England’s Daryl Selby earned a spot in the quarter-finals of a major PSA Tour event for the first time in two years after he achieved a battling win against compatriot Chris Simpson in the opening round three match of the men’s CIB Egyptian Squash Open.
Selby and Simpson had met four times previously on the PSA Tour, with Selby collecting three victories, while their average match time was above the one hour mark.
And in their first meeting since the 2015 St George’s Hill Open final, the duo again played out a lengthy encounter, with the clock ticking over to 73 minutes when Selby finally closed out the win by an 11-5, 6-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-2 scoreline.
Neither player really played well at the same time, with momentum shifting between each Englishman on a game-by-game basis. Twice, Selby found himself a game ahead but Simpson – playing less than 24 hours after upsetting No.6 seed Mohamed Abouelghar – clawed his way back into the encounter both times.
In the fifth it was all Selby though as the 36-year-old frustrated Simpson to close out a win which will see he him perform in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza against either World No.1 Ali Farag or World No.21 Mazen Hesham.
“I’m delighted, I had dinner with Chris last night and he and Adrian Waller both said how well he played yesterday,” said Selby, who turns 37 a week today.
“Abou has been out for a little bit, but they said it was such a high quality match, and I know what Chris is capable of quality-wise, it’s very high and the last few times we’ve played with we’ve always had a 3-2.
“I think we’ve shared the spoils a little bit, so I knew it was going to be tough but he finished a bit later than me yesterday, so tactically I just wanted to start really fast, really strong and show him that he was going to be in for a hard game, and if he had any stiffness or anything from yesterday, I wanted to try and expose that early on.
“I did, so I was happy with the first but he changed his game really well. He’s a clever player and he slowed the pace down on me and used his racket skills and dominated the second. It was a weird match because we never actually both played well at the same time, I played well in the first he played well in the second.
“I played well again in the third, he played well in the fourth and then in the fifth to win 11-2 is so nice because of the amount of nervous energy and stuff you have in a fifth game, for both of us it means a lot. This is a big opportunity for us for for two reasons, one because it’s a quarter-final of a World Series, but two, to play at the Pyramids.”
Meanwhile, Selby’s son, Noah, was on court competing at a tournament back home in England at the same time as his dad, and Selby says he is encouraging all of his children to give the family business a go.
“I sent him a good luck message this morning and he sent one back saying ‘good luck daddy’. A little Selby and a big Selby playing in contrasting tournaments is nice but he enjoys his squash and that’s the main thing.
“He is six years old and it’s such a great sport just to play as a kid. I’m encouraging him to play every sport, like all three of my kids. The other ones are younger so haven’t really got into it as much, but squash is a great sport to learn. I want him to play, enjoy it and enjoy all sports, but it’s nice, we’ll see how he gets on.”
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Chris Simpson (ENG): 3-2: 11-5, 6-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-2 (73m)