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PSA: Seeds soar into Grasshopper semis

Home hero Nic Mueller. Picture by MICHAEL BAER

Seeds Sail Through In Zurich

27 April 2012

RESULTS: PSA International 25 Grasshopper Cup, Zurich, Switzerland

[1] Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Jan Koukal (CZE) 11-6, 11-4, 11-6 (34m)
[3] Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt Charles Sharpes (ENG) 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 (36m)
[4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN) 11-5, 13-11, 11-5 (24m)
[2] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 11-5, 11-7, 11-3 (34m)

All four seeds scored straightforward straight games wins in the Grasshopper Cup in Switzerland to set up the predicted semi-finals of the PSA World Tour International 25 squash event making its comeback at the Grasshopper Club inZurich after an 11-year absence.

Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad, at 20 the youngest of the four, swiftly despatched newly-crowned Danish championKristian Frost Olesen 11-5, 13-11, 11-5 in just 24 minutes.

The fourth seed from Cairo will now face local hero Nicolas Mueller, the Swiss number one. Spurred on by the partisan crowd, second seed Mueller knocked out Gawad’s compatriot Omar Abdel Meguid 11-5, 11-7, 11-3.

The other semi will feature English favourite Daryl Selby and ‘Flying Finn’ Olli Tuominen, the No3 seed.

“Daryl made it clear why he is the number one seed in the tournament, not letting any chance to Jan Koukal over the whole match,” said event spokesman Mark Meyer.

Selby, the world No11, defeated Czech number one Koukal 11-6, 11-4, 11-6.

Tuominen took on rising English star Charles Sharpes – but the experienced 33-year-old from Helsinki was too strong for the 20-year-old Englishman, winning 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 in 36 minutes.

Semi-final line-up:
[1] Daryl Selby (ENG) v [3] Olli Tuominen (FIN)
[2] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)

The packed gallery in Zurich

Local Hero Mueller Moves Into Grasshopper Quarters

26 April 2012

RESULTS: PSA International 25 Grasshopper Cup, Zurich, Switzerland

1st round:
[1] Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Kashif Shuja (NZL) 11-4, 11-7, 11-9 (41m)
Jan Koukal (CZE) bt [Q] Fabien Verseille (FRA) 9-11, 13-11, 14-12, 6-11, 11-8 (89m)
Charles Sharpes (ENG) bt [Q] Andre Haschker (GER) 11-8, 11-4, 14-16, 11-9 (58m)
[3] Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt Steven Finitsis (AUS) 12-10, 15-17, 5-11, 12-10, 11-4 (95m)
[4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Davide Bianchetti (ITA) 14-16, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (115m)
Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN) bt Reiko Peter (SUI) 6-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7 (40m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) bt Yann Perrin (FRA) 11-5, 8-11, 11-5, 12-14, 11-6 (72m)
[2] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [Q] Raphael Kandra (GER) 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (34m)

While marathon battles characterised the open day’s play in the Grasshopper Cup in Switzerland, local hero Nicolas Mueller progressed in straight games to reach the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour International 25 squash event making its comeback at the Grasshopper Club in Zurich after an 11-year absence.

“It’s always a thrilling moment when the local hero enters the court for the first appearance during a tournament,” said event spokesman Mark Meyer. “But it also creates a lot of pressure and expectation: How would Nici Müller cope with that?”

But the 22-year-old from nearby Hirzel – the world No24 who is already the country’s highest-ranked player of all-time – coped admirably, despatching German qualifier Raphael Kandra 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 in just 34 minutes.

“First round win at #grasshoppercup – amazing home crowd!!” tweeted Mueller later. “Hope there will be even more people for my 2nd round at 7.30pm”

The second-seeded Swiss star is expected to line up against favourite Daryl Selby in the event’s final. The world No11 from England also prevailed in straight games – beating New Zealander Kashif Shuja 11-4, 11-7, 11-9 in 41 minutes.

But the other two seeds were stretched to five games before being allowed to take their places in the last eight.

Olli Tuominen, the No3 seed from Finland, took on Australian Steven Finitsis, a ‘lucky loser’ who earned an unexpected place in the main draw after a last-minute withdrawal. The first two games went to tie-breaks, the Finn squeezing the first before Finitsis secured the second 17-15 with the match already almost an hour long.

The Australian took full advantage of too many errors by Tuominen to take a 2/1 lead before progressing to match-ball in the fourth at 10-9.

But the Flying Finn fought back to force the match into a decider before claiming his 12-10, 15-17, 5-11, 12-10, 11-4 victory after 95 minutes.

Experienced Davide Bianchetti, a 35-year-old qualifier from Italy, surprised 20-year-old Karim Abdel Gawad, the No4 seed from Egypt, by taking the first two games.

But after five minutes short of two hours, Gawad emerged victorious 14-16, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 to claim his anticipated place in the quarter-finals.

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] Daryl Selby (ENG) v Jan Koukal (CZE)
[3] Olli Tuominen (FIN) v Charles Sharpes (ENG)
[4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN)
[2] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)

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