Another dramatic day at Drexel, with more upset results as Nour El Tayeb, Laura Massaro, Gregory Gaultier and Omar Mosaad reach the finals – Gaultier beating the top seed and defending champion, Mosaad reaching his first World Series final with a first-ever win over Nick Matthew.
 Laura Massaro (ENG) d  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 12-10, 11-7, 11-9 (35m) Gregory Gaultier (FRA) d  Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) 10-12, 11-3, 5-11, 11-4, 11-4 (76m)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) d  Nick Matthew (ENG) 11-9, 2-11, 11-5, 11-7 (65m)
Greg breaks the spell, it’s a first for Mosaad
When MC Gilly Lane introduced the players for the first men’s semifinal he told the crowd that Gregory Gaultier lead his head-to-head series with Mohamed Elshorbagy 9 to 5. What he failed to mention was that the Egyptian World No.1 and defending champion had won the last five.
Elshorbagy made the better start and stayed ahead for the most part of a 21-minute first game. Gaultier pulled level at 8-all and then 10-all, but the top seed took it 12-10 on a French error.
When Gaultier plays well, few if any can live with him, and the Frenchman played well for three of the next four games. The second was over in a flash 11-3, and it was sheer determination from Shorbagy that saw him recover from an early deficit in the third to retake lead 11-5.
But it was all Gaultier from then, as he maneuvered his opponent around the court, fired in sharp winners when anything loose came his way, and almost sprinted to get the ball between points to keep the pace high.
“He beat me a few times in a row, so my turn tonight,” said a delighted Gaultier. “The last two matches were very close, my team and I analyzed what we needed to do and it worked quite well tonight.
“I won this twice and lost in a final, I like it here and I seem to play well. I’m still pretty fresh so I hope to play well in the final.”
It was a night of major firsts for Egypt’s world No. 7 Omar Mosaad. Playing in his first world series semifinal, the twenty-seven-year-old defeated world No. 2 Nick Matthew for the first time—shattering an 0-11 career record against the Englishman—to reach his first world series final.
As anticipated, the first game was neck and neck with prolonged rallies going either way until late in the game. Down 8-9, Mosaad pulled off a backhand volley nick that caused Matthew to slip and fall flat on the tee. Mosaad then broke through to 10-9 with his ball dying in the backcourt after yet another powerful rally. A stroke then clinched a close first game 11-9.
Matthew regrouped and entered the court firing on all cylinders in the second, stretching his opponent on the court and the score to 11-3. The pendulum shifted in favor of Mosaad, who just as drastically changed his fortunes in the third game earning a 9-2 lead at one point, and closing out the game 11-5.
The fourth saw both players level at 3-3, but as the game progressed Mosaad manipulated Matthew around the court and chose the right opportunities to kill the rallies or force errors from Matthew. Matthew fought off three match balls down 10-4, but Mosaad managed to finish the match 11-5.
“Wow, It feels amazing,” Mosaad said afterwards. “I’m really happy. It’s the first time in my life to reach the final of a world series. It’s the first time in my life to beat nick Matthew. So it’s come to it tonight. Of course, I tried so hard to push, especially in the third game. He played very well to win the second game. For him, it was really important. The third game was then the most important so I was lucky to win that and the match.”
“Actually I tried to be like Amr Shabana this night,” Mosaad admitted. “Thanks to him for being here and thanks to all of my coaches. They did a good job and they’re the perfect team for me. I’m really happy to win today. I’ve had two really difficult matches two days in a row so I need to get a massage and relax for a bit. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Tayeb makes the final, Massaro’s back
There was nothing to choose between them in the first two games, Serme taking the final two points from 9-all in the first, Tayeb seeing a 9-5 lead disappear before doing the same in the second.
It was a different story in the next two games though, with the Egyptian in control throughout, looking unhurried and unflustered as Serme found the pace a little high and found the tin too many times for her own good.
“It feels so great to be playing for the title,” she said.
“I really didn’t expect it. Today I haven’t been in the routine I usually have when I’m playing well, and my shoulder is still painful. The physio told me that playing wouldn’t make it worse, and once we started and I got warmed up I didn’t notice it.
“When Camille and played an exhibition last week we were asked if we would be playing here and we said 90% we wouldn’t be! And in the British Open my parents had to leave before my quarterfinal match and didn’t see it, but I know they were watching on TV tonight so I’m glad they could see me win!”
The last person whose name appears on the U.S. Open women’s trophy that is not Nicol David, England’s Laura Massaro, earned a chance to once again have her name inscribed on the coveted silverwear after defeating Egypt’s Omneya Abdel Kawy in a three-game semifinal.
The world No. 3 enjoyed a fortuitous end to the first game to take an early advantage. Kawy’s short game was in good form and propelled the shot-maker to a 10-7 lead. A string of Massaro winners, Kawy tins, and ultimately a stroke saw Massaro fight off three game balls to take the first 12-10. The thirty-one-year-old from Preston maintained her lead throughout the second game, working her opponent into all areas of the court, and frustrating Kawy’s attacking strategy to win 11-7.
Kawy stayed within reach of Massaro throughout the third game, shooting some impressive short winners along the way, but Massaro earned match ball at 10-8 with a nick of her own. Massaro appeared to win the match on a stroke, but a Kawy video review saw the call overruled as a yes let. Kawy then earned another point through a second video review overturning a yes let call to stroke, making it 10-9 Massaro. With the ball setting up for Massaro on the tee in the ensuing rally, Massaro dropped to the corner well out of Kawy’s reach to clinch the match in thirty-five minutes.
“Omneya is such a tough opponent and I think she’s way ahead of me on the head to head,” Massaro said. “So I think with having such a tough match last night against Nicol and having to turn around fairly quickly, I felt like all of the pressure was off me and I just felt relaxed all day. I’m really happy to be in the final. I played well there so I’m really happy.”
“I’ve watched her play while I was warming up and she was playing great,” Massaro said of her final opponent. “It’s a major final but I don’t think we’ll be feeling the pressure tomorrow. I’m really excited. It’s brilliant to be in a major final again. I’m just really enjoying my squash.“
Semifinals quick preview
Tonight’s semifinals feature just three nationalities—four Egyptians, two English and two French players.
The first semifinal is between Camille Serme, 26, and Nour El Tayeb, 22, who have played seven times before with the Frenchwoman leading 4-3—but neither has won two in a row and, if that trend continues, it’s Tayeb’s turn tonight! Their last two meetings were both in round one of the British Open in 2013 and 2014. This is Serme’s second successive U.S. Open semi; for Tayeb it’s her furthest venture yet.
Next is 2011 U.S. Open champion Laura Massaro, 31, against Omneya Abdel Kawy, 30. Despite Massaro’s higher ranking and tally of major victories, it’s Kawy who holds an 11-3 advantage in their meetings, starting with victory in the world juniors in 1999 and most recently the Carol Weymuller of 2014. Here again, though, victory in the last five matches has alternated. For Massaro this is her fifth successive U.S. Open semi; for Kawy it’s her first since the 2005 event.
The first men’s semifinal pitches defending champion and World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy, 24, against Gregory Gaultier, the 32-year-old champion here in 2013 and 2006. This will be their 15th meeting, all in PSA events and, while the Frenchman won the first nine between 2009 and March 2014, Elshorbagy has triumphed in each of the last five, including last year’s semifinal here and two meetings this year, both ending 3-2 after over 90 minutes of play. After reaching the quarters in his first four U.S. Opens, this will be Elshorbagy’s second semifinal. Gaultier will be appearing in the last four for the fourth time in a row.
The evening will be rounded off by Nick Matthew against Omar Mosaad. The 35-year-old Englishman holds an 11-0 advantage in the head to head, although the last two meetings, both this year, have finished 3-1 in excess of 80 minutes in duration. Mosaad, 27, will be playing in his second U.S. Open semi, but a first-ever appearance in the last four of a World Series event. Matthew was champion here in 2007 and this will be his fifth successive U.S. Open semifinal.