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

Delaware Investments U.S. Open 2014
Mon 13th, Day FIVE – Round Two, Top Half

SH_4711Top seeds and defending champions Gregory Gaultier and Nicol David were among today’s winners on the ASB Glass Court at Drexel University as the second round of the U.S. Open got under way with no upsets to report.

It was also “Junior Day” with the SquashSmarts kids enjoying lots of activities throughout the day.

Women’s Round Two:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) d Rachael Grinham (AUS) 11-1, 11-8, 11-3 (28m)
[6] Low Wee Wern (MAS) v Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 11-8, 11-7, 5-11, 11-3 (61m)
[5] Alison Waters (ENG) d Nouran Gohar (EGY) 12-10, 11-8, 1-11, 15-17, 11-2 (62m)
[3] Raneem El Welily (EGY) d Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 (31m)

Men’s Round Two:
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) d Alan Clyne (SCO) 13-11, 11-5, 11-3 (42m)
[6] Simon Rösner (GER) d [Q] Leo Au (HKG) 11-3, 11-7, 11-8 (34m)
Adrian Waller (ENG) d Mazen Hesham (EGY) 11-6, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9 (57m)
[3] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) d Cameron Pilley (AUS) 15-13, 11-9, 11-6 (54m)DRAWS 


Raneem El Welily Shoots Her Way Past Abdel Kawy

14US5981“I’m so glad it wasn’t like last year,” said a relieved Raneem El Welily after becoming the first quarterfinalist with a straight-games win over compatriot Omneya Abdel Kawy.

Back then it had finished 11-9 in the fifth in Raneem’s favor, after a match that saw both players enjoy spells of dominance. This time, however, El Welily was in charge for the majority of the match which, as last year, featured plenty of shotmaking with mainly short rallies.

Kawy took her time to get into the match, and a 5-1 deficit in the first proved too much as Welily took the lead 11-8. Kawy continued her improvement to lead 7-3 and 9-4 in the second, but a run of seven unanswered points from Welily saw her double the lead 11-9.

SH_4717The third seed always had the advantage in the third, often taking the ball in short and then picking off Kawy’s shots as she took the match 11-6.

“It was terrible how the match finished last year,” said Raneem. “That was much better! I’m very happy with how I played. I was moving well—the physio team here are looking after me really well.

“I’ll be supporting Nouran [Gohar] in the next match. We’re from the same club and we’re good friends so I hope she can win.”

Waters Survives Scare From Gohar

El Welily almost got her wish, as Nouran Gohar took fifth seed Alison Waters all the way to the fifth in a match that was in stark contrast to its predecessor.

14US6705Full of hard hitting and long rallies, Waters and Gohar slugged it out for three tough games with both willing and able to put away anything loose on the volley—they each cruised through one game with consummate ease, a strange contrast indeed.

The Englishwoman was always a point or two ahead in the first, but Gohar crept up to earn a game ball at 10-9 before Waters squeezed through 12-10. Waters was on top again in the second, Gohar fighting back from 3-7 down, before Waters took it 11-8.

SH_4729The young Egyptian had built up a bit of momemtum though, with Waters on the defensive at the end of that game, and Gohar raced through the third 11-1 to cut the deficit.

In the fourth it was back to nothing to choose between them, Waters having a slight scoreboard advantage, but Gohar again levelled at 9-all. It took another fourteen points to decide the game though, and most of those points were positively won. Waters would have three match balls, but on Gohar’s fourth game ball Waters made a rare error to send it into a fifth.

14US7140That fifth saw one final swing of momentum as Waters dominated to take it 11-2.

“That was really tough,” she admitted. “For 17 years old her hitting is amazing and endless. I’m glad I managed to beat her now, in a couple of years it’s going to be very difficult!

“I was still feeling pretty good and quite confident despite losing those match balls in the fourth, but I was glad I was able to come back strongly in the fifth. I think she got a bit excited about the prospect of winning.”

Rösner Ends Au’s Rise

Rosner by Line 14US7582Two tough qualifying matches and a great performance in round one finally caught up with Hong Kong’s Leo Au as he ran up against sixth-seeded German Simon Rösner, determined not to endure another marathon himself.

Dominant in the first two games, Rösner was able to push his smaller opponent around the court, picking off errant loose shots that his pressure forced.

SH_4743Au kept battling though, and held his own up to 8-all in the third before Rösner gave it one final push to reach the quarterfinals.

“When you play a tough five-setter like I did against Mathieu [Castagnet], it can be good because it gets you into the tournament, ” explained Rösner, “and after a rest day I felt pretty good on there today

“If I end up playing Greg [Gaultier], I’ve lost to him 100 times so I think it’s about time I got past him!”

When asked if he had any particular plans should he face his French nemesis, Rösner replied “I’m not telling you!”

Waller Waltzes Into Quarterfinals Over Hesham

SH_4747After recording his “best win ever” over Spain’s world No. 7 Borja Golan in his first-round match Saturday, twenty-four-year-old Englishman Adrian Waller will continue what is now his best U.S. Open run in his sixth tournament appearance.

Unlike his difficult five-game opening match, Waller appeared to be on his way to a swift victory against twenty-year-old Egyptian Mazen Hesham, winning the first two games 11-6, 11-4 in just twenty minutes. Hesham, world No. 37 and who also advanced in a five-game first-round match, bounced back in the third with an entertaining string of winners from all areas of the court forcing a fourth game 11-7.

SH_4754Hesham continued to press in the fourth with more winning nicks. At 7-all, Waller mishit two unforced errors handing Hesham a 9-7 lead. From there, Waller took advantage of some loose shots by Hesham moving the Egyptian into all areas of the court—as he had in the first two games—to finish four straight points and seal the match.

“It was pretty powerful for my confidence because of Borja’s ranking, so I came on with the same confidence today,” explained Waller, “but he [Mazen] came back really, really strong and I had to adapt my game a bit and just hung on at the end there really. He gave me a few chances to win it, and luckily I took them one after the other.

Waller admitted the difficulty of playing against Hesham’s unorthodox attacking style: “It not easy. He goes on runs and maybe hits one or two errors, but you’ve just got to weather the good points when you realize he’s playing well. You’ve got to make sure that you make it as hard as possible for someone who can finish rallies like that.”

Low Draws Fernandes’ Sting

Nicolette Fernandes made a great start to her match against sixth seed Low Wee Wern, taking a quick 5-1 lead as the Malaysian struggled to find her game.

Fernandes Yell SH_4763But find her game she did though, slowly starting to impose the patient rallying that she likes. At 3-6 she hit a lucky winner that had Fernandes yelling—in a friendly way…in her opponent’s face—and continued the comeback to take the game 11-8.

Low carried the momentum into the second as she took a 5-0 lead. Fernandes was constantly trying to increase the pace, but with limited success as Low kept control to double her lead, 11-7.

SH_4760Fernandes managed to break out of the shackles in the third, pulling away to a 7-4 lead and forcing some uncharacteristic errors from Low as she pulled a game back 11-5.

From the outset of the fourth, however, it was clear that the Malaysian had, finally, drawn the sting out of Fernandes’ game as she pushed the Guyanese around the court and, time after time, calmly placed a winner with her opponent out of position.

The end came quickly as Low advanced to the quarters 11-2.

“I was really struggling at the start. I just couldn’t see the ball or find any length,” admitted Low. “I was struggling through all the games really. She was playing well and putting a lot of pressure on me.”

David Puts On Dominant Performance Over Grinham

14US9066.jpgNicol David’s title defense is still in tact following a resolute victory over former world No. 1 Rachael Grinham in the thirty-fifth encounter between the two veterans in Women’s Squash Association (WSA) tour play throughout their careers.

The thirty-seven-year-old Australian looked a shadow of the player who dispatched current World Junior Champion Habiba Mohamed Saturday in the first game, in which she conceded eight unanswered points before earning her first, then losing the opener 11-1.

David, who has held the world No. 1 position for a record consecutive ninety-nine months, continued her dominance into the second game, reaching a 10-4 lead, at which point Grinham held off four game balls until David clinched the commanding lead. The thirty-one-year-old Malaysian never looked back, closing out the third game and twenty-eight-minute match 11-3.

David 2 14US9364“I think it’s the Philly Cheesesteak!” David jested when asked about her luck in Philadelphia. “It’s been great. I love coming back to Philly. I have so many great memories after winning two U.S. Opens here. I just love this court and the crowd as well. You can just feel the vibe to the whole event, which just makes you want to play good squash.

“Rachael and I have played so many times, she’s so experienced and tricky, you have to have plans A, B and C ready against her! I knew I had to be totally focused, and I was really pleased with my performance today.”

In a repeat of this summer’s Asian Games individual final, David now faces fellow countrywoman and world No. 5, Low Wee Wern.

“It’s always tough going up against your teammate,” David continued. “It’s great for Malaysia for us both get to the quarterfinals. It’s nice to see Wee move up the rankings as well, so I’m looking forward to a good match, but it’s still the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open so I’m going to put my focus in and get started strong.”

Elshorbagy Squeezes Past Pilley

Elshorbagy 14US9914“He always seems to play his best against me,” said a relieved Mohamed Elshorbagy after he had won a fiercely-contested three-game battle against Cameron Pilley, “it’s really annoying!”

For two and a half games the pair traded blows with fierce, often brutal rallies and fierce hitting, neither able to open up any meaningful gap.

SH_4780Shorbagy led by a point or two more often than not in the first, but it was Pilley who had the first game ball opportunity at 10-9. There was no letup in the intensity as they continued to trade points until, eventually, Shorbagy took the opener 15-13 on a stroke.

Pilley had a slight lead early in the second, but this time it was the Egyptian who came through to earn game ball, again at 10-9—and he jumped on his opportunity to double his lead, 11-9.

From 3-all in the third the first cracks started to show in Pilley’s armor, and Shorbagy was quick to seize the opportunity, pushing in a series of short winners to establish, at last, a comfortable lead. The end came quickly as Shorbagy took it 11-6 on a final Australian error.

SH_4779“Our head to head was 4-all,” said Shorbagy, “so I knew it was going to be tough. The first two could have gone either way. Sometimes I could up the pace and other times he controlled me. It was a great battle, and I’m really pleased to get off in three.

“Now it’s the quarters, and the three of us fighting to become number one. You always say you don’t think about the ranking, but I don’t think this is true. We’ll all be fighting to get to that number one spot and to try to stay there for the rest of your life, if you can”

Gaultier Wakes Up to Advance to Quarterfinals

14US10109In a Twitter contest where participants needed to guess the first game score between Gregory Gaultier and Alan Clyne, with a Gaultier-autographed bag on the line, no one guessed that the Scottish world No. 38 would stretch the French world no. 1 to 13-11 as he did. The Scot piled on the pressure, forcing long rallies and responding to Gaultier with precise placement and acrobatic retrieval of his own. Gaultier pulled away from 11-all to win the game, however, and elevated his game for the rest of the match.

SH_4788Clyne clung on until down 5-7 in the second game, when Gaultier escaped with four straight points to earn a 2-0 advantage. The defending champion then broke out some lethal shot-making in the third to close the match 11-3.

“It was tough today,” Gaultier admitted. “Playing the last match is tough sometimes; you wait the whole day and can fall asleep. He did a great job and put me under so much pressure in the first game, so I really had to wake up and push. After I was 2-0 up, I played a more fluid game and went for my shots. At the beginning I was just passive and then I was controlling the game. I’m happy with winning and did the job I needed to do. I’m happy the day is over.”

SH_4791Gaultier will play German world No. 13 Simon Rösner in the quarterfinals.

“Simon is a great player. He’s been trying to break into the top ten, and he got some chances the past few months but didn’t manage to do it. But he’s going to do it soon I think. It’s going to be a great match, we always have tough game—I’m looking forward to it.”

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