Squash: Matthew hopes to avoid early Open exit

Nick Matthew. Picture: squashpics.com

Nick Matthew. Picture: squashpics.com

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Fourth seed Nick Matthew fears he could suffer an early exit in the Windy City Open - unless he hits top form straight away.

The three-time world champion faces Spanish player Borja Golan in the first round of the tournament tomorrow.

Fresh from retaining his Swedish Open and British National Championships titles, Matthew is targeting a good run in Chicago.

The 34-year-old told The Telegraph: “Borja has been as high as five in the world very recently so there is no margin for error. It’s not like I can play my way into the tournament.

“It’s an incredibly tough first match so I can’t look past that. I really have to hit the ground running or it could be an early flight home.”

The Sheffield star reached the semi-finals of the event last year, losing in four games to Ramy Ashour.

“I played well in 2014 and my body just broke down towards the end of the tournament after a busy period,” he said. “I really have to get that balance between rest and sharpness.

“I have to keep enjoying my squash and leave it all court. I can then have a week off preparing for the rest of the season.”

Matthew is in the bottom half of the draw and is seeded to face England teammate Peter Barker in the quarter-finals before a potential last four clash with world number two Gregory Gaultier.

In the top half of the draw, top seed Mohamed Elshorbagy will lock horns with Fares Dessouki.

Reigning world champion Ashour is ruled out of the event due to injury.

Matthew, meanwhile, insists he is aiming to peak for the British Open, which takes place in Hull in May. He has set his sights on winning the title for a fourth time.

“It’s a big goal of mine to win it again,” he said.

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