Germany’s Simon Rosner was ecstatic last night after reaching the quarter-finals of the US Open when he upset eighth-seeded Egyptian Tarek Momen in Philadelphia.
“It’s amazing,” exclaimed Rosner after his 11-7, 10-12, 11-2, 11-9 victory in 62 minutes. “It’s always my goal to get to the quarters in big tournaments. It’s an amazing feeling. I love this tournament and I love coming back here.”
In a clinical opening game, world No12 Rosner – ranked just a single place below his opponent – put on a dazzling display of length followed by precise drops to both sides of the court. The 25-year-old from Paderborn followed a backhand boast with a straight volley drive that took him to 9-7.
A poor volley tin carried Rosner (pictured above with Momen) to game ball and an inch-perfect backhand straight volley drop secured the opener.
Momen, who like Rosner was looking to make his first appearance in the US Open last eight, saved two game-balls in the second to draw level.
After a surprising third in which Rosner reclaimed the lead after just four minutes – conceding a mere two points – the fourth was a cat-and-mouse affair with the pair trading point for point. But three unforced errors from Rosner handed Momen the lead at 9-8.
The German slowed down the game, however, with balls tight on the backhand wall followed by straight forehand drops – taking the next three points in spectacular fashion to secure his place in the quarter-finals.
Rosner added: “I felt I had to stay straight with the drop shot. There’s no point in playing to the back if your short game is going so well like mine was today.
“This is only my second World Series tournament to reach the quarters. I’ve been in the quarters twice in the North American Open, so it seems like I play well in America!”
Rosner will now face James Willstrop, the second seed from England who eased to an 11-7, 11-9, 11-4 win over 22-year-old Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad.
“It’s never easy against any of these up and coming players,” said Willstrop, the 30-year-old world No3 from Harrogate. “You just have to try to keep your head, dig in and try to keep winning points.
“It’s such a great event here, the venue is wonderful, it’s a great city to come to, and the Philadelphia crowd is really knowledgeable about their squash.
“For the next round, Simon is another of the gaggle of hungry up and coming players, he’s fast, plays at an intense pace and he’ll be taking the game to me for sure!”
The other quarter-final line-up settled will produce a certain English semi-finalist after third seedNick Matthew takes on England team-mate Peter Barker, the No6 seed.
2007 champion Matthew ended Campbell Grayson‘s run, beating the New Zealand qualifier 11-5, 11-5, 11-6.
“He’s one of those players who can keep going at the same level for two hours,” said former world number one Matthew (pictured above with Grayson). “So I knew I had to get on top from the start and I was pleased with how I did that, but he was still going strong at the end.
“Maybe I let my opponent off the hook a little in the last round, and it became a tough match, so I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again.”
Londoner Barker was involved in a domestic clash with rising London-born Joe Lee – in, surprisingly, their first ever meeting. In the last match of the day, the experienced world No7 Barker had to fight back from a game down to overcome Lee, ranked 27 places lower, 8-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-4 in 66 minutes.
“Joe’s fit and strong, he’s coming up the rankings fast and it takes a long time to wear him down these days,” said Barker later.
“I’m glad everyone stayed to watch, especially after that first game,” he quipped. “It was pretty long and attritional. Joe will be happy with how he played in that one, it’s usually my strength, but I was glad to be able to come back and take the next three.”
2nd round (lower half of draw):
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [Q] Campbell Grayson (NZL) 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 (36m)
 Peter Barker (ENG) bt Joe Lee (ENG) 8-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-4 (66m)
Simon Rosner (GER) bt  Tarek Momen (EGY) 11-7, 10-12, 11-2, 11-9 (62m)
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 11-7, 11-9, 11-4 (35m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) v  Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v  Peter Barker (ENG)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Simon Rosner (GER)
Official website: www.usopensquash.com
US Open images courtesy of Squashpics.com