Top seeds seal semi spots at Dunlop National Championships

2018-02-17T15:57:51+00:00 February 16th, 2018|Categories: 2018, NEWS, TODAY, Uncategorised|

By Mike Jones and Gareth Evans

Defending champions Nick Matthew and Laura Massaro sailed through to the semi-finals of the Dunlop National Squash Championships 2018 in Manchester.

Four-time National champion, Massaro looked in fine form to overpower fellow compatriot Emily Whitlock in a repeat of their 2017 semi-final: 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 (27m).

“I got myself into a few good leads,” said Massaro afterwards.

“Emily came back well several times, but I always seemed to have enough points in hand.”

Meanwhile, nine-time National champion, Matthew closed out the day with a comprehensive 11-7, 11-5, 11-5, victory over 5/8 seed Josh Masters.

Matthew, the World No. 8 capitalised on some unforced errors in the first then turned on the heat in the second and third to outwit his 22-year-old opponent and win 11-7, 11-5, 11-5 (36m).

Matthew, 37 said:

“In between games I didn’t feel like I was getting that much of a rhythm.”

“The way Josh plays he breaks the rhythm up and makes you feel like you aren’t settled.”

Three time-world champion, Matthew goes on to meet Chris Simpson who overcame Scot Greg Lobban in three: 11-8, 11-1, 11-6 (35m).

Meanwhile, two-time National champion James Willstrop, who is appearing in his 20th Nationals, suffered a shock in his first game against 22-year-old Richie Fallows with the youngster racing to an 11-6 lead.

But Willstrop, the World No.16 quickly regained his composure to take the match 6-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 and advance to his 12th Nationals semi-final.

Willstrop goes on to meet 2011 former champion, Daryl Selby in the semis and said:

“It’s great fun at this point, I love Daryl to bits, so hopefully we’ll just get stuck in and have a great battle on Saturday.”

Meanwhile, Selby, the 2011 champion, faced 21-year-old qualifier Emyr Evans in the first of the men’s quarter-finals and came up against a determined opponent.

A couple of shots were all that separated the two in the opening games but Selby soon upped the ante and closed out the match, winning 11-9, 11-9, 11-8 (38m).

Meanwhile, Evans’s sister and five-time Welsh National Champion, Tesni Evans overpowered two-time National champion Jenny Duncalf in three: 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 (31m).

Evans goes on to meet Massaro, in what will be a repeat of the 2017 PSA World Championships second round which saw Evans oust the former World No.1.

Elsewhere, second seed and 2015 champion Sarah-Jane Perry also advanced to her third Nationals semi-final following a clinical display against Millie Tomlinson.

Perry, the World No. 8 was made to work in the first as Tomlinson utilised many attacking cross courts shots to come back from 5-8 down and draw level at 9-9.

But Perry soon found her form to gain control and take the next two without reply to record an 11-9, 11-2, 11-1 victory, and set up a semi-final clash against four-time National champion Alison Waters.

Waters, meanwhile made light work of 5/8 seed Fiona Moverley requiring just 29 minutes to advance to her 13th British Nationals semi-final.


[1] Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-0 [5/8] Emily Whitlock (Eng)        11-5, 11-6, 11-6 (27m)
[3/4] Daryl Selby (Eng) 3-0 [Q] Emyr Evans (Wal)                    11-9, 11-9, 11-8 (38m)

[3/4] Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-0 [5/8] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)             11-9, 11-5, 11-8 (31m)
[2] James Willstrop (Eng) 3-1 Richie Fallows (Eng)          6-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 (49m)

[3/4] Alison Waters (Eng) 3-0 [5/8] Fiona Moverley (Eng)     11-9, 11-8, 11-5 (29m)
[5/8] Chris Simpson (Ggy) 3-0 [3/4] Greg Lobban (Sco)          11-8, 11-1, 11-6 (35m)

[2] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) 3-0 [5/8] Millie Tomlinson (Eng)  11-9, 11-2, 11-1 (24m)
[1] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-0 [5/8] Josh Masters (Eng)                 11-7, 11-5, 11-5 (36m)