Nick Matthew (Eng) bt [5/8] Alan Clyne (Sco) 11/3, 11/4, 11/8 (35m)
[5/8] Tom Richards (Eng) bt [3/4] Daryl Selby (Eng) 11/9, 8/11, 11/6, 12/10 (65m)
[3/4] Peter Barker (Eng) bt [5/8] Adrian Grant (Eng) 9/11, 11/7, 11/8, 11/7 (83m)
 James Willstrop (Eng) bt [5/8] Chris Simpson (Eng) 4/11, 12/10, 11/7, 11/5 (63m)
”Big Four” through to women’s semis
“It’s about time I got through to the final here,” declared Irelands’s
Madeline Perry after she despatched Wales’ Deon Saffery in straight
games to reach her sixth Nationals semi-final.
Perry made a flying start, taking the first game 11/2, and taking an
8/2 lead in the second, and although Saffery improved as the match
progressed, staying just a couple of points behind throughout the third
game, Perry remained enough in control to close out the match in 25
“I’d seen I was seeded to play Emily Whitlock in the quarters, so I
knew that Deon had a good win yesterday,” said Perry, “so I wanted to
make sure I got a good start while Deon was still getting used to the
court. She was getting better as the match went on, so I was glad to
finish it off.
“I’ve made the final of the British Open on this court, so it’s about
time I made the Nationals final at last, although whoever I play in the
semi it will be a tough one ...”
Emma Beddoes today made her fourth consecutive appearance in the
Nationals quarter-finals. In the previous three she’d faced Jenny
Duncalf, Madeline Perry and Alison Waters, so as she said yesterday, it
was only right that she should meet the other member of the ‘big four’,
And Emma made a great start against the two-time defending champion,
pulling ahead after a tight start to a long first game, moving from
4-all to 10-6, forcing a few errors from the world number three’s
racket along the way.
Massaro fought back to level, and had game balls herself at 11-10,
12-11 and 15-14, but at the sixth attempt Beddoes took the lead 17-15.
At 3-2 in the second Beddoes came off worse from a bump, tumbled in the
back corner and grazed her knee. After a few minutes’ break to patch
that up Massaro took complete charge of the match, taking the second
11/4 and the third 11/2.
“That break gave me the time I needed to refocus and start playing the
way I needed to,” said Massaro after the match. “I don’t know if it
affected Emma much, but it was certainly the turning point.”
Beddoes wasn’t done yet though, and she held a point or two advantage
through most of the fourth. The “CMONs” were coming from both sides
now, and at 8-all it was still very much in the balance.
Two points for Massaro to bring up match ball, one saved and as Emma
charged into the back of her opponent only to receive a no let the
champion was through.
“That’s the best Emma’s played against me,” said Laura, “but I managed
to play with a lot more structure after that break. It’s pretty hot on
there and it’s fast for a glass court, so you can’t afford to overhit.
“That will have done me a lot of good for tomorrow,” she concluded.
“I’m a bit gutted really,” admitted Emma, “you don’t come here to lose close games!
“I played well in the first, well in the fourth, but the break affected
me when it really shouldn’t, she was ready from the restart and I just
lost my sharpness. You can’t afford to just give her two games, can
Having missed out last year through injury, Jenny Duncalf was keen to
keep her otherwise impressive Nationals record going, and the two-time
champion looked in good enough shape to make a real impact as she swept
past Sarah Kippax in straight games.
Duncalf was in charge of the first, led it 9/2, but Kippax improved
towards the end to lose it 11/5, and maintained that improvement to
stay close through most of the second. Duncalf kept in front though and
pulled clear at the end to double her advantage 11/7 as Kippax dumped
the ball into the tin at the end of a long rally.
The third saw a dominant Duncalf again, and 8-1 lead was always going
to be enough, soon enough finished off 11/3. Kippax has now fallen at
the quarter-final stage six times in a row, but on this evidence
Duncalf will have her sights on a fifth final.
“I’m feeling physically better this year havinfg got a couple of injury
niggles out of the way, so hopefully 2013 will be a good year for me,”
“We haven’t played on this court for a while, I think I managed to get
used it it quicker than she did, and managed to keep my nose in front.
She had a bit of a sniff in the second but I managed to keep the
momentum going and stay ahead.”
The women’s semi-final lineup was completed when another two-time
champion triumphed, Alison Waters beating Sarah-Jane Perry in straight
Perry, in her second quarter-final after a three year gap, after a slow
start which saw Waters take an 8-3 lead, was never out of contention
but could never quite close the gap to her more experienced opponent.
That first game lead was enough to see it out 11/9 and Waters, who
always looked as though she had an extra gear if needed, pulled away
from 6-all in the second before taking and holding a lead throughout
“She played really well,” said the victor, “she’s got a natural hold
and I needed a taxi a few times there! You have to be on your toes
playing against her and I managed to stay in front.
“I’ve been back a year now, got my ranking up to five and I’m hoping to build on that, starting tomorrow!”
Richards joins top three in men’s semis
Peter Barker, playing in the nationals for the first time in three
years, went into today’s all-London, all-leftie match against Adrian
Grant having won their last seven encounters. “I watched Adrian play
yesterday, and it was the best I’d seen him play for ages,” said the
3/4 seed, “so I knew it was going to be a tough one.
Tough it was, four games where there was rarely more than a point or
two between them, the first taking longer than the preceding women’s
match and the match taking 83 minutes in total.
Grant edged home in the first - “I wasn’t too downhearted, I knew I’d
made it tough” said Barker, while Barker held a slight advantage
through the next two to take the lead.
Barker relatively raced to a 7/1 lead in the fourth, but Grant wasn’t
done, coming back to 6/7 but slipping behind again - literally - as he
scrambled in vain in the back corner after a slip on the side wall.
That made it 9/6, and two tins in the next three points spelt the end
for Grant as a relieved Barker made the semi-finals for only the second
time in eleven appearances.
“He started well but it was tough, I knew that if I could keep the
intensity up I still had a good chance of winning it,” said the victor,
“but it was hard work all the way.
“I’m really happy with today, I played some good squash and came
through a tough physical battle. This tournament is one of my main
targets this year so hopefully I can keep it going tomorrow.”
“I was close to being in danger of going home there,” said a relieved
and out of breath James Willstrop after surviving a 63-minute tussle
with Chris Simpson to rach the Nationals semi-finals for the eighth
Simpson played well from the start and was in control of the fisrt
game, taking it 11/4 with Willstrop making a few uncharacteristic
The second was close too, 4-all, 7-all, Willstrop went to 10-8 but
Simpson pulled back to force extra points, Willstrop edging it 12/10.
It was never comfortable after that, but it was the two-time champion
who held sway, taking early leads in the third and fourth games and
holding off his young challenger to take them 11/7, 11/5.
“I’m really pleased with the way the young guys in the chasing pack are
coming through at the moment,” said Willstrop, “but it certainly makes
it hard for us to stay ahead! He played well there, put me under
pressure physically and made me feel uncomfortable for most of the
match - if he’s doing that to the world number three he must be doing
“I’m very much looking forward to the semi-final now, last year’s final
had the best atmosphere of any match I’ve played anywhere in the world
so I really want to get back there, although Peter will be hungry too
Daryl Selby and Tom Richards are well used to playing out long, tough
matches, and the recent results - their last four meetings were shared
- reflect their closeness in the world rankings, 13 to 12.
Tonight was no exception to that rule, the hot conditions in the
National Squash Centre contributing to a match that featured some very
very long rallies as the two players tried to gain an advantageous
position before upping the pace to force the winner.
You couldn’t split them, small leads were quickly contained, first one
way then the other, and with Selby, the 2011 champion, leading 10-7 in
the fourth a decider looked on the cards.
Not to be though as Richards saved all three game balls- the last one
with a volley drop that saw him on his haunches willing it to not clip
the tin - before Daryl slipped in the back cornet to bring up match
One was all it needed for Tom, who finished it off neatly with a
dropshot from distance to reach the semi-finals for the second time.
“We know each other inside out so we’re always looking for ways to
catch each other out - it can lead to a bit of frantic retrieving at
times but hopefully some exciting stuff too!”
“I’m really delighted to win that,” said Richards. “Every time we play
it’s long and tough and that was no exception, I’m just happy to sneak
it in the end.
Last on - again - was defending champion Nick Matthew, who was quickly
into his stride against Scotland’s Alan Clyne, taking the first game
comfortably 11/3. Clyne, whose workrate can never be faulted, improved
in the second but Matthew still had control of the rallies and doubled
his advantage 11/4.
The Scot improved further in the third, an by now was giving the world
number two some real problems as the rallies grew tougher and longer.
5-all, 6-all, 7-all, but then Matthew found the extra to move to 10-7,
finishing it off at the second attempts with a deceptive crosscourt
drop at the end of another punishing rally.
It wasn’t too long, didn’t finish too late so Matthew will be satisfied with his work, and Clyne can be too.
“He feeds on tins of spinach between games,” quipped Matthew after the
match. “He’s very fit but also has a very deceptive hold, he sent me
the wrong way a few times there.
“I was happy with how I handled that, sometimes when I’m playing well I
try to finish things off too soon but I held it together well and felt
pretty good on there.
“It’s a sign of how much Tom’s improved that his beating Daryl earlier
wasn’t a massive upset, so it’s going to be a really tough match