Nick Matthew secures semi-final spot at British National Championships

Nick Matthew.
Nick Matthew.
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Sheffield’s Nick Matthew eased through to the semi-finals of the British National Championships with a 3-0 victory over Jaymie Haycocks at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.

Eight-time champion Matthew took just 34 minutes to win 11-7, 11-1, 11-6 to book a place in Saturday’s second semi-final.

The main threat to Matthew winning a ninth title, James Willstrop, won’t be joining his fellow Yorkshireman in the last four after illness forced him to retire from his quarter-final against Joe Lee.

At two games all, Willstrop was forced to call it a day and revealed afterwards that he had been ill in the run-up to the event.

“It was getting better but not quickly enough,” said Harrogate-based Willstrop.

“I was just trying to see if I could get through each day and give it a go the next round, but it got very fuzzy at the end of the fourth, my body was telling me it was time to get off and get well.

“I’m not a million miles off, but even at 80 or 100% that would have been a tough match, Joe’s too good for me to be able to get away with that.”

After defeating Haycocks, Matthew was quick to pass on his best wishes to his long-time rival Willstrop.

“People maybe just expect you to progress, but this was a good test against Jaymie,” said Matthew.

“As you can see from James this afternoon you can never take anything for granted. I was looking forward to another potential meeting with James, I hope he recovers quickly.”

In the women’s draw, Harrogate’s Jenny Duncalf’s hopes of adding to the titles she won back in 2007 and 2009 were swiftly ended when she slipped to a 11-4, 11-9, 11-5 defeat to Emily Whitlock in under half an hour.