The opening day of main draw action at the 2017 Oracle NetSuite Open saw all but two of the seeded players across the mens and women’s events make it through to the quarter-final stage, with last year’s runner-up James Willstrop avoiding a shock defeat to Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi in the standout match at the Bay Club San Francisco.
A capacity crowd were treated to a series of fast-paced rallies, with Al Tamimi’s shot-making talents and incredible retrieval skills seeing him go 2-1 ahead, only to see Willstrop take control in the final two games to emerge from the fixture unscathed by an 7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6 margin.
“Today, I was tested physically and mentally playing Miguel on the bouncy, traditional courts and I passed that test today. You’re playing probably the best player in these kind of conditions, so it was a challenge.
“I knew he was going to play well, he didn’t play well last season but he will have had some good summer training and I haven’t seem him play that well in a while. I’m really proud with the win.”
World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad got his tournament off to a winning start against tournament wildcard Faraz Khan and he will take on fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen in the next round.
Two-time runner-up Nick Matthew was also in action as he got the better of Spain’s Borja Golan with a 3-1 victory in his first tournament appearance since he announced that he will retire at the end of the season last week. The World No.4 will meet Peru’s Diego Elias in the last eight after he got the better of Fares Dessouky.
In the women’s event, defending champion Laura Massaro took a step closer to retaining her crown after she dispatched tournament wildcard Aisling Blake in just 25 minutes.
36-year-old Blake was making her first main draw appearance at a Tour event since 2015 after retiring from the sport two years ago and Massaro, the number one seed, ensured that the result went in her favour after the 33-year-old from Preston surged to an 11-5, 11-9, 11-2 victory.
“My length dropped off a little bit maybe. It was good in the first two games but then she stepped up a bit and I was trying to hit some shots that weren’t really on. I had to wrestle back the control and I think I did that in the last game, although I did switch off for a couple of rallies and then she was right back in it.”
Perry will face Australia’s Donna Urquhart in the quarter-finals, while Massaro will take on Egyptian number eight seed Salma Hany Ibrahim.
There were also wins for Malaysian eight-time World Champion Nicol David and Victoria Lust, who will face off in the next round, while United States No.2 Olivia Blatchford and India’s Dipika Pallikal Karthik will go head-to-head in the other quarter-final after they beat Millie Tomlinson and Emily Whitlock, respectively, with Pallikal Karthik becoming the only unseeded player to reach the last eight.
The Oracle NetSuite Open continues with the quarter-final stage tomorrow (September 27) and selected quarter-final matches will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
Results – First Round: 2017 Men’s Oracle NetSuite Open
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 3-1: 11-4, 11-8, 9-11, 14-12 (75m)
 Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [Q] Campbell Grayson (NZL) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 (55m)
 Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-1: 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5 (63m)
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt [Q] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-2: 7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6 (64m)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-1: 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-4 (65m)
Diego Elias (PER) bt  Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-3 (54m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 13-11 (43m)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [WC] Faraz Khan (USA) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 (28m)
Draw – Quarter-Final (Top Half): To Be Played September 27th
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v  Daryl Selby (ENG)
 Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v  James Willstrop (ENG)
Draw – Quarter-Finals (Top Half): To Be Played September 28th
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Diego Elias (PER)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Results – First Round: 2017 Women’s Oracle NetSuite Open
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [WC] Aisling Blake (IRL) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-2 (25m)
 Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) bt [Q] Nikki Todd (CAN) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-9 (32m)
 Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt [Q] Samantha Cornett (CAN) 3-2: 11-9, 5-11, 11-8, 2-11, 11-8 (52m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [Q] Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-1: 11-4, 11-4, 9-11, 11-7 (37m)
Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) bt  Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-1: 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8 (52m)
 Olivia Blatchford (USA) bt Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 (28m)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) bt [Q] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 3-1: 11-13, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (42m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt Heba El Torky (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (32m)
Draw – Quarter-Finals: To Be Played September 27th
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v  Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY)
 Donna Urquhart (AUS) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) v  Olivia Blatchford (USA)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) v  Nicol David (MAS)