England celebrated 100% success in today’s third round of Squash singles events at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, where the nation will have interest in three of the four quarter-finals in both the men’s and women’s events – for the fifth time since 2002.
The day began with a blow for the hosts when it was announced that No.6 seed Ryan Cuskelly, the world No.15 from New South Wales, had withdrawn following a leg injury sustained during his second round match – putting Malaysia’s 12th seed Nafiizwan Adnan through to the quarter-finals.
Defending gold medallist Nick Matthew led the way for England in the men’s event with an 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6 win in 43 minutes on the all-glass showcourt at Oxenford Studios over Vikram Malhotra, the 16th seed from India.
Unbeaten in the event since 2006, the gold medallist in 2010 in Delhi and 2014 in Glasgow will celebrate his 38th birthday in July – by which date he will have retired from the professional squash circuit after a glittering career which includes the world number one ranking and three world championship titles.
“I enjoyed being on there with these dangerous players,” said the top-seeded Yorkshireman after claiming his place in the last eight. “People are going to raise their game 10 or 15 per cent in this environment – and I need to raise mine by 10 or 15 percent as well. But I didn’t today – I probably played at my normal level. He put on a really good show today and I was probably a little lucky to come away relatively unscathed at the end.
“I came in probably expecting to play Ryan in front of the Aussie crowd – but I’ll have to fully reassess that. I’ve played Wan before – he is a dangerous player. He used to be based in Manchester and I trained with him a few times. He’s a little bit more of a known quantity compared to today as I’d never played Vikram before.”
On competing in the Commonwealth Games, Matthew added: “We had that massive moment at the Opening Ceremony and everyone is buzzing in the village. Team England are such a close team. I just love things like this, rubbing shoulders with the other big names in the England team. It shows in the respect each of has for each other’s sports.
“Squash may not be an Olympic sport but, if it was based on the respect the other athletes have for our sport, we’d be in there tomorrow! You can sense that among the guys and I just want to make them proud.
“Australia’s a great sporting country and we’ve been given an unbelievable welcome.”
Later, compatriots James Willstrop and Daryl Selby joined Matthew in the last eight. Fifth seed Selby overcame rising Scottish star Greg Lobban 11-6, 11-2, 6-11, 11-7, while Willstrop, the No2 seed and 2010 and 2014 silver medallist, despatched New Zealander Campbell Grayson 11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7 in 70 minutes.
Men’s 3rd round:
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt  Vikram Malhotra (IND) 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6 (43m)
 Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt  Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) w/o
 Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Lewis Walters (JAM) 11-3, 11-4, 11-8 (38m)
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt  Campbell Grayson (NZL) 11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7 (70m)
 Joel Makin (WAL) bt Christopher Binnie (JAM) 11-4, 11-5, 11-2 (32m)
 Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Rex Hedrick (AUS) 11-7, 11-3, 11-7 (47m)
 Daryl Selby (ENG) bt  Greg Lobban (SCO) 11-6, 11-2, 6-11, 11-7 (55m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt Ivan Yuen (MAS) 11-5, 11-6, 11-4 (39m)
Women’s 3rd round:
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL) 11-8, 13-11, 11-8 (34m)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Aifa Azman (MAS) 11-7, 11-1, 6-11, 11-8 (34m)
 Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt  Christine Nunn (AUS) 6-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-6, 11-5 (59m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt  Nikki Todd (CAN) 12-10, 11-3, 11-5 (24m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Samantha Cornett (CAN) 20-18, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3 (50m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt  Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) 11-3, 11-6, 11-2 (24m)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt  Tamika Saxby (AUS) 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 (25m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt  Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) 11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3 (40m)