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Gregory Gaultier

Tournament of Champions: Day One - As It Happens

Join us in New York's iconic Grand Central Terminal for the opening day of main draw action at the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.

The men's main draw begins today, with the women's following in two day's time, as World No.1 Gregory Gaultier makes his 700th PSA appearance, coming up against United States No.1 Todd Harrity, while defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad takes on Welshman Joel Makin.

Meanwhile, England's Nick Matthew begins his final ever Tournament of Champions campaign against French qualifier Gregoire Marche, with compatriot James Willstrop bringing proceedings to an end against Australia's Cameron Pilley.

World Championship runner-up Marwan ElShorbagy is also in action against Mexico's Cesar Salazar, while German No.1 Simon Rösner faces Daryl Selby.

The other two matches on day one will see Nicolas Mueller play Adrian Waller and Saurav Ghosal clash with Tom Richards.

You can watch LIVE coverage on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player.

Here's the SQUASHTV & Eurosport Player Order of Play
(All times are local GMT-5)

Rösner Ends Eight-Match Losing Streak to Selby

German No.1 Simon Rösner claimed his first ever victory over World No.17 Daryl Selby to earn his place in round two of the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.

The Paderborn-based World No.8 had never beaten Selby in eight previous encounters and had only taken more than a game against the Englishman on one occasion, which was their last meeting back in 2013.

But Selby struggled to get going in the early stages, with a number of tins in the first game in particular seeing Rösner take the opener for the loss of four points.

An improved showing from Selby in the second game saw him finally stretch the tall German player to level the scores but Rösner found his rhythm again in the third to restore his lead.

Selby was then forced off court in the early stages of the fourth game when he wiped his hand on the back right-hand corner and came away with a small piece of glass stuck in his finger.

The 35-year-old soon returned to court though and showed off his trademark shot-making skills with a sublime shot from between his legs into the nick.

But Rösner held his nerve from that point onwards to see out the match, taking it 11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 in 75 minutes.

“It feels amazing, I’ve played Daryl eight times on the PSA World Tour and I haven’t won a single match against him,” said Rösner.

“Winning here in New York and getting through in four is a really good effort and I’m really glad about the match. I took the ball early and put the pace up and I think that worked out for me in the end.

“Daryl was getting a little bit slower at the end, so I was able to hit my corners, hit my shots and that was the key to my success today.

“I think if your opponent plays the kind of shot he did [in the fourth], it’s pretty special and you have to smile yourself, which isn’t easy for me.

“Normally I hate losing points and want to win as much as I can but it was just a really good and I enjoyed it a lot.”

Simon Rösner (GER) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-1: 11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 (75m)

ElShorbagy Sweeps Past Salazar

Marwan ElShorbagy (right) v Cesar Salazar (left)

World Championship runner-up Marwan ElShorbagy made light work of World No.21 Cesar Salazar to take a 3-0 victory into the next round.

ElShorbagy, the World No.5, has been in splendid form recently, reaching the final of last month’s PSA World Championships before following that up a week later by taking silverware at the Pakistan Open in Islamabad.

ElShorbagy led the pair’s head-to-head record 3-1 coming into the match, having won their last three meetings and he made it four in a row after a clinical display that saw him take it 11-7, 11-3, 11-8 in just 29 minutes.

“It’s been quite a good month that last one and I feel I’ve been playing really well,” said ElShorbagy.

“It’s about consistency now, I just want to keep playing well, keep enjoying it and this is an amazing venue for all of us and the perfect venue to enjoy your squash.

“I’m just trying to relax as much as I can. It’s been working well for me lately, so hopefully things can come together and keep getting better.

“Cesar has been playing really well lately, he had some good results at the U.S. Open, so I was trying to contain him as much as I could because I know he’s really fast and he’s a great player.”

ElShorbagy and World No.8 Simon Rösner will lock horns for a place in the quarter-finals.

[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-8 (29m)

Mueller Comes Back to Beat Waller

Nicolas Mueller

Swiss World No.27 Nicolas Mueller came back from two games down to defeat English qualifier Adrian Waller in a punishing five-game matchup.

Mueller, the 28-year-old from Zurich, had won all five of their previous clashes on the PSA World Tour but the recent form book had gone the way of Waller after he had won their last two meetings.

And the Englishman looked on the verge of claiming a third successive win after an error-strewn display from Mueller in the opening game saw the man from England take the first game, while Waller edged the second by an 11-9 margin.

But Mueller dug in his heels from that point onwards and showed his tenacity as he began to put in a consistent display which was completely at odds with his performance in game one.

The ‘Swiss Rocket’ came back to take three games without reply, earning his place in the last 16 with a 7-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-5 triumph which will see him take on either defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad or Welsh qualifier Joel Makin next.

“I’m definitely very relieved that I came out on top today,” said Mueller.

“It didn’t look too good after being 2-0 down but I kept on working hard and eventually he got a bit tired. He’s already played two matches in qualifying, which probably made a difference in the end.

“I found my way into the game and started being a bit more positive and a bit more attacking, which is my natural kind of game. I’m very relieved to be through to the second round.

“It’s a pity I lost the second game, I thought I played very well in that game and deserved to win it, but obviously he played the big points better in the end. I’ve done a lot of work on court together with [World No.8] Simon Rösner and [World No.42] Raphael Kandra over the Winter and I think that paid off in the end.

“I’ve hardly came back from 2-0 down, normally I’m 2-0 up and end up losing. I’ll take it this time.”

Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-2: 7-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-5 (63m)

Richards Axes Ghosal to Claim Second Round Spot

Tom Richards

England’s World No.40 Tom Richards claimed his first victory in the main draw of a PSA World Series tournament since February 2016 after coming back from a game down to defeat India’s World No.16 Saurav Ghosal.

Richards, a former World No.13, is currently playing at his joint-lowest ranking since 2009 but did reach the final of the London Open last month.

Ghosal, meanwhile, has played some of his best squash this season, winning the CCI International and reaching the final of the Macau Open.

The duo had met twice before on the PSA World Tour but were doing battle for the first time in a decade, with their last encounter throwing up a brutal 85-minute, five-game epic.

Ghosal started the better of the two as he prevailed in some lengthy opening rallies, with Richards’ looking slightly tired after playing two matches in the qualifying stages, the second of which saw him go all the way to five games against Scotland’s Greg Lobban.

However, some severe attacking from Richards swung the momentum in his favour and he went a game ahead until a much-improved showing from Ghosal in the second game saw him draw level.

Richards rallied brilliantly though in the third, going 8-3 up and he fended off a late comeback from Ghosal to restore his lead,

Richards was in the ascendancy again in the fourth as he powered 6-1 ahead, only to see a dogged Ghosal fight his way back into the encounter bringing it back to 6-5, until a three wall boast from Richards at match ball in the fourth died into the nick to give him his first main draw victory at a World Series event since the 2016 Windy City Open.

“I train hard, I know I’m fit, but having two five gamers in the last couple of days means that I’m feeling pretty tired,” said Richards.

“As the match went on, I felt better and better and I’m happy to get that nick at the end because I was looking for something there.

“Anyone with the class of Saurav, you know that they’re capable of coming back and you can’t give them an inch. Recently, I feel I’ve had a bit more clarity in the way I play and I’m attacking a lot but with a bit more structure.

“I felt like I did that quite well today and that lead in the fourth game meant I could inch my way home.”

[Q] Tom Richards (ENG) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-1: 11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 11-7 (49m)

Defending Champ Gawad Sees Off Tenacious Makin

Karim Abdel Gawad (left) and Joel Makin (right)

Defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad got his Tournament of Champions title defence off to a winning start with a 3-1 victory against the dangerous Welsh player Joel Makin in Grand Central Terminal.

Gawad kept the men’s title in Egyptian hands for the fifth successive year when he beat World No.1 Gregory Gaultier to take the 2017 title but he found it tough against a tenacious Makin, who profited off seven errors from Gawad to take a surprise one-game lead.

Gawad responded well though and the ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ stepped up court and ramped up the pressure on the World No.41 to draw level as he finally began to connect with his attacking shots.

Makin continued to stay in the rallies despite Gawad displaying evidence of his impressive shot-making skills but the Egyptian pulled through with 11-7 victories in games three and four to close out the win.

“It’s always hard when you have the pressure of defending your title, especially here in Grand Central,” said Gawad.

“It’s nice to play here, I love New York and I love being on court here. I’m trying to get as much time on court as I can and I’m really enjoying it.

“It’s weird because in each tournament we play during the season we normally play the same people, it’s been that way since 2008 when I started playing. For the first time I’m playing someone new.

“It was me who was coming up to play the top players and now the opposite is happening to me. He’s very talented and strong physically and mentally. It was a tricky first round for me and I wish him all the best, I’m expecting him to have a great future.”

[4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Joel Makin (WAL) 3-1: 10-12, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 (51m)

Matthew Moves Past Marche in Straight Games

Nick Matthew v Gregoire Marche

2012 winner Nick Matthew began his final ever Tournament of Champions campaign with a win over French qualifier Gregoire Marche to ensure that he will take on either long-term domestic rival James Willstrop or Australia’s Cameron Pilley in the last 16.

Matthew, 37, will retire at the end of the season and has been a regular participant at the Tournament of Champions over the past 16 years, with five runner-up finishes to go with his title triumph in 2012.

'The Wolf’ was in fine fettle against Marche – an opponent he had lost to just once in their five previous PSA World Tour encounter – despite Marche living up to his ‘Acrobat’ nickname during a breathtaking second-game rally, which saw the World No.29 pull off three dives in succession.

But he couldn’t do enough to prevent the experienced Englishman from taking the match in straight games, with World No.6 Matthew moving into the second round of this tournament for the 12th time in a row.

“You try and take it like any other match but there’s something extra special about playing at this station, never mind with it being the last time,” said Matthew.

“The first match of any tournament is the trickiest, especially here because no matter how many times you play the noise and the ambience takes some getting used to.

“I’ve started this tournament a little slowly [in the past], even when I’ve won it I’ve dropped games, so I was really determined to start well and he’s a tricky first round opponent. I was really delighted with how I played.”

[6] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (43m)

Gaultier Reaches 700 PSA Matches After Beating Harrity

Gregory Gaultier (left) v Todd Harrity (right)

World No.1 Gregory Gaultier became the first male player in the modern era to reach 700 PSA matches after he overcame United States No.1 Todd Harrity in straight games to end home hopes in the men’s draw.

Gaultier, a 2009 winner and three-time runner-up, traditionally starts tournaments strongly and the ‘French General’ was solid throughout the 38-minute encounter as he kept the World No.50 at arm’s length.

The 35-year-old took the opening two games by an 11-7 and then a 11-6 margin and was ahead in the third until a ferocious volley into the nick from Harrity to level up at 7-7 coincided with the lights going off in the court.

Some fast-paced rallies then went the way of Gaultier as the veteran showed off his superb movement around the court and he closed out the third game by an 11-8 scoreline to earn his place in the last 16, where he will take on English qualifier Tom Richards.

“I played okay but my shots were average in the front, so I need to work a little bit on that tomorrow so I can get a bit sharper in those areas,” said Gaultier.

“Todd was really strong and I thought he was hanging in the rallies pretty well and moving well side to side. He has pretty soft hands in the front corners, so we had some great rallies and it will make me fell better for the next round.

“700 is not a nice number, I will make it to 1000, I’m sure! As long as I play, I want to win. Over the years I have had injuries and the body is weaker in certain areas and I can’t train the way I did 10 years ago.

“I still feel good but I’ve been pretty upset with the last few months, coming back from an ankle injury was tough because I had to go to Qatar with no preparation at all. I thought I would catch up with the matches but I never really felt comfortable.

“But over Christmas I managed to have three good weeks for the first time since summer, so I’m happy that I managed to have these weeks on the court, which will probably make a difference.”

[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [WC] Todd Harrity (USA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-8 (38m)

Willstrop Overcomes Pilley to Set Up Blockbuster Clash With Rival Matthew

James Willstrop (left) v Cameron Pilley (right)

Former World No.1 James Willstrop will take on long-term rival Nick Matthew in the second round after the 34-year-old put in a polished display to see off Australia’s Cameron Pilley.

Willstrop, known on Tour as ‘The Marksman’ after his unerring accuracy, has had an acrimonious relationship with fellow Yorkshireman Matthew for the best part of a decade, with Matthew dominating the rivalry ever since a hot-tempered British Open final clash back in 2009.

But Willstrop finally ended a 19-match, 10-year losing streak to his compatriot in the second round of last year’s Tournament of Champions and the pair are set to face off in the same stage of the 2018 edition after Willstrop’s 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 victory against World No.19 Pilley.

Willstrop controlled the rallies well, taking a one-game lead after a strong start before narrowly edging ahead to take the second after fighting back from 9-6 down.

The third game was a procession as the Englishman picked Pilley off and he wrapped up the win in 41 minutes to set up a titanic showdown with Matthew in the next round.

“I love playing here, the Tour is strong and to beat Cameron here is really tough,” said Willstrop.

“I’m very happy. Every single event brings up either a new player or someone who is very good like Cameron, so I don’t really look at the draw anymore because you know you’ve got to turn up and be ready and that’s what I’m trying to do from the very beginning.”

James Willstrop (ENG) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 (41m)

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