Defending squash World Champion Nick Matthew got the defence of his title off to a successful start, getting past tricky German opponent Raphael Kandra 3-1 in his opening match of the 2014 Qatar PSA World Championship.
Matthew, who won his third World Championship crown in four years on home soil in Manchester last November, is bidding to become just the fifth man to win the title four times and he raced out of the blocks against Kandra, racking up a two game lead in rapid time.
Matthew produced some vintage squash as he visibly overwhelmed Kandra, but the youngster regained his composure in the third game to fight back against the number three seed and held his nerve to take the game 12-10 and force the match into a fourth.
However, that was as good as it got for the German No.2 and World No.58 as Matthew upped his game to storm home taking the match 11-2, 11-6, 10-12, 11-1.
“It’s not always a bad thing to have a tough first match”, said Matthew.
“Losing that third game sparked me up a bit and really got my mental state from training-mode to match-mode, which sometimes can be a problem in the opening round of a tournament.
“I’ve put the training in and it’s a case of hopefully going deep into the competition and seeing things come together throughout the week.
I’ve got a day off tomorrow to keep working on things and I’m just enjoying being here and I’m looking forward to the next match.”
While Matthew progressed, his compatriot and number eight seed Daryl Selby suffered a shock first round exit at the hands of South African Stephen Coppinger, as the physical powerhouse came through an epic 3-2 encounter.
Coppinger watched Selby claw back a two game deficit but managed to hold out in the fifth and deciding game to earn an impressive victory.
“It’s a massively satisfying result and I’m really pleased to get that win,” said Coppinger.
“It was a brutal encounter mentally and when I got things right today I felt great and hopefully I can lock into that mode again in the next round.
“I’ve been struggling to get big wins like that for a while so I’m really chuffed to get a big win today in the World Championship.”
Elsewhere there was an historic moment for Indian squash as duo Saurav Ghosal and Mahesh Mangoankar emerged victorious in their encounters with Australian Steve Finitsis and New Zealand’s Lance Beddoes, respectively, to ensure their country has two representatives in the second round for the first time ever while Egypt will have a record ten representatives involved in the second round.
Results – First Round, Bottom Half: 2014 Qatar PSA World Championship, Doha, Qatar: Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [Q] Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-0: 11-2, 11-6, 10-12, 11-1 [47m]Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-2: 15-13,5-11,12-10,9-11,11-5 [98m]Nasir Iqbal (PAK) [Q] bt Charles Sharpes (ENG) 3-0: 13-11, 11-5, 11-8 (42m) Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Steven Finitsis (AUS) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-6 [35m] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Abdullah Al Muzayen (KUW) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-3 [25m]Max Lee (HKG) bt [Q] Farhan Mehboob (PAK) 3-2: 11-7, 10-12, 11-13, 11-7, 11-3 [63m]Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 [35m] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-2 [49m]Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt  Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-2: 11-5, 11-4, 8-11, 3-11, 11-4 [73m]Ong Beng Hee (MAS) bt [Q] Peter Creed (WAL) 3-0: 11-9, 11-4, 11-8 [41m]Tom Richards (ENG) bt Eddie Charlton (ENG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-6, 11-5 [36m] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 [30m] Simon Rösner (GER) bt [Q] Danish Atlas Khan (PAK) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-9 [38m][Q] Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL) 3-0: 11-4, 11-3, 11-9 [50m]Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) bt [Q] Lance Beddoes (NZL) 3-1: 11-9, 11-3, 11-13, 11-9 [54m] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 [25m]