are not used to playing and they’re not used to playing us.
“You have to be careful – just because we are established, ranked players it is still difficult.
The 2011 winner Daryl Selby also advanced to Friday’s quarters, completing a quickfire 3-0 victory over late qualifier Matthew Parks: 11-1, 11-4, 11-7.
There were minor upsets, however, earlier in the day when 5/8 seeds Peter Creed and Ben Coleman fell at the first hurdle to lower ranked opposition.
Coleman lost to fellow Essex player Richie Fallows in straight games, while Welsh qualifier Emyr Evans got the better of compatriot Creed in the first two games before the world No. 56 was forced to retire through injury.
In the women’s draw, Tesni Evans, the highest-ranked Welsh player saw off 21-year-old Alison Thomson in straight games 11-3, 11-7, 11-6.
The 2017 semi-finalist Emily Whitlock also advanced through to the quarters after defeating 22-year-old Alicia Mead 3-1 11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9.
“Alicia chased everything down, and gave me a hard match,” said Whitlock. Her next opponent will be top seed Laura Massaro, who found no difficulty in progressing through to the quarter-finals, powering past Rachael Chadwick 11-0, 11-4, 11-2 in 20 minutes.
She will be joined in the next round by 5/8 seed Jenny Duncalf, who overcame the challenge of Kace Bartley to wrap up a 3-1 win against the qualifier.
Four-time British National champion Alison Waters is also through after completing a routine victory over Julianne Courtice ensuring the world no.10 heads through to the quarters for the thirteenth year in succession.
Second seed Sarah-Jane Perry suffered no first round jitters when she overcame the challenge of the tenacious U19 British Junior champion Lucy Turmel – winning in three straight games 11-7, 12-10, 11-5.
Watch free live streaming from the quarter-finals onwards on SquashTV and BBC Sport.
For photos, draws and results, visit the official Championships website at www.nationalsquashchampionships.com
Dunlop British National Championship 2018, National Squash Centre, Manchester, England.
 Nick Matthew (Yorks) v [5/8] Joshua Masters (Kent)
[3/4] Greg Lobban (Scotland) v [5/8] Chris Simpson (Yorks)
[3/4] Daryl Selby (Essex) v [Q] Emyr Evans (Wales)
 James Willstrop (Yorks) v Richie Fallows (Essex)
Men’s First round:
 Nick Matthew (Yorks) bt [Q] Patrick Rooney (Merseyside) 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (46m)
[5/8] Joshua Masters (Kent) bt [Q] Charlie Lee (Surrey) 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 (36m)
[5/8] Chris Simpson (Yorks) bt George Parker (Leics) 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 (50m)
[3/4] Greg Lobban (Scotland) bt Adam Murrills (Cheshire) 12-10, 6-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-7 (68m)
[3/4] Daryl Selby (Essex) bt [LL] Matthew Parks (Lancs) 11-1, 11-4, 11-7 (17m)
[Q] Emyr Evans (Wales) bt [5/8] Peter Creed (Wales) 15-13, 11-4 ret. (29m)
Richie Fallows (Essex) bt [5/8] Ben Coleman (Essex) 11-5, 11-5, 11-9 (51m)
 James Willstrop (Yorks) bt [Q] Lyell Fuller (Devon) 11-7, 11-2, 11-6 (35m)
 Laura Massaro (Lancs) v [5/8] Emily Whitlock (Cheshire)
[3/4] Tesni Evans (Wales) v [5/8] Jenny Duncalf (Yorks)
[3/4] Alison Waters (Middx) v [5/8] Fiona Moverley (Yorks)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (Warwicks) v [5/8] Millie Tomlinson (Derbyshire)
Women’s First round:
 Laura Massaro (Lancs) bt Rachael Chadwick (Cheshire) 11-0, 11-4, 11-2 (20m)
[5/8] Emily Whitlock (Cheshire) bt [Q] Alicia Mead (Warwicks) 11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9 (36m)
[5/8] Jenny Duncalf (Yorks) bt [Q] Kace Bartley (Surrey) 11-7, 11-1, 8-11, 11-7 (35m)
[3/4] Tesni Evans (Wales) bt [Q] Alison Thomson (Middx) 11-3, 11-7, 11-6 (27m)
[3/4] Alison Waters (Middx) bt Julianne Courtice (Glos) 4-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-6 (40m)
[5/8] Fiona Moverley (Yorks) bt [Q] Jasmine Hutton (Sussex) 11-8, 11-4, 11-3 (25m)
[5/8] Millie Tomlinson (Derbyshire) bt Lisa Aitken (Scotland) 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5 (38m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (Warwicks) bt Lucy Turmel (Suffolk) 11-7, 12-10, 11-5 (29m)
Pictures courtesy of England Squash