Saturday, February 24, 2024

James Willstrop leads British charge into the third round as Arlen Specter Center is officially opened

Huge fightback win by Sarah-Jane Perry as Gina Kennedy powers through again
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor

On a day of celebrations to mark the official opening of the Arlen Specter US Squash Center, England’s James Willstrop led the way as a group of British players reminded the rest of the world that the birthplace of squash still has plenty of currency in the sport.

The 38-year-old Willstrop produced a display of classic control to outplay Egypt’s No.5 seed Marwan ElShorbagy with a flowing reminder of the skills that took the tall Yorkshireman to the top of the world rankings a decade ago.

Welshman Joel Makin, at No.9 the highest-ranked British male on tour, produced a dynamic, aggressive display to overwhelm former world champion Karim Abdel Gawad.

And they were joined in the third round by the talented Patrick Rooney, the world No.42 from Merseyside, who beat a second consecutive French opponent, Auguste Dussourd, to reach a third round clash with another Egyptian world champion, Tarek Momen.

World No.7 Sarah-Jane Perry led the British vanguard in the women’s event as she battled through a demanding contest before eliminating Zeina Mickawy 12-14, 8-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-9 in just under an hour of close combat.

She will now face Emily Whitlock after the Welsh international overcame Farida Mohamed of Egypt, notching up a rare “double bagel” in the process as she won through 9-11, 11-5, 11-0, 11-0.

Former Harvard squash captain Georgina Kennedy continued her run of outstanding form to despatch No.8 seed Rowan Elaraby in quick time, winning 11-7, 11-6, 11-1 in just 25 minutes.

Kennedy, from Kent, faces France’s Melissa Alves in today’s third round with the winner receiving a likely reward of a meeting with top seed Nour El Sherbini waiting in the quarter-finals.

England’s experienced campaigner Alison Waters also reached the third round, although there were departures for Tesni Evans (Wales), Lisa Aitken (Scotland) and English youngster Lucy Turmel.

The view inside the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia (from Twitter)

The 38-year-old Willstrop rolled back the years as he achieved a hugely impressive 3-1 victory over Marwan ElShorbagy to reach the third round of the U.S. Open presented by Truist.

Willstrop has this month dropped to his lowest world ranking of 31 since November 2003 but proved that class is permanent as his impeccable ball control was too much for ElShorbagy to handle.

The Yorkshireman closed out a 9-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 victory in 47 minutes to ensure that he will take on Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar for a place in the quarter-finals.

Willstrop revealed: “I feel in shock a bit at the minute. I haven’t been anywhere near that level, really. I think experience counts for a lot, but he’s a great champion. I thought the way he played today and handled himself [was great].

“It’s not easy being on the wrong end of it. I was playing well and he just handled himself so well at the end there, really lost in a champion’s way and I admire that. He was a top man today.”

Joel Makin at full stretch against Karim Abdel Gawad

ElShorbagy’s compatriot Gawad, the No.6 seed, suffered a 3-0 defeat to Makin, who will take on Sebastien Bonmalais next after the World No.58 from France upset World No.20 Omar Mosaad to reach the third round of a PSA World Tour Platinum event for the first time in his career.

Makin said: “Gawad’s obviously been in and out of form and with his body, but that doesn’t make any difference to me.

“He’s a class player when he’s on and is so dangerous. I knew I had to be aggressive with him and get across the middle and hit him off the ball, get on top of him and I couldn’t let him play his shots. I wanted to inject pace and be aggressive. When I did that, I got on top of him.”

The 24-year-old Rooney fought back from two games down to beat Dussourd 7-11, 7-11, 11-2, 11-5, 13-11 in 66 minutes and will now get the opportunity to test his skills against the No.4 seed Momen.

England’s left-hander Adrian Waller and Scotland’s Greg Lobban fell to Peru’s Diego Elias and Baptiste Masottti of France.

Defending champion Ali Farag launched his title challenge with a 3-0 win against India’s Saurav Ghosal, and he will play fellow Egyptian Mazen Hesham for a place in the last eight.

No.2 seed Mohamed ElShorbagy was also in action as he defeated Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng to set up a third round clash with fellow Egyptian Youssef Soliman.

Sarah-Jane Perry fights back to beat Zeina Mickawy 11-9 in the fifth game

In the women’s event, World No.7 Sarah-Jane Perry completed a spectacular comeback against Egypt’s World No.33 Zeina Mickawy, recovering from a 2-0 deficit and then overturning four match balls to book her place in the last 16.

Following her 12-14, 8-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-9 victory, Perry will line up against Wales’ Emily Whitlock in the third round.

“I’m not quite sure how I won that,” Perry said. “For patches I got in front, but I didn’t think I was actually taking advantage, I was just trying to keep pushing and pushing and [thinking] ‘come on, you can do it’.

“When I’d saved those match balls in the third and the fourth, I just kept saying in the fifth ‘keep going, there’s a chance after those games that she’s going to get edgy’. For a lot of the match, there was zero edginess in anything she was doing, and quite a lot in mine.”

Defending champion Nouran Gohar said “This feels like a new tournament.”

Meanwhile, defending champion Nouran Gohar got her title challenge under way with a comfortable 3-0 win over USA’s Sabrina Sobhy and she will play England’s Alison Waters in the next round.

“Usually when you come back to a tournament it’s the same venue and you’re only defending champion for one year, not two,” said Gohar.

“In a way, I feel like it’s a different tournament. It’s good in a way as it’s a fresh start, you have good memories in the back of your mind, but you don’t take it for granted.”

Perry’s compatriot, Georgina Kennedy, will appear in the third round of a Platinum event for the first time in her career after the World No.51 stunned World No.10 Rowan Elaraby in just 25 minutes in the day’s biggest upset.

USA No.1 Amanda Sobhy also appeared on day two, beating Hong Kong’s Ka Yi Lee in straight games, while World No.1 Nour El Sherbini beat Tsz-Wing Tong.

The third round begins today (October 3) at 12 noon (five hours behind UK time). Action from Glass Court East and Glass Court West will be shown live on SQUASHTV.

Patrick Rooney reaches the third round with a victory over France’s Auguste Dussourd 

2021 U.S. Open presented by Truist, Arlen Specter US Squash Center, Philadelphia, USA.

Men’s Second Round:
[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (37m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-1: 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (60m)
Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-9 (70m)
Joel Makin (WAL) bt [6] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-0: 13-11, 14-12, 11-8 (59m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 (47m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 11-4, 7-11, 11-3, 11-5 (35m)
Patrick Rooney (ENG) bt Auguste Dussourd (FRA) 3-2: 7-11, 7-11, 11-2, 11-5, 13-11 (66m)
[4] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Ramit Tandon (IND) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-4 (31m)
[3] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Victor Crouin (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (42m)
Karim El Hammamy (EGY) bt Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 3-1: 4-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9 (66m)
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-1: 6-11, 11-1, 11-8, 11-9 (56m)
[8] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 14-12 (49m)
[7] Diego Elias (PER) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 (32m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Vikram Malhotra (IND) 3-2: 11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5 (58m)
Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-0: 11-2, 12-10, 11-2 (36m)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 3-1: 12-10, 11-6, 5-11, 12-10 (48m)

Men’s Third Round (October 3):
[1] Ali Farag (EGY) v Mazen Hesham (EGY)
Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) v Joel Makin (WAL)
James Willstrop (ENG) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
Patrick Rooney (ENG) v [4] Tarek Momen (EGY)
[3] Paul Coll (NZL) v Karim El Hammamy (EGY)
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) v [8] Mostafa Asal (EGY)
[7] Diego Elias (PER) v Raphael Kandra (GER)
Youssef Soliman (EGY) v [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)

Women’s Second Round:
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (23m)
Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt Olivia Clyne (USA) 3-1: 11-9, 13-11, 4-11, 11-9 (45m)
Melissa Alves (FRA) bt Lucy Turmel (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 (43m)
Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt [8] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-1 (25m)
[6] Joelle King (NZL) bt Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) 3-0: 14-12, 11-7, 11-4 (32m)
Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt Anna Serme (CZE) 3-0: 11-2, 11-7, 11-3 (20m)
Nada Abbas (EGY) bt [WC] Marina Stefanoni (USA) 3-0: 11-1, 11-2, 12-10 (29m)
[3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 3-0: 11-4, 13-11, 11-6 (35m)
[4] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Ka Yi Lee (HKG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-2, 11-9 (23m)
Olivia Fiechter (USA) bt Donna Lobban (AUS) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (20m)
Nele Gilis (BEL) bt Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 (41m)
Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt [7] Salma Hany (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 19-17, 11-7 (36m)
[5] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Zeina Mickawy (EGY) 3-2: 12-14, 8-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-9 (58m)
Emily Whitlock (WAL) bt Farida Mohamed (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 11-5, 11-0, 11-0 (31m)
Alison Waters (ENG) bt Tze Lok Ho (HKG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-9 (30m)
[2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 (28m)

Women’s Third Round (October 3):
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Nadine Shahin (EGY)
Melissa Alves (FRA) v Georgina Kennedy (ENG)
[6] Joelle King (NZL) v Joshna Chinappa (IND)
Nada Abbas (EGY) v [3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
[4] Amanda Sobhy (USA) v Olivia Fiechter (USA)
Nele Gilis (BEL) v Hollie Naughton (CAN)
[5] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v Emily Whitlock (WAL)
Alison Waters (ENG) v [2] Nouran Gohar (EGY)

Pictures courtesy of PSA


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