By ALAN THATCHER (Squash Mad Editor)
England’s Patrick Rooney says he will be inspired by a martial arts movie as he contemplates facing Egypt’s Marwan ElShorbagy in the second round of the U.S. Open.
Rooney was up against USA’s Faraz Khan, who had won their only previous encounter. The Englishman started to move Khan around the court from the start of the match and used good touch at the front to test Khan’s movement.
Khan won the second game 11-3 but Rooney didn’t panic and showed good composure to stick to his game plan. He used his hold to show one shot and play another, disrupting the quick movement of Khan and get a hold on the match. Rooney eventually closed the game out 12-10 to book his place in the next round.
Rooney had this to say about his match and his upcoming encounter with Marwan ElShorbagy: “I wasn’t thinking good things really, having a 100% loss record against him in Philadelphia. But I really wanted to get revenge today. I was motivated and moving well and despite a little blip in the scene game I’m happy I could get it done in four games.
“I thought I would have to move him around a lot, but he’s a really good mover and I did make some errors because of his pick-ups, so I had to reset and choose the right opportunities to take it in to change his rhythm and hold a little. But I felt I was in control for a lot of the match.
“I think I can beat Marwan tomorrow. I watched a film called Ip Man last night, and they go on about Wing Chun which is the art of using defence and attack at the same time so I think I’m going to use that tomorrow and try and push him from front to back and really bring that Wing Chun into the game.”
Former World No.1 James Willstrop put in a clinical display to see off the threat of up-and-coming countryman Nick Wall, completing an 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 victory in 35 minutes to reach the last 32.
The 39-year-old Willstrop was immaculate for long periods of the match, floating the ball high in the air to keep Wall marooned in the back of the court and following up with some clinical attacks to the front .
Wall fought hard in the third game and unleashed plenty of attacking shots, but Willstrop was up to the challenge and closed out the win to earn himself a second round fixture against No.8 seed Mazen Hesham.
England’s George Parker was on and off court quickly as his opponent, Pakistan’s Tayyab Aslam, suffered an injury and had to retire at 5-1 in the first game. Parker will now play Egypt’s Moustafa El Sirty in round two.
Chicago-based Nathan Lake went out at the first hurdle, falling to Henry Leung of Hong Kong 11-13, 11-3, 11-4, 11-6.
Scotland’s Greg Lobban will take on Frenchman Baptiste Masotti in the last 32 after defeating Egypt’s Yahya Elnawasany 11-4, 11-9, 11-3. But Scottish team-mate Alan Clyne lost in straight games to Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng 11-4, 11-5, 11-8.
In the women’s event, England’s Julianne Courtice fought back from 2-1 down in games and 7-1 down in the fourth to score a big upset over World No.24 Aifa Azman from Malaysia, winning 3-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6 in 51 minutes.
The rallies were short and sharp with Azman starting well and working the ball short. After losing the first game, Courtice rallied to take control of the middle and started to implement her own attacking style of play as she won the second.
Azman hit back to win the third and ran out to a 7-1 lead in the fourth game. But Courtice had other ideas and used the frustration from a refereeing decision to fuel her comeback and win the fourth and fifth games to move into round two.
Courtice said: “I think I’ve had a few close ones over the last few tournaments and I’ve been pressing and pressing but not getting the results. But to get over the line in this one just feels like all the work that I’ve put in and all the build-up has been rewarded.
“My ranking has been improving but I feel like I needed a good scalp and I’m just so pleased I got that today. I think I was 7-1 down in the fourth and I wasn’t happy with a refereeing decision which I struggled to shake off but I managed to just let my arm go and play the squash I wanted to.”
Egypt’s Sana Ibrahim came out on top in a thrilling five-game battle with England’s Jasmine Hutton to reach the second round of the U.S. Open for the first time.
A fabulous start from Hutton saw the Englishwoman hit her targets well and nullify her opponent to take a commanding one-game lead. But Ibrahim soon settled into the match and outplayed Hutton in the second and third games to go ahead.
The World No.37 faded in the fourth game as Hutton came back to level, and it looked like Hutton would complete the comeback in the fifth as she edged ahead to a 9-8 lead in a nervy decider which saw both players find the tin with regularity.
Ibrahim put together a series of well-constructed rallies to close out a 6-11, 11-4, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9 victory to seal her spot in the last 32, where she will face World No.12 Nele Gilis.
“Last time I played with Jazz was at El Gouna and it was also five games, it was closer than this,” said Ibrahim.
“I was so nervous in the first because I knew it would be a tough match, and yesterday my leg wasn’t very good, I had to go to the physio. That made me more nervous because I don’t know what’s going on with my leg, but luckily I won the match. She was playing really well, she played a different plan to El Gouna and I was surprised.
“I told myself that in the fifth game I had to go out and put everything on the court. I was 9-8 down and I told myself that it was like it was 0-0, I wasn’t thinking about the score because I didn’t want to be nervous. That made me feel better and I won the match.”
England’s Lucy Turmel won a huge battle with Marie Stephan, going through 11-5, 13-15, 11-1, 4-11, 11-7 in 57 minutes.
Malaysia’s Rachel Arnold beat England’s Grace Gear to move into the last 32. Gear fought hard but Arnold dominated long phases of the match to win in just 23 minutes.
Lisa Aitken flew the flag for Scotland by beating Spain’s Cristina Gomez 13-11, 11-8, 11-2, working hard to win the first two games then powering through the third to win in 35 minutes. She meets Yathreb Adel in the second round.
Play starts today at 12 noon local time, when the top seeds join the fray. Tesni Evans and Emily Whitlock of Wales come up against Egyptian opponents, with Evans playing Nadine Shahin and Whitlock facing a difficult challenge against No.1 seed Nouran Gohar.
2022 U.S. Open, presented by Truist, Arlen Specter Center, Philadelphia, USA.
Men’s First Round:
Eain Yow Ng (MAS) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-8 (48m)
Todd Harrity (USA) bt [WC] Spencer Lovejoy (USA) 3-0: 12-10, 11-8, 11-5 (36m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-1: 11-9, 8-11, 12-10, 11-9 (61m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt Nick Wall (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 (35m)
Patrick Rooney (ENG) bt Faraz Khan (USA) 3-1: 11-8, 3-11, 11-5, 12-10 (60m)
Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Zahed Salem (EGY) 3-1: 11-2, 4-11, 11-9, 11-7 (50m)
Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) bt Shahjahan Khan (USA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-7, 11-9 (50m)
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt Muhammad Asim Khan (PAK) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-4 (25m)
Greg Lobban (SCO) bt Yahya Elnawasany (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-9, 11-3 (37m)
Leonel Cardenas (MEX) bt Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) 3-2: 12-10, 6-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6 (78m)
Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) bt [WC] Timothy Brownell (USA) 3-2: 11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 6-11, 13-11 (93m)
Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) bt Auguste Dussourd (FRA) 3-1: 11-7, 11-13, 11-4, 11-6 (55m)
George Parker (ENG) bt Tayyab Aslam (PAK) 3-0: 5-1 retired
Henry Leung (HKG) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-1: 11-13, 11-3, 11-4, 11-6 (46m)
Ramit Tandon (IND) bt Rui Soares (POR) 3-0: 11-4, 11-7, 11-2 (27m)
Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) bt Bernat Jaume (ESP) 3-0: 15-13, 11-4, 11-6 (38m)
Men’s Second Round:
 Ali Farag (EGY) v Eain Yow Ng (MAS)
Miguel Rodriguez (COL) v Todd Harrity (USA)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)
Victor Crouin (FRA) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Mazen Hesham (EGY) v James Willstrop (ENG)
Raphael Kandra (GER) v Youssef Soliman (EGY)
Patrick Rooney (ENG) v Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
Lucas Serme (FRA) v  Mostafa Asal (EGY)
 Diego Elias (PER) v Dimitri Steinmann (SUI)
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) v Greg Lobban (SCO)
Leonel Cardenas (MEX) v Fares Dessouky (EGY)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v  Joel Makin (WAL)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) v Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP)
Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) v George Parker (ENG)
Henry Leung (HKG) v Ramit Tandon (IND)
Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
Women’s First Round:
Lisa Aitken (SCO) bt Cristina Gomez (ESP) 3-0: 13-11, 11-8, 11-2 (35m)
Yathreb Adel (EGY) bt Anna Serme (CZE) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 (24m)
Sana Ibrahim (EGY) bt Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 3-2: 6-11, 11-4, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9 (56m)
Rachel Arnold (MAS) bt Grace Gear (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 (23m)
Chan Sin Yuk (HKG) beats Marina Stefanoni (USA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-7 (24m)
Hana Ramadan (EGY) bt Nicole Bunyan (CAN) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 (27m)
Lucy Turmel (ENG) bt Marie Stephan (FRA) 3-2: 11-5, 13-15, 11-1, 4-11, 11-7 (57m)
Alexandra Fuller (RSA) bt Enora Villard (FRA) 3-1: 7-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-3 (35m)
Melissa Alves (FRA) bt Emilia Soini (FIN) 3-0: 11-3, 11-4, 11-1 (21m)
Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt Haley Mendez (USA) 3-0: 11-1, 11-6, 11-3 (22m)
Julianne Courtice (ENG) bt Aifa Azman (MAS) 3-2: 3-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6 (51m)
Jana Shiha (EGY) bt Tomato Ho (HKG) 3-1: 11-13, 11-4, 11-8, 11-4 (39m)
Mariam Metwally (EGY) bt Nour Aboulmakarim (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 11-9 (24m)
Eain Yow Ng (MAS) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-8 (48m)
Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt [WC] Lucie Stefanoni (USA) 3-2: 3-11, 8-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-7 (39m)
Zeina Mickawy (EGY) beats Ineta Mackevica (LAT) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 (25m)
Women’s Second Round:
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v Emily Whitlock (WAL)
Lisa Aitken (SCO) v Yathreb Adel (EGY)
Sana Ibrahim (EGY) v Nele Gilis (BEL)
Rachel Arnold (MAS) v  Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v Chan Sin Yuk (HKG)
Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Hana Ramadan (EGY)
Lucy Turmel (ENG) v Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
Melissa Alves (FRA) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v Olivia Fiechter (USA)
Sabrina Sobhy (USA) v Hollie Naughton (CAN)
Tinne Gilis (BEL) v Julianne Courtice (ENG)
Jana Shiha (EGY) v  Joelle King (NZL)
 Salma Hany (EGY) v Mariam Metwally (EGY)
Olivia Clyne (USA) v Farida Mohamed (EGY)
Tesni Evans (WAL) v Nadine Shahin (EGY)
Zeina Mickawy (EGY) v  Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour