Nick Matthew proved age is no barrier to success as he
felled Egypt's 22-year-old Fares Dessouky, 14-years his
junior, 3-1 to win the 2017 Canary Wharf Classic and lift
the trophy for a record sixth time inside London's East
On the banks of the river Thames Matthew completed the
victory courtesy of an 11-9, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8 scoreline
that sees him collect the 35th title of his PSA World Tour
career - with Dessouky, World No.11, the only man this week
to even take a game from the 36-year-old World No.4.
Egyptian had come through a mammoth 124 minute semi-final
with Spaniard Borja Golan to reach the title-decider and
Matthew took advantage of weary legs to open up an early
first game lead. The Sheffield-based man continued to
dominate and double his advantage but Dessouky rose to the
challenge, putting together a purple patch to take the third
game against the run of play. But ultimately he couldn't do
enough to stop the Matthew charge.
"He had a long, hard match last night and it's so hard
mentally to recover from a match like that, but he showed
just how tough is his the way he came back in that third
game," said Matthew.
"I know what it's like to back up a tough semi-final, it's
so hard, so it's credit to him for the way he pushed me. I
never really felt settled on there, I was never that far in
front of him so it was a bit of a concentration battle - but
I'm happy to come through and get the win and I'm very proud
of the achievement.
"For me it's also just such a pleasure to play here - I
truly missed this tournament last year. The Friday Night
crowd at Canary Wharf is the best on Tour," added Matthew,
who donated all of his prize winnings to Sumner Malik, a
promising 10-year-old squash player who has been diagnosed
with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma – a rare form of brain
"I know the the Malik family and they live and breathe
squash. We're fortunate to do what we do for a living and we
take it for granted at times. I don't want any thanks or
for doing it - it's about raising awareness for him and it's
the least that I can do. I'm a parent myself and hopefully
he can have a great life ahead of him and I'm glad that I've
been able to give them a good fund."
After the match Dessouky said: "I had a great week and
played my best ever squash here. The crowd were supporting
me from first the first day and getting to the final was
very pleasing. Maybe next time I can win the title - I feel
like I am pretty close."
Nick Matthew used all of his big match experience and
unquestioned class to stop the run of New Zealand's Paul
Coll at the 2017 Canary Wharf Classic and come through their
semi-final encounter in straight games to book a place in
tomorrow's final - where he will be aiming to win the title
for a record sixth time inside London's East Wintergarden.
Up against the in-form World No.16 Matthew produced a
masterclass performance, picking his shots and bossing the
court with precise placement from the off to secure a 11-9,
11-8, 11-5 win that sees him through to meet Egypt's Fares
Dessouky in the title-decider.
"Sometimes the scoreline doesn't tell the story and tonight
was very tough - especially the first two games," said
36-year-old Matthew, who will be hoping to collect his 37th
PSA World Tour title.
"I think maybe a bit of experience came in there and I just
managed to keep him at bay. If anyone can come back from 2-0
down I know it's him so I'm happy with how I played and I
feel like there's still plenty left to come - which is a
great feeling to have ahead of a big match tomorrow.
"I missed this tournament last year and it's only with
hindsight that I realised how much I enjoy it here. It's the
best crowd on Tour and I think 'Friday Night Finals Night'
at Canary Wharf is one of the best stages on Tour.
"The crowd are great and they can have a few drinks tomorrow
night without worrying about work, so it's very special
atmosphere, I'm looking forward to playing in it."
Dessouky secured his place in the final, in what will be the
biggest match of his career to date, after coming through a
scrappy five-game affair with Spain's Borja Golan that was
littered with over 50 refereeing decisions.
Dessouky won 12-10, 15-17, 13-11, 11-13, 11-5 after 124
minutes - the third longest match in the events history.
"It was a pretty long match and I was starting to cramp
towards the end, so I'm very happy to be through," said
"It was a very hard match mentally. There was lots of
talking and we were struggling with each others movement. I
am glad I am through, I'm really happy to be in the final.
"It is a great achievement for me and Nick is one of the
legends of the sport. I've watched him since I was young and
dreamed of playing him in big matches - I will do what I do
every day to recover and hopefully I can come here tomorrow
and play my best and make the crowd proud."
Zealand's Paul Coll backed up his mammoth 2 hour victory
over Simon Rösner in round one of the 2017 Canary Wharf
Classic with a hugely impressive 3-0 defeat of crowd
favourite Daryl Selby today (Mary 8) to reach the
tournament's semi-finals - where he will face five time
tournament winner Nick Matthew - while 2016 winner Mathieu
Castagnet bowed out at the quarter-final stage.
Coll, who hasn't lost a match on English soil since his
first round exit at the 2016 British Open almost a year ago,
was in cruise control against former World No.9 Selby, using
his physical strength to extend the rallies and force errors
from the 34-year-old to come through 11-7, 11-3, 12-10 in
just under an hour.
"I'm very happy and relieved to get through that match
tonight, especially in three games," said Coll.
"He really stepped up in the third and was hitting some
outrageous shots, so it's good to get off in three and get
an early night to rest and recover. I had a tough one on
Monday but I did all the recovery work and felt pretty fresh
"There's a lot of hard work and suffering that goes in
behind the scenes so it feels good to be getting the wins.
And I've had some good results in London recently, it's
become a bit of a happy hunting ground for me - hopefully I
can keep that going."
will face 36-year-old Matthew for the first time ever after
the three-time World Champion saw off Australian Cameron
Pilley 3-0 courtesy of a dominant performance.
"I've been working a lot on my game lately and put in a very
good few weeks and feel like I'm moving better than I have
done for a few years," said Matthew.
"I'm really looking forward to playing Paul. I've never
played him before and he's come up a long way in a short
space of time and really announced himself as not just a
contender, but someone who can win. His physicality is his
strength and he plays a very disciplined game of squash so I
have to be at my best - hopefully I can stop his run in
2016 tournament winner Mathieu Castagnet meanwhile saw his
hopes of a Canary Wharf double dashed at the hands of
Egyptian Fares Dessouky as the 22-year-old came through a
scrappy affair 11-7, 9-11, 11-3, 11-6.
who's career has been plagued by injury since winning here
twelve months ago, looked to be back to his free flowing
best as he engaged in exchange after exchange that saw the
two covering all four corners of the court in the early
going. But, with the referee becoming increasingly involved,
it was Dessouky who kept his momentum going to secure the
win and go through to meet Spain's Borja Golan.
"I'm feeling great - beating Mathieu was a great thing for
me," said Dessouky.
"He's a great player and I really enjoyed the battle - I'm
just trying my best every day and playing as well as I can."
qualifier Lucas Serme overcame a gulf of almost 40 places on the PSA World
Rankings to defeat World No.7 and tournament second seed Marwan ElShorbagy 3-1
and secure a surprise berth in the quarter-finals of the 2017 Canary Wharf
Classic - the PSA M70 tournament taking place inside London's East Wintergarden.
Serme battled through over 100 minutes of qualification action just to reach the
main draw of the event but played relaxed, free-flowing squash to expose an
under-par ElShorbagy and come through 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7 - with the Egyptian
struggling physically following his exploits in reaching the Windy City Open
final last week.
25-year-old Serme though, who studied at the University of Bristol alongside
ElShorbagy, was sublime from the off and, despite dropping the third game, was
fully deserving of the victory that takes him through to meet Spain's Borja
Golan for a place in the semi-finals.
"I'm not entirely sure what happened," said a disbelieving Serme afterwards.
"I'm very, very happy with the result. He had a big week in Chicago and I could
feel he wasn't as sharp mentally as he usually is - he was a little flat. I had
to jump on there from the start and get as many points as possible before he got
into it and maybe I was the more hungry player today.
"There was no pressure on me. He was the number two seed so the pressure was all
on him and that allowed me to play my shots - and my wife Anna played a big part
as well because she kept sending me messages to help me relax."
compatriot and defending Canary Wharf Classic champion Mathieu Castagnet began
his campaign with a straight-forward win over Wildcard Lyell Fuller, coming
through 3-0 as he looks to end a poor run of injury-ravaged form.
Since claiming the title here twelve months ago Castagnet has failed to progress
beyond the quarter-finals of any tournament, a record he'll hope to change
against Egypt’s Fares Dessouky tomorrow.
"I'm happy with how I played today - I fell like I was moving well," said
"Lyell is a good player and he surprised and scared me in the first game - but
today is the first match that I've felt like I'm moving and playing well. Since
leaving here last year my ranking and my health has gone down - it's been a
"Last season I reached my first World Series semi-finals, I won here and played
the World Series Finals - I played around 15 or 20 matches more than in any
other season of my career and I think maybe I didn't listen enough to my body
and I started to get injured.
"So this week I'm just going on court to focus on my game and not worry about my
body. If I can enjoy the experience, work on my basics and just enjoy being
injury free then I'll go home happy."
Zealand's Paul Coll pushed through the pain barrier to emerge victorious in a
mammoth 116 minute first round battle with Simon Rösner during the first round
of action at the 2017 Canary Wharf Classic - setting up a quarter-final
encounter with local favourite Daryl Selby at the East Wintergarden, London.
In what was the longest match of his career, World No.16 Coll was forced to
fight off impending cramp during a decisive fifth game after negotiating his way
through a match played at the very highest level. The pair engaged in rally
after rally of the sublime squash with Coll using his phenomenal physical
stamina and strength to extend the action from the off - winning a huge 26
minute opening game 11-8.
World No.9 Rösner responded in kind in the second and there was little to
separate them as the match went into a fifth. Suffering from cramp in his legs
and having let a 7-2 lead slip, Coll gave it one last push and emerged
victorious courtesy of an 11-9 fifth game win.
"That was definitely tough," said Coll. "It was all a bit up and down and a real
"Physically it was very draining. I felt pretty flat in the fourth and the start
of the fifth - I was just hanging on in there. I started cramping up but I just
told myself to push through the pain.
"I'm really happy kept it together in the fifth and didn't give away any cheap
errors. I got a second wind towards the latter stages and started to step up the
court a bit. I'm happy with how I stuck in there and pushed through that flat
Coll will now face Selby, who beat qualifier Charles Sharpes 3-0, on Wednesday
while top seeded Nick Matthew, the 36-year-old gunning for his sixth title in
London, came through a tough 3-0 encounter with Australia's Ryan Cuskelly.
started slowly, falling 1-6 behind in the opening game before settling into the
match and allowing his fierce determination to come to the fore. 'The Wolf'
battled through to take the first 15-13, setting up the platform for a hard
earned win that came after 65 minutes.
"I started poorly," said Matthew.
"I was lucky to get that first game and I think that turned the match. Then the
second was almost role reversal, I was ahead and he was back in it and I was
lucky to get that one too. I think 2-0 certainly flattered me.
"But I'm experienced enough to make sure those opportunities don't slip."
Matthew will face fellow PSA World Tour veteran Cameron Pilley in the
quarter-finals after the Australian got past qualifier Joel Makin of Wales 3-0.
Joel Makin powered his way through to the main draw of the Canary
Wharf Classic with a solid performance against Ben Coleman.
Coleman has returned from an injury and played with an ankle support
on his right leg. But his movement appeared to be smooth and
efficient during some phenomenally long opening rallies.
However, three tins gifted Makin a 7-3 lead. Each one played
precision drops from the back of the court and each was awarded a
stroke before Makin clinched the game with a backhand drive that was
glued to the left-hand wall, a shot that summed up his mastery of
that particular zone of the court.
Makin led 6-4 in the second but by now the match had taken on a
physical tone as both players responded aggressively to a succession
of “No let” decisions.
Coleman drew level at 8-8 with a superb backhand volley drop and
took the lead when Makin put drop into the tin.
Coleman put a boast into the tin to make it 9-9 but then nailed a
crosscourt backhand volley nick. A forehand straight drive gave
Coleman the game and he roared with animal passion as he left the
Before the start of the third game the referee announced there would
be no soft lets in the front left corner but most of the traffic
issues were around the mid-court line.
At 5-5 Makin was awarded a stroke and Coleman received a conduct
warning for alleged dissent. Coleman responded with a mistake on the
subsequent service return. A stroke to Makin was followed by two “no
let” calls to Coleman.
At game ball down, Coleman responded with an inside-out Essex misuki
into the front right nick but then put a drop shot into the tin to
give Makin the game.
Makin dominated most of the fourth game as the side walls took a
pounding from bodies being propelled into the concrete with an
There were some lengthy rallies and some intelligent squash but too
many passages of play ended with scrappy scuffling and pushing
around the middle of the court.
Makin clinched the fourth game 11-6 after 69 minutes of combat to
become the first name into the draw with the big guns.
BLOOD ON THE COURT
Declan James made it through to the main draw after a huge battle
with experienced Egyptian Mohamed Reda.
Leading two games to one, James started the fourth game in fiery
form, claiming three quick points as he clearly set out to finish
the match as quickly as possible.
However, he had scraped his knuckle earlier in the match and, with a
few drops of blood on the court, he was asked to leave to have it
After a ten-minute delay, and a nice breather for Reda, play finally
resumed. James was soon into his stride again and he seemed set to
close out the match as he led 8-4, but Reda had other ideas.
He grabbed three quick points after a trio of tins from his opponent
but then Reda received the double setback of a “no let” and a
conduct warning for shouting. That put James at 9-7 but the tall
Englishman conceded a stroke. Reda then stumbled as he chased a
backhand and put the ball into the tin to put James on match ball at
That’s when the fun began. Reda struck a brilliant crosscourt volley
nick and a tight forehand drop made it 10-10. A backhand drop gave
Reda game ball but the Egyptian slashed at first a backhand and then
a forehand, sending both into the tin, to put James back on match
ball at 12-11.
Astonishingly, a mis-hit backhand somehow squirted on to the front
wall to put Reda level at 12-12. James was perfectly set up at the
front of the court for a crosscourt slam kill into the left nick but
his shot glanced off the tin: 13-12 to Reda.
Reda screamed in dismay after a “no let” made it 13-13, then he
conceded a stroke after a loose ball in the front right corner.
To cap an entertaining finale, James buried a forehand kill into the
front right nick from the back of the court to take it 15-13.
SERME AND LAKE SERVE UP A TREAT
Lucas Serme joined reigning champion Mathieu Castagnet to double the
French presence in the main draw after a hugely entertaining
five-game marathon against Nathan Lake.
Lake led 4-2 in the first game but Serme took control to win nine
points in a row. He could not maintain the momentum in the second as
Lake built a solid 5-3 lead, advanced to 9-4, and weathered a late
flurry of points from Serme to take it 11-7.
Serme produced a sublime spell of squash to win the third 11-3 but
Lake responded strongly again to win a tight fourth game.
Those efforts took their toll as Serme built a 7-2 lead in the fifth
and reduced a tiring Lake to some desperate retrieving, accompanied
by much grunting and grimacing.
He refused to give up and doggedly chased the ball into all four
corners, claiming another five points with some outstanding winners,
before the stylish Serme triumphed 11-7 after 74 minutes of high
It was a great advertisement for the game.
The final match, between London rivals Charles Sharpes and Richie
Fallows, was always going to be a battle of raw emotion. It ended up
as the longest battle of the day, with Sharpes winning the fifth
after being embroiled in some unsavoury interaction with the match
Richie is to be commended for his conscious decision to let his
racket do the talking, and his short game, when it works, is showing
signs of significant improvement.
However, his error count was way too high in this match and in the
vital third game he hit the tin seven times and gave away a penalty
stroke, which is pretty much giving the whole game away to your
In a fractious encounter, Sharpes won the opening game 11-9 but, at
the end of the second, he lost the deciding point on a “no let”
decision and received a penalty stroke at the beginning of the
third. When Fallows then moved 3-2 ahead, Sharpes received a conduct
warning for dissent.
He tightened up as Fallows imploded, but the fourth game was a total
horror show. It ended with Sharpes receiving a conduct stroke for
racket abuse and he responded by smacking the ball into the ceiling,
an act that went unpunished.
Before the fifth game, Sharpes was warned that he faced the full
force of the disciplinary powers available to the referee if he
continued to misbehave.
This helped him to calm down and may well have been the decisive
factor. Fallows was unable to repeat the winners that won him the
fourth and a flurry of tins helped his opponent ease to match ball,
which he converted with a simple forehand drop.
Sharpes was rewarded with a place in the opening match on the glass
court against Daryl Selby, with Makin facing Cameron Pilley later in
James and Serme were both rewarded with a rest day before their
appointments on Tuesday, with James facing Spain’s Borja Golan and
Serme meeting number two seed Marwan Elshorbagy, runner-up in last
week’s Windy City Open in Chicago.
Top qualifying seeds Adrian Waller and Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi
were both knocked out of the PSA M70 Canary Wharf Classic at the
Waller fell in straight games to Welsh number one Joel Makin, and
Qatari ace Al Tamimi was outplayed by Londoner Richie Fallows.
On a successful day for the Midlands-based Robert Owen Academy,
Nathan Lake joined fellow pupil Makin in the qualifying finals after
beating Josh Masters 3-1.
Makin and Lake were well prepared for the battle, both physically
and mentally. Makin came through a niggly, scrappy encounter with
Waller and Lake’s tight, controlled squash forced his opponent,
Masters, into numerous errors.
Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club is a happy hunting ground for
Makin. He won the recent Wimbledon Open, beating Ben Coleman in the
final, and he is hoping for a repeat performance tomorrow.
Makin said: “I lost to Adrian at this stage in the Channel VAS Open
at St George’s Hill three months ago so I knew what to expect and
knew what I had to do to avoid another result like that.
“I know how good Adrian is at the front so I tried to keep him out
of those areas where he can do a lot of damage.
“I have been working hard with Rob Owen on improving my quality all
over the court and I am also working with the Welsh national coach
David Evans. The hard work is paying off and I just want to keep
getting the results to improve the rankings.
“I am looking forward to playing Ben tomorrow. We played here in the
Wimbledon final and I won that one so I hope I can produce the same
level of performance tomorrow against a very good player.”
Coleman was delighted to celebrate his return from injury with a 3-1
victory over Tristan Eysele from South Africa.
He said: “I think it’s the first time since I started squash at the
age of 11 that I’ve been away from the court for that long. I think
I was off four days once, but this time, I was away for eight weeks.
Squash is hard enough when you are 100% fit, but when you struggle
physically… I feel for those guys like Ramy Ashour, I now realise
how hard it is.
“Tristan played well, really great, but I feel that my strength when
I was playing at my best was my physicality, whereas now I’m just
fighting to try and get back to where I was.”
Lake fought back impressively after losing the opening game to No.8
It was a battle of contrasting styles, with the tall Masters playing
at a high pace and looking to hit winners at the earliest
Left-hander Lake was more patient and methodical and those tactics
ultimately reaped the desired dividend.
Masters attacked from the off and the opening game was a justified
reward for his ambitious approach, but he lost his way somewhere in
the second game.
As Lake tightened up his width and length, he presented fewer
opportunities for Masters to attack.
Lake comfortably took the second game and opened up a 7-5 lead in
the third. Masters fought back to draw level and at 7-7 the most
crucial phase of the match unfolded.
It was Lake who managed that passage of play more intelligently and
he let out a roar of delight as he clinched the game 11-9.
The value of that exchange was soon evident as a stream of errors
flowed from Masters throughout the fourth. Lake continued to move
the ball to the back corners with impressive accuracy and dominated
Lake said: “I am very pleased to get past Josh. We all know how he
can put pace on the ball and he loves to attack. I stuck to my game
plan and I hope I can keep it going against Lucas Serme.”
Masters admitted: “I made too many mistakes and felt that I was not
fit enough to play at that level. I was trying to put the pressure
on and force the pace but I need to learn to be more patient.”
Ironically, the two players will meet again on the glass court on
Friday in the Wild Card Challenge for a place in next year’s main
Fallows was in outstanding form to beat a subdued looking Al Tamimi,
who spent most of his energy on arguing with the referee.
Fallows said: “A few people came to tell me that my game is better
now I’m not getting involved any more. It’s something I have been
working on for a few months now, because I realise that it was not
helping my game. So, I’m happy that work has improved my squash.
“Today, I was just trying to frustrate him by getting some of his
best shots back. And once I got a few of his shots back, it looked
like he went a bit well, crazy! And that was the game plan really…”
There were comfortable wins for Lucas Serme, Declan James, Charles
Sharpes and Mohamed Reda, although Reda lost the first game to home
hero Kyle Finch, who was cheered to the rooftops by a packed
The current World No.13 - who was a beaten finalist at the PSA M70
tournament last year - will be replaced as the tournament’s number
three seed by German No.1 Simon Rösner.
Mosaad’s compatriot, World No.11 Fares Dessouky, moves up to the
number four seed position and he will now take on England’s Tom
Richards, while Australian World No.18 Cameron Pilley, who had been
due to play Mosaad in round one, will instead face a qualifier.
Sponsor: Canary Wharf Group plc Official Event Partner: Brewin Dolphin Official Racket Partner: Harrow
Partner: Radisson Blu
The Canary Wharf
Squash Classic at the East Wintergarden is jointly promoted by Eventis
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Venue: East Wintergarden, Bank Street, Canary Wharf, E14 Corporate Hospitality: Superb packages are available, enabling
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from the Gallery restaurant within the East Wintergarden.
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Canary Wharf Classic have sold out but a waitlist is open in case
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The fabulous East
Wintergarden also offers superb opportunities for corporate hospitality,
with the gallery restaurant offering “the best view of squash anywhere
in the world” according to former world champion Peter Nicol.