Darwish fails to repeat first-round heroics as Rosner targets Gaultier scalp in New York quarter-final
By MICHAEL CATLING – Squash Mad Senior Reporter
World number six Karim Darwish became the first seeded casualty of the PSA J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York, following a comprehensive defeat to unseeded German number one Simon Rosner in the second round.
The former world number one barely survived an opening round encounter with fellow Egyptian Omar Mosaad on Sunday night and failed to live up to his number five seeding as he succumbed to a 11-2, 12-10, 11-5 defeat in just 38 minutes.
The result handed Rosner (pictured right) only his second win over the Egyptian number three in seven PSA Tour meetings and continues his impressive run of scalps following his victory over world number seven Borja Golan in the final of the Alwatan & Asnan International last month.
“I’m very pleased with how I played tonight – I think that was one of the biggest scalps of my career so far,” said the Paderborn ace.
“I ended 2013 with a great win in Kuwait and my momentum has continued since then and I think I played a solid, aggressive game tonight with few mistakes which was important.”
“The win is important but the performance is a huge confidence boost and I’m really looking forward to the next game now,”
The 26-year-old, who sits just three places away from breaking into the world’s top 10, will now meet top seed Gregory Gaultier for a place in the last four, after the Frenchman cruised past Botswana’s Alister Walker to record a second successive straight games win.
The world number two, who lost to Ramy Ashour in the final of the $115,000 event last year, won the first point with a trickle boast winner and never relinquished control of the lead as the 31-year-old nullified Walker’s athleticism to comfortably triumph 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 in 44 minutes.
Elsewhere, Mohamed Elshorbagy remains on course for a third PSA Title in three months after recovering from a game down to beat his persistent compatriot Tarek Momen 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 12-10 in 63 minutes.
The world number four, who breezed past Todd Harrity in just 28 minutes in the first round, needed over an hour to finally overcome Momen and was fortunate his opponent wasted three game balls in the fourth game.
Despite losing the opening game, the 23-year-old third seed reeled off seven straight points when trailing 7-4 in the second to level the scores.
Elshorbagy capitalised on the shift in momentum to win the third game, but once again displayed his tendency to switch off mid-game as the older Egyptian threatened to force a decider.
But despite leading 9-5 and 10-7 in the fourth, the world number 11 became passive with his shot-making as Elshorbagy charged around court with a series of deft flicks and brutal volleys which left his opponent swinging at thin air.
A delicate cross court drop shot ultimately clinched victory for the Alexandria ace in 63 minutes and left the Grand Central Station crowd purring in delight.
Elshorbagy (pictured right) will now face eighth seed Daryl Selby in the last eight, after the Englishman defeated fellow compatriot Chris Simpson 11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6.
In a spiky encounter which featured both players falling to ground and exchanging a few words between points, Selby managed to retain his composure after losing the third game to grind out victory in 71 minutes.
“Chris has had a few good wins in recent months so I knew going into the game that it would be tough so I’m very happy to get through,” said the world number 10.
“I did not attack the front as much I should have but I managed to play well when it mattered most. I have not played Chris in a PSA event in recent years so I am happy to get through to the next round and go play Mohamed.
“He’s in the top four and deservedly so: he’s been playing fantastically well for the last year or so. He handles himself well on and off court as well so I think it will be a good match.
“He’s never been past the quarter-finals here before though so hopefully my experience can help me a bit against him and I’m looking forward to it.”
Pictures by Steve Line (SquashPics.com) – courtesy of the Tournament of Champions