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Inside Drexel University

US Open Quarters: As It Happens

The intensity is going up at the 2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open as we hit quarter-finals night.

With a PSA World Series semi-final spot – along with vital #Road2Dubai and World Rankings points – at stake, it promises to be a big night of action.

Here’s what’s coming up:

5:30pm Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v James Willstrop (ENG)
6:30pm [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [8] Alison Waters (ENG)
7:30pm [5] Raneem El Welily (EGY) v [3] Nicol David (MAS)
8:30pm [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)

Willstrop grits his teeth

Willstrop Secures US Open Semi-final Spot

England’s James Willstrop will compete in the semi-finals of a PSA World Series tournament for the first time since 2014 after he came through a tough last eight test against South Africa’s Stephen Coppinger at Philadelphia’s Drexel University today.

The former World No.1 hasn’t reached the latter stages of one of the PSA Tour’s most significant events since undergoing surgery on a potentially career-ending hip injury in the summer of 2014 but has shown signs of returning to his best over the past fortnight, reaching the final of the NetSuite Open and downing World No.3 Omar Mosaad in the first round here in Philadelphia.

But after getting off to a slow start in the first game the 32-year-old continued to impress as he came through to down Coppinger, who put together one of the best performances of his season to really bring out the best in the Englishman, 11-9, 5-11, 11-8, 11-3 in just under an hour.

“I feel great right now – it’s such a pleasure to be out here at the US Open and to reach a semi-final feels very good,” said Willstrop.

“Each player on Tour is so different these days. I played well against Omar in the first round but the second round was a different test and it was completely different again today. Stephen puts so much pressure on you and he was getting onto everything I played – so I had to think of ways to switch him and move him around.

“I had to be very clear in what I was doing to open up the spaces and at 1-1 there it was becoming a real battle – it was definitely a tough, tough match.

“Experience was maybe the one card I had on him. I’ve been in that situation before and I had to remind myself that I knew how to do it. That can go out the window in play because there are so many tough competitors out there – but in the end I just had to beat the guy and thankfully that’s what I did.”

Result:
James Willstrop (ENG) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 3-1: 11-9, 5-11, 11-8, 11-3 (58m)

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini

El Welily & El Sherbini Set Up Al Ahram Rematch

Egyptian duo Raneem El Welily, the World No.5, and Nour El Sherbini, the World No.1, will face off in the semi-finals of the 2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open in a rematch of the Al Ahram Open final after they cam through their last eight encounters in contrasting fashion.

El Sherbini put in a display of pure dominance as she out-muscled Alison Waters of England while El Welily had to produce some of the best squash of her season to take out a hungry and fired up Nicol David, the eight-time World Champion who came out with a point to prove in what turned into an exhibition of squash at the highest calibre.

David, who scraped through 3-2 in her second round encounter with Nour El Tayeb, played positive attacking squash from the off and, in a feisty spirit not normally associated with the Malaysian, she took on El Welily at her own free-firing game to take the first game and the quality continued form there on, with both players hitting the corners and dragging each other around in a blur of spell binding movement.

El Welily played her way back into the match and managed to take a highly competitive third game to get into the ascent and she stood firm to hold off all that David threw at her in the fourth to take the match – which was sealed when David showed the honesty and integrity befitting her status as one of the all time greats by conceding a double bounce on match ball.

“I’m so, so happy to win,” said El Welily.

“There were so many points when I didn't think I was going to make it – she was playing so well. I think I was always behind and she was controlling it – I just had to dig deep and keep on pushing to stay on court as long as I could.

“I was so happy to finish that fourth game because I don’t think I could have played a fifth one.

“I don’t know how I turned it around – I’m so happy to be in the semis.”

Result:
[5] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [3] Nicol David (MAS) 3-1: 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-9 (57m)

El Welily celebrates the win

Mo Takes Down Marwan In ElShorbagy Battle

World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy extended his winning streak over young brother Marwan to 6-0 to move into the semi-finals of the US Open – where James Willstrop, the man who knocked him out of the 2015 World Championships when he was the title favourite – will await.

In a match that never really lived up to expectation, and in which both struggled to adopt the right mental approach, it was 25-year-old Mohamed who came through 11-7, 11-5, 12-10.

“We have been dealing with each other all day as we’re sharing together – it’s been awkward for us but at the same time we have to get used to it,” said Mohamed.

“Every time we’ve played in the past he’s beaten a higher seed to get there but this was the first time we’ve been seeding to meet.

“We talked about it before the season that we knew we’d face each other and that’s tough mentally. To be able to finish in three is lucky – mentally it’s tough for us on there.

“My mum has been able to raise two champions. Marwan and I have totally different personalities but she’s dealt with us differently to get us to the same place. Making my parents proud is the most important thing in my life – to see them being proud of us both is the most important thing, titles come after that.

“I have such great memories of playing here – it’s where I got to the No.1 ranking. Today was the first day this season that I felt like I was moving well and playing well – I’ve been struggling with my movement but it all came good today. Unfortunately it came against my brother.

“I’ve got James now and it should be a good match. James, Nick, Greg – those are the guys that I have learned from and without them I wouldn’t be the player I am today.

Result:
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 12-10 (50m)

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