US Open Qualifying coming up

The qualifying draws for the 2012 edition of the Delaware Investments US Open are out, with 32 men and 16 women setting out to qualify for the $115k and $70k main draws in Philadelphia.

The men start today, in four clubs, and the women begin on Saturday when the men’s main draw commences – all at Drexel University.

04-Oct, Men’s Qualifying Round One

DREXEL UNIVERSITY:
17.00 Martin Knight (Nzl) v Jamie Macaulay (Sco)
18.00 Siddharth Suchde (Ind) v Joe Russell (Eng)
19.00 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col) v John White (Sco)
20.00 Steve Coppinger (Rsa) v Adrian Waller (Eng)

RACQUET CLUB OF PHILADELPHIA –
17.00 Shahier Razik (Can) v Yasir Butt (Pak)
18.00 Gregoire Marche (Fra) v Christopher Hanson (Usa)
19.00 Max Lee (Hkg) v Graham Bassett (Usa)
20.00 Zac Alexander (Aus) v Matthew Karwalski (Aus)

MERION CRICKET CLUB:
17.00 Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) v Alex Stait (Eng)
18.00 Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) v Campbell Grayson (Nzl)
19.00 Alan Clyne (Sco) v Todd Harrity (Usa)
20.00 Shawn Delierre (Can) v Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy)

GERMANTOWN CRICKET CLUB:
17.00 Chris Simpson (Eng) v Joe Lee (Eng)
18.00 Julian Illingworth (Usa) v Dylan Murray (Usa)
19.00 Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy) v Cesar Salazar (Mex)
20.00 Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak) v Henrik Mustonen (Fin)

Enticing lineups in Philly

The qualifying draw for the Delaware Investments U.S. Open, to be played out over four Philadelphia locations on 4th and 5th October, has thrown up some intriguing, some unfortunate, and some downright exciting matchups that are sure to kick off the PSA $115k World Series event in style.

Drexel University, which will be hosting all the main draw matches, gets a wonderful selection as local (or more precisely British ex-pat) pre-qualifiers Jamie Macaulay and Joe Russell take on New Zealand #1 one Martin Knight and Indian #2 Siddarth Suchde respectively.

Those matches are followed by the undoubted match of the day as Drexel’s own head coach John White, the hard-hitting former world number one, meets Colombia’s in-form Miguel Angel Rodriguez. One of the fastest players around, with a host of unconventional shots and a propensity to dive for the ball sometimes several times a rally, Rodriguez like White is a crowd favourite wherever he plays.

South African Steve Coppinger and Englishman Adrian Waller will have a hard act to follow to round off the action at Drexel, but they’ll certainly be up for it.

Fans at the historic Racquet Club of Philadelphia will also get to see two locals in action, as USA’s Chris Hansen and Graham Bassett meet stylish young Frenchman Greg Marche and Hong Kong’s Max Lee. Preceding that Canadian #1 Shahier Razik meets Pakistani Yasir Butt and an all-Aussie clash finishes off the evening as Zac Alexander – who qualified from the same venue with two hour-long wins last year – meets compatriot Matthew Karwalski.

First up at Merion Cricket Club is another ex-pat Englishman, the club’s head coach Alex Stait, who faces another Aussie in Ryan Cuskelly. Then, after a potentially long meeting between Karim Abdel Gawad and Campbell Grayson the home crowd then gets to cheer on the USA’s Todd Harrity against all-action Scot Alan Clyne, finishing off ith a potentially explosive match between Canada’s Shawn Delierre and Egyptian Omar Abdel Aziz.

Matches at Germantown Cricket Club start with two rather unfortunate ‘local derbies’, Englishmen Chris Simpson and Joe Lee, followed by home stars Julian Illingworth and Dylan Bennett. Both should be good matches, and two more follow with world junior champion Marwan El Shorbagy facing Mexico’s tenacious Cesar Salazar – world ranking 26 v 52 but don’t let that fool you into thinking it will be quick – and Aamir Atlas Khan versus Henrik Mustonen, speedy Pakistani against fast-improving Finn.

So there you have it – one of the most interesting qualifying draws, ever, but you can only be in one place at a time. All we can say is you won’t be disappointed if you can get to any of the venues, or of course you follow it all here   …

USA’s “Fab Five” go for qualifying glory at Drexel

Five USA players will attempt to reach the main draw of the WSA $70k Delaware Investments U.S. Open in the qualifying competition which will be held at Philidelphia’s Drexel University on the 6th and 7th of October, although they will have to produce ranking upsets to succeed in that aim.
Philadelphia’s own Amy Gross, who won her spot by coming through the pre-qualifying tournament, faces the hardest task as she faces France’s Camille Serme, the world number 13 and qualifying top seed in the opening match of the competition.

If the Frenchwoman, who was ranked as high as #7 just a year ago, disappoints the home fans as expected, she could well face another home favourite in the final round, should US former World Junior Champion Amanda Sobhy get past Kiwi Jaclyn Hawkes. Hawkes is ranked #19 in the world, a position Sobhy bettered before her studies at Harvard intervened, so this should be one of the contests of the round.

“So excited to be heading back to philly for the #UsOpen tomorrow!” tewwted Sobhy. “Good to be able to represent amurrica in such a prestigious event!”

Probably appearing in her last qualifying competition for some time will be England’s Alison Waters, the former world number three whose return from a long-term injury is almost complete – Waters beat Nicol David in New York’s Carol Weymuller semi-finals last week and has moved back up to world number eight.

Japan’s Misaki Kobayashi provides the first obstacle for Waters, followed by the winner between another former World Junior Champion, Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb, and another local Elizabeth Eyre.

The battle for the third qualifying spot involves Maria Elena Ubina, currently ranked the world’s 7th best junior. Her first opponent is Australia’s Donna Urquhart, currently ranked the world’s 17th best player, and the winner of that will face one of squash’s two rising stars, India’s Dipika Pallikal and Canadian Samantha Cornett, ranked #14 and #37 respectively.

The US has two shots at the fourth main draw spot up for grabs – multi-US National Champion Latasha Khan faces a tough match against England’s Sarah Kippax, the world #22, while the younger Sobhy, Sabrina, is up against world #12 Joelle King from New Zealand.

The odds are stacked against them, but there will be no shortage of home support at Drexel as the USA “fab five” [I must get a group shot!] go for glory …

Qualifying Round One (6th Oct, from 12.00 to 19.99)

Camille Serme (Fra) v Amy Gross (Usa)
Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl) v Amanda Sobhy (Usa)
Alison Waters (Eng) v Misaki Kobayashi (Jpn)
Nour El Tayeb (Egy) v Elizabeth Eyre (Usa)

Donna Urquhart (Aus) v Maria Elena Ubina (Usa)
Dipika Pallikal (Ind) v Samantha Cornett (Can)
Sarah Kippax (Eng) v Latasha Khan (Usa)
Joelle King (Nzl) v Sabrina Sobhy (Usa)

Finals are 14.00 to 17.00 on 7th Oct.

Full coverage: www.usopensquash.com

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