Return offers Matthew chance to regain US title

Sheffield's Nick Matthew, right, is aiming to lift the US Open crown in Philadelphia.
Sheffield's Nick Matthew, right, is aiming to lift the US Open crown in Philadelphia.
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SHEFFIELD’S Nick Matthew admits he will have to strive to get the balance right if he is to enjoy any success at the US Open.

The 33-year-old Yorkshireman tonight begins his bid to regain the title he won in 2007 at Philadelphia’s Drexel University against Kuwait’s Abdullah Al Muzayen, who beat India’s Ramit Tandon in the qualifying phase to book his first round place.

For Matthew, it marks a return to major individual tournament play for the first time since May this year when he lost to Gregory Gaultier in the semi-finals of the British Open at the KC Stadium in Hull.

Due to the absence of world 
No 1 Ramy Ashour – who instead opted to play in San Francisco’s NetSuite Open last month ahead of trying to retain his World Open crown in Manchester in two weeks’ time – France’s Gaultier, the world No 2, finds himself the top seed in Pennsylvania, with Pontefract’s James Willstrop at two and Matthew one further down.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Matthew. “It’s been a while since the last PSA tournament so I’m a bit wary of being over-keen and I’m trying to strike the right balanace – I don’t want to run around like a headless chicken.

“I know it’s the World Open later this month but, over the years, the US Open has become massive in its own right. The city of Philadelphia itself is great really gets behind this event.”

Willstrop – who lost to Ashour at the semi-final stage in San Francisco last month – also begins his bid for glory tonight, opening up against Harrogate-based Chris Simpson, ranked 18 places below him in the world.

In the women’s draw, Harrogate’s Jenny Duncalf, seeded seventh, begins with a first-round encounter against wild card entrant Kristen Lange, from Seattle.