More than ten years after first making the main draw as a qualifier, Canada’s Shahier Razik celebrates his fifth appearance in the Delaware Investments US Open since 2002 after overcoming Australia’s Matthew Karwalski in the qualifying finals of the fifth PSA World Series event of the year in Philadelphia.
The 34-year-old from Toronto beat Karwalski, eight years his junior, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5 – and will now face England’s Peter Barker, the No6 seed, in the first round.
It was also a good day for Lees in Philadelphia: England’s Joe Lee marked the perfect celebration of his 23rd birthday by beating Mexican Cesar Salazar, ranked a single place higher, 11-9, 11-4, 11-3.
The London-born world No53, the lowest-ranked player to survive the qualifiers, will now line up against the top-ranked Spaniard Borja Golan.
After disappointing local hero John White, the coach at Drexel University where all the main draw action will be staged, in the opening qualifying round, Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez continued his winning run by beating India’s Siddharth Suchde 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5 in 78 minutes.
“It was important for me to reach the main draw again here in this wonderful tournament,” said Rodriguez, the world No24 from Bogota who has picked up three PSA World Tour titles in South America over the past six weeks.
“I had to be more focused today, more steady, and I did my job,” added the in-form Colombian who now faces defending champion Amr Shabana on Sunday.
South Africa’s Stephen Coppinger followed Rodriguez into the main draw after beating New Zealander Martin Knight. After losing the first two games, the Kiwi surprised his opponent with sharp attacks to take the third for the loss of just two points – but was unable to capitalise on slender leads in the fourth as Coppinger closed out the match 11-6, 11-9, 2-11, 11-9.
“He changed his game completely, and I wasn’t ready for it,” admitted Coppinger. “But I’d come back from a few points down in the second so I knew I could do it again in the fourth.”
Two Egyptians advanced from the qualifying action at Merion Cricket Club. Omar Abdel Aziz beat Scotland’s Alan Clyne 11-4, 5-11, 11-8, 11-3 in 81 minutes, while Karim Abdel Gawad skipped past Australian Ryan Cuskelly in straight games in one minute short of half that time.
Fans at Germantown Cricket Club were cheering on the last remaining US player Julian Illingworth. And the record eight-time US champion came within a whisker of progressing as he came from two games down against Aamir Atlas Khan.
But to the disappointment of the home crowd, Illingworth finally fell just short as the Pakistani saved a match ball to prevail 11-9, 11-3, 8-11, 3-11, 14-12 after 90 minutes.
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt Martin Knight (NZL) 11-6, 11-9, 2-11, 11-9 (77m)
Shahier Razik (CAN) bt Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 11-5, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5 (54m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 11-4, 5-11, 11-8, 11-3 (81m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) bt Julian Illingworth (USA) 11-9, 11-3, 8-11, 3-11, 14-12 (90m)
Joe Lee (ENG) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 11-9, 11-4, 11-3 (43m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-8, 11-8, 11-7 (41m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 16-14, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3 (70m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5 (78m)
Updated 1st round draw:
1 James Willstrop (ENG) v Alister Walker (BOT)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Q] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Q] Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
8 Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) v Simon Rosner (GER)
5 Karim Darwish (EGY) v [Q] Max Lee (HKG)
Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) v Christopher Gordon (USA)
Borja Golan (ESP) v [Q] Joe Lee (ENG)
3 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
4 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Tarek Momen (EGY)
Tom Richards (ENG) v Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
6 Peter Barker (ENG) v [Q] Shahier Razik (CAN)
7 Amr Shabana (EGY) v [Q] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) v [Q] Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK)
Adrian Grant (ENG) v [Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
2 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)