Nick Matthew up and running in bid for fourth world title

Sheffield's Nick Matthew, on his way to victory over Australia's Cameron Pilley. Picture: Kindly supplied by squashpics.com
Sheffield's Nick Matthew, on his way to victory over Australia's Cameron Pilley. Picture: Kindly supplied by squashpics.com
0
Have your say

SHEFFIELD’S Nick Matthew came through unscathed after receiving the tough examination he was expecting in his opening World Championship clash against Cameron Pilley.

Kept on the glass showcourt at Maydenbauer Centre in Bellevue, Washington, for more than an hour, the 35-year-old second seed eventually overcame his Australian rival, booking a second round tie with Egypt’s Karim El Hammamy with an 11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9 victory.

Ramy Ashour, right, on his way to a first round victory. Picture kindly supplied by squashpics.com

Ramy Ashour, right, on his way to a first round victory. Picture kindly supplied by squashpics.com

Having missed out on the recent Qatar Classic because of a stomach bug, Matthew was keen to make up for lost time, but he was always fully aware of a player ranked 19th in the world.

“He’s a top 20 player and very dangerous so I’m just happy to emerge from that one with the win,” said Matthew after his win.

“I had plenty of time to build up to todays’s match, but that can sometimes be a tricky thing because you’ve got a lot of time to think about one person and sometimes you can think about that person more than you think about your own game.

“That’s what I found on there today. He’s always been a tricky opponent for me throughout my career. If you see the head-to-head results then there have been two or three wins for him there and they’ve always been around four games and gone to tie-breaks.

“I’m just happy to get through the first round having missed Qatar. It was a potential banana skin.”

Former world junior champion El Hammamy now awaits the Yorkshireman and showed impressive hunger and desire to come through a 108-minute battle with Englishman Declan James.

Elsewhere, Harrogate-based Chris Simpson went down 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 in a tough encounter with 15th seed Stephen Coppinger - ranked only a few places above him in the world rankings.

Defending champion Ramy Ashour began his bid to win back-to-back titles by easily dispatching fellow maverick Egyptian Mazen Hesham in straight games.

The 28-year-old, who has been absent on the PSA World Tour since retiring with a hamstring injury during his second round match at the Delaware investments US Open in October, got off to the perfect start, taking just 26 minutes to get past Hesham.

“I’m happy with the way I played today I just need to try and play like that for the rest of the week,” said Ashour.

“I enjoyed the match. I think he’s a very good player and I think he is going to be one of the best one day. We’re very similar, he does a lot of quick stuff and it’s refreshing to see someone like that.

“I didn’t feel any pain in the hamstring today so it’s a blessing for me to be moving and lunging freely.”

There was also a victory for another recent former world junior champions Diego Elias in his maiden bout at the senior tournament.

The 18-year-old Peruvian – one of only four men including Ashour to win the world junior title twice – put in one of the most impressive performances of the round to dispatch seasoned campaigner Adrian Grant.

“It my first time in the World Championship and I couldn’t have asked for a better start,” said Elias.

“It was a good match and to win 3-0 gives me a lot of confidence going into the next round. I’m very happy to be in the last 32 and I’m very excited.

“I played some of my best squash today and I’ve been training for this for a long time. I’m happy with how I played. He’s very experienced and I knew he would be tough. I had some nerves and I knew he would have experience and he made it very tough but I’m very, very happy to win.”

Results - 2015 Men’s World Championship, First Round (Bottom Half)

[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-7 (26m)

Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt [Q] Shawn Delierre (CAN) 3-1: 11-6, 5-11, 11-3, 11-7 (36m)

Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt [Q] Mohamed Reda (EGY) 3-2: 13-11, 11-6, 7-11, 4-11, 11-8 (72m)

[12] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 16-14 (35m)

[14] Borja Golan (ESP) bt Alister Walker (BOT) 3-1: 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (61m)

Paul Coll (NZL) bt Shaun Le Roux (RSA) 3-1: 11-9, 10-12, 11-7, 11-1 (59m)

Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt [Q] Charles Sharpes (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (48m)

[7] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [Q] Farhan Zaman (PAK) 3-1: 11-8, 7-11, 11-1, 11-2 (42m)

[8] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Joe Lee (ENG) 3-2: 8-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-9 (87m)

Diego Elias (PER) bt Adrian Grant (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (33m)

Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt [Q] Henrik Mustonen (FIN) 3-0: 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 (37m)

[15] Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 (54m)

[10] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Leo Au (HKG) 3-0: 12-10, 11-9, 13-11 (69m)

Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 11-6, 4-11, 11-8 (65m)

[Q] Karim El Hammamy (EGY) bt Declan James (ENG) 3-2: 12-10, 15-13, 3-11, 5-11, 11-4 (108m)

[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-1: 11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9 (67m)

Draw - 2015 Men’s World Championship, Second Round

[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v Tom Richards (ENG)

James Willstrop (ENG) v [16] Saurav Ghosal (IND)

[9] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v [Q] Todd Harrity (USA)

Campbell Grayson (NZL) v [5] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)

[6] Simon Rösner (GER) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)

Ali Farag (EGY) v [13] Max Lee (HKG)

Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) v Fares Dessouki (EGY)

Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) v [3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)

[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)

Cesar Salazar (MEX) v [12] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)

[14] Borja Golan (ESP) v Paul Coll (NZL)

Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) v [7] Omar Mosaad (EGY)

[8] Tarek Momen (EGY) v Diego Elias (PER)

Gregoire Marche (FRA) v [15] Stephen Coppinger (RSA)

[10] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) v Daryl Selby (ENG)

[Q] Karim El Hammamy (EGY) v [2] Nick Matthew (ENG)