Three-time World Champion Nick Matthew produced an assured display to see off Australia’s Cameron Pilley in the opening round of the 2015 PSA Men’s World Championship.
Despite dropping out of last week’s Qatar Classic, PSA World Series event due to injury, ’The Wolf’ was in top form from the get-go and the 35-year-old utilised his incredible fitness around to court to make some stunning retrievals as Pilley sought to use his renowned powerful drives to open up the court for himself. Matthew went on to pull away at the business end of games one and two to open up a commanding lead after Pilley found the tin with a number of drops.
Both players then traded blow for blow in an electrifying third game which ultimately saw World No.19 Pilley claw a game back after a consistent display and impressive physical prowess enabled him to unsettle Matthew’s rhythm.
Undeterred, Matthew redoubled his efforts in the fourth and pushed up the court in order to snuff out any openings for his opponent. However, Pilley matched Matthew point for point for much of the final stages of the encounter and pushed the Englishman to the limit in an engaging contest. After falling behind, Matthew mounted a superb fightback to complete a testing 11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9 victory in 67 minutes.
“I missed out on Qatar because of a stomach injury so I’ve had plenty of time to build up to this match,” said Matthew.
“That can sometimes be a tricky thing because you’ve got a lot of time to think about one person and sometimes you can think about that person more than you think about your own game and that’s what I found on there today. He’s always been a tricky opponent for me throughout my career. If you see the head-to-head results then there have been two or three wins for him there and they’ve always been around four games and gone to tie-breaks.
“I’m just happy to get through the first round having missed Qatar. It was a potential banana skin. He’s a top 20 player and very dangerous so I’m just happy to emerge from that one with the win.”
Matthew goes on to face Egyptian qualifier Karim El Hammamy after the 20-year-old bested Declan James in their first round matchup.
Meanwhile, Pilley’s defeat coupled with Ryan Cuskelly’s loss at the hands of Saurav Ghosal means that there will no Australian representation in the second round of the World Championship for the first time since the event began in 1976.
Result – First Round: PSA Men’s World Championship 2015
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-0: 11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9 (67m)
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