Matthew prevails in Classic battle
31 Oct 2017 - 0:06
By Armstrong Vas / The Peninsula
Three-time World Champion Nick Matthew yesterday put all his experience to good use on the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Glasscourt to overcome the challenge of German qualifier Raphael Kandra to advance to the second round of the Qatar Classic 2017.
The 37-year-old Englishman, who is set retire from professional squash at the end of the season, showed that he has a lot to offer for the game in the coming months before he calls it a day.
Nicknamed ‘The Wolf’, the World No.5 survived a tricky first round test to advance to the next stage where he will be joined by Mathieu Castagnet of France, Cameron Pilley of Australia and Egyptian duo of Tarek Momen and Omar Mosaad.
If day one of the championship had it share of upsets, the second day saw German Kandra nearly pulling off one.
However, the Sheffield Wednesday football fan, playing for the 15th year in Qatar, came out flying in the grueling five-game test.
Matthew, who has played countless memorable matches on the PSA World Tour won 12-10, 11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 11-8, in a match which last for a little over an hour.
“The wolf just had a fight with an octopus here in Doha,” tweeted Matthew after his match.
Matthew won the first two games but the German made a remarkable comeback to take the next two and force a decider.
In the decider, when everything seemed lost for Matthew and a huge upset seemed well on the cards the Englishman went back to play his normal clinical squash to lives another day in Qatar.
Matthew was delighted with the end result and said the first round matches are always difficult to negotiate.
“It’s a tricky first round. He played on this court before as he qualified. He was sharper than me, it was experience that saw me through,” said Matthew.
“I was hitting hard and running with him which was silly because he’s much younger, but finally at the end I started to use my brain and my experience which shows you it’s never too late, even 8-8 in the 5th,” he said, after winning the decider 11-8.
Matthew added; “I played a five setter in 60m, that’s not my squash, I’m more of a 3/0 for that length of time! I got out of jail today, but in the middle of the game I was mentally booking my flight back home.”
“I have to go away and learn and focus on my own thing and not worry about anyone else. Hopefully I’ll be better tomorrow.”
Incidentally last year, Matthew, who beat Egypt’s Karim Darwish in the 2009 Qatar Classic final, came within two points of falling to a shock defeat to tournament wildcard Abdulla Al Tamimi of Qatar but survived the test.
“Survival mode. Deja vu from last year. Hopefully can improve through the rounds again the same way. Credit to Rafa who has improved immensely,” tweeted Matthew.The Englishman will face Frenchman Castagnet in the pre-quarter-final test today.
Castagnet triumphed 3-1 over Scottish qualifier Alan Clyne in a mammoth battle of 66 minutes.
Elsewhere, Australian Pilley once again saw off England’s Adrian Waller, by an identical 3-1 to book a last-sixteen clash with Tarek Momen.
The Egyptian produced an almost error-free performance to down compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar 3-1 and move into the second round.
Mosaad, survived two match-ball situations to over come Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez in three games to win 13-15, 11-5, 12-10, 10-12, 14-12 in a marathon battle of 108 minutes.
He will take on countryman Marwan El Shorbagy in the second round. El Shorbagy defeated New Zealand’s Paul Coll 13-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-6.