Mexican ace crosses the border to win Battle of the Bay
Cesar Salazar (Mexico), the fifth seed in the qualifying round for the NetSuite Open, needed four games to upset third seed Henrik Mustonen (Finland) to advance to the first round of the San Francisco stop on the PSA World Tour.
After dropping the first game in a match played at the Bay Club in San Francisco, he needed 62 minutes to post a 9-11, 16-14, 11-7, 11-7 victory. Mustonen had ended the hopes of home hero Charlie Johnson the night before, silencing a Baying crowd at this spectacular club.
Qualifying is now complete in this California classic as the Bay Club became something of a Finnish outpost, with Olli Tuominen (Finland), Alan Clyne (Scotland) and Campbell Grayson (New Zealand) also reaching the main draw.
Tuominen (right) needed four games to overcome Matthew Karwalski (Australia), coming back after losing the first by a 11-9 score. The Finnish no.1 needed 38 minutes to win 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-1, with Karwalski offering little resistance in the final game.
US hopes were dashed as Scottish No.1 Clyne overcame New Yorker Chris Gordon 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 in a match that lasted 39 minutes at the University Club.
Battles between New Zealand and Australia are always tense affairs and, in the other match played at the University Club, Grayson beat tall Aussie Steven Finitsis in three games (11-9, 11-7, 11-5) that took 54 minutes to earn his spot in the main draw.
Friday’s First Round draw and venues:
(1) Gregory Gaultier (France) vs. Gregoire Marche (France) – NetSuite Challenge Court, 7:00 p.m.
(2) Amr Shabana (Egypt) vs. Alan Clyne (Scotland) – NetSuite Challenge Court, 7:45 p.m.
(3) Peter Barker (England) vs. Julian Illingworth (USA) – Bay Club San Francisco, 6:00 p.m.
(4) Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Colombia) vs. Olli Tuominen (Finland) – Stanford, 8:00 p.m.
(5) Laurens Jan Anjema (Netherlands) vs. Cesar Salazar (Mexico) – Stanford, 6:00 p.m.
(6) Mathieu Castagnet (France) vs. Alister Walker (Botswana) – Bay Club, 5:00 p.m.
(7) Cameron Pilley (Australia) vs. Chris Simpson (England) – Stanford, 7:00 p.m.
(8) Adrian Grant (England) vs. Campbell Grayson (New Zealand) – NetSuite Challenge Court,, 8:30 p.m.
Thursday’s Qualifying Round Results:
Olli Tuominen (Finland) bt Matthew Karwalski (Australia) 3-1 (9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-1) 38 min.
Alan Clyne (Scotland) bt Chris Gordon (U.S.A.) 3-0 (11-9, 11-7, 11-5) 39 min.
Campbell Grayson (New Zealand) bt Steven Finitsis (Australia) 3-0 (11-9, 11-7 11-5) 54 min.
Cesar Salazar (Mexico) bt Henrik Mustonen (Finland) 3-1 (9-11, 16-14, 11-7, 11-7) 62 min.
Pictures by MA POTOPOFF