38-year-old Englishman James Willstrop rolled back the years as he achieved a hugely impressive 3-1 victory over World No.5 Marwan ElShorbagy at Philadelphia’s Arlen Specter Squash Center to reach the third round of the U.S. Open presented by Truist.
World No.31 Willstrop, a former World No.1, has this month dropped to his lowest World Ranking since November 2003 but proved that class is permanent as his impeccable ball control was too much for ElShorbagy to handle.
The Yorkshireman closed out a 9-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 victory in 47 minutes to ensure that he will take on Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar for a place in the quarter-finals.
“I feel in shock a bit at the minute,” Willstrop said after the match.
“I haven’t been anywhere near that level really. I think experience counts for a lot, but he’s a great champion. I thought the way he played today and handled himself [was great].
“It’s not easy being on the wrong end of it. I was playing well and he just handled himself so well at the end there, really lost in a champion’s way and I admire that, he was a top man today.”
ElShorbagy wasn’t the only seeded player to bow out of the men’s event in round two as his compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad – the No.6 seed – suffered a 3-0 defeat to World No.9 Joel Makin.
Makin will take on Sebastien Bonmalais next after the World No.58 upset World No.20 Omar Mosaad to reach the third round of a PSA World Tour Platinum event for the first time in his career.
“Gawad’s obviously been in and out of form and with his body, but that doesn’t make any difference to me,” Makin said.
“He’s a class player when he’s on and is so dangerous. I knew I had to be aggressive with him and get across the middle and hit him off the ball, get on top of him and I couldn’t let him play his shots. I wanted to inject pace and be aggressive. When I did that, I got on top of him.”
Defending champion Ali Farag got his title challenge under way with a 3-0 win against India’s Saurav Ghosal, and he will play fellow Egyptian Mazen Hesham for a place in the last eight. No.2 seed Mohamed ElShorbagy was also in action as he defeated Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng to set up a third round clash with fellow Egyptian Youssef Soliman.
In the women’s event, World No.7 Sarah-Jane Perry completed a spectacular comeback against Egypt’s World No.33 Zeina Mickawy, recovering from a 2-0 deficit and then overturning four match balls to book her place in the last 16.
Following her 12-14, 8-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-9 victory, Perry will line up against Wales’ Emily Whitlock in the third round.
“I’m not quite sure how I won that,” Perry said afterwards.
“For patches I got in front, but I didn’t think I was actually taking advantage, I was just trying to keep pushing and pushing and [thinking] ‘come on, you can do it’. When I’d saved those match ball in the third and the fourth, I just kept saying in the fifth ‘keep going, there’s a chance after those games that she’s going to get edgy’. For a lot of the match, there was zero edginess in anything she was doing, and quite a lot in mine.”
Meanwhile, defending champion Nouran Gohar got her title challenge under way with a comfortable 3-0 win over USA’s Sabrina Sobhy and she will play England’s Alison Waters in the next round.
“Usually when you come back to a tournament it’s the same venue and you’re only defending champion for one year, not two,” said Gohar.
“In a way, I feel like it’s a different tournament. It’s good in a way as it’s a fresh start, you have good memories in the back of your mind, but you don’t take it for granted.”
Perry’s compatriot, Georgina Kennedy, will appear in the third round of a Platinum event for the first time in her career after the World No.51 stunned World No.10 Rowan Elaraby in just 25 minutes in the day’s biggest upset. USA No.1 Amanda Sobhy also appeared on day two, beating Hong Kong’s Ka Yi Lee in straight games, while World No.1 Nour El Sherbini beat Tsz-Wing Tong.
The third round begins tomorrow (October 3) at 12:00 (GMT-4). Action from Glass Court East and Glass Court West will be shown live on SQUASHTV.
Results – Second Round: Men’s 2021 U.S. Open presented by Truist
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (37m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-1: 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (60m)
Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-9 (70m)
Joel Makin (WAL) bt  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-0: 13-11, 14-12, 11-8 (59m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 (47m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 11-4, 7-11, 11-3, 11-5 (35m)
Patrick Rooney (ENG) bt Auguste Dussourd (FRA) 3-2: 7-11, 7-11, 11-2, 11-5, 13-11 (66m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Ramit Tandon (IND) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-4 (31m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt Victor Crouin (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (42m)
Karim El Hammamy (EGY) bt Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 3-1: 4-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9 (66m)
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-1: 6-11, 11-1, 11-8, 11-9 (56m)
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 14-12 (49m)
 Diego Elias (PER) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 (32m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Vikram Malhotra (IND) 3-2: 11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5 (58m)
Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-0: 11-2, 12-10, 11-2 (36m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 3-1: 12-10, 11-6, 5-11, 12-10 (48m)
Draw – Men’s Third Round: To Be Played October 3rd
 Ali Farag (EGY) v Mazen Hesham (EGY)
Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) v Joel Makin (WAL)
James Willstrop (ENG) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
Patrick Rooney (ENG) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Paul Coll (NZL) v Karim El Hammamy (EGY)
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) v  Mostafa Asal (EGY)
 Diego Elias (PER) v Raphael Kandra (GER)
Youssef Soliman (EGY) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
Results – Second Round: Women’s 2021 U.S. Open presented by Truist
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (23m)
Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt Olivia Clyne (USA) 3-1: 11-9, 13-11, 4-11, 11-9 (45m)
Melissa Alves (FRA) bt Lucy Turmel (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 (43m)
Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt  Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-1 (25m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) 3-0: 14-12, 11-7, 11-4 (32m)
Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt Anna Serme (CZE) 3-0: 11-2, 11-7, 11-3 (20m)
Nada Abbas (EGY) bt [WC] Marina Stefanoni (USA) 3-0: 11-1, 11-2, 12-10 (29m)
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 3-0: 11-4, 13-11, 11-6 (35m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Ka Yi Lee (HKG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-2, 11-9 (23m)
Olivia Fiechter (USA) bt Donna Lobban (AUS) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (20m)
Nele Gilis (BEL) bt Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 (41m)
Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt  Salma Hany (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 19-17, 11-7 (36m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Zeina Mickawy (EGY) 3-2: 12-14, 8-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-9 (58m)
Emily Whitlock (WAL) bt Farida Mohamed (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 11-5, 11-0, 11-0 (31m)
Alison Waters (ENG) bt Tze Lok Ho (HKG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-9 (30m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 (28m)
Draw – Women’s Third Round: To Be Played October 3rd
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Nadine Shahin (EGY)
Melissa Alves (FRA) v Georgina Kennedy (ENG)
 Joelle King (NZL) v Joshna Chinappa (IND)
Nada Abbas (EGY) v  Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v Olivia Fiechter (USA)
Nele Gilis (BEL) v Hollie Naughton (CAN)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v Emily Whitlock (WAL)
Alison Waters (ENG) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)