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English trio triumph on opening day in New York


PSA World Series Tournament of Champions, Round One (top half):

[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Adrian Grant (ENG) 11-4, 11-5, 11-4
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 11-7, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt [Q] Mohd Alii Anwar Reda (EGY) 11-8, 11-4, 11-9
[7] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [Q] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)  11-3, 11-6, 11-7
[6] Peter Barker (ENG) bt Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)  5-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 11-3
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA)  8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-4
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [Q] Mohd Nafizwan Adnan (MAS)  11-2, 11-6, 11-2
[4] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [Q] Nicolas Mueller (SUI)  7-11, 11-1, 12-10, 11-5

English trio triumph on opening day in New York

Nick Matthew, James Willstrop and Peter Barker led an English charge in the opening round of the 2014 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions which got underway in New York’s Grand Central Terminal.

14-14TC4601World No.1 Matthew eased past fellow countryman Adrian Grant 3-0 to book his place in the second round where he will face South African Stephen Coppinger on Sunday.

Matthew recorded an 11-4, 11-5, 11-4 victory over Grant in a performance which he feels sets him up well for the rest of the tournament.

“I’ve played against Adrian for a long time now and we’re good friends,” said Matthew. “Sometimes it can be hard to go into that kind of match so I’m pleased with how I performed today and to get off in three.

16-14TC4803“This tournament gives you a real buzz as a player. That can sometimes make you a little reckless so it was important to keep focused on the match.

“I built up some momentum before Christmas but we’ve had a few weeks off so I’m approaching this like starting all over again. I’m not thinking about the rankings or anything like that and just concentrating on playing well and hopefully I can keep improving. 

“I’m playing Copps on Sunday now. He’s a hungry player and he done well here last year so I know it will be a tough game but I’m looking forward to it.”

17-14TC5235World No.5 Willstrop came from behind to get past Swiss qualifier Nicolas Mueller, eventually prevailing 3-1 while Barker, who returned to PSA World Seires action for the first time in over two months, defeated rising Egyptian star Karim Abdel Gawad 3-2.

02-14TC0813Barker missed the final two World Series events of 2013, the Qatar Classic and Hong Kong Open, after picking up a calf injury during the 2013 World Squash Championship in Manchester last October but he came through today’s 73-minute match with no signs of trouble.

“I’m really pleased to get through,” said Barker. “Karim is great player who’s highly ranked – he was one of the toughest first round draws – so I’m pleased to get through that.

“I don’t feel like I played great but I wasn’t expecting to be at my best. 

“I haven’t played on a glass court for over two months so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I felt like I moved pretty well and there were no effects afterwards, so that’s the most important thing. 

“It was tough few months for me but it’s good to be back and get through without any issues. I have a day off tomorrow now as well so hopefully I’ll improve from here.”

Elsewhere on the opening day there were wins for Dutch star Laurens Jan Anjema, France’s Mathieu Castagnet, Australian Cameron Pilley and Egyptian maestro Amr Shabana.


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