Matthew continued his
progress in 2004, exceeding his seeding in the Swedish Open to reach the
final after wins over 4th seed Joseph Kneipp and 8th
seed James Willstrop before finishing as runner-up to Egypt’s Karim Darwish.
He pulled off two
sensational victories in the Bermuda Open in March – firstly despatching top
seed Thierry Lincou, the Frenchman who became world No1 in January, then
defeating Egypt’s world champion Amr Shabana to reach the semi-finals.
In April, Nick claimed his
first PSA Tour title for almost two years when he upset second seed Greg
Gaultier in the final of the Windy City Open in Chicago – then the following
month, in his first appearance in the Super Series Finals in London, he
trounced two former world number ones Peter Nicol and Jonathon Power to
reach the semi-finals – eventually taking fourth place after losing to
another former world No1 John White in the play-off for third place.
Matthew celebrated his
first appearance in a Super Series event final in September when he
engineered a major semi-final upset over David Palmer took him through to
the final of the Hong Kong Open. This time Lincou was too strong, winning
in straight games.
As the year reached its
conclusion, injury woes began to hamper Matthew's progress – and, after
reaching the quarter-finals of the Tournament of Champions in February 2005,
his back problems surfaced again as Nick had to concede his match against
Thierry Lincou midway through the third game after winning the opener.