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GC Cup - Day 2: As It Happens

Local hero Nicolas Mueller came agonisingly close to causing a huge upset yesterday – going 2-1 up against Mohamed ElShorbagy only to be pegged back by the Egyptian – and the crowd in Zurich are set to be treated to another feast of squash as day two gets underway.

With current World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad and the man he overtook, Gregory Gaultier, both in action there are some big names attractions while the battles between Tarek Momen v Mathieu Castagnet and Paul Coll v Simon Rösner in between that dup taking to court, it promises to be another highly charged night of action.

Here’s the day’s order of play
17:00 [7] Tarek Momen (EGY) v [Q] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
18:00 [3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
19:00 Paul Coll (NZL) v [6] Simon Rösner (GER)
20:00 [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) v [2] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)

Momen Over Castagnet In Three

The Egyptian domination so far at the Grasshopper Cup continued in the opening match of day two as Tarek Momen won a comfortable 3-0 encounter against an under-par Mathieu Castagnet to book his quarter-finals place.

On paper it looked set to be a dramatic and length affair between the all-out attacking style of Momen and the supreme counter-retrieving style of Castagnet but Momen found himself easily ahead 2-0 after just 20 minutes as Castagnet struggled to make any sort of impact in proceedings.

Such was the gulf between the two that Castagnet registered only a handful of points in each of the fist two games, but he managed to lift his game and up his levels in the third, getting off to an early 4-0 lead in complete contrast to what had gone before.

That was to be as good as it was to get for the Frenchman though as Momen rattled off six consecutive points to regain control of the game. And while Castagnet managed to save one

“I was very happy with the way I played today – I felt I was 100 per cent focused in the first two games,” said Momen.

“In the third he picked up his game and I maybe had a bit of a lapse of concentration. This was our first match in eight years so I didn't know what to expect. I know he has been out with an injury for a while and he's certainly going to keep improving – I'm just very happy to be through in three games today.

“We both made some silly errors towards the end but I was determined to end it in three because he could have gotten stronger if the match went on. I'm happy that I managed it well mentally and pushed through to win the tie break.”

[7] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-3, 12-10 (36m)

Perfect 20 For General Gaultier

A straight-forward 3-0 win over Daryl Selby, in which he rarely looked truly troubled, handed Gregory Gaultier a 20th consecutive PSA World Tour match win and a place in the quarter-finals of the 2017 Grasshopper Cup.

The Frenchman hasn’t lost a match since the final of January’s Tournament of Champions – a streak that has seen him collect the Swedish Open, Windy City Open, British Open and El Gouna Open titles in succession – and he continued to show that he is the dominant force on the PSA World Tour as he overcame Selby in just over 30 minutes.

The scoreline is unflattering for the Englishman as he at times matched Gaultier and caused the former World No.1 trouble, but he couldn’t manage to string the points together against Gaultier – who managed to step up through the gears at the crucial moments to secure the victory.

“I tried to inject a lot of pace into it from the first point – we were both tired from the Europeans and it’s always hard t0 back up after just a few days,” said Gaultier.

“We all train hard and have we have played a lot of matches since January but we keep on going and going until we collapse!

“I thought that we both played a good game and the scoreline maybe doesn’t reflect the match. We had some hard rallies and I had to dig in and play defensive. I managed to get my skills to save me and I tried not to fall into his game – I got the right tactic to play fast from the first point.

“I’m happy with the way I played and hopefully I can carry it on and my fitness will be there.”

[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-2 (35m)

Rösner Rallies Past Coll

The opening game saw Coll open up an early advantage, looking for all money like he would strike the first blow. But Rösner came back strong, using his backhand with precise and devastating effect to level the game and set up a tie-breaker – which he duly took courtesy of a stroke and an error from Coll.

Coll came back to level proceedings courtesy of a strong second game showing before a gargantuan third ensued, during which the pair pushed each other to the limit in all four corners of the court throughout a passage a captivating, all-action exchanges.

It was Rösner though who prevailed – taking advantage of some favourable bounces on the way – to take a big physiological lead on the scoreboard. The introduction of a new ball in the fourth threatened to swing momentum back in favour of Coll as he went ahead early on but Rösner continued to go from strength to strength to take the win and make up for his defeat against Coll in their last meeting at the Canary Wharf Classic in March.

“As expected it was a really tough match – I was struggling to find my rhythm in the first game,” said Rösner.

“I was more positive when I was 8-2 down and managed to win that game, which is a big task against someone like Paul. At 1-0 down mentally it can be a whole different story so I was very happy to get that one.

“I struggled again in the second and was a bit negative. In the third I tried to be more positive and take it forward from there – not think to much about the rest and it worked out for me. He just keeps getting the ball back and that makes you impatient – I was playing good drops but he was getting them back. It’s easy to get frustrated in that scenario – I just tried to play my game and not focus on him.”

[6] Simon Rösner (GER) bt Paul Coll (NZL) 3-1: 12-10, 4-11, 11-7, 11-5 (82m)

Gawad In Control To Overcome Marche

World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad was in ruthless form as he dispatched Gregoire Marche in straight games to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the 2017 Grasshopper Cup to set up a last eight encounter with compatriot Tarek Momen.

The opening game was closely fought between the pair – going all the way to a 13-11 tie break – but from then on it was one way traffic as Gawad controlled proceedings to leave Marche frustrated at the end.

“Greg is a very tough opponent – used to play with each other in juniors so I know he’s a tough opponent so I’m very pleased to get through in three,” said Gawad.

“Everything that has happened to me this season is unbelievable. I’m very grateful to my team for the support over the past few years – there are still a lot of dreams and ambitions I have to achieve and that’s what I am playing for.”

[2] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-0: 13-11, 11-8, 11-7 (41m)

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