Swiss ace meets Ramy Ashour in first round
By SEAN REUTHE and ALAN THATCHER
Swiss World No.34 Nicolas Müeller came out on top of an entertaining five-game battle with Mexico’s Cesar Salazar at the PRO Sports Club in Bellevue to earn his place in the main draw of the inaugural Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic – where a $150,000 prize fund is on offer in the most lucrative 16-man main draw squash tournament ever.
Müeller, 27, took former World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy all the way to five games earlier this month at the Grasshopper Cup and the ‘Swiss Rocket’ continued where he left off against Mexico’s Salazar to take a 2-0 lead.
Salazar, the World No.21, fought back in the next two games to level the scores, but Müeller held his nerve in the decider to take an 11-2, 11-7, 3-11, 8-11, 11-7 victory which will see him clash with three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour in round one of the main draw.
Müeller will be joined in the main draw by former World No.3 Omar Mosaad, who prevailed in an all-Egyptian clash with Mazen Hesham.
Mosaad, whose fall to World No.32 has led to him playing in the qualifying stages for the first time in eight years, took a 3-1 win to ensure that he will face the in-form Gregory Gaultier next, with the Frenchman currently boasting a 23-match unbeaten run.
Gaultier’s compatriot, Gregoire Marche, and Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan were also victorious on the final day of qualifying after they claimed respective wins over Hong Kong’s Leo Au and Scotland’s Alan Clyne. In the first round of qualifying, Clyne produced a phenomenal performance to overcome Peru’s Diego Elias in a five-game thriller.
Marche will line up against World No.10 Tarek Momen in the opening round, while Adnan will do battle with number two seed Marwan ElShorbagy.
The main draw of the Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic, PSA M100 tournament will take place at the Boys and Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House between May 16-20 and will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
The two Englishmen in the draw, No.4 seed James Willstrop and No.7 seed Daryl Selby, are seeded to meet in the quarter-finals. They meet Max Lee and Borja Golan respectively in the opening round.
Tickets for the tournament start from $80 and can be purchased here: www.sportyhq.com/ticket/view/tournament/2604
PSA M150 Pacific Market International Bellevue Classic 2017, Boys & Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House, Bellevue, Washington, USA.
Final Qualifying Round:
Nicolas Müeller (SUI) bt  Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-2: 11-2, 11-7, 3-11, 8-11, 11-7 (55m)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt  Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-1: 11-3, 11-5, 9-11, 11-1 (46m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Leo Au (HKG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 (66m)
Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-1: 11-8, 11-8, 4-11, 11-7 (65m)
1st qualifying round:
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Yip Tsz Fung (HKG) 13-11, 11-6, 11-9 (38m)
Nicolas Müeller (SUI) bt Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 6-11, 11-5, 11-7, 12-10 (44m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Juan Camilo Vargas (COL) 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 (21m)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Peter Creed (WAL) 10-12, 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (58m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Salim Khan (USA) 11-2, 11-2, 11-4 (23m)
Leo Au (HKG) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 (50m)
Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Mauricio Sanchez de la Paz (MEX) 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 (28m)
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Diego Elias (PER) 11-7, 3-11, 8-11, 11-2, 11-7 (62m)
Main Draw First Round Top Half (To Be Played May 16)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [Q] Omar Mosaad (EGY)
[Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Daryl Selby (ENG) v Borja Golan (ESP)
Max Lee (HKG) v  James Willstrop (ENG)
Bottom Half (To Be Played May 17):
 Ali Farag (EGY) v [WC] Dylan Cunningham (USA)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v  Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Q] Nicolas Müeller (SUI)
[Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA