England’s world number one Nick Matthew took his anticipated place in the last four of the Case Swedish Open, but the defending champion was taken the full distance before overcoming unseeded Australian Cameron Pilley in the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event at Linköping Sporthall in Linköping.
In a repeat of their meeting in last year’s semi-finals, the favourite won the opening game – but world No12 Pilley battled back to open up a 2/1 lead.
But Matthew went on to draw level before edging through in a tie-break decider – in which both players had match-balls – to prevail 11-6, 8-11, 8-11, 11-6, 13-11.
“After winning two games, I got confident and felt that this was my match to win,” said Pilley after both players received a standing ovation following the match.
“Even though I lost this one, I feel fine actually,” added the 28-year-old from New South Wales.
Matthew admitted: “There was lots of drama in this one, and it was hard to find the rhythm. Sometimes it was really scrappy.”
Bidding to win the title for a third successive year, Matthew will now face England team-mate Daryl Selby after the fourth seed from Essex beat Italian qualifier Davide Bianchetti 11-6, 11-7, 11-9.
Egypt’s No2 seed Karim Darwish also came through in straight games, beating fellow former champion Stewart Boswell, the former world No4 from Australia, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8.
“I managed to play my game and a more decent game than yesterday,” said Darwish, who won the title in 2004. “Boswell is tough to beat, so I’m happy with the win.”
World No3 Darwish now faces England’s third seed Peter Barker for a place in his third final. Barker, the world No8 from London, defeated fellow left-hander Farhan Mehboob, the world No32 from Pakistan, 11-4, 11-6, 11-3.
“It felt good all the way,” said Barker later. “I played well here. And it’s lovely to play in front of this crowd.”
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 11-6, 8-11, 8-11, 11-6, 13-11
 Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [Q] Davide Bianchetti (ITA) 11-6, 11-7, 11-9
 Peter Barker (ENG) bt Farhan Mehboob (PAK) 11-4, 11-6, 11-3
 Karim Darwish (EGY) bt Stewart Boswell (AUS) 11-8, 11-9, 11-8