‘I’m in a groove’ says Willstrop
By NATHAN CLARKE
Former Men’s World No.1 James Willstrop and eight-time Women’s World Champion Nicol David held off an Egyptian charge to come through testing five-game battles in their 2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open second round encounters and secure a place in the quarter-finals of the second PSA World Series tournament of the 2016-17 season.
World No.19 Willstrop, who produced a masterclass performance to eliminate World No.3 Omar Mosaad in the first round, had to call on all his experience to get the better of World No.20 Mohamed Abouelghar in a gruelling 70 minute encounter that saw the 23-year-old playing with fearless attacking intent that unsettled WIllstrop from the off.
But the 33-year-old showed why he’s considered one of the finest squash tacticians around as he managed to counter everything Abouelghar threw at him to keep his tournament hopes in tact.
“That was an hour and a bit of frantic intensity,” said Willstrop. “Hats off to him, he made me work so hard.
“I couldn’t get the ball off his racket in the middle area and he was playing excellent shots across me and that got me on edge. I had to play very, very well to beat him.
“I’m just so pleased to get through. I want to keep on playing – I don’t want to stop. I feel in a bit of a groove so I was so pleased to get through at the end and hopefully I can keep progressing.”
Willstrop will now go up against South African Stephen Coppinger for a place in the semi-finals after the 32-year-old – who’s place at the tournament was cast in doubt due to Hurricane Matthew wreaking havoc in his current home state of Florida – came out on the winning side of a huge 82-minute match with Malaysian qualifier Nafiizwan Adnan.
Adnan secured one of the biggest wins of his career when he took out Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the first round but his run came to an end as Coppinger powered through a series of dramatic exchanges in the fifth to secure his place in the last eight of a PSA World Series tournament for the first time since 2013.
“I’m lucky to be here in the first place, let alone be competing in a second match so I’m thrilled to get the win,” said Coppinger.
“I have plenty to work on squash wise but I’m in there and that’s what counts at this point. He’s ranked below me and on paper I should have won easier – but what it says on paper and reality is different, so I’m just very pleased to win.”
The winner of their encounter will face either World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy or his younger brother Marwan, the World No.7, after they came through their second round fixtures to set up a last eight head-to-head.
Marwan is eyeing a sixth PSA Tour match up against his older brother after a round of 16 victory over Peruvian qualifier Diego Elias. The younger Elshorbagy, world No. 7, has never defeated his older brother in their five previous encounters. It will be the first time that their mother will watch the match in person. Mohamed had to draw on all his big-match knowledge and experience to see off the challenge of England’s Chris Simpson.
In the Women’s draw three-time U.S. Open champion Nicol David came back from the brink to keep her campaign alive and defeat 2015 runner-up Nour El Tayeb.
David was caught flat footed in the first two games as El Tayeb dictated the play, hitting winners for fun, with David looking powerless to resist the charge but the experienced star – who has won a total of 80 PSA Tour titles – managed to turn the match around in the third and launch a comeback that was completed after 53 minutes when she sealed the win 4-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7.
“I wasn’t firing in the first game and a half and she made it very hard for me,” said David.
“I knew I had to fight all the way. I trained really hard over the summer during the off season and I wasn’t going to go down without a fight – I pushed to the limit and I’m really pleased to win that 3-2.
“I didn’t let up. I knew I wanted to keep going until the very end and that’s what I did.”
David will now take on former World No.1 Raneem El Welily in the quarter-finals, after she saw off the challenge of New Zealand’s Joelle King, while current World No.1 incumbent Nour El Sherbini will take on Alison Waters after the Englishwoman edged Egyptian qualifier Salma Hany Ibrahim.
Waters required 63 minutes, and a fifth game tiebreak, to get the better of the talented youngster, securing the win at the second time of asking to come through 12-14, 11-1, 7-11, 11-4, 14-12.
“It was a tough game and it was hard to get into a rhythm,” said Waters. “One game she was chopping it in and the next I was in front, so it was a case of trusting yourself.
“I just tried to keep hitting my targets and push until the end and luckily it was my day. I enjoyed it and was happy that it went the right way for me.”
Second round action from the bottom half of the draw gets under way from 12 noon local time at Drexel University’s Daskalakis Athletic Centre on Tuesday October 11, with tickets for the PSA World Series tournament available to purchase by visiting www.usopensquash.com
2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open, Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA.
PSA M150 Men’s Second Round – Top Half:
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-1: 10-12, 11-9, 12-10, 11-5 (64m)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Diego Elias (PER) 3-1: 3-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 (48m)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt [Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 3-2: 11-7, 5-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-9 (82m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-2: 9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 5-11, 11-7 (70m)
Second Round, Bottom Half (to be played October 11).
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Simon Rösner (GER)
Fares Dessouky (EGY) v Ali Farag (EGY)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Max Lee (HKG)
[Q] Paul Coll (NZL) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
PSA W 150 Women’s Second Round – Top Half:
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-1: 11-5, 11-4, 8-11, 11-6 (38m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt [Q] Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) 3-2: 12-14, 11-1, 7-11, 11-4, 14-12 (63m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Joelle King (NZL) 3-1: 1-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 (50m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 3-2: 4-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7 (53m)
Women’s Second Round, Bottom Half (to be played October 11).
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v  Emily Whitlock (ENG)
Donna Urquhart (AUS) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) v  Laura Massaro (ENG)
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)