Veteran meets Ali Farag in US Open quarter-finals
By NATHAN CLARKE
Veteran Nick Matthew fought back from 2-1 down in trademark style to thwart the charge of German Simon Rösner and secure his place in the quarter-finals of the 2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open, the PSA World Series tournament taking place at Philadelphia’s Drexel University.
The 36-year-old Matthew, the 2007 US Open winner, suffered a surprise first round defeat during last week’s NetSuite Open and looked like he was facing a first ever defeat to the World No.12 when, after taking the first game, he found himself behind to an inspired Rösner.
But Matthew responded in style, using every ounce of the Yorkshire grit that has epitomised his career to respond in emphatic style and go 9-0 up in the fourth and force a decider that he ultimately took 11-8 to set up a last eight encounter with rising Egyptian star Ali Farag.
“I was probably down and out there at 2-1 but thanks to my team in the corner – without them I might have lost the belief,” said Matthew.
“I got a good start in the fourth and just told myself to stay patient. I feel like I haven’t won a match like that in a little while so it was important for me to win it any way possible. I kept telling myself I had the experience of seeing out these matches and ultimately that proved to be the case.
“I came into this match thinking Simon was the favourite and that I have nothing left to prove and it’s the same thing in the quarters. I’ve played Ali twice and he’s beaten me twice, so I’m just going to enjoy it.”
Matthew was joined in the quarter-finals by perennial rival Gregory Gaultier, the defending champion who beat New Zealand’s Paul Coll in straight games.
The Frenchman, who won the NetSuite Open last week to come into this event in good form, will now face Karim Abdel Gawad for a place in the semi-finals.
“Every game was tough until about 6-6 and then I just managed to up the pace which I think made the difference,” said Gaultier.
“There were a lot of tough long rallies and he was reading me well, so I’m pleased it ended 3-0. I’m here to play whoever is in front of me – I’m training to win and to play as hard as possible and do whatever it takes. I’m playing Gawad next but I have no fear and I’ll be ready for him.”
Defending Women’s champion Laura Massaro also secured her place in the quarter-finals as she continued to impress, this time evilly dispatching Indian number one Joshna Chinappa 3-0.
The 32-year-old Englishwoman dictated the play from the off to assert her dominance on Chinappa and secure a straight-games win that takes her through to face Frenchwoman Camille Serme in the last eight – a player she has lost her last three encounters with.
“Joshna is a very dangerous players and if you let her play her shots she can be trouble,” said Massaro.
“So I’m really happy to come through 3-0. I felt like I found my length a lot better today than I did in my first round. I was hitting the corners and was really happy about that and felt like it paid off.
“A quarter-final match these days is always huge and it’s anyones game. Last time we played in the British Open I wasn’t at my best and she played really well. So in a way the pressure is off, so I’m just really looking forward to it.”
American No.1 and World No.6 Amanda Sobhy, the Harvard graduate, also stormed into the quarter-finals courtesy of a comfortable win over Australian Donna.
Sobhy, the 23-year-old Harvard graduate, came through 3-1 to down Urquhart and set up a last eight encounter with 19-year-old Egyptian Nouran Gohar, the World Junior champion who beat Sobhy in the final of August’s Hong Kong Open.
“It feels amazing to be in the quarters,” said Sobhy. “To be last eight at US Open is huge but I hope to keep going further. I love playing on home turf so I’m hoping to do the best I can for the fans coming out to support me.
“Nouran has been on the rise and has been playing amazingly this past year. She’s the player in form and we had a big match in the final in Hong Kong. There’s maybe bit of redemption on offer for me but my focus is on just trying to play well.”
Action in the 2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open quarter-finals gets under way from 5:30pm local time at Drexel University’s Daskalakis Athletic Centre on Wednesday October 12, with home favourite Sobhy in action on Thursday October 13. Tickets for the PSA World Series tournament available to purchase by visiting www.usopensquash.com
Delaware Investments US Open 2016, Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA.
PSA M150 Men’s Second Round (Bottom Half):
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Simon Rösner (GER) 3-2: 11-4, 6-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8 (77m)
Ali Farag (EGY) bt Fares Dessouky (EGY) 11-7, 13-11, 8-3 retired (36m)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-2: 4-11, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6 (74m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 (53m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v James Willstrop (ENG)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Ali Farag (EGY)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
PSA W150 Women’s Second Round (Bottom Half):
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 18-16 (42m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Donna Urquhart (AUS) 3-1: 11-7, 5-11, 11-5, 11-5 (37m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Annie Au (HKG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 (27m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Joshna Chinappa (IND) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 (27m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Alison Waters (ENG)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v  Nicol David (MAS)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v  Laura Massaro (ENG)
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)