Shabana test for Matthew after walkover

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REIGNING world champion Nick Matthew was given a walkover into the semi-finals of the $115,000 North American Open when David Palmer was forced to retire through injury.

The Sheffield player, ranked number one in the world standings, was trailing 8-9 in a tense opening game when the two players collided in mid-court as Palmer tried to chase a ball into the back left corner.

After lengthy treatment to a twisted ankle, the 34-year-old Australian confirmed that he could not continue to play in the World Series Tour event, the second of the year, at the Westwood Club in Richmond, Virginia.

Palmer said: “I have another tournament coming up soon and it would be silly to risk it. The ankle swelled up really badly. It’s a shame because Nick and I were both playing well and it was shaping up to be a great match.”

On his Twitter page, Matthew posted: “Obviously not the way you want to win a match; it had all the makings of a tough contest. Dave was moving and hitting well. Hope he recovers soon.”

In the semi-finals, Matthew faces fourth seed Amr Shabana, who overcame Azlan Iskander 11-7, 6-11, 12-10, 12-10 in 48 minutes.

In the other half of the draw, James Willstrop maintained his unbeaten record against England teammate Peter Barker. In their 12th PSA Tour meeting, Willstrop recovered after losing the first game to win 7-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5.

Now Willstrop will meet talented Egyptian Ramy Ashour, who beat Gregory Gaultier in a breathtaking contest 11-5, 9-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8.