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Squash: Matthew passes his Selby date

World champion Nick Matthew admitted he had to run risks to reach the quarter-finals of the British Open, but he did so only after a five-game scare in Hull on Wednesday.

KINGSTON UPON HULL, United Kingdom: World champion Nick Matthew admitted he had to run risks to reach the quarter-finals of the British Open, but he did so only after a five-game scare in Hull on Wednesday.

Matthew overcame his England team mate Daryl Selby 11-7, 10-12, 11-3, 5-11, 11-4 and cold late evening conditions which made patient rallying and fluid movement -- two of Matthew's greatest strengths -- difficult to employ.

Instead adapting was the key quality. Matthew did this by pitching the ball in short more often than normal, bringing a greater likelihood of unforced errors and of an opponent's anticipation moving him forward quickly for a kill.

"It was risk and reward squash," said Matthew.

"You can get the reward but run the risk of counter-attack.

"But if you are not positive you can get punished for that too, so these were very tough conditions."

For a few minutes while Selby, the world number ten, was making rapid progress in the fourth game, it seemed that the favourite might be in real trouble.

Instead he was helped early in the fifth game by some misfiring ambition from Selby, who put a drop, a drive and a cut-off volley down, restoring some of Matthew's faith that he would prevail. But he still looked relieved when he did.

"Daryl is a dangerous, intelligent opponent whom I've lost to before. I knew it would be even more dangerous having to play him as early as the second round," said Matthew.

He is seeded to play in the last eight either Karim Darwish, the former world number one from Egypt, or Fares Dessouki, a steadily improving Egyptian qualifier.

The other top seed, Nicol David, will not play her first match on the all-glass show-court until her second round match on Thursday against Sarah-Jane Perry, the world number 17 from England.

Her main rival Laura Massaro, who has succeeded David as both World and British Open champion, scored the most comfortable of her seven victories over Annie Au, the world number nine from Hong Kong, winning 11-7, 11-4, 11-6.

This was a solid achievement by Massaro, who had lost four of the previous six encounters against the accurate and intelligent left-hander, and it hinted that her self-belief may have risen to new heights.

"To say I'm chuffed to get through is an understatement. I'd really like to win this again. Although I can get quite fiery, I was even more fired up tonight," the Englishwoman said.

This was something she also revealed with the intense focus and sharp movement needed in an encounter in which the ball was moved short and long with disruptive frequency.

Massaro next plays Sarah Kippax, the unseeded local hope overcame the disappointments of losing two tie-breaks and missing three successive match points to beat Nicolette Fernandes, the top 20 Guyanese.

Kippax also came from 6-7 down in the decider of a 15-17, 11-4, 11-13, 11-3, 12-10 win which, lasting 84 minutes, was the longest women's match of the day.

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