NICK MATTHEW hopes the arrival of his first child will enhance his enjoyment of the game during his return to action at the US Open this week in Philadephia.
The 34-year-old world No 3 from Sheffield enjoyed a golden summer at the Commonwealth Games, retaining his singles title and taking home silver in the men’s doubles, with the birth of daughter Charlotte following in early September.
Matthew returned to competitive action on Sunday in Philadelphia, easing past Eddie Charlton 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 in 40 minutes to set up a second round encounter with Harrogate’s Chris Simpson on Tuesday night.
Simpson, ranked 25th in the world, came through his first round encounter against Canada’s Shaun le Roux 11-3, 11-2, 11-5 and last met Matthew in the quarter-finals in Glasgow, when the Yorkshireman prevailed in straight games, but only after a gruelling 55 minutes on court.
“Leading up to the Commonwealth Games was the hardest I’ve ever worked in my career and after that competition I was like a zombie,” said second seed Matthew. “Then my wife Esme and I had our first child shortly after so it’s been a very busy summer.
“That arrival helps give you a little more perspective on life and, hopefully, I can use that perspective this week and enjoy the competition even more.”
In the women’s draw, Jenny Duncalf safely negotiated her first round encounter against Egypt’s Heba El Torky, winning 11-2, 11-5, 11-6 in just 26 minutes and the 11th seed now faces a tough test against seventh seed Nour El Sherbini, also from Egypt on Tueday night.
Duncalf will be followed onto the show court at the city’s Drexel University by Halfax-based Sarah Kippax - seeded 15th – who set up a tantalising second round encounter against world No 2 from Cheshire, Lauyra Massaro.
Kippax, 31, has come off second best in the last two meetings with Massaro, losing in both the quarter-finals of the British Open in Hull, as well as when the two met in the first round of the Carol Weymuller Open held in New York last week.