Nick Matthew To Face Amr Shabana In Tournament of Champions 2nd Round

The J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions staged at Grand Central Terminal in New York is the first PSA World Series squash event of the year at and the defending champion started strongly, winning the first game 11-4, by picking up every ball and attacking at every opportunity.

"I had a bit of a mental lull in the second," said Matthew, referring to Lee's capture of that game at 11-8. "So I had to work harder than I would have liked." The second seed reasserted himself in the third and dominated the fourth to close out the match 11-7, 11-4.

After the match, Matthew confessed: "I made the mistake today of looking ahead before I was finished with this match." The 32-year-old from England was referring to the potential second round match with Amr Shabana, two time ToC champion who defeated Matthew in the PSA World Series Finals final earlier this month.

The two will indeed meet in what Matthew referred to as an "unusual" second round match-up between the two former world number ones.

Shabana, whose world ranking dropped to nine in December, when the Tournament of Champions draw was done, fell outside the top eight seeding format used by PSA. Thus, the four-time world champion who had topped the PSA world rankings for 33 straight months starting in April 2006, was subject to the luck of the draw, as was his opponent Matthew.

The consensus among those in the know is that Shabana is lean and hungry and playing consistently dangerous squash. "I still think I am as good as anybody out there," Shabana said in a post-match interview.

The talented Egyptian wasted no time in getting to the second round as he dismissed English qualifier Chris Simpson, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 in just 33 minutes.

"I felt like Shabana could play any shot from any corner of the court," said Simpson, playing on the ToC glass court for the first time.

Shabana was matter of fact as he looked ahead to match with Matthew. "It is just another match," he said.

After the end of the first round of play, it is the match that has everyone else buzzing with anticipation.

PSA World Series J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, New York, USA
1st round (lower half of draw):
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) 11-6, 11-2, 11-1 (25m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Todd Harrity (USA) 12-10, 11-3, 11-6 (35m)
[Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Olli Tuominen (FIN) 11-1, 11-9, 5-11, 11-5 (53m)
[6] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 11-4, 11-5, 11-9 (46m)
[7] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 11-4 (59m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [Q] Shahier Razik (CAN) 13-15, 12-10, 11-9, 11-9 (79m)
Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [Q] Chris Simpson (ENG) 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 (33m)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Joe Lee (ENG) 11-4, 8-11, 11-7, 11-4 (55m)

2nd round line-up:
[1] James Willstrop (ENG) v Tarek Momen (EGY)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v Adrian Grant (ENG)
[8] Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Simon Rosner (GER)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Tom Richards (ENG)
[6] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) v [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
[7] Karim Darwish (EGY) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Amr Shabana (EGY)

Event website: www.tocsquash.com

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Nick Matthew found himself on court a little longer than he would have liked in his first round match at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions against his fellow countryman Joe Lee.