Monday, October 2, 2023

England’s Nick Wall races through as day one in San Francisco turns into a lightning round

By ALAN THATCHER (Squash Mad Editor)

England’s Nick Wall took just 14 minutes to win through to the second round of the Oracle NetSuite Open in San Francisco.

The best-of-three format in this PSA Silver event produced five matches that took less than 20 minutes to complete, with Wall’s win over Pakistan’s higher ranked Tayyab Aslam the quickest of them all.

The Yorkshireman possesses great strength around the middle of the court and used this to full effect in only his fifth World Tour appearance.

He now faces No.6 seed and PSA Tour veteran Miguel Rodriguez today for a place in the quarter finals.

George Parker and Lucy Beecroft were other English winners as the opening day saw action taking place at three different squash clubs.

Nick Wall enjoys a quick win

Six women’s matches took place at The University Club and Beecroft scored the first upset at this venue, taking out France’s Enora Villard in three games.

Beecroft started the match in great form, picking off her opponent with devastating attacks at the front of the court and after taking the first game 11-3, looked sure to be moving through in straight games.

Despite dropping the following game 12-10, Beecroft shook of the nerves that the best of three format can create and returned to business, winning the final game 11-5 to advance.

“It was so nerve-racking,” admitted Beecroft after her win. “I won the first and felt great, then I had a lead in the second but tensed up and she started to get some points back and get into the match. But I’m just glad I calmed down in the third and managed to get control of the match back and got through.

Lucy Beecroft battles through

“I just felt quite edgy. It felt like you had to really take any opportunity, It shouldn’t be any different as it’s just trying to win points, the same as any other match. But it just feels tenser on there with the best of three.

“Hopefully I can feel OK against Farida Mohamed. She’s a very attacking player. We’ve played before and she beat me 3-0 but who knows what will happen tomorrow? I can’t wait to get stuck in.”

At the SquashZone Club in Redwood City, Parker, Cesar Salazar and Chan Sin Yuk all won comfortably in straight games.

Parker beat Portugal’s Rui Soares 11-3, 15-13 in a battle that lasted 35 minutes, with Soares going close to winning a long second game. Parker now meets India’s No.5 seed Saurav Ghosal in a tough second round tie.

Parker said: “The pressure is off me now. Once I get past the round one matches, it gives me some breathing room to loosen up and actually play squash.”

The winner of that tie is seeded to meet England’s No.2 seed Mohamed ElShorbagy, who, like Ghosal, enjoyed a bye in the first round. ElShorbagy’s second round opponent is India’s Mahesh Mangaonkar, who beat US wild card Zane Patel 11-8, 11-6.

The only upset at SquashZone came from new French national champion Marie Stephan, who defeated Canada’s Nicole Bunyan 2-0 to book her place in a Silver event second round for only the second time in her career. Her reward is a last-16 clash with Scotland’s No.8 seed Lisa Aitken on the same court today.

Aly Abou Eleinen celebrates his win

World No.58 Aly Abou Eleinen scored the biggest upset on day one as he defeated World No.30 Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi in straight games to advance to round two of the PSA World Tour Silver event.

The Egyptian has risen 70 places in the PSA rankings from this time last year and now sits at World No.58. At the Olympic Club in San Francisco, he displayed his excellent deception and touch from the outset against Qatar’s Al Tamimi, testing the movement of his higher ranked opponent every time he took the ball short.

The Qatar No.1 was forced into making numerous errors by the smart and accurate play of Eleinen. After securing the crucial opening game 11-8, he repeated the scoreline in the second game to claim the victory.

Eleinen said: “Coming in, I had a little bit of confidence because we just played at the QSF 4 event in Qatar and I was able to win in five games, but at the same time, he just had such an incredible run at the Qatar Classic, beating Paul Coll. I had to be patient and trust myself.

“In the past month, I’ve put in a lot of work for this tournament and I just had to trust my training. The best of three is a little bit tricky and the first game is so important to make sure to start well.”

In the next round he faces fellow Egyptian Youssef Soliman, the No.7 seed, and Eleinen said: “Soliman and I have only played once before in El Gouna. He won in four games and it was such a good match, we played good squash. There’s no pressure on me, he’s World No.11, I’m going to enjoy it and give it everything I can.”

The sole USA win of the day came from World No.53 and USA No.3 Faraz Khan, who overcame Hong Kong’s Henry Leung in two tight games. Khan was able to use his speed to attack Leung and pounced on his loose attacks at the front to punish the Hong Kong No.1. He won 11-7, 11-8 in 36 minutes to set up a round two encounter with the tournament’s No.1 seed Diego Elias on the all-glass court.

Oracle Netsuite Open 2022, San Francisco, USA.

Men’s First Round:
Faraz Khan (USA) bt Henry Leung (HKG) 2-0: 11-7, 11-8 (36m)
Aly Abou Eleinen (EGY) bt Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 2-0: 11-8, 11-8 (25m)
Nick Wall (ENG) bt Tayyab Aslam (PAK) 2-0: 11-3, 11-4 (14m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Martin Svec (CZE) 2-0: 11-6, 11-3 (16m)
Ramit Tandon (IND) bt Juan Camilo Vargas (COL) 2-0: 11-5, 11-2 (20m)
Lucas Serme (FRA) bt David Baillargeon (CAN) 2-0: 11-9, 11-6 (27m)
George Parker (ENG) bt Rui Soares (POR) 2-0: 11-3, 15-13 (35m)
Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) bt [WC] Zane Patel (USA) 2-0 :11-8, 11-6 (23m)

Women’s First Round:
Sana Ibrahim (EGY) bt Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG) 2-0: 11-5, 11-7 (21m)
Chan Sin Yuk (HKG) bt [WC] Riya Navani (USA) 2-0: 11-7, 11-2 (16m)
Emilia Soini (FIN) bt Anna Serme (CZE) 2-0: 11-8, 11-4 (18m)
Rachel Arnold (MAS) bt Cristina Gomez (ESP) 2-0: 11-4, 11-7 (15m)
Lucy Beecroft (ENG) bt Enora Villard (FRA) 2-1: 11-3, 10-12, 11-5 (31m)
Marie Stephan (FRA) bt Nicole Bunyan (CAN) 2-0: 11-5, 11-6 (20m)
Zeina Mickawy (EGY) bt Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 2-0: 12-10, 11-7 (23m)
Tomato Ho (HKG) bt Ka Yi Lee (HKG) 2-1: 8-11, 11-7, 11-4 (32m)

Men’s Second Round:
[1] Diego Elias (PER) v Faraz Khan (USA)
Aly Abou Eleinen (EGY) v [7] Youssef Soliman (EGY)
[6] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) v Nick Wall (ENG)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) v [4] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
[3] Mazen Hesham (EGY) v Ramit Tandon (IND)
Lucas Serme (FRA) v [8] Shahjahan Khan (USA)
[5] Saurav Ghosal (IND) v George Parker (ENG)
Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) v [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG)

Women’s Second Round:
[1] Amanda Sobhy (USA) v Sana Ibrahim (EGY)
Chan Sin Yuk (HKG) v [6] Olivia Clyne (USA)
[7] Hana Ramadan (EGY) v Emilia Soini (FIN)
Rachel Arnold (MAS) v [4] Hollie Naughton (CAN)
[3] Farida Mohamed (EGY) v Lucy Beecroft (ENG)
Marie Stephan (FRA) v [8] Lisa Aitken (SCO)
[5] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) v Zeina Mickawy (EGY)
[2] Joelle King (NZL) v [9/16] Tomato Ho (HKG)

Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour


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