Opening night of the Delaware Investments US Open saw sixteen men’s first round qualifying matches over four Philadelphia clubs, and although local fans were treated to some tremendous matches, home winners were rare on the ground.
At Drexel University former world number one John White, Drexel’s own head coach, faced Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez in a real clash of physique and style. The packed crowd, which included last year’s finalists Amr Shabana and Nick Matthew, got fully involved and enjoyed it immensely, but couldn’t spur White on to victory as Rodriguez took three close games , the last two both on extralpoints.
The other final at Drexel will be between qualifying top seed Steve Coppinger, who won a lengthy four-game battle with Adrian Waller, and Martin Knight, who despatched local entry Jamie Macaulay in straight games.
Over at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia US players Chris Hansen and Graham Bassett both went down in straight games leaving Gregoire Marche and Max Lee to contest one of Friday’s qualifying finals at the long-established city centre club. The other match will be between Canadian number one Shahier Razik and Matthew Karwalski, who produced an upset in coming from a game down to beat his Australian compatriot Zac Alexander.
Merion Cricket Club fans saw their head coach Alex Stait in action, but one game was all he could take from Ryan Cuskelly, who goes on to face Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad, a four game winner over Campbell Grayson.
Todd Harrity provided the fans with a boost as he took the first game against Alan Clyne 11/2, but the Scot struck back to take the next three and set up a meeting with Egyptian Omar Abdel Aziz.
Germantown Cricket Club witnessed the longest matches of the evening, starting with a 111-minute all-English tussle which saw Joe Lee upset the seedings as he beat Chris Simpson in a seesaw five-setter. Lee’s next opponent will be Mexican Cesar Salazar, who prevailed in an equally tough marathon against world junior champion Marwan El Shorbagy, with both players diving around the court.
After seeing Julian Illingworth beat his young compatriot Dylan Murray in straight games tonight, the Germantown crowd will be cheering on the last American hope in his qualifying final against Aamir Atlas Khan who saw off the challenge of young Finn Henrik Mustonen in four games.
Qualifying finals are at 6.30pm and 7.30pm on Friday at all four venues – you pays your money and takes your choice!
Delaware Investments US Open 2012, Qualifying Round One:
Steve Coppinger (Rsa) bt Adrian Waller (Eng) 11-4, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7
Martin Knight (Nzl) bt Jamie Macaulay (Sco) 11-6, 11-1, 11-3 (37m)
Siddarth Suchde (Ind) bt Joe Russell (Eng) 11-3, 11-3, 11-2 (27 m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col) bt John White (Sco) 11-8, 12-10, 12-10 (48m)
Racquet Club of Philadelphia:
Shahier Razik (Can) bt Yasir Butt (Pak) 11-9, 11-8, 11-7
Matthew Karwalski (Aus) bt Zac Alexander (Aus) 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 (55m)
Gregoire Marche (Fra) bt Christopher Hanson (Usa) 11-6, 11-9, 11-7 (34m)
Max Lee (Hkg) bt Graham Bassett (Usa) 11-9, 11-6, 11-5 (29m)
Merion Cricket Club:
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) bt Alex Stait (Eng) 11-7, 8-11, 11-3, 11-3 (36m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) bt Campbell Grayson (Nzl) 11-4, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7 (53m)
Alan Clyne (Sco) bt Todd Harrity (Usa) 2-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-2 (39m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy) bt Shawn Delierre (Can) 11-4, 12-10, 5-11, 12-10 (73m)
Germantown Cricket Club:
Joe Lee (Eng) bt Chris Simpson (Eng) 11-4, 6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7 (111m)
Cesar Salazar (Mex) bt Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy) 11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 4-11, 11-9 (75m)
Julian Illingworth (Usa) bt Dylan Murray (Usa) 11-3, 11-8, 11-6 (25m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak) bt Henrik Mustonen (Fin) 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10 (53m)