Top seeds cruise into Nationals quarter finals

2019-01-25T11:59:36+00:00February 9th, 2017|Categories: 2017, NEWS|

Tournament favourites Nick Matthew and Laura Massaro cruised through their first round matches as they began their attempts to defend their Nationals titles in Manchester.

Matthew overcame qualifier Ashley Davies while Massaro comfortably dispatched Deon Saffery in the Blowers Jewellers National Squash Championships.

Thursday brought the first glimpse into the main hall and the specially-assembled, all-glass show court, with three-time champion Massaro first to play. She required just 24 minutes to beat Saffery, of Wales, 11/2, 11/6, 11/3. Alison Waters [2], who has four Nationals titles to her name, Sarah-Jane Perry and Emily Whitlock [3/4] all also advanced to the quarter finals with ease but two-time winner Jenny Duncalf [5/8] was taken to a fifth game in her match against World No.35 Millie Tomlinson, emerging victorious after 62 minutes, 11/8, 7/11, 11/5, 6/11, 11/7.

Matthew is on the hunt for a record ninth title at the National Squash Centre, sponsored by Blowers Jewellers. His opponent Ashley Davies, of Derbyshire, came through a five-game thriller against England Squash Academy player George Parker on Wednesday evening but World No.4 Matthew only required three to seal the first round tie, winning 11/7, 11/2, 11/7 in 37 minutes. Yorkshire’s James Willstrop [2] also advanced to the quarter finals, defeating qualifier Mark Fuller, of Nottinghamshire, 11/5, 11/8, 11/5 in 31 minutes.

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The day’s main upset came in a match between 5/8 seed Ben Coleman and Jaymie Haycocks, of Warwickshire, with the unseeded player needing 49 minutes to claim a 7/11, 11/9, 11/6, 11/3 victory.

A final between two of the most exciting veterans in the game remained on course in the men’s over-45s after seven-time masters champion and former over-35s British Open winner Nick Taylor [1] and former World No.2 Peter Marshall [2] both advanced through to the quarter finals on Friday. They will be joined by England Squash’s Senior National Coach David Campion.

The men’s over-40s draw went according to seed with Peter O’Hara [1] and Daniel Massaro [2] both safely into the next round. Top seed Yawar Abbas, of Durham and Cleveland, made it through to the quarter final of the over-50s while there were no upsets in the over-35s.

Number two seed Mandy Akin, of Kent, required just 21 minutes to secure her place in the quarter finals of the women’s over-50s draw with a 15/1, 15/11, 15/4 win against Bev Vatcher, of Dorset.

Mark Woodliffe [1], of Gloucestershire, will play Neil Harrison [5/8], of Durham and Cleveland, after beating Mark Taylor, of Avon, 11/4, 14/12, 11/3 in the over-55s.

Rustom Bativala, of Warwickshire, the favourite for the men‘s over-60s title, came through a major scare in the second round of the competition. After five games – and 59 minutes – he eventually beat Brian Duke, of Durham and Cleveland, with a nervy finish to the deciding game. The final score read 13/15, 15/9, 12/15, 15/11, 17/15 and Bativala will face David Clarke, of Surrey, in the quarter finals.

And there were no surprises in the over-65s draw with John Rae [1], of Scotland, and second seed Ian Graham, of Sussex, both through. The men’s over-70s draw went according to seed.