Day FOUR—Round One, Bottom

TODAY at the U.S. Open 2014 – Daily Reports

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Sixteen more matches at Drexel University as the first round concluded with the bottom half of the draws.

Home interest ended as wildcards Sabrina Sobhy and Chris Gordon were both beaten, while former champions Nick Matthew, Amr Shabana and Laura Massaro all eased through to the last sixteen.

There were significant upsets for Egypt’s Fares Dessouki and Yathreb Adel,Switzerland’s Nicolas Meuller came through the longest match of the day at 95 minutes, and Tesni Evans’ comeback spelt the end of the road for WSA President Kasey Brown’s 12-year WSA career.

Delaware Investments U.S. Open 2014
Sat 12th, Day FOUR—Round One, Bottom Half

ASB Glass Court:[8] Annie Au (HKG) d [Q] Victoria Lust (ENG) 11-4, 11-8, 11-8 (33m)
[4] Camille Serme (FRA) d [WC] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 11-6, 11-4, 13-11 (32m)
Fares Dessouki (EGY) d [8] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 11-8, 4-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-7 (88m)
[7] Omar Mosaad (EGY) d [WC] Christopher Gordon (USA) 12-10, 11-7, 11-4 (35m)

Tesni Evans (WAL) d [13] Kasey Brown (AUS) 7-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 (76m)
[2] Laura Massaro (ENG) d [Q] Siyoli Waters (RSA) 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (29m)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) d [Q] Eddie Charlton (ENG) 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 (40m)
[4] Amr Shabana (EGY) d [Q] Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 (36m)

Drexel Kline & Specter Courts:

Max Lee (HKG) d Joe Lee (ENG) 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 (40m)
Chris Simpson (ENG) d [Q] Shaun le Roux (RSA) 11-3, 11-2, 11-5 (30m)
[Q] Yathreb Adel (EGY) d [14] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7 (49m)
[7] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) d Emma Beddoes (ENG) 11-4, 6-11, 11-1, 11-8 (42m)

Nicolas Mueller (SUI) d Steve Coppinger (RSA) 6-11, 11-4, 11-13, 11-7, 11-9 (95m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) D Alister Walker (BOT) 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 (58M)
[15] Sarah Kippax (ENG) v Line Hansen (DEN) d 11-5, 11-9, 5-11, 12-14, 11-8 (58m)
[11] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) d Heba El Torky (EGY) 11-2, 11-5, 11-6 (26m)DRAWS 

Serme Ends Home Interest in Women’s Draw

The first two matches on the Glass Court saw Annie Au and Camille Serme justify their seedings to progress in straight games.

Au v Lust Line 14US1561Au. the eighth seed from Hong Kong, utilized her lob and drop game to good effect on the cool court, with Victoria Lust struggling to get a foothold in the match. “You just can’t get anty rallies going against her,” said Lust, who only threatened towards the end of the third game, after the match.

“I’ve been watching my brother play for three days, so I was eager to get on court myself,” said Au. “The court was a little dead, which suited me and my lobs were working well, but I play lobs and drops on any court!”

Serme by Cubbins SH_4618Serme (left) was facing wildcard Sabrina Sobhy, the current U.S. Champion. Sobhy too strruggled to make an impression in the first two games, losing them 11-6, 11-4, but made a better start to the third,leading 3-0 and 5-3 before Serme fought back to lead 6-5 and 9-7.

A pair of unforced French errors gave Sobhy game ball at 10-9, but at the end of the longest rally of the match she was left stranded as Serme put in a drop shot. The American had one more chance at 11-10 but Serme continued to profit from her short game as she finished it off 13-11.

“She played well and kept the pace up,” admitted the Frenchwoman. “I’d never played her before so I didn’t know what to expect. I had to work hard to match her pace. I didn’t want to play another game so I was pleased to be able to finish it in three.

“There’s a good bunch of French players now, especially the guys, and we all support each other. We’re just waiting for some of the girls to come through.”

It Was Lee Versus Lee With Max Coming Out On Top

Max Lee by Line 14US1826Training partners and namesakes Max and Joe Lee opened proceedings on Drexel’s Kline & Specter courts. It was the Lee from Hong Kong (Max) who came out on top in three games playing clean, efficient squash, which produced too many errors from Joe.

“Actually I prepared for a week because I arrived early,” said Max. “Joe is one of my friends and we trained a long time when I was living in London, so we know each other really well. Today, I just tried to stay steady and working hard because if I can’t do that, then I can’t beat him.”

Unless a major upset is on the books, Lee will face Amr Shabana on the ASB GlassCourt.

“Against Shabana? No mistakes and then run.”

Chris Simpson Puts On a Clinic Over Le Roux

simpson 3A clinical performance, which Chris Simpson later called some of his “best squash”, allowed his South African opponent to score only ten points the entire match. The Englishman’s ruthless play never let Le Roux in the match, and rightly booked his place on the glass court where he will likely face Nick Matthew.

“Shaun and I live very close to each other and we train a lot together, so I know exactly what he’s capable of. I knew that if I let it become a match he can be a really tough competitor. I’m very happy with how I played, and I managed to assert my authority really well.

“The glass court is very severe, if you hit a bad shot, you’re going to get punished for it. I thought actually this court was quite severe as well, for a traditional court, so it’s good playing on this one before the glass court. That’s what I look forward to doing playing Nick Matthew in venues like this, so I’m really looking forward to the match.”

Mosaad Marches Past Gordon

SH_4644.jpgThe first pair of men’s matches on the showcourt ended with two Egyptian winners as Fares Dessouki came from 1-2 down to upset Saurav Ghosal, and Omar Mosaad ended home interest with a straight-games win over wildcard Chris Gordon.

Gordon, who famously beat another Egyptian Hisham Ashour here a two years ago, held his own in the first, albeit aided by four errors in a row from Mosaad when he led 10-6. Two Gordon errors gave the game to Mosaad 12-10, and the Egyptian quickly opened up a winning lead in the second, Gordon’s comeback too late as Mosaad took it 11-7. Mosaad was in control in the third, finishing it 11-4 to end home interest in both draws.

“I tried to play my game, but sometimes you don’t do everything right, so I’m glad to be able to win that one three-nil,” said Mosaad. “I’m pushing hard to get back into the top ten so I’m hoping to do well in this great event.

SH_4635.jpgDessouki is another of the young Egyptian band on the rise, and he took the first game against eighth seeded Ghosal 11-8. The speedy Indian struck back 11-4, 11-5 to lead, and had a match ball at the end of a third game that got bogged down with numerous lets.

Dessouki took three points in a row to force a decider and another seven in a row from 5-7 down to seal another fine win for the 20-year-old riser.

“Saurav is so fast and dangerous, I had to play all the squash I had and stay 100% focussed on there,” said a delighted winner. “When I was down, Omar [Elborolossy] told me to stick the ball to the wall, be more accurate and more patient. I’m happy I was able to do that and I’m delighted with this win.”

Contentious Win for Adel Over Perry

Adel by Line 14US2578Seventeen-year-old Egyptian Yathreb Adel emerged unscathed from a physical match against higher-ranked Sarah-Jane Perry in an encounter that was not short of lets and contentious calls. Adel held the advantage after two games, frustrating Perry with her movement and shot selection, while Perry vocally expressed her discontent with her play, the refs, and opponent. Perry seemed to recover in the third with an 11-9 win, but young Adel regained control to close out the match in four.

“It was such a battle for me. It’s the first time I played the U.S. Open and playing in the main draw. I was really looking forward to the match and was trying to keep focused as much as I can and not trying to get involved in what’s happening on court, so I’m glad I did it!”

Sherbini Avenges British Open Loss to Beddoes

Abdel KawyFour-time World Junior Champion Nour El Sherbini completed her “revenge match” against England’s Emma Beddoes, who defeated the eighteen-year-old Egyptian in their last meeting during the British Open. Beddoes didn’t go down without a fight, however, claiming the second game after losing the first.

It soon became apparent that Beddoes was struggling physically in the second game as El Sherbini cruised 11-1 with her opponent milking the time between every point. The English world No. 20 presented a stronger challenge in the fourth, but fell short 11-8.

“Actually for me it was a revenge match because my last match against her I lost in the British Open,” reiterated El Sherbini. “So when I saw the draw I knew I needed to win this match. I kept the plan and I’m happy to be through.

“My Egyptian teammates mean to me everything when I see them sitting outside. Without them I’m never going to win any match so thank you everyone for being here!”

Mueller Outlasts Coppinger in Ninety-Five Minutes

mueller v copps 2 smSwitzerland’s Nicolas Mueller, world No. 21—the highest ranked Swiss player of all-time—fended off South Africa’s Stephen Coppinger in five games, which lasted over ninety minutes. Both players were soaked in sweat—asking often for court cleanups—as they chased the ball around all corners of the court. While both ran hard, Coppinger nearly ripped the heel of his shoe clean off, taking the two minutes to change gear. Mueller was coached by longtime opponent, Simon Rösner, world No. 13, in-between each game.

Mueller said, after his epic win, “Steve was a true warrior out there and I really had to dig deep, especially in the third game, it was very crucial.”

Mueller will face Egypt’s Omar Mosaad, seventh seed in the U.S. Open and world No. 11, on the ASB GlassCourt on Tuesday.

Evans Comeback Ends Brown’s Career

SH_4657Having announced that she would retire from the WSA tour at the end of this tournament, WSA President Kasey Brown might have been looking forward to another match or two when she lead Tesni Evans (right) by two games 11-7, 12-10.

But the Welshman is a tenacious warrior, and probably felt herself a little unlucky to be two-nil down having had a game ball in the second to level the match.

Sure enough, Evans kept plugging away, keeping Brown working hard, and pulling away from the middle of the third and fourth game to level the match 11-8, 11-6. She did the same in the fifth too, pulling away from 4-all this time, and raising a fist in the direction of the small Welsh contingent in the crowd as she took the decider 11-7.

“I knew it would be tough; we had a 3-2 last time we played,” said Evans, “so at two-nil down I had to believe I could still win, but it’s always good to win close matches like that.”

The retiring Kasey Brown takes a moment with her longtime coach, Rodney Martin.

The retiring Kasey Brown takes a moment with her longtime coach, Rodney Martin.

As Brown came off court for the last time she said: “It’s been a great twelve years on the tour, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. It’s probably a good time to get out now, with all these young kids coming through!”

SH_4663Evans was joined in round two by world champion and second seed Laura Massaro (right), who proved too strong for qualifier Siyoli Waters.The South African competed well enough, but Massaro took control early in each game and never looked like relinquishing that control.

“I love it here,” declared the 2011 champion, “and this new court looks and plays great, it’s a great way to showcase the women’s game. US Squash has worked hard to get parity for this event and hopefully others will follow suit.

“Last year’s semi and final were pretty brutal. I hope I can go one better this year.”

Gawad In Three Over Walker

14US4888Egyptian world No. 18 Karim Abdel Gawad (left) recovered from a game down to defeat Botswanan Alister Walker, who is ranked just two places higher. Gawad held a three point lead in the first game before conceding six straight points, and wouldn’t lead by more than two points for the rest of the match until he pulled away in the fourth game of the fifty-eight minute affair.

“Alister’s one of the most experienced players on the tour,” said Gawad. “I played him in one of the first tournaments of my life when I was eighteen maybe, and he beat me 3-0. So I’m really happy to win today, it was a very tough first round. I’m really glad I’m into the second.

“Fares is one of my best friends on tour so it’s really nice to play him in the second round. It will be a nice match.”

Matthew and Shabana round off round one

The day—and the round—concluded with two comfortable wins for former U.S. Open champions Nick Matthew and Amr Shabana, both beating compatriots in straight games.

14US5196Matthew applies relentless pressure to his opponents, as Eddie Charlton knows only too well, being a regular training partner of England’s reigning world champion. He tried his utmost to break out of the shackles, but Matthew was in no mood for an extended match, taking control early in each game and rounding off the win 11-3, 11-5, 11-5.

“Eddie and I know each other’s games very well, but he had a couple of brutal matches in qualifying, which isn’t the preparation you need,” said Matthew. “It feels like forever since I played a PSA match. I’d almost forgotten how much I enjoy it here. I felt sharp, so hopefully I can go further.”

Asked about his Commonwealth Games success, Matthew explained: “I worked harder getting ready for that than I’ve ever done in my life, so to win it was massive. It may not mean that much to some of the fans here, but to us the Commonwealth Games are like your World Series and Super Bowl rolled into one!”

SH_4677Shabana, who beat Matthew in the 2011 final here at Drexel, took on fellow Egyptian Ali Anwar Reda, who just moved to Philadelphia as coach at the Merion Cricket Club. Encouraged by his new pupils, Reda stayed with Shabana up to the midway point of each game, but Shabana pulled away from 5-all in each game to win 11-6, 11-7, 11-5.

“We’ve been training together for the last ten years,” said Shabana, “so there are no surprises, no new game plans. I felt I played a bit tighter and got a couple of crucial points at the end of the games. I’m quite happy with how that worked out.

“Last week in San Francisco was my first tournament for a while, so it was good to get to the semis and get back into it. My body feels good. I’ll take adantage of the rest day and come back ready for the last sixteen.”

Kippax Snuffs Comeback Bid

14US5413Sarah Kippax extinguished a two game comeback by Line Hansen, including squandering one match ball in the fourth game. Hansen lost an 8-4 lead in the second game, but quickly replied by winning the third game 11-5. Kippax held match ball in the fourth game up 12-11, but the Danish world No. 25 won three straight points to force a fifth game. Kippax held the lead throughout the fifth and sealed the game and match 11-8.

“Obviously Line’s a big fighter, and it’s always tough to come back when you’re two love down,” said a relieved Kippax afterwards. “She always has the capability of doing that. It’s quite edgy when you get to that stage, when you’ve been 2-0 up and it’s two all, so I had to just stay calm and stick to my tactics.

“It’s really exciting; it’s a big occasion, a massive tournament at the U.S. Open. With it being equal prize money, it’s particularly special—and on the glass court, I’m really looking forward to it.”

Duncalf Destroys El Torky

14US5826English veteran Jenny Duncalf made quick work of Egyptian twenty-three-year-old Heba El Torky in the final match of the day on Drexel’s Kline & Specter courts. Duncalf, world No. 16, only needed twenty-six minutes to defeat El Torky, world No. 29, in three games.

“I felt pretty relaxed,” Duncalf said. “I waited around for quite a while, not just today, but since my last match in a tournament so it was nice to be on court and I enjoyed it.”

TODAY at the U.S. Open 2014 – Daily Reports