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James Willstrop suffers shock defeat in US Open first round

Alan Thatcher
Alan Thatcherhttps://squashmad.com
Founder of World Squash Day, Squash Mad, the Kent Open and co-promoter of the Canary Wharf Classic. Launched the Squash 200 Partnership to build clubs of the future. Talks a bit.

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Cesar Salazar celebrates victory over James Willstrop

Mexico’s Cesar Salazar meets Simon Rösner in next round


Mexican Cesar Salazar pulled off a huge upset during the first round of the 2017 U.S. Open Presented by Macquarie Investment Management as he downed former World No.1 James Willstrop. Victory gave Salazar a place in the second round of this high-profile PSA World Series tournament for the first time in his career.

The 29-year-old World No.19, who lost an agonising fifth game tie-break against eventual champion Mohamed ElShorbagy in the first round 12 months ago, showed impressive composure as he recovered from dropping the opening game to prevail in a mammoth 82-minute five-game encounter that saw the pair produce squash of the highest calibre.

Utilising his speed and agility to attack Willstrop and force a high tempo, Salazar was rewarded when he held off a late Willstrop surge to come through 5-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-6, 11-9 and set up a second round match with German Simon Rösner.

“I think the U.S. Open is one of my favourite tournaments – I love coming to play here,” said Salazar, whose twin brother Arturo lost out to England’s Daryl Selby in his first round match.

“I worked really hard in pre-season and this is a good start for me. To beat a really top player like James you have to play your very best and some more, so I’m really happy with my performance.

“I tried to play intelligent, and hit the four corners. I felt I moved well and played aggressive squash. There was a moment in the fifth game when I thought about last year and got a little tense, but I forced myself to relax and it’s a great result for me. I hope to be ready for the next match.”

Nick Matthew attacks against Zahed Mohamed

Rösner defeated Scotland’s Greg Lobban 3-0 while last year’s runner-up Nick Matthew, the 37-year-old Englishman competing at the U.S. Open for the last time in his career, made a successful start to his title bid with a 3-0 win over Zahed Mohamed.

“My focus today was to try and close the door on him when I was ahead because these young guys are so good nowadays – they’re a little bit faster than me so I have to be clever,” said Matthew.

“I’m enjoying the challenge and I can enjoy a couple of days now before I’m back on court on Monday – I just want to do myself justice in these next matches.”

In the Women’s draw there was contesting fortune for England’s recent NetSuite Open winner Sarah-Jane Perry as she suffered a surprise defeat to Egyptian Salma Hana Ibrahim in the very first match of the day.

Salma Hany Ibrahim celebrates victory over Sarah-Jane Perry

Ibrahim, World No.19, played free flowing attacking squash to come through 11-7, 11-3, 12-14, 11-6 and knock out the No.7 at the first hurdle and set up a second round encounter with compatriot Nour El Tayeb.

“I’m very happy with the performance today,” said the 21-year-old following the match.

“SJ has been playing really well recently but I knew I had to keep the ball tight as much as I could and not give her many opportunities.

“I had a match ball in the third and I felt a little scared, so when I went match ball up again in the fourth I just told myself to go for it and be fearless and it worked.”

Elsewhere there were straight forward wins for all seeded players including top seed Nour El Sherbini, who dismantled Mariam Metwally 3-0 in just over 20 minutes.

2017 U.S. Open, Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA.

Men’s First Round (Top half):
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-0: 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 (44m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 11-6, 13-15, 11-4, 11-3 (52m)
Simon Rösner (GER) bt [Q] Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-0: 11-9, 11-8, 12-10 (46m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt [5] James Willstrop (ENG) 3-2: 5-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-6, 11-9 (82m)
[7] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 (33m)
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [Q] Arturo Salazar (MEX) 3-1: 11-4, 11-1, 11-13, 11-4 (46m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-2: 8-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9 (86m)
[3] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 (42m)

First Round (Bottom Half):
[4] Ali Farag (EGY) v [Q] Lucas Serme (FRA)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v [Q] Mazen Hesham (EGY)
Alan Clyne (SCO) v [Q] Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)
[WC] Christopher Gordon (USA) v [8] Fares Dessouky (EGY)
[6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v [Q] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
Max Lee (HKG) v Diego Elias (PER)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [Q] Chris Simpson (ENG)
Paul Coll (NZL) v [1] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)

Women’s First Round (Top half):
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-2, 11-7 (24m)
[14] Victoria Lust (ENG) bt [Q] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 19-17, 11-4, 11-7 (44m)
[10] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [Q] Kanzy Emad El Defrawy (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-1, 11-1 (25m)
Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) bt [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-1: 11-7, 11-3, 12-14, 11-6 (55m)
[6] Nicol David (MAS) bt Donna Urquhart (AUS) 3-1: 11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-5 (40m)
[9] Annie Au (HKG) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 3-0: 11-3, 14-12, 11-9 (36m)
[12] Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt [Q] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 3-2: 8-11, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10, 11-5 (58m)
[4] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 (32m)

First Round (Bottom Half):
[3] Camille Serme (FRA) v [WC] Haley Mendez (USA)
[Q] Milou Van Der Heijden (NED) v [11] Joelle King (NZL)
[16] Olivia Blatchford (USA) v [Q] Madeline Perry (IRL)
[Q] Samantha Cornett (CAN) v [8] Alison Waters (ENG)
[5] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [Q] Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL)
Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) v [13] Joshna Chinappa (IND)
[15] Tesni Evans (WAL) v Heba El Torky (EGY)
[Q] Hollie Naughton (CAN) v [2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) 

Pictures courtesy of PSA


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