Day SEVEN – Quarters part one


Willstrop joins three Egyptians in the semis

On the first day of quarter-finals play at Drexel, James Willstrop maintained his impressive run of U’S. Open results to reach his sixth semi-final in his lat six appearances, while top seed Mohamed Elshorbagy beat younger brother Marwan to set up a meeting with Willstrop.

There were two Egyptian winners in the women’s draw, top seed Nour El Sherbini easing past Alison Waters while Raneem El Welily overcame three-time champion Nicol David in a classic hour-long encounter.

[1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-0 [8] Alison Waters (Eng)                       11/7, 11/2, 11/6 (26m)
[5] Raneem El Welily (Egy) 3-1  [3] Nicol David (Mas)                         8/11, 11/8, 12/10, 11/9 (58m)

James Willstrop
(Eng) 3-1 Steve Coppinger (Rsa)                                 11/9, 5/11, 11/8, 11/3 (62m)
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy) 3-0 [6] Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy)     11/7, 11/5, 12/10 (50m)



Willstrop through to sixth semi

Former world No. 1 James Willstrop augmented his record of reaching the U.S. Open semifinals or better in his last five tournament appearances, ensuring a sixth semifinal with a four-game quarterfinal victory over South Africa’s Stephen Coppinger.

sp_22376Willstrop started on the front foot, overcoming a 9-7 deficit to win the first game 11-9. The world No. 24 from Cape Town pulled away from 7-5 up in the second to roll off four points and level the score at one all. Willstrop regained the advantage in a close third, pulling away from 7-all to win 11-8. The fourth was all Willstrop as he strung together five consecutive points to close out the fifty-eight-minute match 11-3.

“It’s such a pleasure, just really pleased to be out here at the U.S. Open in the semifinals,” the thirty-three-year-old said of his eighth tournament appearance. “It’s a great atmosphere to play in and I’m sure it will continue to get better. Just a great result against Steve to be honest.”

sp_22387After eliminating 2015 finalist Omar Mosaad in the first round and Mohamed Abouelghar in the round of sixteen, Willstrop will face another Egyptian in the semis in the form of either Mohamed or Marwan Elshorbagy.

“All of these players are so different and has their own ways. I played well against Omar, then it was completely different two days later against Mohamed, and it was completely different again today. Steve puts so much pace and pressure on you. He wants to cut off and make me work and volley.

sp_22388“He’s volleying every shot. So the stuff I like to play down the backhand is negated a little bit really.

“He was on to every shot that I played, and I had to think of ways to switch him and move him. I had to really think clearly what I was doing on there, otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten into the spaces.

“Thrilled to turn it around because at one-all it was a real battle and it was tough.”


Sherbini sails into semis

The first women’s match saw top seed Nour El Sherbini beat Alison Waters in straight games to reach the semi-finals for the second time in three years.

sp_22381Always ahead in the first game, Sherbini saw her lead diminish before taking the lead 11/7, but there was no let up in the second as she again dominated for a quick 11/2, Waters dropkicking her racket at the end to earn a reproach from the referee.

sp_22385The Egyptian continued to press in the third, and although Waters kept parity for the early part with a number of tough rallies, after a couple of errors and a stumble in the middle of the court Sherbini again powered ahead, closing out the match with Waters this time kicking the ball away.

sp_22396“Alison was playing well the whole tournament, so I wanted to be focused from the start and I wanted to finish it as fast as I can,” said Sherbini.

“There were a lot of unbelievable rallies and I’m glad most of them ended on my side. I’m really happy to win it in three.”

“The U.S. Open one of the biggest tournaments on tour and one of the best events in the world. It would mean the world to me to win it. I’m going to fight until the end.”


Raneem wins a thriller

The second women’s quarter-final was a real pearl of a match, one that would have graced any final as Raneem El Welily and Nicol David held the large Drexel crowd in the palm of their rackets for an hour of engrossing squash.

sp_22405All four games were close at the mid-point, but it was David, three times the winner here at Drexel, who started and finished the first better, leading 6-2 then pulling away from 8-all to take the lead 11-8. Welily opened up lead of 6-4 in the second, then from 7-8 down took four points in a row to level 8-all.

sp_22389In the third David stayed just ahead, reaching 10-7, but Welily, looking and playing as determined as she ever has, took five points in a row to take the lead.

The fourth was more of the same – quality rallies, determined defending and skilled attacking from both players, 3-all, 4-all, 5-all, Welily edged ahead 8-5 then 10-8. David saved one match ball but Welily dragged her out of position on the next, and was through to her third semi in five years at Drexel.

sp_22391“I’m so so happy to win, that was such a tough match,” said a relieved and delighted Welily. “She was playing so well and controlling things, I felt I was always behind and having to dig in. I’m so glad I won that fourth, I don’t think I could have played a fifth!

“I don’t know how I turned it around – the support from all my friends and the Harrow team in the crowd definitely helped – I’m just so happy to be in the semis.”



Mohamed through in three

sp_22398In the final match of the night top seed Mohamed Elshorbagy maintained his run of wins over younger brother Marwan with a three-game win that was anything but comfortable.

The only two seeds left in the top half of the draw even at the second round stage, they played out three tough games, but it was Mohamed who had the little bit extra needed at the end of all three.

Marwan almost extended the match as he saved three game balls from 7-10 – on the last of which Mohamed thought he had a stroke but the video ref made it a let – but finally succumbed to a no let – which he didn’t refer – on Mohamed’s fourth match ball.

sp_22404“To be able to finish in three  today is lucky, because mentally it’s tough for us on there,” said Mohamed.

“I have such great memories of playing here at the U.S. Open, it’s where I got to the number one ranking for the first time and today was the first time this season that I felt like I was moving and playing well.

“It should be a good match against James in the next round.”