England’s three-time World Champion Nick Matthew suffered a shock defeat in the second round of the 2018 Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, crashing out at the hands of Australian World No.20 Cameron Pilley.
35-year-old Pilley put together one of his best ever performances against Matthew to secure his first win over the 37-year-old Englishman since the 2015 Hong Kong Open as he took a 11-8, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7 victory in 67 minutes under the chandeliers of the University Club of Chicago’s beautiful Cathedral Hall.
The Australian took the first game before a resilient Matthew battled back in the second. However, from then on Pilley played with confidence to close out the win and reach the quarter-finals in Chicago for the first time in his career.
“We have played so many times in our career and I think that’s only my fourth ever win over him,” said Pilley following his win.
“Given what Nick’s achieved over his whole career – he is one of the best ever players – and even though he is coming to the end of his career, I’m quite happy to notch up a win here in Chicago.
“Because I haven’t had a lot of success against him you know that your game plan might be wrong. He has nullified that so many times before that you second guess how you want to play.
“In a way it’s a privilege to beat him in his last season because he’s so up for every tournament because he knows every city he visits will be the last time he competes there.”
The Australian will now face Egypt’s World No.3 Ali Farag in the quarter-finals after he downed Pilley’s countryman, Ryan Cuskelly, in straight-games.
“I had the right game plan today and had to work on winning the battle in the back corners and I think I managed to do that,” said Farag.
“It never got easier. But the more I dragged him backwards, the more the front court opened up. I was happy with how I played and with how I kept my discipline.”
Meanwhile in the women’s event, Farag’s wife, Nour El Tayeb, produced a tenacious comeback against World No.12 Tesni Evans to save four match balls before claiming a huge 3-2 victory.
The Egyptian was staring down the barrel of defeat in the fourth game as Evans played with accuracy and flair to punish the World No.3. Evans held four match balls before El Tayeb turned it around to take the pivotal fourth game by a 14-12 margin and go onto win the match.
“My coach and Ali [Farag] have always told me that I have to dig in no matter the score,” said El Tayeb.
“She played unbelievably well and was reading me all over the court. I was struggling, every time I played a shot, she was there. I just had to dig in and I’m very lucky to be through to the next round.
“The fifth game was very hard mentally but I’m sure it was harder for her because she had the match balls. I think I tried to relax a bit in the fifth, so I could play my squash and I think I did that.”
El Tayeb now sets up a mouthwatering quarter-final clash with compatriot and top seed Nour El Sherbini after she eased past American home hope Olivia Blatchford by an 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 margin while Englands Sarah-Jane Perry and Camille Serme of France completed the winners on day three of action.
Results: Men’s Round Two – 2018 Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family & EquiTrust Life Insurance Company
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-1: 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3 (55m)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-1: 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (50m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt  Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7 (67m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (41m)
Draw: Men’s Round Two (To be played February 25)
Ramy Ashour (EGY) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Diego Elias (PER)
[Q] Max Lee (HKG) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
Results: Women’s Round Two – 2018 Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family & EquiTrust Life Insurance Company
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt  Annie Au (HKG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 (36m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-7, 11-8 (29m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-2: 11-7, 7-11, 6-11, 14-12, 11-4 (65m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Olivia Blatchford (USA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 (27m)
Draw: Women’s Round Two (To be played February 25)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v  Joelle King (NZL)
Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v  Alison Waters (ENG)
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)