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Bellevue Classic 2017


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Bellevue Classic 2017
14 - 20 May
Washington, USA, $150k
Round One
18 May
19 May
20 May
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
12-10, 11-2, 11-1 (35m)
[Q] Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Gregory Gaultier
11-8, 11-4, 11-7 (47m)
Tarek Momen
Gregory Gaultier
11/4, 11/5, 11/8 (42m)
James Willstrop
Gregory Gaultier
12-10, 12-10, 11-8 (52m)
Ali Farag
[6] Tarek Momen (EGY)
12-10, 8-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-7
[Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
[7] Daryl Selby (ENG)
11-7, 11-6, 11-7 (41m)
Borja Golan (ESP)
Borja Golan
11-6, 11-7, 2-11, 6-11, 12-10 (87m)
James Willstrop
[4] James Willstrop (ENG)
9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 4-11, 11-9 (73m)
Max Lee (HKG)
[3] Ali Farag (EGY)
11-4, 11-5, 11-4 (24m)
[WC] Dylan Cunningham (USA)
Ali Farag
11-9, 11-5, 11-7 (48m)
Ryan Cuskelly
Ali Farag
11/7, 11/4, 7/11, 11/5 (38m)
Marwan Elshorbagy
[8] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 (49m)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
[5] Ramy Ashour (EGY)
11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (32m)
[Q] Nicolas Müller (SUI)
Ramy Ashour
11-8, 12-10, 5-11, 11-6 (39m)
Marwan Elshorbagy
[Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
13-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8 (44m)
[2] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY)

Qualifying finals:
Nicolas Müller (SUI) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 11-2, 11-7, 3-11, 8-11, 11-7 (55m)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 11-3, 11-5, 9-11, 11-1 (46m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Leo Au (HKG) 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 (66m)
Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 11-8, 11-8, 4-11, 11-7 (65m)


Gaultier Captures Sixth Successive Title

Frenchman Gregory Gaultier lifted his sixth PSA World Tour title in a row after he defeated Egypt’s World No.8 Ali Farag in the final of the inaugural Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic - a win which will also see him return to the top of the World Rankings next month to break his own record as the oldest ever World No.1.

The 34-year-old was meeting Farag in a second successive final after the pair contested the Grasshopper Cup final a fortnight ago and the man from Egypt pushed Gaultier to tie-breaks in the opening two games, with Gaultier fighting back from a game ball down in the opener and then four game balls down in the second to take the lead.

Farag, who had hit a number of sublime winners throughout the match, continued to perform well in the third as he went 6-3 up, but Gaultier dug in once more to move back out in front and he sealed the win on his first championship ball to make it 27 matches undefeated, while he has now gone 10 matches without dropping a single game.

Gaultier’s victory - his 40th PSA World Tour title in what was his 79th final - also sees him win over $25,000, which is a record amount for a squash tournament containing a 16-man draw

The Frenchman’s incredible run of form in 2017 has seen him add the Bellevue Classic crown to successive title wins at the Swedish Open, Windy City Open, British Open, El Gouna International and Grasshopper Cup and he will overtake current World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad to top the World Rankings on June 1.

"I am not going to say that it was easy to keep fresh every day, I had to find the motivation every day, but I did find it, and every day I was happy to come and play," said Gaultier.

"I just forgot about being tired, about the little aches and pains, and just pushed myself on the day.

"Hard luck to Ali. It's been two times in a row, but he showed real consistency. He's been up and down this season, but this month he proved that he is starting to raise the bar.

 It's very difficult to beat this talented player."

Farag, who will move into the world’s top five next month, said: "Obviously I am disappointed today, but I'm happy with how I finished the season reaching two finals in a row.

"I had a good feeling today. The minute I stepped off court at the Grasshopper final, I had a game plan, and I couldn’t wait to try it on court. I think I was unlucky in the first game, I was playing well, doing the right things, but I was not sharp enough.

"In the second, I was doing all the right things, then I’m not sure what went first, the mind or the body. I never gave up, kept fighting in the 3rd, but he was too confident by then."

Gaultier and Farag Set Up Final Clash

World No.2 Gregory Gaultier and World No.8 Ali Farag will meet in the final of a PSA World Tour event for the second tournament in succession after they claimed respective wins over James Willstrop and Marwan ElShorbagy on semi-finals day at the inaugural Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic.

Over $25,000 worth of prize money will be up for grabs in the final - a record amount for a squash tournament containing a 16-man draw - and Gaultier ensured that he will compete in a seventh successive Tour final after he defeated Willstrop by an 11-4, 11-5, 11-8 margin.

Gaultier, the 34-year-old from France, lost his World No.1 ranking to Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad earlier this month, but a win over Farag in tomorrow’s final will see him reclaim top spot in next month’s World Rankings.

“I'm happy with my performances throughout the tournament,” said Gaultier.

“It’s a big mental exercise for me to push through with almost no recovery between tournaments because we have such a short time to go home, we only have a couple of days before we go again.

“You get your head into competition mode again and it's really tough, but that's what I train for and I spend all my time making sacrifices to play at that level.”

Farag, meanwhile, made it back-to-back Tour finals for the third time in his career after he came through in four games against World No.5 ElShorbagy.

ElShorbagy came into the match off the back of a big win over three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour in the previous round and had beaten Farag in their last meeting in the semi-final of February’s Windy City Open, but Farag hit his lines well in a clinical display to take it 11-7, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5.

Gaultier and Farag met in the final of the Grasshopper Cup less than a fortnight ago, with Gaultier winning 3-0 to lift a sixth Tour title in a row.

“Marwan had a great win yesterday against probably one of the best players in the history of squash,” said 25-year-old Farag.

"I’m very happy with the way I played, but I just have to give him credit for such a good tournament and such a good season. He’s such an unbelievable player.

“I’m very happy to reach a second final back-to-back, it’s one thing to be able to beat the top players, but to do it consistently is another and I’m very happy to be there. Hopefully I can go a step further this time.”

ElShorbagy Defeats Ashour to Reach Semi-Finals

World No.5 Marwan ElShorbagy claimed a huge victory over three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour to move to within one win of claiming a final berth at the inaugural Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic, PSA M100 tournament.

ElShorbagy’s only previous win against Ashour came during the 2016 El Gouna International, but Ashour was unable to see the match out on that occasion, retiring mid-way through through the second game.

The enigmatic Ashour was far from his best throughout the 39-minute encounter, but a ruthless display from ElShorbagy made sure there was no hope of a revival from the 29-year-old as he dispatched him by an 11-8, 12-10, 5-11, 11-6 margin at the Boys and Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House.

"I'm really happy with the win today, Ramy is a great player," said ElShorbagy.

"The only time I beat him, he couldn't finish the match because he got injured. I'm really happy to win the match, but it was really hard for me today. I watched Ramy so many times when I was growing up so to get that first win against him means a lot to me.

"I've been working really hard, I've got to number five in the world and a lot of things happen off the court. To be able to play my 14th tournament of the season and to stay on my feet and be healthy means a lot to me."

There is guaranteed to be an Egyptian finalist after World No.8 Ali Farag defeated Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly in straight games to set up a semi-final meeting with ElShorbagy - and the 25-year-old Harvard-graduate is now just one win away from a second successive PSA World Tour final.

On the other half of the draw, World No.2 Gregory Gaultier made it 25 matches unbeaten after he dismantled World No.10 Tarek Momen by a 3-0 margin.

Gaultier has been simply irresistible in 2017, losing just once and capturing five Tour titles in a row, and he took an 11-8, 11-4, 11-7 victory in 47 minutes to reach a ninth straight semi-final.

"I always try to find an extra motivation because it's the end of the season and I agreed to play this tournament, so I know I'm going beyond my limits," said Gaultier.

"But every day I have to keep pushing until the end, the end of the season is really close, so I want to finish on a positive note and carry on playing as hard as I can. Me and Tarek have had a lot of games and it's always tough to play him because he's always unpredictable with his boasts, but sometimes he gives you cheap points which I'm happy with.

"I knew that if I gave him some openings that he would put them away, so I had to be really sharp to the front corners and defend with intelligence."

The Frenchman will be up against former World No.1 James Willstrop - who he lost to in December’s AJ Bell British Grand Prix semi-finals - after Willstrop recovered from three match balls down to defeat Spain’s Borja Golan.

Harrogate-based Willstrop squandered a two-game lead to let Golan back into the match and Golan looked to be odds on to take the win after holding three match balls in a nail-biting decider. But the Yorkshireman dug deep to force a tie-break and held his nerve to close out a dramatic match by an 11-6, 11-7, 2-11, 6-11, 12-10 scoreline.

"I was so out-played in the fourth and the fifth so I was just happy to be in the fifth," said Willstrop.

"It was a weird match, totally weird. I'll take it though, I'm really happy and it's great to be playing in the semis now. It's fantastic."

Ashour Returns as Egyptian Trio Win on Day Two

Three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour marked his return from a two-month injury lay off with a 3-0 victory over Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller to reach the quarter-final stage of the Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic, PSA M100 tournament.

The enigmatic 29-year-old has been out of action with a hamstring strain sustained during his Allam British Open semi-final fixture in March, but he recovered from a slow start to beat Mueller 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 in 32 minutes, despite struggling with illness before the match.

“I just wanted to play well, he's very quick with his hands, so I was trying to contain him,” Ashour said.

“It worked sometimes, sometimes it didn't, but it went my way in the end and I'm glad it did. I remember last time we played in Switzerland, it was one of the toughest times. It was in five [games], it was a full house and it was an electrifying atmosphere.

“I had that in the back of my head and that's why I was prepared. I had some complications earlier, but I was prepared. Other than that, I'm excited to be back in Bellevue."

Ashour will clash with World No.5 Marwan ElShorbagy in an all-Egyptian quarter-final fixture after ElShorbagy overcame Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan by a 3-1 margin.

Both players played well in patches, with ElShorbagy prevailing on an opening game tie-break, only to see Adnan fight back to restore parity after the World No.26 triumphed in game two.

However, the momentum shifted back in ElShorbagy’s favour in the third game as the Bristol-based 23-year-old began to reassert his control on proceedings, eventually coming through to prevail 13-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8.

“I’ve got a big match tomorrow against Ramy, he’s a great player, so I’m looking forward to that match tomorrow," ElShorbagy said.

"I always enjoy going on court with Ramy, he’s a great ambassador for our sport. It’s a shame that he keeps getting injured, but just having him here is amazing for us.

“I’m really happy to go on court with him tomorrow, I’ll just try and make the most of it. I’ve grown up watching him, so the fact that I will be on court with him tomorrow is huge for me. I’m excited for the match against him.”

World No.8 Ali Farag was the third Egyptian victor on day two at the Boys and Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House courtesy of a comfortable win over tournament wildcard Dylan Cunningham.

The pair – separated by 145 places in the World Rankings – were both prolific players on the Collegiate Squash Association circuit prior to their professional carers and traded points at the beginning of all three games, before Harvard-graduate Farag’s class eventually told as he took the win in straight games.

"I'm very happy to see lots of collegiate players turning pro, it shows just how great our sport is," said Farag.

"We’ve all got good degrees that we could do a lot things with, but we play this sport because of how great it is and hopefully that brings the sport up a notch."

Australian No.1 Ryan Cuskelly was the only non-Egyptian winner after the World No.14 saw off South Africa’s Stephen Coppinger, recovering from a game down to win 3-1 and set up a quarter-final meeting with Farag.

The Bellevue Classic has a $150,000 prize purse on offer - a record amount for a 16-man main draw squash tournament - thanks to the efforts of both title sponsor Pacific Market International and multinational technology giants Microsoft.

Golan Upsets the Seedings on Opening Day

Spain’s former World No.5 Borja Golan was the only unseeded player to prevail on the opening day of main draw action at the inaugural Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic after the 34-year-old defeated England’s Daryl Selby to reach the last eight of the PSA M100 tournament.

Held at the Boys and Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House, the Bellevue Classic has a $150,000 prize purse on offer - a record amount for a squash tournament containing a 16-man draw - after title sponsor Pacific Market International was joined in the tournament's portfolio of sponsors by multinational technology giants Microsoft.

And Golan ensured that he remains in with a shout of taking home the winner’s share of over $25,000 after a dominant display saw him dispatch Selby by an 11-7, 11-6, 11-7 margin.

“We've played many times since the juniors, Daryl is such a talented player,” said Golan.

“Technically, he is unbelievable so it's really difficult to read his shots. Today, I think the difference was that I was moving a bit better than him, but he's still a dangerous player. I tried to be on my toes all the time to win the points.

“When you are not injured you enjoy this game because we don't have many more years to day so every tournament you manage to enjoy more than when you were 20. You have to give 100 per cent and it's really nice to be in that position to play your game.”

Golan will take on former World No.1 James Willstrop in the next round after the Yorkshireman triumphed in a thrilling five-game encounter with Hong Kong’s Max Lee.

The pair went toe-to-toe in an enthralling 73-minute spectacle, with Willstrop recovering from 9-7 down in the fifth game to reach the quarter-final of a PSA World Tour event for the first time since February.

"I think the match was good quality, we both played well and both had our phases where it didn't work out," said Willstrop.

"It was solid and he was the favourite at 9-7 [in the fifth], I was up against it. I had to dig in and have faith in what I was doing. I'm very pleased to come away with the win.

"I just had to keep it as simple as I could really, once you start clouding your head with loads of thoughts it makes it worse. It’s not very easy, but you've got to forget about the scoreboard as much as possible."

Meanwhile, French World No.2 Gregory Gaultier continued his incredible form after beating former World No.3 Omar Mosaad in a repeat of the 2015 PSA Men’s World Championship, which took place in Bellevue 18 months ago.

Gaultier - who also won their World Championship final clash - overturned five game balls in the opener and dropped just three points in the final two games as he romped to a 24th successive Tour victory.

“I expected a tough match, he is on his way back after having a bad season,” said Gaultier.

“I told myself to push a little bit, to move forward more on the ‘T’ because I was too far back and too passive. That’s what I did, but with no rush and without trying to inject too much pace. That worked in the end.”

Gaultier will line up against Momen in the quarter-finals after Momen narrowly defeated French qualifier Gregoire Marche in five games.

Coverage from the second day of the Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic begins at 17:00 local time (PDT) and will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe Only).
Mueller Upsets Salazar as Qualifying Ends

Swiss World No.34 Nicolas Mueller came out on top of an entertaining five-game battle with Mexico’s Cesar Salazar at the PRO Sports Club in Bellevue to earn his place in the main draw of the inaugural Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic - where a $150,000 prize fund is on offer in the most lucrative 16-man main draw squash tournament ever.

Mueller, 27, took former World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy all the way to five games earlier this month at the Grasshopper Cup and the ‘Swiss Rocket’ continued where he left off against Mexico’s Salazar to take a 2-0 lead.

Salazar, the World No.21, fought back in the next two games to level the scores, but Mueller held his nerve in the decider to take an 11-2, 11-7, 3-11, 8-11, 11-7 victory which will see him clash with three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour in round one of the main draw.

Mueller will be joined in the main draw by former World No.3 Omar Mosaad, who prevailed in an all-Egyptian clash with Mazen Hesham.

Mosaad, whose fall to World No.32 has led to him playing in the qualifying stages for the first time in eight years, took a 3-1 win to ensure that he will face the in-form Gregory Gaultier next, with the Frenchman currently boasting a 23-match unbeaten run.

Gaultier’s compatriot, Gregoire Marche, and Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan were also victorious on the final day of qualifying after they claimed respective wins over Hong Kong’s Leo Au and Scotland’s Alan Clyne.

Marche will line up against World No.10 Tarek Momen in the opening round, while Adnan will do battle with number two seed Marwan ElShorbagy.

The main draw of the Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic, PSA M100 tournament will take place at the Boys and Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House between May 16-20 and will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).