Three-time world champion Nick Matthew has spoken of his joy at reaching the semi-finals of the Allam British Open for a fifth successive year.
The Sheffield star, the third seed, brushed aside French No 2 Mathieu Castagnet 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 to set-up a last four showdown with Mohamed Elshorbagy today.
Matthew entered the tournament with concerns over a niggling ankle injury that halted his bid to win April’s El Gouna International but sent out a strong message to his title rivals as he countered everything Castagnet threw at him in a masterful display.
“The competitive animal that I am, I wouldn’t have played just to make up the numbers,” said Matthew, who has also beaten Gregoire Marche and Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema.
“I guess if you’d offered me a place in the semi-finals before the tournament I’m sure I would have taken it because it means I would have been feeling healthy but once you get to a semi-final anything can happen - the four guys who get to that stage are all capable of winning it.
“I definitely need to start games stronger. I felt like in each game today I was four or five down before I got going, so considering that I was delighted to win in three.”
World number one Elshorbagy booked his place in the last four after comfortably overcoming Simon Rösner 11-6, 11-6, 11-5.