Wednesday, June 12, 2024

US Open: Marathon qualifiers complete


Miguel Rodriguez in action. Picture by STEVE CUBBINS courtesy of

Marathon qualifiers see main draw decided in Philadelphia

Spread across four squash clubs in Philadelphia, the qualifying finals for the Delaware Investments U.S. Open was characterised by marathon opening matches as players battled for a place in the first PSA World Series event of the new season.

At Drexel University, which will be the host venue for all men’s and women’s matches from tomorrow, Colombia’sMiguel Angel Rodriguez followed up his opening win over home favoirite John White with a less spectacular and less noisy 3/1 victory over Siddarth Suchde that was no less satisfying.

“It was important for me to reach the main draw again here in this wonderful tournament,” said Rodriguez, whose matches 2011 with Ali Anwar Reda and Thierry Lincou were early highlights of the event. “I had to be more focused today, more steady, and I did my job,” added the in-form Colombian.

His job only gets harder as he faces defending champion Amr Shabana on Sunday.

That match took 78 minutes, and was followed by a 77-,minute 3/1 win for South Africa’s Steve Coppinger over Kiwi Martin Knight. After losing the first two games Knight surprised his opponent with sharp attacks to take the third 11/2 but couldn’t capitalise on slender leads in the fourth as Coppinger closed out the match.

“He changed his game completely,” admitted Coppinger, “and I wasn’t ready for it. But I’d come back from a few points down in the second so I knew I could do it again in the fourth.

“I’ve had a peek at the draw to see who I might get if I won,” he admitted, “they’re all hard!”

Over at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia Hong Kong’s Max Lee took his opening game against France’s Greg Marche 16/14 before completing another 3/1 win, this one taking 70 minutes. That was followed by an untypically quick win for Canadian number one Shahier Razik, beating Matthew Karwalski, 3/1 in 54 minutes.

Merion Cricket Club saw two Egyptians advance – Omar Abdel Aziz beat Alan Clyne in 81 minutes – you guessed it 3/1 – while Karim Abdel Gawad skipped past Ryan Cuskelly in straight games in one minute short of half that time.

Fans at Germantown Cricket Club were cheering on the last remaining US player, and Julian Illingworth came within a whisker of progressing as he came from two games down against Aamir Atlas Khan.

To the disappointment of the home crowd he finally fell just short as the Pakistani saved a match ball to prevail 14/12 in the fifth after 91 minutes of drama which included contentious moments, a conduct warning for dissent, a stoppage for blisters and more!

Far less dramatic was Joe Lee’s straight game win over Mexican Cesar Salazar, boosting the English contingent in the main draw to seven.

Delaware Investments U.S. Open 2012, Men’s Qualifying Finals:

Drexel University:
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col) bt Siddarth Suchde (Ind) 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5 (78m)
Steve Coppinger (Rsa) bt Martin Knight (Nzl) 11-6, 11-9, 2-11, 11-9 (77m)
Racquet Club of Philadelphia:
Max Lee (Hkg) bt Gregoire Marche (Fra) 16-14, 9-11, 11-6 , 11-3 (70m)
Shahier Razik (Can) bt Matthew Karwalski (Aus) 11-5, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5 (54m)
Merion Cricket Club:
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) bt Alan Clyne (Sco) 11-4, 5-11, 11-8, 11-3 (81m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) bt Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) 11-8, 11-8, 11-7 (41m)
Germantown Cricket Club:
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak) bt Julian Illingworth (Usa) bt 11-9, 11-3, 8-11, 3-11, 14-12 (90m)
Joe Lee (Eng) bt Cesar Salazar (Mex) 11-9, 11-4, 11-3 (43m)

Updated 1st round draw:
[1] James Willstrop (ENG) v Alister Walker (BOT)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Q] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Q] Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
[8] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) v Simon Rosner (GER)
[5] Karim Darwish (EGY) v [Q] Max Lee (HKG)
Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) v Christopher Gordon (USA)
Borja Golan (ESP) v [Q] Joe Lee (ENG)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Tarek Momen (EGY)
Tom Richards (ENG) v Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
[6] Peter Barker (ENG) v [Q] Shahier Razik (CAN)
[7] Amr Shabana (EGY) v [Q] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) v [Q] Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK)
Adrian Grant (ENG) v [Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)

Official event site:

For all the latest Tour news:

Thu 4 Oct, Men’s Qualifying Round One: Daily Roundup

Drexel University:
Steve Coppinger (Rsa) bt Adrian Waller (Eng) 11-4, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7
Martin Knight (Nzl) bt Jamie Macaulay (Sco) 11-6, 11-1, 11-3 (37m)
Siddarth Suchde (Ind) bt Joe Russell (Eng) 11-3, 11-3, 11-2 (27 m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col) bt John White (Sco) 11-8, 12-10, 12-10 (48m)

Racquet Club of Philadelphia:
Shahier Razik (Can) bt Yasir Butt (Pak) 11-9, 11-8, 11-7
Matthew Karwalski (Aus) bt Zac Alexander (Aus) 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 (55m)
Gregoire Marche (Fra) bt Christopher Hanson (Usa) 11-6, 11-9, 11-7 (34m)
Max Lee (Hkg) bt Graham Bassett (Usa) 11-9, 11-6, 11-5 (29m)

Merion Cricket Club:
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) bt Alex Stait (Eng) 11-7, 8-11, 11-3, 11-3 (36m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) bt Campbell Grayson (Nzl) 11-4, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7 (53m)
Alan Clyne (Sco) bt Todd Harrity (Usa) 2-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-2 (39m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) bt Shawn Delierre (Can) 11-4, 12-10, 5-11, 12-10 (73m)

Germantown Cricket Club:
Joe Lee (Eng) bt Chris Simpson (Eng) 11-4, 6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7 (111m)
Cesar Salazar (Mex) bt Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy) 11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 4-11, 11-9 (75m)
Julian Illingworth (Usa) bt Dylan Murray (Usa) 11-3, 11-8, 11-6 (25m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak) bt Henrik Mustonen (Fin) 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10 (53m)


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