Nick Matthew refuses to go quietly as he targets British Open grand finale

BLASTING THROUGH: Nick Matthew celebrates his British Open first round win over fifth seed Tarek Momen in Hull. Picture courtesy of PSA.
BLASTING THROUGH: Nick Matthew celebrates his British Open first round win over fifth seed Tarek Momen in Hull. Picture courtesy of PSA.
0
Have your say

NICK MATTHEW set his sights on reaching at least the last four at his final British Open after coming through a gruelling first round encounter with Tarek Momen.

The 37-year-old from Sheffield will retire at the end of this season and is set to take up a coaching and ambassadorial role with England Squash in September.

But, after the disappointment at missing out on gold at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, Matthew has adopted a more relaxed approach to ease any pressure he might be feeling during what is sure to be an emotional week in Hull for the three-time winner.

And while battling for 80 minutes on court with the world No 5 may not sound like the most ideal way to relax, the former world No 1 eventually came through 11-4, 10-12, 11-4, 8-11, 11-2, earning himself a day off before facing Germany's Raphael Kandra on Thursday.

“That was my final, I’m not used to not being seeded, it’s hard work,” said Matthew. “Every first round is tough but it’s totally different when you’re not seeded. That was a bit emotional and it was potentially my last one, so I didn’t want to go out on a Tuesday night.

“I want to go all the way to the weekend so fingers crossed I can keep pushing and I’m sure the crowd will be behind me.”

NOT TO BE: James Willstrop battled with Marwan Elshorbagy in Hull on Tuesday but couldn't avoid a first round exit in the British Open. Picture courtesy of PSA.

NOT TO BE: James Willstrop battled with Marwan Elshorbagy in Hull on Tuesday but couldn't avoid a first round exit in the British Open. Picture courtesy of PSA.

Elsewhere, Harrogate's James Willstrop exited at the first hurdle when he was beaten 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 Egyptian world No 3 Marwan ElShorbagy, who paid a heartfelt tribute to the 34-year-old afterwards.

"James is a great player, I watched him so many times when I was growing up and he’s been a role model for me and for a lot of squash players," said ElShorbagy.

"I tried to copy his game a little bit and develop it my own way, I’ve learned so much from him. You have to enjoy these kinds of matches when you play with one of the legends of the game."

Elsewhere, Harrogate's Chris Simpson lost out 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 to No 2 seed Ali Farag, from Egypt while, in the women's draw, there were first round exits for Harrogate's Jenny Duncalf, who lost 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 to Egypt's Nouran Gohar and Hull's Fiona Moverley, who went down 11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 12-10 to fellow Englishwoman Victoria Lust.