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Matthew limps out of Kuwait Cup ‘dream quarter’ …

After the drama of the first-ever ‘FA Cup’ style draw which produced a ‘dream quarter-final’ featuring top seeds Nick Matthew and Karim Darwish, the actual quarter-finals of the $165k Kuwait PSA Cup at the spectacular Green Island venue failed to live up to those expectations as top seed and World Champion Nick Matthew was forced to withdraw through injury.

The first player through to the semi-finals was France’s fifth-seeded Gregory Gaultier, who recovered from a stuttering start to beat Stewart Boswell convincingly, 8/11, 11/5, 11/2, 11/5. The Frenchman made a good enough start, but lost his way in the middle of the first game as the Australian recovered from 5/2 down to take the lead. Gaultier was in control from the start of the second though, and never relinquished that control, although a few discussions with the referees suggested he was never truly settled either.

After the match Boswell revealed that he has decided to call it a day on his playing career – no fuss, no bother, just a handwritten note and the Aussie that has been a feature of the tour for so many years was off …

Gaultier will meet James Willstrop in a repeat of their Hong Kong Open final of just a few days ago, after the Englishman continued his run of recent victories over compatriot Peter Barker.

Willstrop stayed ahead throughout the first two games, but Barker rallied to take a 6/3 lead in the third. Willstrop won eight of the next nine points though to run out the 11/9, 11/7, 11/7 winner in just 36 minutes.

The ‘Dream Quarter-Final’ was supposed to be next up, but top seed and world number one Nick Matthew came onto court, still dressed in his tracksuit, to inform everyone that he had been struggling with an adductor injury that prevented him from lunging, that he had working on it and warming up as close as ten minutes to match time, but had reluctantly concluded that it was not possible to play.

So number two seed Karim Darwish progressed, to await the winner of the last quarter-final … who was fellow Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy, enjoying a 3/1 win over Laurens Jan Anjema.

The young Egyptian was in control for the first two games, but a good 5/1 start for the Dutchman proved too much for him to pull back. The fourth was a similar story in reverse with Shorbagy opening up a 6/1 lead which Anjema came close to pulling back, but 6/7 was as close as it got, Shorbagy running out the 11/8, 11/5, 7/11, 11/7 winner to guarantee an Egyptian finalist.

Kuwait PSA Cup Quarter-Finals:
[5] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bt [15] Stewart Boswell (Aus)  8/11, 11/5, 11/2, 11/5 (58m)
[3] James Willstrop (Eng) bt [6] Peter Barker (Eng)  11/9, 11/7, 11/7 (36m)
[2] Karim Darwish (Egy) bt [1] Nick Matthew (Eng)   w/o  adductor injury
[7] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) bt [10] LJ Anjema (Ned)   11/8, 11/5, 7/11, 11/7 (52m)

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