SHEFFIELD’S Nick Matthew maintained his determined course for a record-breaking sixth British Nationals title with another commanding victory in Manchester.
The 33-year-old world No 1 beat Joe Lee 11-2 11-7 11-7 in 37 minutes and is yet to drop a game ahead of today’s semi-final with 2011 winner Daryl Selby, who was given a tough workout by Tom Richards before also emerging a 3-0 winner, although he was kept on court for almost 51 minutes.
“I’ve played Joe a few times now and he’s improving all the time. I’m really looking forward to facing Daryl in the semis,” said Matthew, who afterwards was presented with an award for being England’s best athlete at the 2010 Commonwealth Games – the accolade being announced last week when he was on his way to victory at the Swedish Open.
With Matthew and Selby in the first men’s semi-final, two-time champion James Willstrop ensured he would face Adrian Grant in the second last-four encounter after seeing off the challenge of Adrian Waller 11-7 11-4 11-5 in 38 minutes.
“That scoreline was ridiculous for the intensity of the match,” said Willstrop afterwards. “I really had to dig in and work hard to get in front at the start of the game.
“There is a great bunch of players coming through, men and women, and players like Adrian and Joe are going through a huge improvement cycle, they’ll be getting there very quickly.”
In the women’s draw, two-time winner Jenny Duncalf, from Harrogate, booked her place in the last four at the National Squash Centre, taking 38 minutes to see off Halifax-based Sarah Kippax 11-4 11-6 11-6.
The former world No 2 started strongly in each game, taking leads of 6-1, 5-1 and 5-2 and kept Kippax – appearing in her seventh straight quarter-final – at bay.
“It was good to get those starts, so I needed to make sure I kept the momentum and I managed to do that,” said Duncalf, a winner in 2007 and 2009 and who now has to get past defending champion Alison Waters in order to reach her first final since 2011.
FRIDAY RESULTS AT THE BRITISH NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS, MANCHESTER
Daryl Selby bt Tom Richards 11/7, 11/9, 11/8 (48m)
Nick Matthew bt Joe Lee 11/2, 11/7, 11/7 (39m)
Adrian Grant bt Chris Simpson 14/12, 11/9, 11/8 (70m)
James Willstrop bt Adrian Waller 11/7, 11/4, 11/5 (38m)
Jenny Duncalf bt Sarah Kippax 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (34m)
Alison Waters bt Emma Beddoes 11/3, 6/11, 11/5, 11/6 (44m)
Madeline Perry bt Emily Whitlock 11/9, 11/6, 11/6 (36m)
Laura Massaro bt Sarah-Jane Perry 11/5, 12/10, 11/2 (37m)
Saturday’s semi-final schedule
1pm: Jenny Duncalf v Alison Waters
2pm: Daryl Selby v Nick Matthew
6pm: Madeline Perry v Laura Massaro
7pm: Adrian Grant v James Willstrop