Steve Copps it from Nic Mueller in 95 minutes of Drexel drama
By Squash Mad Reporter
Two epic battles produced outstanding entertainment as 20-year-old Egyptian Fares Dessouki and 25-year-old Swiss star Nicolas Mueller beat Saurav Ghosal and Stephen Coppinger in the first round of the 2014 Delaware Investments US Open in Philadelphia.
Victory for Dessouki over Ghosal sees him move into the second round of a PSA World Series event for only the third time in his career where he will face compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad, the man he beat in the first round of the Allam British Open in May.
During that competition Dessouki made it to the quarter-finals before falling to World Champion Nick Matthew and he’ll be hoping to reach that stage again by emulating the performance that saw him conquer number eight seed Ghosal, taking the Asian Games Gold medal winner out with an 88-minute 11-8, 4-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-7 victory.
With six Egyptians in the last 16, Dessouki said: “I’m very happy with that win. Saurav is a very good player who is really fast around the court and a dangerous opponent.
“I had to give it everything I had to get past him and keep my focus at 100 per cent for the whole match but I’m delighted to have got the win.”
Swiss squash star Mueller (right) came through an even more brutal encounter with South African national champion Coppinger in their first round encounter, eventually prevailing 3-2 in a 95-minute thriller.
Just three places separate the pairing on the PSA World Rankings, with 25-year-old Mueller the higher ranked at World No.21, and there proved to be little between them on court, with epic rallies aplenty in a match which had the duo playing out of their shoes, literally.
In a rare incident Coppinger was forced off court during the final game after tearing through the soles of his shoes such was the ferocity of movement demanded of both players but it was Mueller who held on to claim an impressive victory, coming through 6-11, 11-4, 11-13, 11-7, 11-9.
“That was probably the most brutal match I’ve ever played in my life,” said Müller afterwards.
“Steve was a true warrior throughout the whole encounter and we both really dug deep. I had to dig in and find some extra energy and luckily I managed to find a hidden reserve and come out with the win.”
Second seed Matthew eased his way into the second round with a comfortable 3-0 win over compatriot Eddie Charlton in his first encounter on the PSA World Tour since losing the final of the Allam British Open in May.
The Commonwealth Games Gold Medal winner showed no signs of rustiness as he sealed an 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 win which will see him take on Chris Simpson in the second round, after the man from Guernsey got past South African Shaun Le Roux 3-0.
Elsewhere there were wins for Amr Shabana, Max Lee and Omar Mosaad.
Delaware Investments US Open – Fist Round, Bottom Half Results:
 Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [Q] Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 [37m]
Max Lee (HKG) bt Joe Lee (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-8
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 3-2: 6-11, 11-4, 11-13, 11-7, 11-9 (95m)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [WC] Christopher Gordon (USA) 3-0: 12-10, 11-7, 11-4 [36m]
Fares Dessouki (EGY) bt  Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-2: 11-8, 4-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-7 [88m]
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Alister Walker (BOT) 3-1: 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 [58m]
Chris Simpson (ENG) [Q] bt Shaun Le Roux (RSA) 3-0: 11-3, 11-2, 11-5 [30m]
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [Q] Eddie Charlton (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 [40m]
Monday’s second round (top half):
(6) Simon Rosner (Ger) v (Q) Leo Au (HK)
Adrian Waller (Eng) v Mazen Hesham (Egy)
(3) Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy) v Cameron Pilley (Aus)
(1) Gregory Gaultier (Fra) v Alan Clyne (Sco)
Bottom half (Tuesday):
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) v Fares Desouki (Egy)
(7) Omar Mosaad (Egy) v Nicolas Mueller (Swi)
(2) Nick Matthew (Eng) v Chris Simpson (Eng)
(4) Amr Shabana (Egy) v Max Lee (HK)
Pictures courtesy of PSA and US Open