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Gaultier & Matthew Secure Second Round Slots At ToC

18 Jan 2015

Former world number ones Nick Matthew and Gregory Gaultier moved one step closer to a potential semi-final showdown at the 2015 JP Morgan Tournament of Champions after coming through their first round match-ups in the first PSA World Series event of the year at Grand Central Terminal in New York.

The duo prevailed in strikingly different styles, with Frenchman Gaultier effortless against Hong Kong's Max Lee and Englishman Matthew given a stern test by compatriot Daryl Selby.

After opening proceedings with a gut-busting rally that set the scene for what was to follow, the English pair served up a 70-minute battle of attrition that saw them trade blows with spectacular retrievals interspersed with pinpoint accurate winning shots - but it was Yorkshireman Matthew who withstood an early Selby onslaught to complete a hard-earned 3/1 victory.

"That was a very tough match against Daryl today," said 34-year-old Matthew.

"When he moves well he is a top ten player without any doubt. He's had a few problems with his body over the past year but he's been moving well again recently so I knew it was going to be a tough one.

"In the first game it took me a little while to find my range," added the three-time world champion, currently ranked four in the world. "He came out with an aggressive plan, making it tough to break him down, and that game was crucial.

"If he'd snuck it then it would have been a very tough ask as he always seems to counter me well, so I was pleased to get off in four at the end and I'll rest up tomorrow ready to return on Monday."

2014 Tournament of Champions runner-up Gaultier took 44 minutes to get past Lee and never looked troubled against the world No.16.

"I maybe relaxed a little bit in the second game and let him get into it but it was a good first round match for me as it was fast paced and really got my body working," said Gaultier, the world No.2.

"I had a few weeks off over Christmas but I was feeling fluid today so I'm happy with the win."

Earlier in the day Germany's world No.10 Simon Rösner came through a thrilling encounter with Stephen Coppinger, the South African world No.18, to book his place in the second round.

Two of the most physically imposing players on the PSA World Tour, the duo tested each other to the brink in an mammoth 87-minute battle that saw them trading points in a continuous series of brutal, energy-sapping rallies.

Coppinger took first blood with a 12-10 win in the opening game but Rösner showed the battling spirit that has taken him into the top ten for the first time in his career to bounce back and secure an impressive 3/1 victory, taking the match 10-12, 11-4, 11-7, 12-10.

"There were a lot of very tight decisions today and it was a tough match for both of us," said Rösner.

"Stephen is a top quality player and we've had some very tough battles in the past so I'm just really pleased to get through and win.

"I tried to play the match point by point and keep my focus all the way through and I'm just happy to still be in the tournament."

There were also victories for Omar Mosaad, Mathieu Castagnet, Peter Barker and Miguel Angel Rodriguez while English qualifier Tom Richards pulled off the biggest upset of the day to knock out Alister Walker, the former world No.12 from Botswana, in straight games.