Defending champion Gregory Gaultier surged into the semi-finals of the 2016 Grasshopper Cup courtesy of a straight-games victory over local hope Nicolas Müller to extend his record over the Swiss number one to 8-0 and keep alive his hopes of successfully depending the crown he won in style twelve months ago.
Gaultier put in a mute performance in the first round as he struggled to shake off a determined Nafiizwan Adnan but the World No.2, dubbed the ‘French General’, was in consumate control throughout the 37-minute encounter with Müller, silencing the capacity crowd inside Zurich’s Puls5 as he controlled the court and dictated the play from the off in an exhibition of court control.
After falling 2-0 behind Müller mounted his strongest resistance in the third as buoyed on by vocal support he opened up a narrow advantage, but Gaultier showed just why he has consistently been one of the world’s top players for the past decade as he flicked through the gears to prompt back and end any hopes of a lasting challenge fro Müller.
“Always tough to play against the local boy – at the end of the day I have to do my job and I was moving better today than in the first round,” said Gaultier.
“I had to be very aware of his skills. He had a tough first round match and was maybe a bit drained from that and I took full advantage to counter him and dictate the game. I’m moving much better so that’s a positive for me.
“Sometimes we travel to places and it can only be players and refs at the first round so it’s great to play her win front of a good crowd so it’s good to see Switzerland embracing squash.”
Gaultier will now face Egypt’s Ali Farag in the semi-finals after the World No.11 dismissed Chris Simpson 3-1.
“Ali is on his way up and it will be a tough match. We’ve played twice before and I’ve only edged him by a few points each time but I’ll be ready for it. That’s what you work for, to face these kind of players, and every match for me now is a bonus after struggling with injury so I’ll do the best I can to win.”
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [WC] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-0: 11-4, 11-2, 11-7 (37m)
Gaultier in action