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US OPEN (MEN) 2012

Ramy Ashour Wins First US Open Title

PSA World Series Delaware Investments US Open, Philadelphia, USA


Ramy Ashour Wins First US Open Title

Egypt's Ramy Ashour upset the seedings for the second time in 24 hours when he beat world No3 Gregory Gaultier in the final of the Delaware Investments US Open to win the PSA World Series squash event at Drexel University in Philadelphia for the first time.

The straight games triumph also marks the 25th PSA Tour title of the 25-year-old's career - a remarkable 17 of which have been World Series events.

World No4 Ashour reached his 40th Tour final after beating English rival Nick Matthew, the world No2 - while Frenchman Gaultier also took out an Englishman, James Willstrop, the world No1, in the other semi.

Ashour, playing with the speed and control with which he wrapped up his semi-final, was quickly 6-3 up in the opening game of the final, and took it after just six minutes.

Gaultier fought back from 1-6 down in the second to draw level at nine-all - but Ashour found two winners to extend his lead.

After an even start to the third, Ashour raced from five-all to 9-5, and although Gaultier again pulled back - going on to save two match-balls - it was a Gaultier volley into the tin that gave the Egyptian the title for the first time.

"I lost in this final three years ago so to win a prestigious title like this against such a great player as Greg feels just unbelievable," said Ashour, the fourth successive Egyptian winner of the title. "I felt good on court tonight but I had to fight really hard to win.

"It's been a great week, everyone here does a tremendous job and makes us all feel so welcome, so thanks to everyone involved and we're all looking forward to next year already!"

Ashour's 11-4, 11-9, 11-9 victory also takes him to the top of the 2012 Dunlop PSA World Series Standings - 10 points ahead of Matthew. Both have won two World Series titles in 2012, but Ashour has made the final in all of the four in which he has competed. Willstrop slips down to third place - again only 10 points behind Matthew - while Gaultier strengthens his grip on fourth place.


Latest 2012 Dunlop PSA World Series Standings:


(Prev) Total



Ramy Ashour (EGY)




Nick Matthew (ENG)




James Willstrop (ENG)




Gregory Gaultier (FRA)




Amr Shabana (EGY)




Karim Darwish (EGY)




Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY)




Peter Barker (ENG)




Simon Rosner (GER)




Adrian Grant (ENG)




Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)




Daryl Selby (ENG)




Cameron Pilley (AUS)




Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY)




Nicolas Mueller (SUI)


Official event site: www.usopensquash.com

For all the latest Tour news: www.psaworldtour.com




Semi Finals
Quarter Finals
2nd Round
1st Round (Top Half)
1st Round (Bottom Half)

. Men's Draw
Official Site
. Women's Draw
Official Site

The Venue Drexel University, Philedelphia USA

Champions Egypt's Ramy Ashour Alongside Malaysia's David Nicol After Their Title Wins

Frenchman Gregory Gaultier Unable tTo Overcome Egypt's Ramy Ashour

Semi Final Wins For Gregory Gaultier (Above) and Ramy Ashour (Below) Through To The Final


Shabana starts the defence of his title with a controlled win over Rodriguez

Nick Matthew through to Semi Final

Mohamed Shorbagy battles through against Cameron Pilley

Ramy Ashour in electric form against Tarek Momen

Chris Gordon beating Hisham Ashour
for ‘the best win of his professional career’

Delaware Investments US Open 2012
Drexel University, Philadelphia USA $115,000
Round One
Round Two
[1] James Willstrop (ENG) 11-4, 11-3, 7-11, 11-9 (80m)
Alister Walker (BOT)
James Willstrop
9-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-5 (81m)
Daryl Selby
James Willstrop
11-6, 7-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5 (90m)Mohamed El Shorbagy
James Willstrop
11-7, 11-2,
11-8 (53m)
Gregory Gaultier
Gregory Gaultier
Ramy Ashour
Daryl Selby (ENG)
11-5, 11-9, 12-10 (57m)
[Q] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
Cameron Pilley (AUS)
11-0, 11-5, 11-5 (30m)
[Q] Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
Cameron Pilley
10-12, 11-8, 12-10, 10-12, 11-4 (92m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
[8] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY)
11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7 (68m)
Simon Rosner (GER)
[5] Karim Darwish (EGY)
13-11, 11-2, 11-9 (38m)
[Q] Max Lee (HKG)
Karim Darwish
11-4, 11-3, 11-8 (38m)
Christopher Gordon
Karim Darwish
6-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-4 (61m)
Gregory Gaultier
Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY)
11-9, 8-11, 13-11, 5-11, 11-6 (59m)
Christopher Gordon (USA)
Borja Golan (ESP)
8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5 (76m)
[Q] Joe Lee (ENG)
Borja Golan
11-7, 11-4, 11-7 (54m)
Gregory Gaultier
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
11-1, 11-2, 11-3 (24m)
Olli Tuominen (FIN)
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY)
11-7, 13-11, 11-9 (46m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Ramy Ashour
13-11, 11-7, 11-8 (35m)
Tarek Momen
Ramy Ashour
10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 7-11, 13-11 (75m)
Peter Barker
Ramy Ashour
15-13, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4 (74m)
Nick Matthew
Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
v5-11, 11-7, 10-12, 12-10, 11-6 (70m)
Tarek Momen (EGY)
Tom Richards (ENG)
11-6, 11-3, 10-12, 11-6 (56m)
Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
Tom Richards
11-5, 11-7, 11-8 (51m)
Peter Barker
[6] Peter Barker (ENG)
11-4, 11-6, 11-1 (33m)
[Q] Shahier Razik (CAN)
[7] Amr Shabana (EGY)
11-9, 11-6, 15-13 (60m)
[Q] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Amr Shabana
9-11, 11-7, 11-1, 11-5 (64m)
Laurens Jan Anjema
Amr Shabana
11-6, 4-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9 (92m)
Nick Matthew
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
11-5, 11-7, 11-9 (47m
[Q] Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK)
Adrian Grant (ENG)
11-9, 8-11, 11-1, 5-11, 11-9 (88m)
[Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Adrian Grant
11-2, 11-5, 15-13 (68m)
Nick Matthew
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG)
7-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (66m)
Omar Mosaad (EGY)

Qualifying finals:
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt Martin Knight (NZL) 11-6, 11-9, 2-11, 11-9 (77m)
Shahier Razik (CAN) bt Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 11-5, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5 (54m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 11-4, 5-11, 11-8, 11-3 (81m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) bt Julian Illingworth (USA) 11-9, 11-3, 8-11, 3-11, 14-12 (90m)
Joe Lee (ENG) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 11-9, 11-4, 11-3 (43m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-8, 11-8, 11-7 (41m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 16-14, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3 (70m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5 (78m)


Semi Finals

Ramy & Greg To Contest Surprise US Open Final

After overturning recent form, it will be third seed Gregory Gaultier and No4 seed Ramy Ashour who contest the unexpected final of the Delaware Investments US Open following the exit of the two top seeds from England in the semi-finals of the PSA World Series squash event at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

"I felt really good right from the start," said Frenchman Gaultier after a comprehensive straight games win over top seed James Willstrop in the first men's semi-final - his first win over the world number one this year.

"I felt that James wasn't quite there, a little slow ... or maybe I just played too well, I don't know!"

Gaultier was ahead throughout and always seemed to be in charge of the rallies. The Englishman came into the match following three 80-minute-plus matches in a row - but it was a fine performance from Gaultier that earned the 29-year-old from Aix-en-Provence a well-deserved 11-7, 11-2, 11-8 win, and a place in the 46th Tour final of his career.

"He's been playing so well and making all the finals," added Gaultier, who lost a 118-minute battle with Willstrop last month. "And in the end it just takes its toll on your body - I've been there myself!

"I analysed my matches at the British Grand Prix two weeks ago, and adjusted a few things.

"It was fantastic to win a major event like this in 2006, and I'm pleased to be back in the final," said the world No3. "It would be great if I could win it again - I just hope the next two play for five hours!"

In fact Ashour claimed the other place in the final in 74 minutes - with a performance that was entirely different from his display in the previous round when he beat Peter Barker after saving a match-ball in the decider.

His opponent was another Englishman Nick Matthew, the second seed bidding to reach a second successive final.

Matthew, the world No2, took an early lead and increased it to 10-6. Ashour took the next five points and eventually took what proved to be a crucial lead 15-13 on his third game ball.

Matthew managed to contain his opponent in the second game to draw level. But Ashour - who boasted an 11-7 Tour record over his rival before the match, but lost the most recent encounter in the British Open in May - led throughout the next two games.

The 25-year-old from Cairo clinched victory with a trademark volley drop that brought the appreciative crowd at Drexel University to its feet one final time.

"I'm happy with how I played tonight," said Ashour after the 15-13, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4 triumph which marks up his 40th appearance in a Tour final.

"I didn't make the mistake I made yesterday, of concentrating on what my opponent was doing. It's always about how I deal with it mentally, and I was happy with that too tonight.

"I'll need to make sure I can recover and be at 100% tomorrow - Greg looks to be on top form!"

Matthew reflected on the match: "It's not the first time I've lost a lead like I had in the first to Ramy, so he must be doing something right. I thought I'd won it on a video review - that didn't go my way - but I still had four more chances.

"I think I should have won the first and if I'd gone 2/0 up it might have been different.

"He played well though - he adapted to tonight's slower conditions better than me, and my defence wasn't as good as Pete's last night. The work he made me do took its toll and I faded a bit in the fourth.

"In the end he got on top and deserved to win."

Matthew was succinct on Twitter later: "I could make excuses as to why I didn't win but the honest truth is the better player won tonight. Well played Ramy hope it's a good final."


Matthew & Ramy Prevail In Dramatic Five-Game US Quarter-Finals

England's Nick Matthew and Egyptian Ramy Ashour prevailed as predicted to reach the semi-finals of the Delaware Investments US Open in Philadelphia - but both players were taken the full distance before avenging defeats to lower-ranked opponents in their previous meetings.

In a sensational second night of quarter-final action in the fifth PSA World Series squash event of the year at Drexel University, second seed Matthew overturned last year's final outcome after coming back from 2/1 down to beat Egypt's twice champion Amr Shabana 11-6, 4-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9 in 92 minutes, while Ashour, the No4 seed, survived a tie-break decider to overcome Englishman Peter Barker 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 7-11, 13-11 in 75 minutes.

Reigning world champion Matthew was in impressive form in the first game to take the lead - but Shabana, four times a winner of the world title, struck back to take the next two games, coming from behind in the third to take the lead after a tie-break.

The defending champion and seventh seed, looking as fit and fresh as he ever has, established a 7-4 lead in the fourth. But Matthew fought back, taking seven of the next nine points to level the match.

The Englishman maintained the upper hand to storm into a 6-1 lead in the decider, subduing his opponent and the crowd. Shabana struck back with some brilliant winners, and levelled at nine-all. Matthew moved to match ball on a stroke before a fabulous last rally saw both players covering all four corners of the court - Matthew finally leaving Shabana stranded at the front as he punched the ball deep for the winning point.

Shabana's racket made its own way to the back corner in vain pursuit as the players embraced in mutual respect and the crowd rose in appreciation.

"I really don't know how I did that," said Matthew after the 92-minute encounter which saw the 32-year-old from Sheffield extend his Tour head-to-head record over the Egyptian to 11-9. "The last few points are a bit of a blur, I expected him to get up and chase that last ball down, he'd been playing so well!

"I knew he would come out strong, the shape he looks to be in has been the talk of the tour, so it wasn't a surprise that he played so well - hopefully he'll carry on and move up the rankings so that I don't have to meet him in the quarter-finals anymore!

"At 2/1 and 7-4, I was down and out - but one of the things I pride myself on is being able to work out what needs doing if things aren't going the way you'd like, and I was able to do that tonight.

"I had a lead in the fifth, but it always felt like I needed one more point to be really safe," explained the former world number one. "Shabs and Ramy can switch the momentum of a match with a single shot, and, sure enough, he came back and nearly snatched it.

"I was lucky to win that in the end. I'll take a little time to go through what went wrong and what went right, then think about preparing for the semi-final - I just hope the others have a long one too!"

Matthew's wish was later granted when his next Egyptian opponent was stretched to the limit in the last quarter-final, reversing the result of his previous meeting with Barker in the PSA Masters last December in India.

The Londoner took the first game aided by numerous unforced errors from Ashour. But the 25-year-old from Cairo took the second and third games, with left-hander Barker now struggling to contain his opponent's mobility and shot-making.

Ashour held a slender advantage for the majority of the fourth game, but Barker kept plugging away and the Egyptian errors returned with a vengeance as Barker went from 5-7 down to level the match 11-7.

The decider was close all the way, but only from seven-all did the tension really arrive: Ashour dived in vain for a dropshot; Barker fell after a collision at the front of the court; Ashour found the tin with his favourite backhand volley, then buried one deep into the back corner; Barker scored with his opponent's own favourite shot, then volleyed into the tin; Ashour powered the ball down the middle for a stroke - and it was match ball to the Englishman!

An Ashour winner and a Barker volley into the tin led to match ball to the Egyptian! Successful video appeals by both players then took the score to 11-all.

A chopped volley into the nick brought up a second match ball for Ramy - and, at the end of a long rally, Barker aimed for the nick but his volley clipped the tin, and it was all over after 75 minutes, the last 15 of which were pure drama and tension.

"You try to be entertaining and sometimes it doesn't work so you have to revert to a basic game," explained the winner. "I'm really proud of how I managed to win that. He played so well, but at times it looked as though there was something wrong with him - I think he was trying to fool me. It broke my concentration, but to win such a match gives me a lot of confidence.

"I just didn't want to go home, that's the thing," concluded Ashour at the venue.

But later, the 2009 runner-up added on Twitter: "Clever tactic 2day from peter barker all credit to him. I've a lot to learn from that. Glad to win tho."

2nd Round

Egyptians Set Up Historic US Open Quarter-Finals

Eighth seed Mohamed El Shorbagy survived a 92-minute marathon in the second round of the Delaware Investments US Open to ensure that there will be Egyptian interest in all four quarter-finals of the PSA World Series squash event at Drexel University in Philadelphia for the first time in the Tour event's 27-year history.

The 21-year-old world No8 from Alexandria faced a ferocious challenge from Cameron Pilley, the world No17 from Australia. After an evenly-contested first four games - three of which went to tie-breaks - El Shorbagy was dominant in the decider to become the first player to reach the last eight.

"It's always tough between me and Cameron, so I'm really happy to have won this time," said El Shorbagy after his 10-12, 11-8, 12-10, 10-12, 11-4 victory.

The youngest seed now faces favourite James Willstrop. The world number one from England took on fellow countryman Daryl Selby with a 10-0 PSA head-to-head record in his favour.

But underdog Selby came close to producing a major upset. The world No11 from Essex took a 23-minute first game, and had a 9-4 lead in the third, but felt the force of the world's top player thereafter.

"That was probably one of Daryl's best performances," said an impressed and relieved Willstrop. "I had to bring out my A game to get through that."

Karim Darwish will represent Egyptian interest in the other quarter-final in the top half of the draw. The No4 seed from Cairo despatched US hope Christopher Gordon, the wildcard entrant who produced the highlight of the first round by ousting higher-ranked Egyptian Hisham Mohd Ashour.

Despite a spirited finish from the New York-born 26-year-old, Darwish was always well in control of his match against the home favourite. "You have to focus 100% on every match," explained the former world number one. "It's important to save energy in the early rounds if you can."

Gordon was delighted with his performance in Philadelphia: "I feel a bit tired after that," admitted the world No72.

"I commentated on a lot of Karim's matches last season so I know how efficient he can be at blitzing people in the early rounds. It was so tough, his length is just immaculate and I just tried to keep it going as much as I could.

"It's been a fantastic week, I'm so glad to have had this amazing opportunity to play these guys when I'm fresh rather than after slogging through qualifying. The support from US Squash and the crowd has been fantastic. I hope they all enjoyed it as much as I did."

Darwish moves on to meet Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the third seed who won a scrappy encounter with Spaniard Borja Golan.

Egypt's defending champion Amr Shabana moved closer to his fourth appearance in the final after surviving a shaky opening to his match against Laurens Jan Anjema. The Dutchman overpowered the resurgent former world number one and world champion to take the first game.

But left-hander Shabana's silky skills and smooth shot-making started to tell as he took the next three games to win 9-11, 11-7, 11-1, 11-5 in 64 minutes.

"I had a game plan and I stuck to it," revealed the title-holder from Cairo afterwards. "He's physically very strong and it was tough in the beginning, but I'm happy with how I played in the end."

Shabana will now meet No2 seed Nick Matthew in a repeat of last year's final. The 32-year-old from Sheffield survived one of three all-English second round clashes, beating Adrian Grant 11-2, 11-5, 15-13 in 68 minutes.

Matthew took advantage of an out of sorts opponent to take the first two games - but Londoner Grant was unlucky not to take one of his three game balls before Matthew edged the third.

"He seems to come alive when he's 2/0 down," smiled the relieved winner. "I had a lead in the third and let it go, that's something we'll have to work on."

2009 runner-up Ramy Ashour produced the fourth Egyptian quarter-finalist after coming through a "fast and furious" three games against compatriot Tarek Momen.

"It's always like that between us," admitted Ashour, the No4 seed, after his 13-11, 11-7, 11-8 win. "It has been ever since we started playing as juniors. He's a flying machine, you just have to try to control him."

Ashour will face Peter Barker, an 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 winner over his regular training partner Tom Richards.

"I was happy with my form tonight," said Barker, the sixth seed. "Tom maybe wasn't at his best but I'll take that and hope to have a good game with Ramy in the quarters."

1st Round Bottom Half

Champion Shabana Shakes Off Rodriguez In US Opener

Defending champion Amr Shabana secured his place in the second round of the Delaware Investments US Open after shaking off Colombian number one Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the opening round of the PSA World Series squash event at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Undefeated in the US Open since 2007, it was the seventh-seeded Egyptian's tenth straight win in the event.

The penultimate match of the day was a much-anticipated clash. Shabana, a four-time world champion, was looking lean and fit - but the speedy and unorthodox qualifier from Bogota arrived in Philadelphia fresh from three PSA Tour title triumphs in South America over the past six weeks.

Rodriguez led 9-4 in the first game, but the experienced 33-year-old from Cairo entertained the crowd with his dazzling racket skills to take a two-game lead.

And, despite a trio of successful appeals to the video referee by the Colombian near the end of the match, it was Shabana who closed out the match 11-9, 11-6, 15-13 after 60 minutes.

Shabana will now face fellow left-hander Laurens Jan Anjema in a repeat of their quarter-final clash in the 2011 championship. The Dutchman faced Aamir Atlas Khan, the Pakistani who defeated US number one Julian Illingworth in a marathon qualifying final.

Khan improved game by game but Anjema proved too strong, claiming the final last sixteen spot in an 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 victory.

Second seed Nick Matthew was forced to recover from a game down to overcome tall and imposing world No10 Omar Mosaad. Despite the Egyptian's best efforts, world No2 Matthew finally took the match 7-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-9.

"It's tough to play Omar," said the 2011 runner-up later. "I like to play a fluid game but we always seem to have a lot of stoppages and lets. It wasn't a lot of fun but I'm pleased to be through to the next round."

Matthew, the 2007 champion, will take on England team-mate and Commonwealth Games Doubles gold medal-winning partner Adrian Grant for a place in the quarter-finals.

Grant boosted the English contingent in the last sixteen to six after a hard-fought five-game win over young Egyptian qualifier Karim Abdel Gawad, winning 11-9, 8-11, 11-1, 5-11, 11-9 in 88 minutes - the longest match of the day.

"I don't plan to have five-setters," said the relieved Londoner. "But I suppose I have a lot of experience at them which stands me in good stead! I was playing well enough, I had leads in all the games except the fourth.

"I just need to be able to finish them off better - not slow down near the line like Usain Bolt!"

Matthew and Grant's clash will be the third all-English second round meeting after Peter Barker and Tom Richards also survived their opening round matches.

The day started with a solid performance from world No14 Richards against Ong Beng Hee, the former world No7 from Malaysia. After dropping the first two games, the 32-year-old from Penang took the third - but Richards reasserted in the fourth, taking advantage of his six-year age advantage to win 11-6, 11-3, 10-12, 11-6.

Sixth seed Barker comprehensively beat Shahier Razik 11-4, 11-6, 11-1. The 34-year-old Canadian, who successfully came through qualifying to contest his ninth US Open since 2002, never seriously troubled the English left-hander who reached the quarter-finals last year.

"It will be a tough match against Tom, but hopefully I can hold off the youngsters for another year or two," said Barker.

Indian hopes in Philadelphia were dashed when Egypt's No4 seed Ramy Ashour beat Saurav Ghosal 11-7, 13-11, 11-9 in 46 minutes.

"He's very quick," admitted 2009 runner-up Ashour. "I had to push myself all the time, he could have taken any of those games. I'm happy with how I played but I'll have to push myself harder in the rest of the tournament.

Ghosal, the top-ranked Indian from Kolkata, tweeted later: "Lost to Ramy Ashour today in 3 really close games. Obviously disappointed with the result but have to take positives from that performance."

Ashour will now face fellow countryman Tarek Momen. The recent Malaysian Open champion twice came from behind to beat Switzerland's Nicolas Mueller 5-11, 11-7, 10-12, 12-10, 11-6 in 70 minutes.

Top Half

Home Hero Gordon Marks Maiden World Series Win At US Open

National wild card Christopher Gordon, ranked 72 in the world, celebrated a dream result for the hosts of the Delaware Investments US Open when he upset world No15 Hisham Mohd Ashour in the first round of the PSA World Series squash event at Drexel University in Philadelphia to mark his first ever World Series win.

The 26-year-old from Hartford was visibly overwhelmed with his victory, dropping to his knees with emotion as he won the final point against the talented Egyptian.

"I can't believe it," said Gordon after his historic 11-9, 8-11, 13-11, 5-11, 11-6 triumph in just under an hour. "I've always dreamed about playing well on this court, and it was just an amazing experience - the best moment of my squash life.

"I'd like to say a huge thank you to US Squash. I wouldn't be out here if it wasn't for them. They gave me huge confidence by giving me a wildcard and helped me in my dream," said Gordon, who began his quest for success in PSA World Series events at the 2003 Tournament of Champions in New York.

After the win which produced only the second home player to make the last sixteen of the US Open since 1994, event spokeswoman Kristi Maroc said: "A huge win in his career, and a significant achievement for any player to beat an opponent over fifty places ahead in world rankings, the win will go down in the books as an important moment for squash in the United States."

Kevin Klipstein, the CEO of US Squash, added: "It's a great win for Chris. We're extremely happy for him, and we expect even greater things for him in the future. It's great having a wildcard pull through. It's a big breakthrough and we wish him luck in the next round."

Earlier, top seed and world number one James Willstrop opened proceedings on the all-glass court against Alister Walker - the world No12 from Botswana who has had several close matches with the Englishman. But, with a 10-0 head-to-head record, Willstrop started the firm favourite.

Relatively untroubled in the first two games, Willstrop opened up a 2/0 lead before Walker struck back to take the third. But it was the favourite who went on to make the second round, winning 11-4, 11-3, 7-11, 11-9 in 80 minutes.

Willstrop's next opponent will be England team-mate Daryl Selby, the world No11 from Essex who defeated Egyptian qualifier Omar Abdel Aziz 11-5, 11-9, 12-10.

"If someone had offered me 3/0 before the start I'd have taken it, even though there were some things I could have done better," said the 29-year-old Englishman. "I can do better - and I'll have to against James, but at least I have a chance to do that!"

Hopes of further English success on the day were dashed by Spaniard Borja Golan. But the world No16 had to battle for 76 minutes to overcome London-born Joe Lee, the lowest-ranked qualifier in the event, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5.

Egyptian seeds Mohamed El Shorbagy and Karim Darwish took their anticipated places in the last sixteen - but in contrasting styles: Fifth seed Darwish, one of six former world number ones in the event, despatched Hong Kong qualifier Max Lee 13-11, 11-2, 11-9 in just 38 minutes.

"It's my first real tournament since El Gouna," said the 31-year-old from Cairo. "We had a baby, spent some time in the US, training back in Egypt and I was injured in the Malaysian Open, so it's been a long time since I've been on court feeling right!

"The first match in any tournament you're always a bit nervous, especially in a big tournament like this, and against someone like Max who is improving all the time it was never going to be easy.

"I love the venue, I love playing in the US, they take care of us so well here. My aim for any tournament is to play as well as I can and win it, so I'll be trying my best for the rest of the week."

El Shorbagy, the 21-year-old No8 seed, survived a closely-contested battle against Germany's Simon Rosner. The Egyptian took the lead, but Rosner levelled - then, early in the third, required treatment on his back.

Seemingly unaffected, the German number one had leads in both the third and fourth games - but El Shorbagy held his nerve to close out the match 11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7 in 68 minutes.

"I've seen some of Simon's recent matches where he's had good results, so I knew it was going to be tough," said the relieved world No8 from Alexandria. "When we had that break I took the time to think about my tactics and I managed to play well enough to win the next two games."


Illingworth Leads Home Hopes Into Qualifying Finals

US champion Julian Illingworth carried home hopes into the qualifying finals of the Delaware Investments US Open after defeating fellow countryman Dylan Murray, the US junior champion, in straight games in the opening qualifying round of the fifth PSA World Series squash event of the year in Philadelphia.

Illingworth, the record eight-time national champion from New York who is ranked 28 in the world, cruised to an 11-3, 11-8, 11-6 win in 25 minutes over 17-year-old Murray at Germantown Cricket Club.

The sole US survivor of the first round will now face lone Pakistani Aamir Atlas Khan. The world No40 from Peshawar beat Henrik Mustonen, a Finn ranked just three places lower, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10 in 53 minutes.

An eagerly-awaited battle at Drexel University saw popular coach John White, Scotland's former world number one, face in-form Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez.

"The packed crowd, which included last year's finalists Amr Shabana and Nick Matthew, got fully involved and enjoyed it immensely," said event spokeswoman Kristi Maroc. "But they couldn't spur White on to victory as Rodriguez took three close games, the last two both on extra points."

The 11-8, 12-10, 12-10 victory takes Rodriguez on to face Siddharth Suchde for a place in the main draw. Indian Suchde beat England's US-based Joe Russell 11-3, 11-3, 11-2.

Canadian interest in the qualifiers is being led by Shahier Razik, who eased to an 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 win over Pakistan's Yasir Butt. The six-time Canadian champion from Toronto will now face Matthew Karwalski, the Australian who recorded his first win in three years over higher-ranked compatriot Zac Alexander in a 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 scoreline.

The longest match of the day saw Joe Lee survive an all-English tussle, upsetting Chris Simpson 11-4, 6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7 in 111 minutes in their third PSA World Tour qualifying clash this year.

Lee's next opponent will be Mexican Cesar Salazar, who prevailed in an equally tough marathon against world junior champion Marwan El Shorbagy, ultimately triumphing 11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 4-11, 11-9 in 75 minutes over the world No26 from Egypt.

Qualifying finals line-up:
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v Martin Knight (NZL)
Matthew Karwalski (AUS) v Shahier Razik (CAN)
Alan Clyne (SCO) v Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) v Julian Illingworth (USA)
Joe Lee (ENG) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v Max Lee (HKG)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v Siddharth Suchde (IND)