FRI 9th OCT – Qualifying Finals


The second day of play in the 2015 Delaware Investments U.S Open saw eight places in each of the men’s and women’s main claimed in matches played at five clubs around Philadelphia.

SH0140In the men’s draw Ali Farag, Greg Lobban and Diego Elias progressed against the seedings – Egypt’s Farag ending the hopes of Drexel head coach John White, Lobban upsetting Hong Kong’s Leo Au, and world junior champion Elias coming from two games down to deny third-seeded Frenchman Gregoire Marche.

There was home success in the women’s draw as Olivia Blatchford survived a tough encounter with Maria Toorpakay, while New Zealand’s Joelle King produced the only upset as she beat top seeded Dane Line Hansen in straight games.

Reports from the clubs below the results, and check out the updated main draws.

Qualifying Finals by Venue, October 09:

[2] Yathreb Adel (EGY) d [12] Coline Aumard (FRA) 11-9, 11-3, 11-4 (29m)
[5] Donna Urquhart (AUS) d Thaisa Serafini (BRA) 12-10, 11-5, 11-5 (27m)[8] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) d Campbell Grayson (NZL) 11-6, 11-6, 3-11, 11-8 (64m)
[16] Ali Farag (EGY) d [L] John White (SCO) 12-10, 11-4, 11-5 (31m)

Merion Cricket Club:
[7] Kanzy Emad El Defrawy (EGY) d Mariam Metwally (EGY) 5-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 (45m)
[8] Olivia Blatchford (USA) d [14] Maria Toorpakai Wazir (PAK) 12-10, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6 (33m)[1] Alan Clyne (SCO) d [10] Lucas Serme (FRA) 11-13, 11-6, 11-7, 11-3 (72m)
[4] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) d [14] Raphael Kandra (GER) 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (47m)

Racquet Club of Philadelphia:
[4] Joey Chan (HKG) d [15] Vanessa Raj (MAS) 11-5, 11-9, 11-4 (21m)
[9] Joelle King (NZL) d [1] Line Hansen (DEN) 11-4, 10-12, 11-5, 11-3 (38m)[2] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) d [12] Paul Coll (NZL) 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 (50m)
[5] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) d [15] Shaun Le Roux (RSA) 9-11, 11-1, 11-7, 11-5 (63m)

Germantown Cricket Club:
[3] Tesni Evans (WAL) d [13] Deon Saffery (WAL) 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 (35m)
[9] Diego Elias (PER) d [3] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 5-11, 11-13, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 (86m)

Philadelphia Cricket Club:
[6] Samantha Teran (MEX) d [11] Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL) 2-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 11-8 (62m)
[14] Greg Lobban (SCO) d [6] Leo Au (HKG) 11-9, 11-9, 11-8 (38m)

Reports from Drexel

SH0120Yathreb Adel was the first qualifier at Drexel, a solid three-nil win over Coline Aumard, propelling her to the main draw for the second year in a row.

The Egyptian was always in the lead in a first game that featured a good number of lets, strokes and slips, but Aumard stayed in contention until the very end before Adel took the game 11-9.

SH0122The next two games were comfortable for the qualifying second seed as she took them 11-3, 11-4.

“I felt a bit of pressure, having lost in qualifying in my last tournament and having done well here last year,” admitted Adel, “and my games with Coline have always been tough.

“I just tried to keep calm and do my best and it worked very well today. I’m really pleased to qualify again.”

SH0123The second women’s match was almost a carbon copy—the higher-seeded player edging the first game then dominating the next two. In this case it was Australian Donna Urquhart who was well-tested by Thaisa Serafini in a point for point first game before stepping on the accelerator in the next two,

SH0125“I’m so happy to be in the main draw after missing this event last year through injury,” declared Donna.

“It’s nice to get some matches in to get yourself into the tournament—as long as they’re not 11-9 in the fifth! So it was good to keep it to three-nil today, hopefully that will do me some good in the next match.”

SH0130Then it was on to the men’s matches, with Egypt’s Zahed Mohamed against Campbell Grayson, who had a gruelling win yesterday. The Kiwi didn’t do anything wrong in the first two games, both competitive, but Zahad took them both 11-6.

The tables turned quickly in the third though as Grayson took it 11-3, and at 6-2 in the fourth a decider seemed on the cards. But Mohamed rediscovered his energy, levelled at 8-all and took the match 11-8 to reach the main draw.

“It’s the first time I played Campbell, so I told myself I had to play my best from the start, and in the first two I did that. He played well in the third and I was down in the fourth but managed to start playing my best again.”

Then it was the match the Drexel faithful had been waiting for—Coach John White, the 42-year-old former world No. 1 against Ali Farag, the 23-year-old rising Egyptian recent US Intercollegiate champion.

SH0133Would the youngster prove to be too fit, too fast, too accurate?  The short answer is yes—but White being White it wasn’t quite that simple.

White took the opening point with a trademark killshot, and drove in a few more as he led the first 4-1 and 8-3. Farag kept his calm, kept making it tough for White, got back to 8-all, but couldn’t stop the crowd favorite from earning two game balls at 10-8.

Farag took the next four points though to take the opener 12-10, and was in control against a tiring White for the next two games, taking them 11-4, 11-5 in a shade over half an hour’s play.

SH0134White being White though, he still made it great entertainment with his desperate retrieving, not-quite-full-blooded dives, and backchat that had everyone in the building in stitches. We can’t describe it adequately—you just have to watch the video.

SH0135“The 42-year-old played great to get 8-3 up, then the 23-year-old stepped it up and that was that,” was White’s summary.

“It’s an honor to play John on his home courts,” said Farag, “and to make the main draw of the U.S. Open in my first time feels great. I want to do as well as I can and hopefully reach the last match of the tournament, we’ll see how that goes.”

Reports from Racquet Club of Philadelphia

Joey Chan progressed through the main draw with a classy performance against a tricky opponent in Vanessa Raj. Chan was comfortable throughout, though she was tested in the second game, coming back from 7-9 before closing out the match with a decisive third.

Every qualifier’s nightmare—drawing Joelle King in qualifying on her comeback from achilles surgery just over a year ago. In just her fifth tournament back, King looks like she never went away and top-seeded quailer Line Hansen paid the price. With a favorable draw after the completion of qualifying, King could make waves in the main draw and send someone packing early.

Showing why he is now at a career best, world No. 22, Ryan Cuskelly played with great consistency and high tempo to dispatch Paul Coll in straight games. In Cuskelly’s corner were Rodney Martin and Rodney Eyles, two former top-five players themselves.

The final match of the evening featured an evenly-matched pairing of Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan and South Africa’s Shaun Le Roux. Little separated them, physically or tactically, for two large spells of the match. Le Roux did well to come back from 9-6 down to win the first game, but the effort proved to take too much out of him as he fell quickly in the second, 11-1. The last two were nip and tuck, but Adnan displayed incredible fitness and patience to outlast Le Roux and reach the main draw.

Reports from Merion Cricket Club

An all-Egyptian affair opened proceedings at Merion Cricket Club with world No. 37 Kanzy El Defrawy and world No. 39 Mariam Metwally. A heated match ensued with Metwally taking the first game with precise shot-making, but El Defrawy clawing back to win in four while also breaking out her signature diving.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 6.02.04 PM“Mariam and I have been friends since I can remember, and it’s always hard to play another Egyptian,” El Defrawy said. “When you play a younger Egyptian it’s even harder because they’re expected to be the underdogs and you’re expected to win. The last time we played I lost in the world juniors, which was heartbreaking.  I’m really glad I made it; I was really nervous and shaking in the first game.  It was hard and I had to give it 100%.”

The Trinity College senior enjoyed vocal support from relatives and classmates in the Merion gallery.

“I’m very thankful because my teammates and roommates are here to support me. College squash taught me the real definition of what it’s like to be a part of a team and what it’s like to play for other people. Before college, I only ever played for myself. But today, I was playing for everyone here supporting me.”

Olivia Blatchford made it three American women in the main draw after holding off Pakistan’s Maria Toorpakai Wazir in a physical four-game match.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 8.33.30 PM“I was pretty nervous going into this match,” said Blatchford. “Just give her a ball and racquet and she’s lethal. When I did give the ball to her it was away and came off spectacularly. I was able to keep it away from her enough to win in the end.”

The Team USA member admits that her successful Pan American Games with silver and gold medals has boosted her going into the season.

“I wanted to use the confidence earned from the Games to help me start the season well, so I’m glad I’ve been able to keep that confidence going.”

The ensuing men’s matches saw two tour veterans see off younger players in four games after dropping the first game.

Top seed in qualifying, Scotland’s Alan Clyne dropped the first game 11-13, a twenty-five minute marathon entertaining a packed Merion gallery against France’s Lucas Serme, who qualified at Merion last year.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 9.14.00 PMClyne dug deep to unsettle the younger Frenchman, and win the match seventy-two minutes 11-6, 11-7, 11-3.

Thirty-two year old and former world No. 9 Laurens Jan Anjema followed on against twenty-four-year-old Raphael Kandra in what shaped up to be a similar result. The young German who knocked out Merion favorite Todd Harrity Thursday night, took the first game 11-7.

Holland’s Anjema, who is returning from foot surgery, upped his pace to match Kandra to win the match 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 in forty-seven minutes.

TODAY at the U.S. Open 2015 – Daily Reports