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15 Jul 2024

World Champion Matthew Puts Richards In His Lace

17 May 2012

World champion Nick Matthew reached the quarter-finals of the Allam British Open with a ruthless performance against Tom Richards - having lent his England team-mate a shoelace in the middle of the second game of the second round match of the PSA World Series squash event at the O2 Arena in London.

Unseeded Richards stopped play as his lace broke and, without a spare, he could only play on when Matthew went to his own bag to find a spare.

When the players returned to the court, Richards won the second game - but third seed Matthew regained control in ruthless and disciplined fashion to win the third and fourth as Richards' challenge faded.

"I wish I hadn't lent him that shoelace," said the two-time champion after his 11-5, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6 victory in 68 minutes. "It was a ridiculous decision to give Tom a let for a broken shoelace. I've never heard that one before.

"But, that apart, he is a top-16 player who has just made his England debut and I had to be on my guard the whole way through," explained the 31-year-old from Sheffield.

"When it went to one-all in games I had to respond in the third. I was pleased to win that and at the start of the fourth there were some stoppages and it took a while to get back into my rhythm.

"But overall I am very pleased with the win and am feeling good."

In Friday's quarter-finals, the Yorkshireman meets Dutch No1 Laurens Jan Anjema, who swept past South African Stephen Coppinger 12-10, 9-11, 11-2, 11-3.

Matthew added: "LJ is like Tom, another player knocking on the door and hungry for a major scalp. No more rest days now. I'm glad about that. We are at the business end of the tournament and it would be great to see the O2 Arena full up with squash fans making lots of noise at this amazing venue."

Second-seeded Frenchman Gregory Gaultier ended the run of English qualifier Jonathan Kemp in just 33 minutes and now faces a tough challenge from No6 seed Peter Barker. The Essex-based left-hander dropped the first game to Indian No1 Saurav Ghosal but recovered to control the rest of the match.

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] James Willstrop (ENG) v [7] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY)
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [5] Amr Shabana (EGY)
[3] Nick Matthew (ENG) v [8] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [6] Peter Barker (ENG)

Official event website: www.britishopensquash.net

For all the latest Tour news: www.psaworldtour.com

2nd round (lower half of draw):
[3] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 11-5, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6 (68m)
[8] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 12-10, 9-11, 11-2, 11-3 (58m)
[6] Peter Barker (ENG) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 7-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-6 (57m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Jonathan Kemp (ENG) 11-5, 11-8, 11-7 (33m)