RICHARDS OUT TO ROCK WORLD CHAMP MATTHEW
Tom Richards is looking forward to his second round battle with world champion Nick Matthew at the Allam British Open on Thursday.
Richards has seen a lot of Matthew up close and personal in recent weeks.
The two were room-mates a week ago as Richards made his senior international debut, helping England to win the European Team Championships in Germany.
Now the 25-year-old Londoner is aiming to claim the most significant PSA victory of his career, having beaten the experienced Malaysian Ong Beng Hee in four games in the first round (11-7, 10-12, 11-4, 11-4).
Richards reached a career-high position of 15 in the April rankings and a good showing in the Open will help him to climb even further.
He said: "I have played Nick several times in the past, but the last was in the Nationals a year and a half ago. I have seen him play so often in tournaments and watched dozens of his matches on TV, so I know what to expect.
“It will be a very tough match but I want to test myself, to see how far I have come in this game. I feel I am moving well and enjoyed playing on the glass court against Ong Beng Hee.
“It’s a cold court so it will obviously favour the players who can play tight balls into the front corners,” added the Englishman.
Matthew himself said: “It should be a good match. Tom is hungry and will believe he can win. At this stage of his career he is ready for a big scalp so it should be a good game.”
Matthew was pleased to get acclimatised on the cold court today in his hard-fought win over rising Hong Kong star Max Lee but revealed it was not the coldest court he had played on. “That would have to be in Saudi a few years ago,” he said. "It was so cold you could see your breath.
“With a cold court the quality of your squash has to be high.”