Squash: World No 2 gears up for Selby showdown

Sport in The Star
Sport in The Star
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A familiar foe stands in Nick Matthew’s way tonight as the three-time world champion looks to book a place in the quarter-finals of the Allam British Open.

The top seed meets his close friend and England teammate Daryl Selby at the Sports Arena in Hull, having comfortably defeated Joe Lee in straight games on Monday night. The Sheffield star claimed a 11-9, 11-3, 11-6 victory over Lee in 44 minutes to set up a clash with Selby, who is tenth in the world rankings.

Commenting on his win against Lee, Matthew said: “Joe showed great enthusiasm and how much he has recently improved.

“He hit some great shots and when I relaxed he was on it so I’m really pleased to get through that as it could have got ugly after the first game.

“I’ll go home and prepare for Wednesday and I’m excited to see this venue full later this week. It’s great to be playing in Yorkshire so I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead.”

Matthew enjoyed the luxury of a day off yesterday. The 33-year-old, currently ranked second in the world behind Gregory Gaultier, is chasing his fourth Open title.

Speaking earlier this week to The Star, Matthew said: “The British Open is the Wimbledon of squash.It’s an event we all value alongside the World Championship.

“I’ve tried to tailor my training, rest and preparations for the Open and the Commonwealth Games this summer.

“It would be a massive moment in my career if I were to win it in Yorkshire. I learned a lesson last year when I lost to Greg [Gaultier] in the semi-finals as I almost wanted it too much with all my friends and family there.”

Matthew is bidding to retain his Commonwealth singles title in Glasgow this summer.

“The beauty of the schedule is there’s enough time to focus on the Open and the Commonwealths,” he said.

“That’s how my year has been built up - aiming to peak at the right time.”