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Grasshopper Cup - Day One

Abouelghar Stops Hot Hands Hesham

The opening match of the Grasshopper Cup went the way of Mohamed Abouelghar as he thwarted Mazen Hesham in an all out shot-fest that had the crowd watching on in disbelief.

While the match lacked structure for large parts, the pair, long time friends off court, showcased their full repertoires of attacking ability to hit winner after winner of increasing audacity throughout the four game encounter.

It was Hesham who had the crowd fully enraptured, as he struck disbelieving shots from all angles to mask hampered movement which suggests he hasn’t fully recovered from the problems that have kept him from competing anywhere near his best for the past two seasons. But for all his magic touch, he wasn’t able to stop Abouelghar from matching him for ability and utilising his fresher legs to stretch the court and take command to see out the win.

“For me it’s special to back playing here in Zurich,” said Abouelghar.

“I played here in 2014 and have great memories of that event, it was the first time I had made the quarters at a big tournament and I beat my idol Amr Shabana to reach it.

“Mazen and I have been playing since we were kids and even though we’ve played hundreds of times together you still never know what to expect with him. I had to be on my toes and stay focused in every rally so I’m pleased I was able to do that and get the win at the end.”

[6] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt [Q] Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-1: 15-13, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9 (57m)

Rösner Beats Selby Once More

Meeting for the fourth time in 2018 already, Simon Rösner recorded his fourth straight win over England's Daryl Selby to move into the second round.

The pair met in January's Tournament of Champions when the German recorded his first ever win over Selby, and he kept that streak alive in Zurich by coming from one-game down to add to his wins at the Swedish Open and Windy City Open inside the past month.

In direct contrast to their last three, this time out it was Rösner who started the slower of the two as Selby pounced on some loose errors to take the first.

But the big German showed his efficiency as he turned the tide in the second and put the pressure on Selby, gradually forcing errors from the Englishman's racket to gain the upper hand and force proceeds to see out the win 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9.

“I gave away too many points early on with errors and that allowed him to get off to a good start,” said Rösner.

“But I felt like I got into my rhythm in the second game and I'm happy with how I managed to change my approach and turn the game around. To come through with the win against a player of Daryl's quality is very encouraging

“Until two months ago I had never beaten him on Tour. But that win helps because when you get a first win against a player it gives you the confidence to know that you can do it again. He's tough on court – and he always seems to hit some Shot of the Month contenders against me – but I'm happy to get the win.”

[4] Simon Rösner (GER) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-1: 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9 (69m)

The General Returns to Halt Local Hero Muller

Following a two-month injury enforced absence, 2017 tournament winner Gregory Gaultier made his return to competitive action on the PSA World Tour with a straight-games defeat of local hero Nicolas Müller in the first round of the 2018 Grasshopper Cup in Zurich.

The 35-year-old former World No.1 was halted by an adductor injury suffered during January’s Tournament of Champions but put those troubles behind him as he out-classed Müller, the World No.18, to prevail 11-7, 12-10, 11-8 in the PSA M100 tournament.

“Everybody knows I’ve been injured and had a tough year,” said Gaultier.

“I miss the game so much and have been sitting at home the past few weeks. Luckily the doctor gave me the green light a few weeks ago but to come back at my age takes longer and a lot of work.

“I was trying to be smart on the court today. There’s a balance between wanting to play but also on the other hand trying to make sure you don’t aggravate any injuries, but I’m just very happy to be back on court and back here in Zurich.

‘I’ve had great memories here over the past few years and hope that can continue this week.”

[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [WC] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-0: 11-7, 12-10, 11-8 (45m)

Ashour Comes Through Unscathed Against Kandra

In the last match of the night Ramy Ashour, the maverick three-time World Champion who has been plagued by injury throughout the past three years, overcame German Raphael Kandra in straight games.

The Egyptian moved with ease and struck winners with ease to triumph 11-6, 14-12, 11-5 to set up a meeting with Simon Rösner – the hard-hitting German number one who earned his quarter-final berth with a hard-fought 3-1 win over Daryl Selby.

“I believe if you work hard, work serves you,” said Ashour.

“Injuries are part of the game. You just deal with it.”

[7] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [Q] Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-0: 11-6, 14-12, 11-5 (38m)

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