Matthew set to lock horns with Simpson

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TOP seed Nick Matthew raced into the quarter finals of the British National Squash Championships after beating Adam Murrills 11-4, 11-4, 11-0 yesterday.

Sheffield-born Matthew, the double gold-winning Commonwealth medallist and World No 1, powered past Murrills, making his debut at the event, and now faces Chris Simpson in the last eight tonight.

The 30-year-old, who became England’s first ever world champion two months ago, defeated Chelmsford’s Neil Hitchens in the first round 12-10, 11-4, 11-4.

Matthew, who regularly trains at the National Squash Centre in Manchester, where the event is being staged, with his England team mates, is bidding to win a record-equalling fourth British national title.

Twelve months ago, Matthew edged out close rival James Willstrop in the final to keep the title in Yorkshire hands for the sixth year in a row.

However, it is a Lancastrian who boasts the greatest number of men’s titles in the 36-year history of the country’s premier domestic event: Blackpool-born Phil Kenyon claimed the trophy for a record fourth time in Bristol in 1985, when he beat then rival Gawain Briars for the third time in the final.

Matthew is expected to meet Willstrop, a two-time champion and ranked four in the world, in the nationals final.

Leeds player Willstrop booked his place in the second round by comprehensively overcoming Charles Sharpes 11-6, 11-6, 11-5.