Menís World Champion Gregory Gaultier and Womenís World No.2 Laura
Massaro claimed the 2016 NetSuite Open titles after they defeated former
World No.1 James Willstrop and United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy,
respectively, in San Francisco.
Gaultier, a winner here in 2012 and 2014, had been in sublime form
throughout the week and reached the final without dropping a game,
before exhibiting some of his best squash against Willstrop to go two
games ahead on the spectacular glass showcourt on Justin Herman Plaza.
World No.19 Willstrop battled back and held three separate game balls
throughout a tightly-contested third game, but the Englishman ultimately
lost out on the tie-break, with Gaultier wrapping up an 11-9, 11-2,
14-12 victory to lift his first PSA World Tour title of the season.
"Iím really happy with the way Iíve been playing this week, Iíve been
playing better day after day," said Gaultier.
"Itís really nice to see James back playing and being well after the 2/3
years he had struggling with hip surgery. I saw him play against [Simon]
RŲsner [in the quarter-final] and it was fantastic to see him back
"The first time we played each other we were playing in the British
Junior Open when we were about 15 or 16 years old. I remember we had
this brutal match in the final so itís been a long time, but itís good
to see our generation reaching the top after so many years."
The Womenís final saw Massaro come up against defending champion Sobhy,
who triumphed over Massaroís compatriot, Sarah-Jane Perry, to take the
honours at the inaugural Womenís event last year.
It was the Englishwoman who found her length the fastest, taking the
ball early to build up a strong rhythm of hitting and she triumphed in a
comfortable opening game for the loss of four points, before a strong
reaction from World No.6 Sobhy saw the Harvard graduate level the scores
in game two.
Massaro got her herself back in front in the third though and moved her
opponent around the court well to restore her one-game cushion. Sobhy
put up a real fight in the early stages of the fourth game, but an
indomitable Massaro was just too strong and feathered in a forehand
volley drop on her first match ball to triumph 11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7
and earn a share of the $50,000 prize purse, which is double the amount
that was on offer last year.
"Iím really happy to get my hands on the title," said Massaro.
"I donít know how many more years Iíll be playing for it and Amanda is
such a good talent coming up, so Iím glad that I managed to get one more
"The Tour on the womenís side is perhaps the strongest itís ever been
and itís a great time to be part of womenís squash because of the parity
thatís going on with the men. We all work really hard and I absolutely
love playing in front of the crowd in iconic settings just like this.
Itís an absolute privilege to play on this court and to get my hands on
United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy will compete in the final of the
NetSuite Open, PSA W50 tournament for the second year running after
overcoming eight-time World Champion Nicol David in the semi-final stage
of the 2016 edition in San Francisco.
The defending champion went a game down early on after a fast start from
David saw the eight-time World Champion mix up her game to edge it on
the tie-break. But Sobhy soon began to dominate and took the next three
games to earn a first ever win over the Malaysian.
"Everything just clicked today, sheís a phenomenal player and I have the
utmost respect for her," said Sobhy, who will take on Englandís Laura
Massaro in the final.
"I knew it would be a battle, I just wanted it to be a fair match and
for both of us to play our best. I lost the first game, but I knew I was
right there in it and I just told myself to stay positives and Iím
really happy that I was able to do that because I won.
"I had a seven-week training block this summer, which Iíve never done
before in my entire life, so itís really nice to see it all pay off and
Iím looking forward to tomorrow."
Former World No.1 James Willstrop and World Champion Gregory Gautier
will battle for honours in the Menís PSA M100 final after they rose to
respective wins against Diego Elias and Marwan ElShorbagy.
On the spectacular glass show court housed on Justin Herman Plaza,
Willstrop played some of his very best squash in a ruthless display as
he dismantled 19-year-old Peruvian Elias, with the pinpoint accuracy and
intelligent shot selection that were the bedrock of his rise to World
No.1 in 2012 in full flow.
The Yorkshireman romped to an 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 victory in 39 minutes to
reach his biggest final since the Kuwait PSA Cup in 2013.
"Itís been a long recovery and you donít know if youíre going to reach
that level again," said Willstrop, who has struggled with both a hip
injury and illness over the past three years.
"I think the key is that I love playing squash and Iíve always found a
great sense of enjoyment on the Tour, probably more so now then at any
other time of my career.
"Itís great to be back in a major final like this and itís good to know
that itís still in the bank."
Gaultier, a winner in 2012 and 2014, was on the front foot from the
outset and quickly sailed into a two-game lead against an out of sorts
The third game was a much closer affair as ElShorbagy finally found his
length, only to see Gaultier ultimately take it on the tie-break to wrap
up an 11-3, 11-7, 14-12 victory.
"Iím glad I got my speed back, Iíve been struggling this month and I
wasnít feeling great," said Gaultier.
"I managed to find motivation again because I had a bit of a break at
home. I tried to stay positive mentally, Iíve had a lot of friends
helping me out to lift me back out when I was down. Iím happy with the
way I was moving again."
Former World No.1 James Willstrop produced a superb comeback to overturn
a two-game deficit and eliminate Germanyís Simon RŲsner in the
quarter-final stage of the NetSuite Open, PSA M100 tournament taking
place on San Franciscoís Justin Herman Plaza.
The Englishman looked down and out after RŲsner opened up a two-game
lead, but tournament wildcard Willstrop dug in superbly and used all of
his 17 years of experience to battle back, taking three games without
reply to earn a 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-2, 12-10 victory.
"I think the quality of the squash was so good," said Willstrop.
"It was a pretty high standard, we were both hitting the ball
accurately. Itís cut-throat stuff, the ball was flying around and you
have to have such control to stay in it. His pace and control was a
little bit better in the first two games.
"He won the crucial points in the second, but it was close. The key is
that I didnít panic, itís a difficult psychological deficit to overcome
when youíre 2-0 down. The statistics show that people donít do it often,
so I just had to keep making him play and I knew that I might be able to
find a way in."
Two-time World Junior Champion Diego Elias will meet Willstrop for a
place in the final after a clinical showing saw him overcome Frenchman
The fixture featured a clash of styles, with Marcheís all-action style
contrasting with the languid one of Elias, and it was the latter who
rose to a two-game lead courtesy of some intelligent court craft and
Marche had beaten three-time World Champion Nick Matthew in the previous
round, but was frustrated time and time again by the prodigious talents
of Elias, who wrapped up an 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 triumph in 40 minutes.
"Iím really happy, itís my first win on SQUASHTV," said Elias.
"I was focused, I wanted to enjoy the match and I played my best. It has
been an amazing experience, I knew the court was a bit tricky, but Iím
happy I was able to play well on it.
"I had so much fun and wanted to thank everyone for supporting me."
In the Womenís event, World No.2 Laura Massaro became the first finalist
after overcoming New Zealandís Joelle King in an imperious display from
Preston-based Massaro overcame a strong start from King to record a
12-10, 11-5, 11-4 win, ensuring she will lock horns with either
eight-time World Champion Nicol David or home hero Amanda Sobhy, who
play tomorrow, in the final.
"I was way down in that first one, and I think it just shows that if
youíre not completely focused, then her skills are just too good, so it
was about making sure that I was 100 per cent focused on the game plan
that I set out before," said World No.2 Massaro.
"Being able to stick to a game plan is probably one of my biggest
strengths and as long as I do that, Iím happy win or lose, so thatís my
only focus when Iím on court."
Defending champion Amanda Sobhy moved to within one win of a second
successive NetSuite Open final after defeating Hong Kong's Joey Chan in
straight games in the quarter-final of the PSA W50 tournament held in
The United States No.1, who overcame Englandís Sarah-Jane Perry in last
yearís final, was in fine fettle throughout the fixture and recorded an
11-3, 12-10, 11-2 victory to reach the last four.
"Iím happy to get off in three today, I can conserve some energy for the
semi-finals on Friday," said Sobhy.
"Itís nice to be back here playing and I hope to defend my title and
keep it on home soil. [Playing in front of a home crowd] helps
tremendously, I love playing at home and having all the supporters
around the country rooting for me.
"Itís amazing and being in San Francisco is great, the crowd is
spectacular. There are so many people that I donít know, but who are
here supporting me, the support has been amazing."
Sobhy will go head-to-head with Malaysiaís eight-time World Champion
Nicol David in the semi-final after the former World No.1 overcame
Egyptís Nour El Tayeb.
David adopted a high íTí position from the outset to cut off El Tayebís
threat at the front of the court, and went two games up after coming out
on top of a series of entertaining rallies.
But the court, which was housed on Justin Herman Plaza, had become
slippery throughout the night due to adverse weather conditions and El
Tayeb, who had suffered falls on more than one occasion, felt that she
couldnít carry on, bringing a premature end to the fixture.
"There are some patches that may feel a bit funny, but I felt alright on
the court," said David.
"Itís just a matter of how comfortable you are after falling, you donít
want to stretch yourself, so itís not the nicest way to win it. I hope
sheís okay and didnít hurt herself along the way.
"You try your best to do what you can under the circumstances. Weíre
both going through the same situation, but you just have to see what
works for you and make the most of it as much as you can. Itís great to
be here in San Francisco, Iím playing here for the first time. Iím
looking forward tomorrow, but itís not the best way to win this match."
Top seed Laura Massaro will join Sobhy and David in the last four after
she stormed past compatriot Victoria Lust in her quarter-final fixture.
Massaro, who beat United States No.2 Olivia Blatchford in the previous
round, was on the front foot from the outset and powered to the victory
by an 11-3, 11-7, 11-9 margin.
"Iím pretty happy with that, as I said yesterday the court conditions
are tough being on the back court because the rallies are a little bit
longer," said Massaro.
"But Iím happy to be off in three and Iím looking forward to getting on
the glass court tomorrow."
New Zealandís Joelle King was the other player to triumph on day two of
the Womenís event and she dispatched Egyptís Heba El Torky to set up a
semi-final clash with Massaro.
In the Menís PSA M100 tournament, World Champion Gregory Gaultier sealed
his place in the last four courtesy of a 3-0 win against Australian No.1
Cuskelly played well in patches, but Gaultierís unflinching physicality
saw him brave the slippery court, taking three games in a row to set up
an encounter with Egyptís Marwan ElShorbagy, who beat Cameron Pilley.
"I was really looking forward to this match, I havenít played Ryan for a
long time," said Gaultier.
"He is really tricky and he has really good hands, so I had to impose my
pace and the conditions were cold, so I had to be on my toes with his
tricky shots. I tried to stay positive because Iíve had a bit of a
nightmare this season with injuries. In my career, Iíve done everything
I wanted, so every time I step on court itís all a bonus."
ĎColombian Cannonballí Miguel Angel Rodriguez and three-time World
Champion Nick Matthew slumped to surprise first round defeats on the
opening day of main draw action at the 2016 NetSuite Open, losing to
former World No.1 James Willstrop and French World No.29 Gregoire
Marche, respectively, in San Francisco.
Rodriguezís match with Willstrop was due to be held at the glass show
court on Justin Herman Plaza, but, with the scores locked at 3-3 in game
one, a rapid change in temperature meant that the court became too wet
and slippery to play on.
After a short delay, the match was moved to the Bay Club San Francisco,
where Willstropís unparalleled accuracy and intelligent shot selection
saw him take the match in straight games to leave Rodriguez without a
win so far this season.
"It wasnít the match either of us wanted, we wanted to be on that big
stage tonight," said Willstrop, who will face Simon RŲsner for a place
in the last four.
"The difference the courts over there [Justin Herman Plaza] and here is
a million miles. If we had both written down a game plan before, it
would have completely changed. Itís like going from clay to grass,
thatís the situation we had, so itís an interesting challenge and we had
to get our heads round it.
"I had to break up the pace and stick with it, because you canít win
rallies easily on this court. The ball sits up, itís bouncier and he
gets every single ball I throw at him, so itís an almighty challenge to
win a rally off him. I had to be very patient."
Elsewhere, last yearís runner-up Matthew was making his first PSA World
Tour appearance of the season, while Marche had won his biggest ever
Tour title just three weeks previously at the Open International de
Squash de Nantes.
And the difference in match fitness between the two showed as a fine
display from Marche enabled him to power to an 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 victory
in 43 minutes to set up a quarter-final clash with Peruís Diego Elias.
"Itís not the result I wanted, but Iím delighted to be back on the PSA
World Tour at the NetSuite Open," said Matthew.
"I came up against a sharp opponent. I have to keep working hard and
working smart to get back to the level I want to be at.
"Iím confident I will get better as the season goes on."
Peruvian two-time World Junior Champion Elias also caused a big shock on
day one, with a sensational come from behind victory over Egyptian World
No.10 Ali Farag.
Coming less than a week after he reached the final of the Al Ahram
Squash Open NEWGIZA in front of the iconic Great Pyramid of Giza,
Harvard graduate Farag looked to have carried his fine form into San
Francisco after nullifying Eliasís attacking threats to go two games to
But Elias responded brilliantly and the World No.34 took advantage of a
tiring Farag to battle to an an extremely hard-fought 8-11, 6-11, 11-7,
11-9, 11-7 victory.
"I felt so good on court and I'm so happy to get the win,Ē said Elias.
ďI was just playing point by point, I wanted to play my best squash, be
happy and enjoy it. Even when I was 2-0 down, I just tried to keep
enjoying the match.Ē
World Champion Gregory Gaultier will take on Australian No.1 Ryan
Cuskelly in the next round after respective wins over Saurav Ghosal and
Max Lee, while Marwan ElShorbagy and Cameron Pilley will face off in the
The Womenís event saw United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy book her place in
the last eight courtesy of a victory over English qualifier Fiona
The match featured a series of quick-fire rallies as both players took a
game apiece, before Sobhy moved on to wrap up the win in four and set up
a quarter-final meeting with Hong Kongís Joey Chan.
"She had a few good shots, but Iím happy I regrouped," said Sobhy
"She was hitting winners left and right, especially on her backhand side
so I just dug in and stuck to my game plan. Iím happy to win."
World No.2 Laura Massaro is through after beating Sobhyís compatriot
Olivia Blatchford and she will take on compatriot Victoria Lust in the
quarter-final. Malaysiaís eight-time World Champion Nicol David and
fourth seed Joelle King were also winners, setting up respective
fixtures with Nour El Tayeb and Heba El Torky.
Peruvian World No.34 Diego Elias and Qatari World No.42 Abdulla Mohd
Al Tamimi overcame higher-ranked opposition in the final qualifying
round of the NetSuite Open to reach the main draw of the PSA M100
tournament taking place in San Francisco, United States.
World No.34 Elias, a two-time World Junior Champion, came up against
Englandís Tom Richards in his fixture, with 30-year-old Richards
ranked eight places above Elias in the World Rankings.
But an apparent injury to Richards after the opening game saw him
struggle with his movement, and Elias picked him off to record an
11-5, 11-3, 11-1 triumph in 35 minutes, setting up a main draw clash
with Egyptís Ali Farag, who reached the final of the Al Ahram Squash
Open NEWGIZA last week.
"The first game was very tough and long," said Elias.
"I think something happened, maybe he picked up an injury because he
wasnít the same. But Iím happy with the win and to feel well on
"Itís the first time Iíve played here, I got injured a week before
the tournament last year so itís great to reach the main draw. Iím
very happy to be here. I didnít think ahead to the main draw because
I was focusing on getting through qualifying first. I donít care who
I face, every match is going to be hard."
Al Tamimi, meanwhile, secured his main berth courtesy of a fine win
over World No.36 Adrian Waller in straight games. The 21-year-old,
who has three PSA World Tour titles to his name, will take on World
No.12 Simon RŲsner for a place in the last eight.
Frenchman Gregoire Marche and Switzerlandís Nicolas Mueller were the
other victors on the final day of qualifying after they achieved
respective wins against Alan Clyne and Cesar Salazar.
Marche will lock horns with last yearís runner-up Nick Matthew in
the next round, while Mueller will line up against World No.7 Marwan
Elsewhere, all of the top four qualifying seeds in the Womenís event
made it through to the main draw unscathed, with former World No.5
Low Wee Wern banishing the injury demons that have dogged the last
18 months of her career to defeat Englandís Alison Thomson.
"Iím feeling great to be able to be back on court again. To be
honest, it feels a bit weird to be playing in the qualifying, I
havenít done that in a long time. But itís good to get two matches
in and to get to the main draw again.
"Iím just happy to get back on court again. When I first came back I
put a lot of pressure on myself to want to do well and win again.
After a while, you realise that you should just be happy to play
with no pain. So right now, this year thatís my goal. To play as
many matches as I can without any hassle.Ē
Low is set to face Egyptís World No.12 Nour El Tayeb in round one,
while Fiona Moverley, Samantha Teran and Sarah Cardwell also rose to
Moverley and Teran will meet United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy and
Heba El Torky, respectively, while Cardwell will clash with
Englandís Victoria Lust.
Eight-time World Champion Nicol David and 2013 World Champion Laura
Massaro will be the star attractions at the 2016 NetSuite Open when
the tournament, which has doubled prize money year-on-year, gets
underway in front of San Francisco's Oakland Bay bridge and Ferry
Terminal on Tuesday September 27.
David and Massaro, two of the most successful female players of all
time, will be joined by the likes of New Zealand's Commonwealth
Games Medalist Joelle King and home favourite Amanda Sobhy, the
Boston-based 21-year-old Harvard-gradute and defending champion
ranked No.8 in the world, at the event which takes place in a
specially constructed outdoor arena on Justin Herman Plaza.
Massaro, who held the World No.1 ranking from January to April this
year, will face American number two Olivia Blatchford in the first
round while David, who topped the World Rankings for an
unprecedented nine years from 2006-2015, will open her campaign
against local wildcard Reyna Pacheco Ė a Mexican immigrant who
discovered the sport via an Urban Squash programme in San Diego.
ďHaving committed to doubling the prize money available at this
year's Women's tournament we are pleased to see that some of the
biggest names in women's squash will make their debuts in San
Francisco next month,Ē said Tournament promoter John Nimick.
ďThe likes of Nicol David and Laura Massaro are up there with the
most successful female players of all time and have lit up squash
courts all over the world with their exploits. Their presence at the
tournament will serve to help inspire everyone involved in the local
ďWith seven of the world's top 20 players in action I believe weíre
in for a special tournament in September.Ē
A total of 28 players from 14 countries will compete across the
tournament, with qualification starting on Sunday September 25 at
the Olympic Club and the Bay Club San Francisco.
2015 World Champion Gregory Gaultier will go toe-to-toe with
three-time World Champion and Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist Nick
Matthew, Pan American Gold Medalist Miguel Angel Rodriguez, Asian
Games Gold Medalists SauraGhosal and Max Lee and 2014 Commonwealth
Games Gold Medalist Cameron Pilley when the 2016 NetSuite Open gets
underway on September 27 in one of the most competitive ever
editions of the PSA M100 tournament,
In what promises to be a compelling battle for the title, 2014
winner Gaultier will be hoping to regain the silverware ahead of a
field that includes seven of the world's top ten players Ė with 14
nations in total represented in the draw.
ďWe are delighted to have so many of the worldís top players
competing in the 2016 NetSuite Open in what looks certain to be one
of the most competitive and entertaining editions of the
eight-year-old PSA Tour championship,Ē said tournament promoter John
ďWhile we are very fortunate that players like Gaultier, Matthew and
James Willstrop have made San Francisco a regular stop on their
schedules, we are equally excited to welcome some of the most
talented up-and-coming players in the world this year to create a
draw that will have West Coast fans packing in around the all-glass
NetSuite Challenge court once again.
ďSquash is booming in Northern California and with the NetSuite Open
now comprising high level PSA-sanctioned events for both men and
women, a new US Squash Junior Gold tournament and the perennial
Latitude38 adult skill level tournament, the week is a true squash