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Wild card James Willstrop reaches Netsuite semi-finals

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Simon Rosner dives in vain as James Willstrop clinches victory 12-10 in the fifth
Simon Rosner dives in vain as James Willstrop clinches victory 12-10 in the fifth

Huge comeback from 0-2 down against Simon Rösner
By SEAN REUTHE

 

Former World No.1 James Willstrop produced a superb comeback to overturn a two-game deficit and eliminate Germany’s Simon Rösner in the quarter-final stage of the NetSuite Open, PSA M100 tournament taking place on San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza.

The Englishman looked down and out after Rösner opened up a two-game lead, but tournament wildcard Willstrop dug in superbly and used all of his 17 years of experience to battle back, taking three games without reply to earn a 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-2, 12-10 victory.

“I think the quality of the squash was so good,” said Willstrop. “It was a pretty high standard, we were both hitting the ball accurately. It’s cut-throat stuff, the ball was flying around and you have to have such control to stay in it. His pace and control was a little bit better in the first two games.

“He won the crucial points in the second, but it was close. The key is that I didn’t panic, it’s a difficult psychological deficit to overcome when you’re 2-0 down. The statistics show that people don’t do it often, so I just had to keep making him play and I knew that I might be able to find a way in.”

Diego Elias on the way to victory over Gregoire Marche
Diego Elias on the way to victory over Gregoire Marche

Two-time World Junior Champion Diego Elias will meet Willstrop for a place in the final after a clinical showing saw him overcome Frenchman Gregoire Marche.

The fixture featured a clash of styles, with Marche’s all-action style contrasting with the languid one of Elias, and it was the latter who rose to a two-game lead courtesy of some intelligent court craft and fine winners.

Marche had beaten three-time World Champion Nick Matthew in the previous round, but was frustrated time and time again by the prodigious talents of Elias, who wrapped up an 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 triumph in 40 minutes.

“I’m really happy, it’s my first win on SQUASHTV,” said Elias. “I was focused, I wanted to enjoy the match and I played my best. It has been an amazing experience, I knew the court was a bit tricky, but I’m happy I was able to play well on it. I had so much fun and wanted to thank everyone for supporting me.”

Laura Massaro gets down low to play a drop shot against Joelle King
Laura Massaro gets down low to play a drop shot against Joelle King

In the Women’s event, World No.2 Laura Massaro became the first finalist after overcoming New Zealand’s Joelle King in an imperious display from the Englishwoman.

Preston-based Massaro overcame a strong start from King to record a 12-10, 11-5, 11-4 win, ensuring she will lock horns with either eight-time World Champion Nicol David or home hero Amanda Sobhy, who play tomorrow, in the final.

“I was way down in that first one, and I think it just shows that if you’re not completely focused, then her skills are just too good, so it was about making sure that I was 100 per cent focused on the game plan that I set out before,” said World No.2 Massaro.

“Being able to stick to a game plan is probably one of my biggest strengths and as long as I do that, I’m happy win or lose, so that’s my only focus when I’m on court.”

2016 NetSuite Open, Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco, USA.

PSA M100 Quarter-Final Results (Bottom Half)
[WC] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [6] Simon Rösner (GER) 3-2: 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-2, 12-10 (79m)
[Q] Diego Elias (PER) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 (40m)

Men’s Semi-Final Draw:
To be played on September 30th

[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [4] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
[WC] James Willstrop (ENG) v [Q] Diego Elias (PER)

PSA W50 Women’s Semi-Final Result (Top Half)
[1] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [4] Joelle King (NZL) 3-0: 12-10, 11-5, 11-4 (33m)

2016 NetSuite Open – Women’s Semi-Final Result (Bottom Half):
To be played on September 30th

[3] Amanda Sobhy (USA) v [2] Nicol David (MAS) 

Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)

 

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