Commonwealth Games 2014: Nick Matthew wary of Peter Barker 'sniffing' chance of an upset in squash semi-final


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The Independent Online

Nick Matthew is wary of the threat posed to his squash gold-medal ambition by his England team-mate Peter Barker after they set up a semi-final clash. The defending champion is two victories away from a second Commonwealth Games gold medal and is the title favourite.

But the world No 2 accepts that eighth-ranked Barker, who beat him in last year's Canary Wharf Classic, could scupper his chances. Matthew fended off Guernsey's Chris Simpson 11-7 11-8 11-9, while Barker saw off the Australian Cameron Pilley 11-8 11-4 11-5. The semi-final today promises to be tighter than either of those matches.

"Both me and Pete have won 3-0 and that will stand us both in good stead. We'll be fresh and ready to go," said Matthew. "I'm aware that he will be up for it, he's at the peak age of a squash player's career and he'll see this as his moment.

"Peter will be sniffing his chance but I need to make sure I don't allow that because if I give him an inch he'll take a yard."

Matthew, 34, beat the 30-year-old Barker in the semi-finals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, and a repeat of that would reflect their status in the world game. "It will be a massive match and we know each other on and off the court very well," Barker said. "We both know what each other is all about.

"A medal is why I'm here. It's quite a long competition with it being a 64-man draw so as each day goes by the further you progress. I've put a lot of work in and I've come here to win a medal and I'm one step further towards that now."

There was disappointment for England's Jenny Duncalf as she lost in four games to world No 1 and defending champion Nicol David, whose win carried the Malaysian into the semi-finals.

David won 11-9 11-7 5-11 11-4 although her opponent emerged with plenty of credit. "It was always going to be a tough match but I was looking forward to it – I was dying to get on this court," said Duncalf.

"I think I played well and it's the best I've felt on court for a while. It's always disappointing to lose, especially in an atmosphere like this where you just want to stay out there as long as you can.

"She is the world number one and I played well but not well enough to win."