Matthew and Willstrop set to
lock horns before predicted all-Egyptian final ...
The 2018 Canary Wharf Classic could play host to the final
chapter of one of squash’s most riveting rivalries in March,
with England’s three-time World Champion Nick Matthew and
domestic rival James Willstrop seeded to meet in an
enthralling quarter-final clash in London’s East Wintergarden.
Matthew and Willstrop have had an acrimonious relationship since
a hot-tempered British Open final meeting back in 2009 and have
been competing for 17 years on the PSA World Tour, with their
semi-final meeting at the 2010 Canary Wharf Classic going down
in the squash annals as one of the most captivating matches the
sport has ever seen.
Since that momentous British Open final clash nine years ago,
37-year-old Matthew has enjoyed the lion’s share of the
victories between the two, ultimately going 19 matches unbeaten
against his rival - a run that spanned a decade - before
Willstrop finally got the better of his fellow Yorkshireman
during last year’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, although
Matthew avenged that defeat with victory at the same stage of
the 2018 edition of the tournament last week.
And, with six-time Canary Wharf Classic champion Matthew
retiring at the end of the season, the English stalwarts could
meet for the final time in East Wintergarden if they both make
it past qualifiers in round one.
The winner of that meeting is seeded to play U.S. Open champion
Ali Farag in the semi-finals, with Farag set to face
tournament wildcard Nathan Lake in round one.
World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy is on the opposite side
of the draw and is predicted to meet Germany’s 2018 ToC Champion
Simon Rösner in the last eight, while a semi-final
fixture against younger brother Marwan - the man he beat
to lift the men’s PSA World Championship trophy last month -
beckons if both players play to their seeding.
The 2018 Canary Wharf Classic, which takes
place between March 5-9, sees the prestigious tournament
celebrate its 15th anniversary, with a $100,000 prize fund on
offer for the first time in its history.
This year’s edition will also be the first ranking PSA World
Tour event to be played using a best-of-three games scoring
format, with first round and quarter-final matches played under
that format, before the semi-finals and final revert to the
traditional best-of-five scoring.
The qualifying stages will be held at Wimbledon
Racquets & Fitness Club on 3rd and 4th March.
The main draw gets under way at East Wintergarden on
March 5th with the final on March 9th.
All matches from the main draw will be shown live on SQUASHTV
(Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
The semi-finals and final will be broadcast on mainstream
channels around the world, such as BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox
Sports Australia and Astro.