Gaultier and Marche on the march as French duo stake their claim
French duo Gregory Gaultier, the World No.1, and Gregoire Marche, the World No.33, led the way during day two of the Allam British Open at the KC Sports Arena in Hull as they progressed to the second round of the prestigious PSA World Series event.
Gaultier, the tournament’s number two seed, was in emphatic form as he saw off the challenge of England’s Chris Simpson 3-0 while 24-year-old qualifier Marche rallied from two games down to upset Australian Cameron Pilley in a five game thriller.
Marche’s dramatic victory came just after Columbian pocket-rocket Miguel Angel Rodriguez had also risen from 2-0 down against qualifier Nicolas Mueller to turn the match on its head and set the scene for an action-packed day.
“It is a great feeling to qualify, especially at this tournament, because it is one of the biggest on the tour,” said Marche.
“It is just a great feeling to play in it and I go up against [Amr] Shabana in the next round who, for me, is one of the best players in the world, so I hope I can be as good as I was today and maybe I can go through to the quarter-finals.
“During my match I was thinking about the previous match between Nicolas Mueller and Miguel Angel Rodriguez, when Miguel came back from 2-0 down, so I kept fighting and thankfully it worked.”
In a day full of shocks, Dutch national champion Laurens Jan Anjema remains in contention for honours after England’s World No.8 Peter Barker (above) retired through injury but there were no issues for defending British Open Champion Ramy Ashour, as the sublimely talented Egyptian was in commanding form getting past compatriot Marwan Elshorbagy 3-0.
“It’s obviously the last tournament of the season so everyone is saying that there is one big push left and everyone wants to give his best,” Ashour said afterwards.
“You can see how tough the matches are from first rounds in tournaments now which shows how strong the game has become.
“You don’t want to spend your summer not being very happy or satisfied with yourself or your performance. Everyone wants to give 100% and every match counts so being in the second round is a big step and hopefully I can keep on taking those steps.”
Elsewhere, Egyptians Omar Mossad and Amr Shabana successfully booked their second round berths while English World No.6 James Willstrop came through arguably the toughest match of the day against German Simon Rösner.
2014 Allam British Open – First Round, Bottom Half Results:
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [Q] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) 3-0: 12-10, 11-4, 11-8 [34m]
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt Peter Barker (ENG) 11-5, 11-5 retired [29m]
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 3-0: 11-8, 12-10, 11-6 [52m]
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt Simon Rösner (GER) 3-1: 5-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 [76m]
 Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [Q] Max Lee (HKG) 3-1:11-6, 11-5, 7-11, 11-8 [52m]
[Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-2: 9-11, 3-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-4 [80m]
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-2: 10-12, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 [81m]
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-2, 11-3 [32m]
2014 Allam British Open – Second Round Draw:
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
[Q] Fares Dessouki (EGY) v  Karim Darwish (EGY)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v Adrian Grant (ENG)
Tarek Momen (EGY) v  Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v  James Willstrop (ENG)
 Amr Shabana (EGY) v [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)