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Day Eight – Quarter-finals

New Champion guaranteed in Bellevue

SP_12697Four previous finalists, four Egyptians, and four quarter-final first-timers, provided a potent mix for tonight’s matches at Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center, and after a dramatic night of action a new champion is guaranteed after three-time champions Ramy Ashour and Nick Matthew were both beaten in five games.

Gregory Gaultier kept his hopes of a fifth final and first title alive as he finally subdued Ali Farag while James Willstrop simply had too much for Miguel Rodriguez tonight. Omar Mosaad came through a seesaw encounter with defending champion Ashour, who finished the match barely able to move, and finally Tarek Momen beat Matthew in a pulsating match of ebb and flow.

Fri 20th Nov, Quarter-Finals

[3] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) 3-2 Ali Farag (Egy)  5-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-1, 11-3 (72m)
James Willstrop (Eng) 3-0 [5] Miguel Rodriguez (Col) 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (42m)

[7] Omar Mosaad (Egy) 3-2 [4] Ramy Ashour (Egy) 11-8, 11-7, 1-11, 1-11, 11-5 (60m)
[8] Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-2 [2] Nick Matthew (Eng) 5-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7 (84m)

EN BREF – lots of great items   GALLERY – lots of photos  Video Highlights

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Quarter-Final Previews

SP_12631First up is Miguel Rodriguez, aged 29,the first South American ever to make the last eight, against unseeded 2010 finalist James Willstrop, 32,who last night stunned the squash world by beating top seed and world #1 Mohamed Elshorbagy.

Willstrop missed last year’s event through injury having played in the previous 11, reaching the quarters or better in 9 of those. This is Rodriguez’s 9th appearance and his best yet.

To be fair, Willstrop went into last night’s match with a 10-5 advantage over Elshorbagy, and tonight he starts 4-0 up on Rodriguez, all of them from 2013. Their fortunes have differed dramatically since then though, Willstrop taking time out with injuries and operations and struggling to recapture his form and ranking, Rodriguez climbing the rankings and claiming many big scalps even if a major title has yet eluded him.

It’s a contrast in stature and style, to be sure, and all the more interesting for that. Bet365 odds: Rodriguez 11/8, Willstrop 8/15.

SP_12632Gregory Gaultier, 32, and Ali Farag, 23, are next and in terms of World Champs experience the gap is as wide as it gets. Gaultier is appearing in his 14th straight event, Farag his first.

The Frenchman has been in the quarter-finals eight times previously, reaching the final four times.

They’ve met just the once, Gaultier winning 3-1 in 90 minutes a few weeks ago in San Francisco. Bet365 odds: Gaultier 1/9, Farag 5/1.

SP_12633Defending and three-time champion Ramy Ashour, 28, takes on a fourth successive fellow-Egyptian in the third match, and goes into it leading 17-1 against Omar Mosaad, 27. Their meetings – that we know of – date back to the British Junior Open in 2006, and the only good news for Mosaad is that his solitary win came in the last one, the Grasshopper Cup this April.

Ashour has had an injury-ridded season, just as he did coming in to last year’s event, while Mosaad’s star is on a steadily upward path having reached his first World Series final last month in Philadelphia, and now his first World quarter-final in his 10th event. For Ashour this is his 8th quarter-final and he is aiming to win it for the fourth time.

Bet365 odds: Ashour 1/9, Mosaad 5/1.

SP_12634The final match sees another three-time champion Nick Matthew, 35, against another first-time quarter-finalist in Tarek Momen, 27. The Englishman is appearing in his 15th straight event – playing his 10th quarter-final , Momen in his 9th in 10 years.

The Head to Head favours Matthew 3-1, all more than two years ago but including wins in the 2011 and 2012 World Champs. Bet365 odds: Matthew 1/14, Momen 13/2.

 

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