Richards, Clyne and James on track for ToC first round at Grand Central
By NATHAN CLARKE and ALAN THATCHER
Declan James received the ultimate prize, a first round clash with top seed Mohamed Elshorbagy, after leading a trio of Brits through to the main draw of the 2017 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York.
Tom Richards and Scottish number one Alan Clyne will join him in the first round after a night of shocks on the final day of qualification.
The top three qualifying seeds in this PSA World Series event fell to surprise defeats, with Cesar Salazar, Gregoire Marche and Omar Abdel Meguid all missing out on a place in the main draw, which will be staged in New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal.
Salazar, the World No.26, came up against Raphael Kandra in his fixture, but fell two games behind after a strong start from the German World No.43.
Salazar prevailed in the third to halve the deficit, only to see a resilient Kandra hold firm in the fourth to triumph on the tie-break and seal a place in the main draw of the Tournament of Champions for the second year in a row, where he will take on Australian No.1 Cameron Pilley.
Meanwhile, Marche and Meguid fell to the same fate as Salazar as they lost out to Hong Kong’s Tsz Fung Yip and Clyne, respectively.
Yip’s reward is a main draw clash with World No.7 Ali Farag, while Clyne will need to navigate his way past three-time World Champion and 2012 winner Nick Matthew.
England’s World No.38 James upset Hong Kong’s Leo Au to set up a main draw meeting with defending champion ElShorbagy, while New Zealand’s Paul Coll continued his recent good form, beating compatriot Campbell Grayson to secure a maiden Tournament of Champions main draw berth against England’s Chris Simpson.
Botswana’s former World No.12 Alister Walker saw his qualifying campaign come to an end at the hands of Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller, while there were also wins for Nafiizwan Adnan over Adrian Waller, and Richards against Lucas Serme, as qualification drew to a close.
The main draw of the Men’s Tournament of Champions takes place from January 12-19, with the Women’s main draw beginning on January 14 and finishing on January 19.
Tickets for the tournament range in price from $8 to $170 and can be purchased online at www.tocsquash.com
2017 Men’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal, New York, USA.
Final Qualifying Round:
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt  Campbell Grayson (NZL) 3-0: 11-2, 11-5, 11-8
 Nicolas Müller (SUI) bt [L] Alister Walker (BOT) 3-2:
5-11, 7-11, 11-9, 13-11, 13-11
 Tom Richards (ENG) bt  Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-1: 10-12, 15-13, 11-9, 11-6
 Alan Clyne (SCO) bt  Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 12-10, 11-4
 Yip Tsz Fung (HKG) bt  Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-1: 5-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-9
 Declan James (ENG) bt  Leo Au (HKG) 3-2: 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 3-11, 11-6
 Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt  Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-1: 9-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-6
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-1: 11-2, 11-5, 7-11, 12-10
Draw – First Round
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [Q] Declan James (ENG)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Max Lee (HKG)
Borja Golan (ESP) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
Tarek Momen (EGY) v [Q] Tom Richards (ENG)
Fares Dessouky (EGY) v [WC] Todd Harrity (USA)
Diego Elias (PER) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO)
James Willstrop (ENG) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Chris Simpson (ENG) v [Q] Paul Coll (NZL)
[Q] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
 Simon Rösner (GER) v [Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Q] Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Q] Raphael Kandra (GER)
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)