Men’s qualifying draw: intriguing, unfortunate, exciting

The qualifying draw for the 2012 Delaware Investments U.S. Open, to be played out over four Philadelphia locations on October 4 and 5, has thrown up some intriguing, some unfortunate, and some downright exciting matchups that are sure to kick off the PSA $115,000 World Series event in style.

Miguel Rodriguez from Columbia

Drexel University, which will be hosting all the main draw U.S. Open matches from Saturday, gets a wonderful selection as local Philadelphian (British ex-pat) pre-qualifiers Jamie Macaulay and Joe Russell take on New Zealand #1 one and Indian #2 Siddarth Suchde respectively.

Those matches are followed by the undoubtebly gripping match of the day as Drexel’s own head coach John White, the hard-hitting former world number one, meets Colombia’s in-form and athletic Miguel Angel Rodriguez. One of the fastest players around, with a host of unconventional shots and an entertaining propensity to dive for the ball, sometimes several times in a rally, Rodriguez like White is a crowd favourite wherever he plays.  The match is sure to draw some enthusiastic spectators.

USA’s Graham Bassett

South African Steve Coppinger and Englishman Adrian Waller will have a hard act to follow to round off the action at Drexel, but they’ll certainly be up for it.

Fans at the historic Racquet Club of Philadelphia will also get to see two locals in action, as USA’s Chris Hansen and Graham Bassett meet stylish young Frenchman Greg Marche and Hong Kong’s Max Lee. Preceding that Canadian #1 Shahier Razik meets Pakistani Yasir Butt and an all-Aussie clash finished off the evening as Zac Alexander – who qualified from the same venue with two hour-long wins last year – meets compatriot Matthew Karwalski.

First up at Merion Cricket Club is another ex-pat Englishman, the club’s head coach Alex Stait, who faces another Aussie in Ryan Cuskelly. After a potentially long meeting between Karim Abdel Gawad and Campbell Grayson the home crowd then gets to cheer on the USA’s Todd Harrity against all-action Scot Alan Clyne, finishing off ith a potentially explosive match between Canada’s Shawn Delierre and Egyptian Omar Abdel Aziz.

USA’s Todd Harrity

Matches at Germantown Cricket Club start with two rather unfortunate ‘local derbies’, Englishmen Chris Simpson and Joe Lee, followed by home stars Julian Illingworth and Dylan Murray.

Julian Illingworth is current USA number one star, world ranked #28 and playing on the professional circuit.  He will take on Dylan Murray, the up-and-coming youngster of the USA, current junior national champion and future star.  The game is sure to be a good one, and it’s unfortunate that the match up means that only one of these national squash champions will continue through the event.

Both should be good matches, and two more follow with world junior champion Marwan El Shorbagy facing Mexico’s tenacious Cesar Salazar – world ranking 26 v 52 but don’t let that fool you into thinking it will be quick – and Aamir Atlas Kan versus Henrik Mustonen, speedy Pakistani against fast-improving Finn.

So there you have it – one of the most interesting qualifying draws, ever, but you can only be in one place at a time. All we can say is you won’t be disappointed if you can get to any of the venues, or of course you follow it all here …

As they say in Philly, stay tuned …

To view the full qualifying draw, click here.

USA’s junior champ, Dylan Murray

04-Oct, Qualifying Round One

17.00 Martin Knight (Nzl) v Jamie Macaulay (Sco)
18.00 Siddharth Suchde (Ind) v Joe Russell (Eng)
19.00 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col) v John White (Sco)
20.00 Steve Coppinger (Rsa) v Adrian Waller (Eng)

17.00 Shahier Razik (Can) v Yasir Butt (Pak)
18.00 Gregoire Marche (Fra) v Christopher Hanson (Usa)
19.00 Max Lee (Hkg) v Graham Bassett (Usa)
20.00 Zac Alexander (Aus) v Matthew Karwalski (Aus)

17.00 Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) v Alex Stait (Eng)
18.00 Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) v Campbell Grayson (Nzl)
19.00 Alan Clyne (Sco) v Todd Harrity (Usa)
20.00 Shawn Delierre (Can) v Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy)

17.00 Chris Simpson (Eng) v Joe Lee (Eng)
18.00 Julian Illingworth (Usa) v Dylan Murray (Usa)
19.00 Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy) v Cesar Salazar (Mex)
20.00 Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak) v Henrik Mustonen (Fin)