3:53 pm
21 Feb 2019

Matthew Wins Manchester's Battle Of Britain While Gawad Gallops Into Grand Prix Semis

12 Sep 2015

While three-time champion Nick Matthew produced an outstanding display to defeat long-term adversary James Willstrop in the quarter-finals of the AJ Bell British Grand Prix, it was Egypt's Karim Abdel Gawad who produced the shock of the round, reaching the semi-finals of the PSA M70 event at the National Squash Centre in Manchester after removing world No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez.

Yorkshiremen Matthew & Willstrop were facing each other for the first time since the 2014 Commonwealth Games final, where Sheffield-based Matthew won a dramatic five-game encounter to claim Gold. The 35-year-old produced an emphatic performance in Manchester to record his 19th consecutive win over Willstrop, downing his 32-year-old rival 11-7, 11-5, 11-7.

"I thought I played really well today," said Matthew.

"I didn't really expect to play that well yesterday. I tried to start well and that's what I did. There were patches where he got on top of me because he is a good player. It was always going to be a struggle to maintain that level and I think I maintained it for more than I did yesterday, that's all I can do.

"We've not played each other for a while which can be a good thing because it makes you refocus. But it can also be a bad thing because he can surprise me with something new. All I really focused on was trying to impose my game on him from the first point and thankfully I got the win."

The world No.2 now progresses to the semi-finals where he will face unexpected opponent Gawad.

"I can only say he [Rodriguez] is one of the best four players in the world," said Gawad after winning the high class 86-minute encounter 11-7, 15-13, 4-11, 3-11, 11-3.

"He is very good and very strong both physically and mentally. Beating him today is a great achievement. I played well in the first two games and then he came back.

"I was thinking in the fifth that I had to win. I have been training really hard so I had to win. I have been eating, sleeping, training all for this.

"I put all my focus into the fifth and give it everything. I'm playing with one of the most experienced players on the PSA World Tour tomorrow against Nick. He's 35-years-old and has been the world No.1 before so he has a lot of experience. First I will rest and tomorrow I will try do my best against a great player like him."

The other semi-final will see World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy take on French World No.3 Gregory Gaultier in a mouth-watering encounter.

Image courtesy of www.squashpics.com