Matthew content with preparations

SHEFFIELD’S Nick Matthew hopes a good week in Hong Kong will set him up for the forthcoming World Open, where he will be gunning for a third successive title.

The 32-year-old world No 2 opens his challenge at the Hong Kong Open against Germany’s Simon Rosner and while he will not be looking any further ahead than Wednesday’s first-round encounter, he admits his preparations have been geared towards peaking when it matters in Qatar in two weeks.

“I have prepared well for this trip with the worlds also in mind,” said Matthew. “I should be in good shape for both events. If I play well here that will set me up nicely for the worlds – if I don’t, there’s still time to put it right.

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“It’s a tough opening round draw. Simon is a player I am very awary of. He is a young, up-and-coming player and seemingly has no fear so I’m going to have to be at my best.

“At events like these it’s important to focus only on the next match, the job at hand – you can always trip yourself up if you look too far ahead. That’s something I’ve learnt to my cost in the past and I’m aware that the first round is always a potential banana skin.”

While seeded No 2 for the event, Matthew is fully aware there are many pitfalls that could await him on his hoped-for route to the final, with former world No 1s Amr Shabana, Ramy Ashour and Gregory Gaultier lying in wait.

“This event is packed with talent,” added Matthew. “To be honest, the seedings are not important, it’s all about how you execute your game on the day, we are all so close in standard.”

Defending champion James Willstrop, the world No 1 from Leeds, had to recover from the loss of the first game before seeing off England team-mate Adrian Grant 5-11 11-8 11-3 11-8 after a gruelling 73 minutes on Tuesday.

In the women’s draw, No 3 seed Jenny Duncalf, from Harrogate, beat Malaysia’s Delia Arnold 11-9 11-9 11-9 and will face India’s Dipika Pallikal tomorrow.


PSA World Series Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open, Hong Kong China

1st round (top half of draw):

[1] James Willstrop (ENG) bt Adrian Grant (ENG) 5-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-8 (73m)

Ong Beng Hee (MAS) bt Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5 (75m)

Borja Golan (ESP) bt [Q] Joe Lee (ENG) 11-7, 11-5, 11-2 (50m)

[8] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-8, 11-5, 14-12 (38m)

[6] Peter Barker (ENG) bt [Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (44m)

Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [Q] Chris Simpson (ENG) 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 5-11, 11-8 (82m)

Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Alister Walker (BOT) 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8 (95m)

[4] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt Leo Au (HKG) 12-10, 11-6, 11-9 (34m)