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US OPEN (Men) 2013

Gaultier Reigns Supreme At US Open

 Final   Semi Finals    Quarter Finals   2nd Round  1st Round  Qualifying  Preview
U.S. Open Squash  
Round One
11/12 Oct
Round Two
13/14 Oct
15/16 Oct
17 Oct
18 Oct
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
12-10, 15-13, 11-1 (47m)
[WC] Christopher Gordon (USA)
Gregory Gaultier
11-1, 11-4, 11-7 (29m)
Adrian Waller
Gregory Gaultier
13-11, 11-8, 11-6 (47m)
Mathieu Castagnet
Gregory Gaultier
11-7, 11-4, 12-10 (46m)
Karim Darwish
Gregory Gaultier
11-4, 11-5, 11-5
Nick Matthew
Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY)
11-8, 11-2, 11-4 (41m)
Adrian Waller (ENG)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 11-6 (68m)
[Q] Shahier Razik (CAN)
Mathieu Castagnet
11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8 (105m)
Borja Golan
[7] Borja Golan (ESP)
11-3, 8-10 ret. (31m)
Shawn Delierre (CAN)
[5] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY)
11-2, 12-10, 8-11, 12-10 (58m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
Mohamed Elshorbagy
11-6, 11-6, 11-6 (37m)
Alan Clyne
Mohamed Elshorbagy
11-9, 11-9, 11-6 (42m)
Karim Darwish
Alan Clyne (SCO)
8-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 (88m)
[Q] Steven Finitsis (AUS)
Gregoire Marche (FRA)
11-6, 11-4, 11-6 (39m)
[Q] Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS)
Gregoire Marche
11-5, 11-2, 12-10 (44m)
Karim Darwish
[4] Karim Darwish (EGY)
11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 (72m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
[Q] Abdullah Al Muzayen (KUW)
11-0, 12-10, 14-12 (52m)
[3] Nick Matthew (ENG)
Nick Matthew
11-5, 11-5, 11-6 (36m)
Campbell Grayson
Nick Matthew
11-5, 11-4, 12-14, 11-6 (76m)
Peter Barker
Nick Matthew
11-3, 11-6, 11-5 (42m)
James Willstrop
Campbell Grayson (NZL)
13-11, 11-7, 13-11 (52m)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
Joe Lee (ENG)
11-0, 11-5, 11-4 (36m)
Henrik Mustonen (FIN)
Joe Lee
8-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-4 (66m)
Peter Barker
[6] Peter Barker (ENG)
11-9, 11-5, 4-11, 11-5 (54m)
[Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
[Q] Matthew Karwalski (AUS)
6-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-3 (51m)
[8] Tarek Momen (EGY)
Tarek Momen
11-7, 10-12, 11-2, 11-9 (62m)
Simon Rosner
Simon Rosner
11-5, 11-2, 8-11, 11-9 (59m)
James Willstrop
Simon Rosner (GER)
8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 (57m)
Julian Illingworth (USA)
[Q] Eddie Charlton (ENG)
8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 (57m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Karim Abdel Gawad
11-7, 11-9, 11-4 (35m)
James Willstrop
Chris Simpson (ENG)
11-7, 11-2, 11-7 (42m)
[2] James Willstrop (ENG)

RESULTS: PSA World Series Delaware Investments US Open, Philadelphia, USA

Qualifying finals:

Abdullah Al Muzayen (KUW) bt Ramit Tandon (IND) 11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8 (43m)
Matthew Karwalski (AUS) bt Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) 12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4 (60m)
Eddie Charlton (ENG) bt Todd Harrity (USA) 5-11, 11-9, 11-9, 12-10 (71m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Shaun le Roux (RSA) 11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 11-4 (40m)
Shahier Razik (CAN) bt Charles Sharpes (ENG) 11-8, 11-4, 11-1 (31m)
Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) bt Yasir Ali Butt (PAK) 13-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-4 (38m)
Steven Finitsis (AUS) bt Rex Hedrick (AUS) 7-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-4, 11-5 (78m)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt Alfredo Avila (MEX) 11-8, 11-6, 11-3 (40m)

1st Qualifying round:
Abdullah Al Muzayen (KUW) bt Joe Chapman (IVB) 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 (33m)
Ramit Tandon (IND) bt Jan Koukal (CZE) 11-6, 11-6, 11-9 (38m)
Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) bt Dylan Murray (USA) 11-3, 5-11, 11-5, 11-2
Matthew Karwalski (AUS) bt Faraz Khan (USA) 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 (33m)
Eddie Charlton (ENG) bt Dane Sharp (CAN) 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 (49m)
Todd Harrity (USA) bt Chris Ryder (ENG) 4-11, 11-13, 11-9, 12-10, 11-6 (75m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Chris Hanson (USA) 11-4, 11-5, 11-4 (21m)
Shaun le Roux (RSA) bt Gilly Lane (USA) 9-11, 13-11, 12-10, 11-2 (56m)
Shahier Razik (CAN) bt Ben Coleman (ENG) 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-2 (51m)
Charles Sharpes (ENG) bt Gonzalo Miranda (ARG) 7-11, 11-4, 12-10, 12-10 (56m)
Yasir Ali Butt (PAK) bt Sergio Lopez (MEX) 11-8, 11-8, 11-7 (26m)
Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) bt Arthur Gaskin (IRL) 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6 (72m)
Steven Finitsis (AUS) bt Imran Khan Riaz (PAK) 11-6, 11-3, 11-3 (22m)
Rex Hedrick (AUS) bt Gavin Jones (WAL) 11-5, 11-4, 11-7 (48m)
Alfredo Avila (MEX) bt John White (SCO) 11-8, 13-11, 11-8 (47m)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt Jamie Macaulay (SCO) 11-6, 11-2, 11-5 (21m)


Gaultier Reigns Supreme At US Open

After the longest gap between title wins in the history of the event, 2006 champion Gregory Gaultier clinched the 2013 Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships title after beating former champion Nick Matthew in straight games in the final of the fifth PSA World Series event of the year at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

It was a supreme performance by the top-seeded Frenchman who was celebrating his fourth successive appearance in a PSA World Tour event final since May - and carved his way through the world-class field without dropping a game.

World No2 Gaultier (pictured above, foreground, in final action against Matthew) took early leads in all three games - 6-1, 4-1 and 5-2 - and only in the second did third seed Matthew, the world No4 from England, threaten to close the gap.

The climax between two of the sport's former world number ones took 51 minutes to complete - the second game alone lasting more than 20 minutes - with Gaultier concluding his masterclass in an 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 scoreline.

"It's amazing," said the delighted 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence. "The last time I won this was 2006 so to win it again here in this great venue is like a dream.

"I gave 500% today, I tried to play fast and use a lot of variation as he's so strong in the middle of the court," explained Gaultier - after notching up the 25th PSA World Tour title of his career.

"For me it's my fifth tournament in a row, Nick has only just started after five months off, so I have the matches in my legs - maybe that was the difference tonight.

"I'm sure he'll come back strong, maybe we can have another match in the World Open final next week!

"The sponsors, the organisation and the venue here are all fantastic, and they're doing great things in helping to raise the women's game too."

Matthew, the 33-year-old from Sheffield who 24 hours earlier extended his seven-year winning run over fellow countryman James Willstrop to 16 matches, summed up his feeling about the final later on Twitter.

"Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say that despite giving it everything you were beaten by the better player," tweeted the 2007 champion.


Semi Finals

Matthew Extends Willstrop Run To Make US Open Final

Nick Matthew extended his unbeaten Tour run against fellow Englishman James Willstrop to 16 matches over almost seven years when he upset the world No3 in the Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships to reach the final of the fifth PSA World Series event of the year at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

The 2007 champion from Sheffield will face top-seeded Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the 2006 champion who defeated Egypt's No4 seed Karim Darwish, also in straight games.

Former world number one Matthew, currently ranked just a single place behind Willstrop, started well - taking a 6-1 lead in the opening game before closing it out 11-3.

The second was level up to five-all - but Matthew (pictured above, left, in US Open action with Willstrop) then pulled away again, taking it 11-6.

Second seed Willstrop, runner-up to his Yorkshire rival in the 2007 final, came out strongly for the third to lead 4-2.

But nemesis Matthew reclaimed the upper hand to secure seven points in a row before taking the match 11-3, 11-6, 11-5 after 42 minutes.

"I got a couple of errors and strokes out of him early in the first game, and I managed to carry that momentum through to the next two games," said 33-year-old Matthew.

"It's good to get through in three. Greg's in great form so I'll need to be as fresh as possible for the final.

"I'm not putting any pressure on myself: he's played 75 matches this season and I've played four, so he's much more match sharp than I am! I'll just go out to express myself and enjoy it and if I happen to win that would be great!"

The earlier semi-final was a repeat of last year's quarter-final, which Gaultier took more than an hour to win, en-route to the final.

Gaultier, bidding to make his fourth Tour final in a row, was in control from the outset, controlling the pace and controlling his opponent's movement. The favourite from Aix-en-Provence led 6-3. Darwish threatened a comeback but, from 7-6, Gaultier eased away again.

The second was all Gaultier (pictured above, left, with Darwish), who moved from 6-0 to take the game 11-4.

Darwish stayed close in the third, but Gaultier was always ahead. The 32-year-old from Cairo appealed a let that became a stroke to level at nine-all, then saved a match ball on a further stroke.

But a volley drop shortly afterwards clinched the match 11-7, 11-4, 12-10 in 46 minutes for Gaultier - who becomes the first player to reach a second successive US Open final since England's former world number one Lee Beachill in 2005.

"I stuck to my game plan and was pleased with how I played in the first two games," said Gaultier, whose defeat of Darwish ends a four-year Egyptian stranglehold on the title. "He played unbelievable squash to beat Shorbagy 3/0 yesterday: I was aware of that and knew I had to be focused from the start.

"In the third I went too short, and he's better at the front than me, so it became tough and I was just lucky enough to win the points at the end.

"I'm happy to win in three and really pleased to be in another final, it's what we're all here for."

Matthew is celebrating the 55th Tour final of his career, while Gaultier is marking his 54th.

The climax will be the pair's 25th Tour meeting since September 2002 - and third this year, with 2013 honours shared. Their career head-to-head record to date is 14/10 - in Gaultier's favour!

Official website: www.usopensquash.com

Quarter Finals (lower half of draw):

Willstrop & Matthew Set Up Dream US Open Semi

One of the most celebrated rivalries in world squash will be re-enacted in Philadelphia where Englishmen James Willstrop and Nick Matthew will compete for a place in the final of the Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships, the fifth PSA World Series event of the year at Drexel University.

The two PSA stalwarts and England team-mates, who live within 60 miles of each other in the English county of Yorkshire, will be marking their 31st Tour meeting since June 2001 - but their first for more than a year.

And Willstrop, the world No3 from Harrogate, will be looking for his first win over Matthew since beating the world No4 in his home city of Sheffield in December 2007.

Second seed Willstrop was in sparkling form against Simon Rosner - the world No12 from Germany against whom he boasted a 4/0 career head-to-head Tour record.

Willstrop (pictured above in US Open action with Rosner) went up 6-1 then 8-2 in the first, before taking it 11-5. From 4-2 in the second, the 30-year-old Englishman eased away again, taking seven points in a row for 11-2. The trend continued up to 6-2 in the third as the finishing post looked in sight.

But Rosner fought back to six-all, forcing the first errors from Willstrop's racket and celebrating some long-awaited winners.

Much to the delight of the packed crowd, the unseeded 25-year-old from Paderborn took the game - his first against Willstrop in five matches!

But Willstrop restored order in the fourth to move 6-2 ahead. Rosner dug deep to get back to 6-9, then to nine-all as the crowd sensed an unlikely decider.

But it was not to be: two points later and Willstrop was in his fifth successive US Open semi-final after an 11-5, 11-2, 8-11, 11-9 victory in 59 minutes.

"It's not easy to put three games of that quality together in a row," admitted Willstrop. "If you can, it would be pretty magical, but I was pleased to be able to do it for the first two games.

"It's tough, especially when you get blamed all the time," said Willstrop, in reference to the several warnings he'd received from the central referee about clearing his shots better. "We're both big guys and I certainly don't think I was entirely to blame. I see it happening in other matches without them being warned, but maybe it is me, maybe I need to find a way to solve it.

"Anyway, I'm happy I managed to find a way to close out the win and it should be a good all-English match tomorrow, whoever I play."

Third seed Matthew faced London left-hander Peter Barker, the sixth seed against whom he boasted a pre-match 20/2 record. But Matthew's second loss was in the pair's most recent encounter, at the Canary Wharf Classic in March in Barker's home city.

Matthew (pictured above in US Open action with Barker) was in charge in the first two games, controlling the rallies with precise volleys, punching the ball deep into the corners.

Barker was more aggressive from the start of the third, however, firing in a couple of spectacular volley kills as he opened up a 5-1 lead. Matthew reduced the gap to 3-5 and 6-7, but the determined world No7 stayed ahead until Matthew levelled at eight-all.

Barker then saved two match-balls before converting his second game-ball to take the match into a fourth game.

2007 champion Matthew regrouped, took a quick 6-2 lead before closing out the match 11-5, 11-4, 12-14, 11-6 after 76 minutes to secure his fourth successive semi-final appearance in the event.

"I saw how the last match went, with James cruising at 6-2 in the third," said Matthew. "So I was on my guard against that happening to me but he played really well at the start of the third and suddenly I was 5-1 down and he was becoming confident.

"It got a bit scrappy and bitty after that, a lot of lets and bumps, but I just had to tough it out and I'm pleased how I was able to do that."


(top half of draw):

Focussed Darwish Despatches Elshorbagy At Drexel

Despite just a single world ranking position separating the Egyptian pair, world No5 Karim Darwish endorsed his superiority over Mohamed Elshorbagy by despatching his sixth-placed national rival in straight games to reach the semi-finals of the Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships, the fifth PSA World Series event of the year at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Darwish, the 32-year-old former world number one from Cairo, went into the match 8-2 ahead in the pair's all-time head-to-head record - but 22-year-old Elshorbagy, from Alexandria, recorded a notable 3/0 win over his senior Egyptian team-mate last December en-route to an impressive PSA World Championship final debut.

Fourth seed Darwish took early control, leading 5-2, 7-5 and 9-6 and, despite Elshorbagy's best efforts, took the lead 11-9.

In the second, fifth seed Elshorbagy built up leads of 6-1, then 8-3 and 9-4 before proceeding to self-destruct - with five unforced tins in a row. Darwish took the game 11-9 with a dropshot for an unlikely two-game lead.

Darwish took full advantage in the third, taking a 5-1 lead, then extending it to 7-3. At 10-6 a delicate crosscourt dropshot clinched the match for Darwish - and a first appearance in the US Open semi-finals since 2007.

"I was really focused for this match," said Darwish (pictured above in action with Elshorbagy) after his 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 victory. "I really wanted to win this one and it's such a great feeling to be in the semi-final of the US Open. There were a few collisions in the second. I wasn't too happy about it, but I told myself I had to win and I'm happy I could do it."

Darwish will now face career-long French rival Gregory Gaultier, the top seed, for a place in the final.

"Greg's one of the in-form players, so it should be a good match against him on Thursday," concluded the exuberant Egyptian.

Gaultier, the world No2 bidding to reach his fourth PSA World Tour final in a row, defeated unseeded compatriot Mathieu Castagnet 13-11, 11-8, 11-6.

Underdog Castagnet, a surprise quarter-finalist after ousting No7 seed Borja Golan in the previous round, got off to a flyer, building up a 6-0 lead.

The unperturbed event favourite calmly worked his way back into the game to draw level at eight-all before taking the lead 9-8 with another crisp volley.

Castagnet came back to save a game-ball at 9-10 before getting his own game-ball at 11-10. But Gaultier pushed to take the game 13-11.

The experienced 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence led in both the next two games before closing out the match 13-11, 11-8, 11-6.

"He started really fast and took me a bit by surprise," admitted Gaultier. "It was maybe a bit faster than he usually plays, so I knew I had to make the game tough even if I lost it. Once I got a few points I was confident I could win the game, but I had to work hard.

"He didn't slow down at all in the second, he played just as well as he had in the first, so I had to really dig in to stay in front.

"We've played together for so long it's really hard to play in a match like this, but you just have to forget about that and find a solution to win."

Official website: www.usopensquash.com

2nd Round (lower half of draw):

Rosner Reaches Goal At US Open

Germany's Simon Rosner achieved his goal to reach the quarter-finals of a PSA World Series event when he upset eighth-seeded Egyptian Tarek Momen on the second day of last 16 round action in the Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships, the fifth PSA World Series event of the year at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

In a clinical opening game, world No12 Rosner - ranked just a single place below his opponent - put on a dazzling display of length followed by precise drops to both sides of the court. The 25-year-old from Paderborn followed a backhand boast with a straight volley drive that took him to 9-7.

A poor volley tin carried Rosner (pictured above with Momen) to game ball and an inch-perfect backhand straight volley drop secured the opener.

Momen, who like Rosner was looking to make his first appearance in the US Open last eight, saved two game-balls in the second to draw level.

After a surprising third in which Rosner reclaimed the lead after just four minutes - conceding a mere two points - the fourth was a cat-and-mouse affair with the pair trading point for point. But three unforced errors from Rosner handed Momen the lead at 9-8.

The German slowed down the game, however, with balls tight on the backhand wall followed by straight forehand drops - taking the next three points in spectacular fashion to secure his place in the quarter-finals.

"It's amazing," exclaimed Rosner after his 11-7, 10-12, 11-2, 11-9 victory in 62 minutes. "It's always my goal to get to the quarters in big tournaments. It's an amazing feeling. I love this tournament and I love coming back here.

"I felt I had to stay straight with the drop shot. There's no point in playing to the back if your short game is going so well like mine was today.

"This is only my second World Series tournament to reach the quarters. I've been in the quarters twice in the North American Open, so it seems like I play well in America!"

Rosner will now face James Willstrop, the second seed from England who eased to an 11-7, 11-9, 11-4 win over 22-year-old Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad.

"It's never easy against any of these up and coming players," said Willstrop, the 30-year-old world No3 from Harrogate. "You just have to try to keep your head, dig in and try to keep winning points.

"It's such a great event here, the venue is wonderful, it's a great city to come to, and the Philadelphia crowd is really knowledgeable about their squash.

"For the next round, Simon is another of the gaggle of hungry up and coming players, he's fast, plays at an intense pace and he'll be taking the game to me for sure!"

The other quarter-final line-up settled will produce a certain English semi-finalist after third seed Nick Matthew takes on England team-mate Peter Barker, the No6 seed.

2007 champion Matthew ended Campbell Grayson's run, beating the New Zealand qualifier 11-5, 11-5, 11-6.

"He's one of those players who can keep going at the same level for two hours," said former world number one Matthew (pictured above with Grayson). "So I knew I had to get on top from the start and I was pleased with how I did that, but he was still going strong at the end.

"Maybe I let my opponent off the hook a little in the last round, and it became a tough match, so I wanted to make sure that didn't happen again."

Londoner Barker was involved in a domestic clash with rising London-born Joe Lee - in, surprisingly, their first ever meeting. In the last match of the day, the experienced world No7 Barker had to fight back from a game down to overcome Lee, ranked 27 places lower, 8-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-4 in 66 minutes.

"Joe's fit and strong, he's coming up the rankings fast and it takes a long time to wear him down these days," said Barker later.

"I'm glad everyone stayed to watch, especially after that first game," he quipped. "It was pretty long and attritional. Joe will be happy with how he played in that one, it's usually my strength, but I was glad to be able to come back and take the next three."

Official website: www.usopensquash.com

(top half of draw)

Castagnet Conquers Golan In US Open Upset

Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet recorded his first ever victory over a world-top-ten-ranked player when he upset seventh-seeded Spaniard Borja Golan in the Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships to claim an unexpected place in the quarter-finals of the fifth PSA World Series event of the year at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

World No30 Castagnet went into the match with a 0-3 head-to-head record against the world No9 from Santiago de Compestela - losing out in five games over 110 minutes in their most recent meeting.

And the latest clash also took more than 100 minutes as the unseeded Frenchman bid to make his breakthrough against Golan in his first appearance in the US Open.

Castagnet (pictured above with Golan) took the opening game but Golan struck back to lead 2/1. From four-all in the fourth, the Frenchman opened up a lead before eventually forcing the decider.

In the fifth Castagnet again made a good start, 3-0 and 8-5 - but Golan battled back to eight-all. A Spanish drop into the tin took the underdog to 9-8, then a drive that died in the back corner to 10-8, before mishit winner gave Castagnet his career-best scalp in an 11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8 scoreline after 105 minutes.

"I have no words, I'm so happy," said 26-year-old Castagnet. "I was injured for three months before the world teams and couldn't shake it off. I really considered ending my career then, but I'm so glad I worked hard to recover.

"It feels so good to be playing again, and to be winning a match like this is unbelievable.

"If I end up playing Greg (Gaultier) in the quarters, it will be great for France but a very tough match for me. But playing anyone now would be tough, I need to get some rest and recovery!"

A speedy 29-minute win by the top seed later did give Castagnet the opponent he predicted when Gregory Gaultier dismissed Englishman Adrian Waller 11-1, 11-4, 11-7.

"Today I was really focused from the first point," said Gaultier, the world number two, now a step closer to his second successive appearance in the final. "I really had to play fast and bring something. In the first round I wasn't quite there mentally, so I tried to raise my pace today.

"It's just motivation at the end of the day. I've been a month on the road and haven't seen my family and my kid. I turned up at the junior tournament downstairs, and I was also quite impressed with the level of the juniors here."

The other confirmed quarter-final line-up will also be a clash between two fellow countrymen when Egypt's fourth seed Karim Darwish takes on fifth seed Mohamed Elshorbagy.

Darwish, the 32-year-old world No5 from Cairo, stopped the French invasion when he beat Gregoire Marche, a 23-year-old from Aix-en-Provence, 11-5, 11-2, 12-10 in 44 minutes.

"It's always best to win these early rounds as quick as possible," commented Darwish, seeded to make the semi-finals for the first time since 2007. "But these days that's getting much harder. The third game today was like three games."

Elshorbagy delighted the crowd with his dazzling shot-making as he ousted top-ranked Scot Alan Clyne 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 in 37 minutes. Within the first five points, the Egyptian was hitting winners between his legs from the back court, rolling over his backhand volley for nicks.

The 22-year-old from Alexandria (pictured above with Clyne) put on an impressive array of drop-shots that left the crowd gasping and Clyne shaking his head.

"I was too passive in my last match, so I knew I had to increase the pace today," said Elshorbagy. "I used my rest day well yesterday, and I'm really happy with my performance today.

"Yesterday I just chilled and had a massage. I know if I play Karim Darwish next I'll be looking for revenge because he beat me 3-0 in Malaysia the last time we played."

Official website: www.usopensquash.com

US Open images courtesy of Squashpics.com

1st Round Bottom Half

Kiwi Qualifier Campbell In US Open Breakthrough

New Zealander Campbell Grayson became the only qualifier to break through into the last 16 of the Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships when he upset Swiss number one Nicolas Mueller on the second day of first round action in the fifth PSA World Series event of the year at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

In four previous encounters, the world No41 from Auckland had never beaten Mueller, though he had taken him to five games as recently as last March in the Kuwait PSA Cup.

Grayson (pictured above in action with Mueller) took the opening two games, the first on a tie-break - but world No25 Mueller fought back in the third to reach game ball at 10-6.

But the 24-year-old from Zurich twice hit the tin and, still up 10-9, attempted a crosscourt backhand drop that just missed the nick - and Grayson jumped onto it to drive the ball to an unreachable length. Despite a further game ball for Mueller at 11-10, Grayson refused to surrender, racing away with his ticket into the second round by forcing Mueller to scramble too much and ultimately finding himself congratulating the exuberant Grayson.

"I just kept telling myself that I was only a couple points away, to keep fighting," said Grayson after his shock 13-11, 11-7, 13-11 upset in 52 minutes. "I'm really happy with how I played at the end. I'm looking forward to my next match now."

In his first appearance in the second round, Grayson will now face 2007 champion Nick Matthew, the third seed from England. In one of the most unlikely scorelines ever recorded, the world No4 from Sheffield beat Kuwait qualifier Abdullah Al Muzayen 11-0, 12-10, 14-12 in 52 minutes.

"In some ways that first game was the worst thing that could happen," said Matthew. "He played really well after that, and it was very tough, but I'd rather have it that way than win all the games 11-0."

US interest in the main draw ended when top-ranked German Simon Rosner ousted eight-time US champion Julian Illingworth 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 in 42 minutes.

"I'm really happy with how I played," said world No12 Rosner (pictured above in action with Illingworth). "Julian's always a difficult opponent and especially in front of his home crowd. He was coming back at me in the second, I had to dig deep to win that one.

"I'm a 9/16 seed here, and I'm hoping to do better than that, which means I'd have to beat Tarek in two days' time."

But eighth seed Tarek Momen, ranked just a single place above the German, struggled to overcome Matthew Karwalski, having to fight back from a two-game deficit before seeing off the Australian qualifier 6-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-3 in 51 minutes.


1st Round Top Half

Gordon Tests Gaultier In US Opener

Top-seeded Frenchman Gregory Gaultier secured his place in the last 16 of the Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships - but the 2006 champion was fully tested by US wild card Christopher Gordon on the opening day of main draw action in the fifth PSA World Series event of the year which is celebrating its third successive year at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Gordon, the US champion from New York, led 9-7 in the first game but world No2 Gaultier fought back to win the opener on a tie-break.

The local hero led in the second - at 8-7, 10-8 and 11-10 - but was again unable to convert as Gaultier (pictured above with Gordon) showed his mastery to extend the lead to 2/0.

It was all Gaultier in the third as the 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence clinched the 12-10, 15-13, 11-1 victory in 47 minutes which takes him one step closer to a second successive appearance in the final.

"I was really pleased with how I played," said world No48 Gordon. "There was no pressure on me so I could just enjoy it. The third was disappointing, the ball was spongy. I knew it was spongy, and I had to get a better length, but he just got on top of me so fast."

Gaultier, expected to reach his fourth Tour final appearance in a row next week, was happy to win: "I've been away for a month now, three tournaments in a row is tough - you just need to keep the motivation to play at the right level.

"Chris has improved a lot. He's proved he's number one in America and we're good friends. I spent a lot of time with him in New York. Maybe I gave him too much advice - he nearly got me in the first two games!

"I won this tournament a few years ago. Winning the US Open means a lot to all of us and it's getting bigger and better every year. I'll give all I've got to try to win it again, but there are no easy matches nowadays - you have to treat every round as a final."

Gaultier will face a surprise opponent in the second round after England's world No35 Adrian Waller pulled off a notable upset over Egypt's former world junior champion Marwan Elshorbagy, ranked nine places higher.

The 11-8, 11-2, 11-4 win takes the 23-year-old from Enfield into the second round for the first time since 2010.

Scottish number one Alan Clyne survived the day's longest battle, coming back from two games down to beat Australian qualifier Steven Finitsis 8-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 in 88 minutes.

"Had to do a bit of grinding tonight to get the 3-2 win from 2-0 down," tweeted the world No32 from Edinburgh later. "Pleased to be into the last 16 of the US Open anyhow!"

Clyne moves on to meet fifth seed Mohamed Elshorbagy, who needed almost an hour to overcome fellow Egyptian Omar Abdel Aziz 11-2, 12-10, 8-11, 12-10.

"He played so much better after the first game," said 22-year-old Elshorbagy, bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the fourth year in a row. "I think I played the same through the whole match, but he came back so well and I was fortunate to get through."

Another Egyptian was also fully tested in a marathon: Karim Darwish, the fourth seed from Cairo who was a semi-finalist in 2007, took 72 minutes to overcome Australian Ryan Cuskelly 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7.

"It's always tough playing someone like Ryan," said former world number one Darwish. "I had to be on my toes the whole match. Those few points at the end of the second were crucial, then I relaxed a bit in the third but managed to get it back for the fourth."

Seventh seed Borja Golan took his place in round two but only after his Canadian opponent Shawn Delierre was forced to retire after only two games.

After dropping the opening game, Canadian number one Delierre was leading 10-8 in the second when when he stretched for a ball and fell to the floor.

After taking a three-minute injury timeout, the 31-year-old from Montreal offered his hand to Golan. "It's not the way anyone wants to win," said the top-ranked Spaniard. "He played well at the start of the second game and it's a real shame he couldn't finish the match."

Delierre was later seen walking away cautiously: "It's good news that I can walk - nothing too serious," he told the official website www.usopensquash.com



Multinational Qualifiers Make US Open Draw

Players from seven countries claimed the eight qualifying places in the men's main draw of the Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships following testing encounters in the qualifying finals of the fifth PSA World Series event of the year which is celebrating its third successive year at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Steven Finitsis was taken the full distance by fellow Australian Rex Hedrick (both pictured above) before winning a see-saw affair 7-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-4, 11-5 in 78 minutes.

"We're good friends, so it's tough to play each other," said Queenslander Finitsis, a 30-year-old now based in Amsterdam. "Not sure if he'll be in my corner tomorrow though!"

"Don't worry mate, I'll be there," was Hedrick's immediate response.

Finitsis will be joined in the main draw by fellow Aussie Matthew Karwalski, a 12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4 winner over England's Jaymie Haycocks.

But Eddie Charlton provided an English qualifying place when he dashed US hopes by beating Philadelphia's Todd Harrity 5-11, 11-9, 11-9, 12-10.

"Really happy to qualify in a really tough four game battle," Nottingham-born Charlton later told his Twitter followers.

Veteran Canadian Shahier Razik denied further English interest in the qualifiers when he eased past Charles Sharpes 11-8, 11-4, 11-1.

The 35-year-old from Toronto now becomes the only player in the main draw to have made his US Open debut in the 2001 championship in Boston, which was staged in January 2002 following the 9/11 tragedy.

Kuwait's Abdullah Al Muzayen will make his US Open debut after beating India's Ramit Tandon 11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8. The 25-year-old left-hander is drawn to face England's No3 seed Nick Matthew, the 2007 champion.

New Zealand's world No41 Campbell Grayson became highest-ranked player to qualify when he defeated Mexican Alfredo Avila (both pictured above) 11-8, 11-6, 11-3. The 27-year-old from Auckland will make his maiden appearance in the event when he faces Swiss number one Nicolas Mueller in the first round.

Qualifying 1

Mexican Masters White In US Open Qualifiers

Alfredo Avila, a 22-year-old Mexican bidding to make his maiden appearance in the Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships, denied John White the chance to be the event's oldest player ever when he beat the 40-year-old Scot in straight games in the first qualifying round of the PSA World Series event celebrating its third successive year at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

A semi-finalist in the 1999 championship, White went on to top the world rankings in 2004 and is now the Head Coach at Drexel University.

But despite local knowledge, and fervent support from his students, the Australian-born veteran was unable to wind back the clock - going down 11-8, 13-11, 11-8 in 47 minutes to the exciting young Mexican prospect.

Avila, the world No55 from Mexico City (pictured above with White), now meets New Zealander Campbell Grayson for a place in the main draw. World No41 Grayson, the highest-ranked player in the qualifying draw, took just 21 minutes to see off Scotland's Jamie Macaulay 11-6, 11-2, 11-5.

In other qualifying matches at Drexel, Australians Steven Finitsis and Rex Hedrick both prevailed - Queenslander Finitsis beating Pakistan's Philadelphia-based coach Imran Khan Riaz 11-6, 11-3, 11-3 and Melbourne-based Hedrick defeating US-based Welshman Gavin Jones 11-5, 11-4, 11-7.

But Merion Cricket Club was the scene of the sole home win as Todd Harrity delighted his home club crowd with a comeback five-game win over England's 33-year-old world No72 Chris Ryder in 75 minutes, the longest match of the round.

Harrity, ten years younger and ranked more than 100 places lower, beat Ryder 4-11, 11-13, 11-9, 12-10, 11-6 to earn a surprise qualifying finals meeting with England's Eddie Charlton, the world No63.

At Germantown Cricket Club, Pakistan's Yasir Ali Butt, Australia's Matthew Karwalski and Englishman Jaymie Haycocks won in straight games - while Malaysia's Muhd Asyraf Azan took the full five games and 72 minutes to see off Irishman Arthur Gaskin.

The Racquets Club of Philadelphia was the scene of victories for Mohamed Abouelghar, Shaun le Roux, Shahier Razik and Charles Sharpes - Abouelghar and Le Roux ending the hopes of USA's Chris Hanson and Gilly Lane.



US Open Welcomes World's Elite To Philadelphia

Eyes of the squash world will be focussed over the next week on Philadelphia, where the fifth PSA World Series event of the year has attracted the world's elite to the Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships, staged for the third year in a row at Drexel University.

The event's top four seeds have all topped the world rankings over the last four years - with top-seeded Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the world No2, looking to make amends for a runner-up finish last year by winning the men's title for the second time since 2006.

But England's No3 seed Nick Matthew will also be looking to pick up the trophy for a second time after wresting it from Gaultier in 2007 in New York.

Gaultier begins his fourth US Open campaign against Christopher Gordon, the US wildcard who celebrated a significant breakthrough in March when, against expectations, he won the US National title for the first time.

The 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence is enjoying one of his best career runs since reaching world number one in 2009. Winner of the Abierto Mexicano de Raquetas in Mexico last month, Gaultier is expected to notch up his fourth Tour final appearance in a row when he reaches the US Open climax next Friday (18 October).

On the other side of the draw, world No4 Matthew kicks off his eighth US Open campaign since 2003 against a qualifier. The 33-year-old from Sheffield, who topped the world rankings throughout 2011, is expected to reach the semi-finals for the third year in a row - where his opponent is predicted to be national rival James Willstrop.

Second seed Willstrop, runner-up to Matthew in 2007 and world number one last year, will be eager to get his hands on the trophy for the first time. The world No3 from Harrogate opens his 2013 bid against fellow countryman Chris Simpson, the new world No21.

A Willstrop/Matthew clash could not fail to be one of the Philadelphia highlights. The encounter would be the pair's 31st Tour meeting since 2001 (with Matthew holding a 22-8 advantage) - but their first for more than a year!

Egyptian interest in the event will be led by Karim Darwish, the fourth seed who topped the world rankings from January 2009. The 32-year-old from Cairo takes on Australian Ryan Cuskelly in the opening round - and may have to overcome fast-rising fellow countryman Mohamed Elshorbagy, the No5 seed, in the quarter-finals before a predicted semi-final clash with Gaultier.

Players from 18 nations will compete in the qualifying competition for eight places in the main draw.

At 40 years old, Scotland's John White is looking to become one of the oldest competitors ever to make the main draw. As Head Coach at Drexel University, the former world number one will surely have considerable local support.

But White, a US Open semi-finalist in 1999, has a tough first round opponent in Alfredo Avila, a rapidly-rising 22-year-old from Mexico who, ranked 55 in the world, is the sixth highest-ranked player in the qualifying draw.


Official event website: www.usopensquash.com/