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Gregory Gaultier (right) James Willstrop (left) contest last year's final

Throwback Thursday: Story of the 2016 Men’s NetSuite Open

The Oracle NetSuite Open takes place next week, September 26-30, and will be shown LIVE on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player from the quarter-final stages onwards.

To get you in the mood for another great week of action on the PSA World Tour, join us as we take a look back at the story of last year’s Men’s NetSuite Open.

Round one – results
[4] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7
[7] Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 3-1: 12-10, 11-8, 2-11, 11-7
[8] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-1: 9-11, 14-12, 11-4, 11-9 (71m)
[6] Simon Rösner (GER) bt [Q] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-1: 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4 (45m)
[Q] Diego Elias (PER) bt [5] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7 (75m)
[Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt [2] Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 (43m)
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 11-9, 11-4, 11-1 (30m)
[WC] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [3] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0: 12-10, 11-6, 11-4

Three-time World Champion Nick Matthew and Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez slumped to surprise first round defeats on day one of last year’s NetSuite Open as they lost out to Gregoire Marche and James Willstrop, respectively, in San Francisco.

Willstrop’s and Rodriguez’s match was moved from the glass court due to rainfall, however, the Yorkshireman managed to keep his composure to secure a 12-10, 11-6, 11-4 win.

That wasn’t the only shock result to be seen on day one of the main draw as Peru’s Diego Elias also caused an upset with a sensational comeback from two games down against Egypt’s Ali Farag.

Meanwhile, top seed France’s Gregory Gaultier began his tournament strongly with a comfortable victory in straight games over India’s Saurav Ghosal.

Quarter-finals – results
[4] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [7] Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-1: 11-2, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5 (66m)
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [8] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-6 (47m)
[WC] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [6] Simon Rösner (GER) 3-2: 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-2, 12-10 (79m)
[Q] Diego Elias (PER) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 (40m)

Egypt’s Marwan ElShorbagy continued his march in San Francisco as he powered past Australia’s Cameron Pilley to reach the semi-finals.

The match, held at the glass court show on Justin Herman Plaza, provided difficult conditions for both players as a slippery court meant that neither player could move freely with Pilley in particular struggling as ElShorbagy took the first game before the Australian made a comeback in the second.

However, ElShorbagy proved too strong as he took the next two games to take an 11-2, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5 victory.

Meanwhile, ‘French General’ Gaultier made it five successive NetSuite Open semi-finals after he defeated Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly in straight games and England’s former World No.1 Willstrop and Peru’s Elias also secured semi-final berths with wins over Germany’s Simon Rösner and France’s Gregoire Marche, respectively.

Semi-finals – results
[WC] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [Q] Diego Elias (PER) 3-0: 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 (39m)
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [4] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-7, 14-12 (45m)

Tournament wildcard Willstrop advanced to his biggest PSA World Tour final in three years as he outclassed Peru’s Elias in the semi-final.

Willstrop played some of his best squash in a dominant display as he downed then 19-year-old Elias with pinpoint accuracy and intelligent shot selection.

The Yorkshireman was consistent throughout the 39-minute encounter and rarely put a foot wrong as he secured a final berth.
Meanwhile, Gaultier also came through in straight games as he powered past ElShorbagy in 45 minutes.

The Egyptian struggled against an in-form Gaultier as the Frenchman dropped just three points in the first game before extending his fine form in the second game to double his advantage.

The third game provided a much more even affair with ElShorbagy finding his length as he began to test Gaultier to try and get a foothold back in the game. However, the Egyptian hit the tin at 13-12 down to hand the win to Gaultier.

Final – result
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [WC] James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-2, 14-12 (46m)

Gaultier secured his third NetSuite Open men’s title in style against England’s former World No.1 Willstrop.

The Frenchman – who didn’t drop a game throughout the entire tournament – exhibited some of his best squash against Willstrop as he went two games ahead before the Englishman battled back and held three separate game balls throughout a tightly-contested third game.

However, Willstrop ultimately lost out on the tie-break as Gaultier wrapped up an impressive 11-9, 11-2, 14-12 victory to claim his first PSA World Tour title of the 2016/17 season.

“I’m really happy with the way I’ve been playing this week, I’ve been playing better day after day,” said Gaultier after last year’s final.

“It’s really nice to see James back playing and being well after the 2/3 years he had struggling with hip surgery. I saw him play against [Simon] Rösner [in the quarter-final] and it was fantastic to see him back playing.”

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