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US OPEN: Gordon makes Gaultier graft

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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Gregory Gaultier manages to get in front of Chris Gordon
Gregory Gaultier manages to get in front of Chris Gordon

12 October 2013

Chris Gordon made top seed Gregory Gaultier fight all the way in two bruising games in the first round of the US Open.

But, in the process, he ran himself to a standstill and had nothing left to offer in the third as Gaultier powered through 11-1.

Top-seeded Frenchman Gaultier, the 2006 champion, was fully tested by US wild card Gordon on the opening day of main draw action in the fifth PSA World Series event of the year which is celebrating its third successive year at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Gordon, the US champion from New York, led 9-7 in the first game but world No.2 Gaultier fought back to win the opener on a tie-break.

The local hero led in the second – at 8-7, 10-8 and 11-10 – but was again unable to convert as Gaultier showed his mastery to close out the game and lead 2-0.

It was all Gaultier in the third as the 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence clinched the 12-10, 15-13, 11-1 victory in 47 minutes, which takes him one step closer to a second successive appearance in the final.

“I was really pleased with how I played,” said world No.48 Gordon. “There was no pressure on me so I could just enjoy it. The third was disappointing, the ball was spongy. I knew it was spongy, and I had to get a better length, but he just got on top of me so fast.”

Gaultier, expected to reach his fourth Tour final appearance in a row next week, was happy to win: “I’ve been away for a month now, three tournaments in a row is tough – you just need to keep the motivation to play at the right level.

“Chris has improved a lot. He’s proved he’s number one in America and we’re good friends. I spent a lot of time with him in New York. Maybe I gave him too much advice – he nearly got me in the first two games!

“I won this tournament a few years ago. Winning the US Open means a lot to all of us and it’s getting bigger and better every year. I’ll give all I’ve got to try to win it again, but there are no easy matches nowadays – you have to treat every round as a final.”

Gaultier will face a surprise opponent in the second round after England’s world No.35 Adrian Waller pulled off a notable upset over Egypt’s former world junior champion Marwan Elshorbagy, ranked nine places higher.

The 11-8, 11-2, 11-4 win takes the 23-year-old from Enfield into the second round for the first time since 2010.

Adrian Waller in action
Adrian Waller in action

Scottish number one Alan Clyne survived the day’s longest battle, coming back from two games down to beat Australian qualifier Steven Finitsis 8-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 in 88 minutes.

“Had to do a bit of grinding tonight to get the 3-2 win from 2-0 down,” tweeted the world No32 from Edinburgh later. “Pleased to be into the last 16 of the US Open anyhow!”

Clyne moves on to meet fifth seed Mohamed Elshorbagy, who needed almost an hour to overcome fellow EgyptianOmar Abdel Aziz 11-2, 12-10, 8-11, 12-10.

“He played so much better after the first game,” said 22-year-old Elshorbagy, bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the fourth year in a row. “I think I played the same through the whole match, but he came back so well and I was fortunate to get through.”

Another Egyptian was also fully tested in a marathon: Karim Darwish, the fourth seed from Cairo who was a semi-finalist in 2007, took 72 minutes to overcome Australian Ryan Cuskelly 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7.

“It’s always tough playing someone like Ryan,” said former world number one Darwish. “I had to be on my toes the whole match. Those few points at the end of the second were crucial, then I relaxed a bit in the third but managed to get it back for the fourth.”

Seventh seed Borja Golan took his place in round two but only after his Canadian opponent Shawn Delierre was forced to retire after only two games.

After dropping the opening game, Canadian number one Delierre was leading 10-8 in the second when when he stretched for a ball and fell to the floor.

After taking a three-minute injury timeout, the 31-year-old from Montreal offered his hand to Golan. “It’s not the way anyone wants to win,” said the top-ranked Spaniard. “He played well at the start of the second game and it’s a real shame he couldn’t finish the match.”

Delierre was later seen walking away cautiously: “It’s good news that I can walk – nothing too serious,” he told the official website www.usopensquash.com

RESULTS: PSA World Series Delaware Investments US Open, Philadelphia, USA

1st round (top half of draw):
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [WC] Christopher Gordon (USA) 12-10, 15-13, 11-1 (47m)
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) 11-8, 11-2, 11-4 (41m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt [Q] Shahier Razik (CAN) 11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 11-6 (68m)
[7] Borja Golan (ESP) bt Shawn Delierre (CAN) 11-3, 8-10 ret. (31m)
[5] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) 11-2, 12-10, 8-11, 12-10 (58m)
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt [Q] Steven Finitsis (AUS) 8-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 (88m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt [Q] Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) 11-6, 11-4, 11-6 (39m)
[4] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 (72m)

US Open image courtesy of Squashpics.com

For all the latest Tour news: www.psaworldtour.com

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