Massaro beats Nicol David as Matthew falls to Mathieu
By NATHAN CLARKE in Dubai
England’s three-time World Champion Nick Matthew crashed out of the 2015/16 PSA Dubai World Series Finals today after a surprise defeat to unfancied Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet dashed his hopes of tournament success during the second day of action at the lucrative season-ending event taking place in the shadow of Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa.
The 35-year-old Matthew, who missed last month’s El Gouna International due to an ankle injury, lost out to Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez yesterday and slumped to a 2-0 defeat to Castagnet, the World No.6, today that means he cannot progress beyond the round robin group stage – and will face World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy tomorrow where an ignominious whitewash could await.
For debutant competitor Castagnet it was a victory to be savoured as it keeps his hopes of reaching the knock-out semi-finals alive ahead of a showdown with Rodriguez.
“Nick is a legend of the sport so to be able to beat him is a great achievement for me,” said Castagnet.
“I was very confident with my game plan and I have to thank my coaches for that. I had an injury a few weeks ago on my adductor but my coaches really helped me so much to trust my capacity today.
“When you have been injured and step on court for the first time it is not easy to be at your best straight away but I had a good practice this morning which helped me a lot and I am enjoying every second of being here in this tournament.
“Just to qualify and be part of the top eight is amazing for me and I just want to try and play my best tomorrow and see what happens.”
ElShorbagy ensured he progressed to the last four after defeating Rodriguez to top Group A in the men’s competition while World Champion Gregory Gaultier also moved into the semi-finals after a blistering performance saw him defeat Australian Cameron Pilley for the loss of just four points in total.
Pilley and German Simon Rösner will face-off for the last remaining semi-final berths in Group B while in the women’s competition World No.3 Raneem El Welily is the only player guaranteed a semi-final spot courtesy of her hard-fought victory over Camille Serme during a day of high-intensity action.
After dropping the first game El Welily came back to take the second 12-10 before powering from 6-8 down to reel off five consecutive points in the third to take the match.
“I don’t know how I won that – she was playing really well and she was in front for 80 per cent of each game so I’m really happy to win in the end,” said El Welily.
“I had a very close win yesterday and an even closer win today but I’m pleased because I didn’t want to go into tomorrow’s match with the extra pressure of having to win to stay in the competition.
“I still want to win tomorrow though. I still have to give it my all and be prepared for the match and the matches that follow and I have to prove a few things to myself that I can come here play well and win all my matches.”
Serme will now face World Champion Nour El Sherbini with the winner going through to the semi-finals while in Group A England’s Laura Massaro commands the driving seat in a three-way battle with Nicol David and Amanda Sobhy for two semi-final places.
Massaro re-ignited her rivalry with David in breath-taking fashion in Dubai, coming through an intense, high-quality 49-minute encounter to place the pressure firmly on the chasing pair.
“Anyone who thinks best of threes aren’t hard should come out here and play with one of us because that was really tough,” said Massaro.
“Because you know there only are three games I think the intensity is higher and every rally counts so mentally you are a little different.
“In the third game all I was thinking was that I didn’t want to have to play tomorrow knowing that I needed to do something ridiculous to go through the pool so I’m really happy with the end result and to come through.”
PSA World Series Finals, Dubai.
Round 2. Men’s Group A
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 2-0: 11-8, 11-9 (29m)
 Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt  Nick Matthew (ENG) 2-0: 12-10, 11-6 (29m)
Men’s Group B
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt  Cameron Pilley (AUS) 2-0: 11-3, 11-1 (24m)
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt  Omar Mosaad (EGY) 2-0: 11-3, 11-7 (29m)
Women’s Group A
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Nicol David (MAS) 2-1: 11-7, 8-11, 11-7 (49m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Nouran Gohar (EGY) 2-1: 8-11, 11-5, 11-7 (34m)
Women’s Group B
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 2-0: 11-4, 11-8 (15m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 2-1: 9-11, 12-10, 11-9 (41m)
Fixtures – May 26:
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)
 Cameron Pilley (AUS) v  Simon Rösner (GER)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v  Omar Mosaad (EGY)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
 Nicol David (MAS) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com) courtesy of PSA