Three-time British Open champion Nick Matthew advanced to the semi-finals of the iconic tournament for the seventh time in his glittering career after ‘The Wolf’ narrowly got the better of Egyptian World No.10 Tarek Momen.
Matthew, the World No.4, relinquished a one-game lead on two occasions to a tenacious Momen, but he pulled through in the decider, prevailing by an 11-9, 10-12, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6 margin of victory to set up a mouthwatering semi-final meeting with defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy.
“It was like a rollercoaster, he’s that type of player you’ve got to stay consistent against because he’s going to have his periods where he plays incredible and then makes mistakes,” revealed Matthew.
“I saw Laura’s [Massaro] game earlier and I was inspired by her getting through. The crowd were great supporting her, but I didn’t give them that much to cheer about in terms of my positive play. Hopefully I’ll get a bit more of that tomorrow with them right behind me.
“I just focus on my own stuff and let that take care of itself. Obviously we’re very proud to represent England, but every time I step on court I’m representing myself, my family, my club, my city, Yorkshire, England and everything else.
“I heard [daughter] Charlotte crying when I was 8-5 up and getting a bit tense, but it really relaxed me for the last few points. It made me remember life is more important than a game of squash.
“I was chasing after her for my warm down, she’s a character and she’s brilliant, that sort of stuff is more important than squash.”
It took Matthew and Momen a while to get into their rhythm, with errors coming off the rackets of both players in the opening game. Momen managed to sharpen his game enough to take a 9-6 lead, but three tinned shots in a row allowed Matthew back into it and the 36-year-old took full advantage to go 1-0 up on games.
Momen began to hit the ball to the front of the court more in the second, narrowly taking it 12-10 to level the scores, but Matthew stepped up on ’T’ and utilised a series of attacking volleys to reclaim the lead.
Momen came back at Matthew once again in the fourth to send the match into a dramatic decider, but the English veteran held his nerve to see out the win.
Matthew also commented on the battle for the World No.1 spot – a three-way battle between ElShorbagy, World No.2 Gawad and World No.3 Gaultier – and reminisced about the 19 months he spent atop the rankings between 2010 and 2014.
“Good luck to all the guys playing for World No.1, but I’ve literally not given it a second thought, it’s nothing to do with me. I’ve had my time there and whoever gets the World No.1 position, at any stage, they always fully deserve it.
“It was an amazing feeling walking on court being the World No.1 and if Karim goes for it good luck to him, but Mohamed isn’t going to give it away easily. Greg wants to be the oldest number one, which is a bit of sub-plot.”
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt  Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-2: 11-9, 10-12, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6 (82m)
The 2017 Allam British Open takes place at the Airco Arena, Hull from March 21-26. Tickets are available to purchase from £7.50 by visiting www.allambritishopensquash2017.com
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