Spanish ace overcomes No.7 seed Daryl Selby in wealthiest 16-man tournament
By SEAN REUTHE
Spain’s former World No.5 Borja Golan was the only unseeded player to prevail on the opening day of main draw action at the inaugural Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic after the 34-year-old defeated England’s Daryl Selby to reach the last eight of the PSA M100 tournament.
Held at the Boys and Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House, the Bellevue Classic has a $150,000 prize purse on offer – a record amount for a squash tournament containing a 16-man draw – after title sponsor Pacific Market International was joined in the tournament’s portfolio of sponsors by multinational technology giants Microsoft.
And Golan ensured that he remains in with a shout of taking home the winner’s share of over $25,000 after a dominant display saw him dispatch Selby by an 11-7, 11-6, 11-7 margin.
“We’ve played many times since the juniors, and Daryl is such a talented player,” said Golan.
“Technically, he is unbelievable so it’s really difficult to read his shots. Today, I think the difference was that I was moving a bit better than him, but he’s still a dangerous player. I tried to be on my toes all the time to win the points.
“When you are not injured you enjoy this game because we don’t have many more years to play, so every tournament you manage to enjoy more than when you were 20. You have to give 100 per cent and it’s really nice to be in that position to play your game.”
Golan will take on former World No.1 James Willstrop in the next round after the Yorkshireman triumphed in a thrilling five-game encounter with Hong Kong’s Max Lee.
The pair went toe-to-toe in an enthralling 73-minute spectacle, with Willstrop recovering from 9-7 down in the fifth game to reach the quarter-final of a PSA World Tour event for the first time since February.
“I think the match was good quality, we both played well and both had our phases where it didn’t work out,” said Willstrop.
“It was solid and he was the favourite at 9-7 [in the fifth], I was up against it. I had to dig in and have faith in what I was doing. I’m very pleased to come away with the win.
“I just had to keep it as simple as I could really, once you start clouding your head with loads of thoughts it makes it worse. It’s not very easy, but you’ve got to forget about the scoreboard as much as possible.”
Meanwhile, French World No.2 Gregory Gaultier continued his incredible form after beating former World No.3 Omar Mosaad in a repeat of the 2015 PSA Men’s World Championship, which took place in Bellevue 18 months ago.
Gaultier – who also won their World Championship final clash – overturned five game balls in the opener and dropped just three points in the final two games as he romped to a 24th successive Tour victory.
“I expected a tough match, he is on his way back after having a bad season,” said Gaultier.
“I told myself to push a little bit, to move forward more on the ‘T’ because I was too far back and too passive. That’s what I did, but with no rush and without trying to inject too much pace. That worked in the end.”
Gaultier will line up against Momen in the quarter-finals after Momen narrowly defeated French qualifier Gregoire Marche in five games.
Coverage from the second day of the Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic begins at 17:00 local time (PDT) and will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
PSA M150 Men’s Pacific Market International Bellevue Classic 2017, Boys & Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House, Bellevue, Washington, USA.
First Round (Top Half):
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-0: 12-10, 11-2, 11-1 (35m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-2: 12-10, 8-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-7 (88m)
Borja Golan (ESP) bt  Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-7 (41m)
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-2: 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 4-11, 11-9 (73m)
First Round (Bottom Half, To Be Played May 17th):
 Ali Farag (EGY) v [WC] Dylan Cunningham (USA)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v  Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Q] Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
[Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA