England’s third seed Peter Barker had to be at the top of his game in the quarter-finals of the Case Swedish Open to see off top-ranked German Simon Rosner and claim his anticipated place in the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour International 70 event celebrating its tenth year at Linköping Sporthall in Linköping, Sweden.
After the first two games were shared, the third was nip and tuck before Barker edged it to move 2/1 up.
The left-hander from London (pictured in action in Linkoping) raced to a 9-1 lead in the fourth – but the forceful and inventive Rosner clawed back six points in a row before Barker stopped the rot to reach match-ball.
Again Rosner pulled off two more sensational crosscourt shots into the nick to reduce the deficit – but a punched fist by Barker showed his delight when a wall-hugging shot was out of the German’s reach as he celebrated his 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9 victory.
“Rosner played well and I had to run a lot,” said the world No8 after surviving the day’s longest battle in 70 minutes. “I enjoyed the game, but in the fourth game I felt a little edgy. Luckily I crossed the finish line.”
“I had a hard time getting started in the first game,” said the world No4 from Aix-en-Provence. “Now I’m looking forward to the next game – but I need to keep my focus because tomorrow is another day.”
World No12 Richards told his Twitter followers later: “Lost out tonight but happy to make improvements on my last performance against Greg.”
Matthew dominated the match, winning 11-7, 11-6, 11-5. “I’m looking forward to the game tomorrow and hopefully I will be sharper in that game so that it will help me stay focused,” said the 32-year-old from Sheffield.
Momen knocked out his Egyptian compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad 20-18, 11-3, 11-9.
“The first game will go down as the longest in the Case Swedish Open’s history and lasted for 30 minutes,” reported event spokesman Niklas Lillman.
Momen, who celebrates a career-high world No11 ranking this month, admitted that the first game took a lot out of both players: “We know each other very well and we often play against each other,” explained the 24-year-old from Cairo. “Both of us were tired after the first long game and I’m happy to get to play again tomorrow.”
1 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 (37m)
Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 20-18, 11-3, 11-9 (55m)
3 Peter Barker (ENG) bt Simon Rosner (GER) 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9 (70m)
2 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 12-10, 11-5, 11-3 (53m)