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Metrosquash US Open 2010
25 Sep - 02 Oct, Chicago, $80k, $36k

02-Oct, Finals:

[2] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned) bt [8] Amanda Sobhy (Usa)
             11/6, 11/4, 11/8
[2] Wael El Hindi (Egy) bt [4] LJ Anjema (Ned)
             11/8, 5/11, 11/7, 11/7

Atkinson denies Sobhy
Faraz Hussain reports

The 2010 Women's US Open featured the classic match-up of youth
against experience. The up and coming Amanda Sobhy had the packed home crowd on her side as she was the youngest US born squash player to ever reach a US open final, facing former world champion and world number one Vanessa Atkinson.

Game one began nervously with short rallies ending with unforced errors from both players. The former world open champion, Vanessa Atkinson used a slower paced game to work Sobhy around the court. The chilly conditions favored Atkinson who played many working boasts and soft drops. Sobhy's hard hitting game was ineffective as the balls were not able to reach deep in the back corners.

The experienced Atkinson kept her cool and fully extended Amanda with her accurate short game. The second and third games had several unforced errors from Sobhy. Vanessa led throughout the match and won comfortably 3-0.

Fortune favors the bold

The 2010 Men's US Open finals featured a battle of textbook squash against the famous Egyptian attacking style. An emotional player, Wael El Hindi is know to have his on and off days. However, from the glowing smile as Wael entered the court, it was clear his heart and mind were going to be in this match. Laurens-Jan Anjema (LJ) is known for his contrasting textbook retrieving squash and high paced game.

The first game began with several irretrievable soft drops to the front court by Wael, which quickly took him to a 6-1 lead. LJ showed signs of nervousness as he tried to establish his groove of fast paced length. A remarkable effort by Wael brought the score to 8-4. Wael showed no signs of giving up on balls that seemed impossible to retrieve. His diligence paid off as he won the first game 11-8 and clenched his fist in a show of emotion.

The second game was dominated by LJ's textbook length. Wael showed signs of conserving his energy for the third game. An acrobatic dive by Wael brought the score to 4-6. However, it was not enough as LJ quickly won the remaining points to take the second game 11-5.

The critical third game saw both players trading points. As the players began to tire the number of lets increased. However, the calls did not seem to unsettle either player as they kept their composure. Wael attacked with several soft volley drops for outright winners. LJ tried to drop more , however, Wael was able to retrieve most with his immense determination. Wael simply would not give up and won the close third game 11-7.

The final game seemed to have taken its toll on LJ who appeared slightly slower. Wael took advantage of this by bringing out more of his front court game. Soft volley drops and incredible retrieving gave Wael the lead at 6-3. LJ made a small run but was always trailing. A tinned volley drop gave Wael the match at 11-7. It was a hard fought victory for Wael.

Today was certainly his day and the packed crowd that stayed up close to midnight gave him a well deserved standing ovation.


US Open 2010
25 Sep - 02 Oct, Chicago, $80k
Round One
27 Sep
Round Two
28 Sep
9/30 Sep
01 Oct
02 Oct
[2] Wael El Hindi (Egy)
9/11, 11/5, 11/8, 7/11, 11/7
[Q] Jorge Ferreira (Mex)
[2] Wael El Hindi
11/6, 11/8, 8/11, 11/3
[9] Shahier Razik
[2] Wael El Hindi
15/13, 11/9, 11/8

[14] Nicolas Mueller
[2] Wael El Hindi

4/11, 11/9, 11/9, 11/6

[8] Olli Tuominen

[2] Wael El Hindi 

11/8, 5/11, 11/7, 11/7

[4] LJ Anjema

[9] Shahier Razik (Can)
7/11, 11/1, 11/5, 11/3
[Q] James Snell (Eng)
[7] Hisham Ashour (Egy)
11/3, 11/6, 11/7
[Q] Tom Pashley (Eng)
[8] Hisham Ashour 11/8, 9/11, 8/11, 11/8, 11/7
[14] Nicolas Mueller
[13] Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
11/4, 11/9, 11/6
[Q] Grégoire Marche (Fra)
[4] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
11/9, 7/11, 11/7, 11/6
Gilly Lane (Usa)
[5] Mohamed El Shorbagy
11/8, 11/8, 11/7
[10] Tom Richards
[5] Mohamed El Shorbagy

11/8, 11/5, 8/11, 12/10

[8] Olli Tuominen
[10] Tom Richards (Eng)
11/4 rtd
[Q] Robin Clarke (Can)
[8] Olli Tuominen (Fin)
11/4, 4/11, 11/5, 8/11, 13/11
Stéphane Galifi (Ita)

[8] Olli Tuominen 14/12, 11/6, 10/12, 11/9
[13] Julian Illingworth
[12] Julian Illingworth (Usa)
11/6, 11/6, 11/4
[Q] Clinton Leeuw (Rsa)
Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
11/8, 12/10, 11/8
[15] Chris Ryder (Eng)
Mohammed Abbas
3/11, 11/4, 11/7, 11/13, 11/9
[5] Alister Walker
Mohammed Abbas

 11/5, 12/10, 11/6 (51m)

[4] LJ Anjema
[4] LJ Anjema

11/4, 11/9, 6/11, 11/6

[7] Omar Mosaad

Zac Alexander (Aus)
11/6, 17/19, 11/6, 11/5
[5] Alister Walker (Eng)
Cesar Salazar (Mex)
11/3, 11/7, 11/2
[11] Simon Rosner (Ger)
[12] Simon Rosner 11/6, 7/11, 11/1, 9/11, 11/2
[4] LJ Anjema
Yann Perrin (Fra)
11/4, 11/3, 11/6
[3] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
[Q] Joel Hinds (Eng)
11/6, 11/8, 11/5
[16] Mark Krajcsak (Hun)
[16] Mark Krajcsak 8/11, 11/5, 11/8, 11/3[7] Omar Mosaad [7] Omar Mosaad

8/11, 11/3, 13/11, 10/12, 11/8 (80m)

[1] Thierry Lincou

[Q] Shawn Delierre (Can)
12/10, 11/8, 11/8
[6] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
Adrian Waller (Eng)
9/11, 11/8, 11/9, 11/5
[14] Rafael Alarcon (Bra)

Adrian Waller (Eng)
11/5, 11/3, 11/1
[1] Thierry Lincou
Chris Gordon (Usa)
11/9, 11/9, 11/9
[1] Thierry Lincou

26-Sep, Qualifying Finals:

Robin Clarke (Can) bt Tyler Hamilton (Can)                 14/12, 12/10, 11/4
James Snell (Eng) bt Jonas Laursen (Den)                   11/6, 11/6, 11/4
Jorge Ferriera (Mex) bt Omar El Kashef (Egy)              11/6, 11/4, 11/7
Joel Hinds (Eng) bt Chris Walker (Eng)                        11/4, 11/7, 11/5
Tom Pashly (Eng) bt Leficka Ragnoste                         11/5, 7/11, 11/2, 11/6
Shawn Delierre (Can) bt Matthew Serediak (Can)         11/3, 11/3, 11/8
Clinton Leeuw (RSA) bt Graham Bassett (USA)             11/3, 11/4, 11/7
Gregoire Marche (Fra) bt Jonathon Harford (Eng)          11/5, 12/10, 11/4

25-Sep, Qualifying Round One:

Robin Clarke (Can) - Bye
Taylor Hamilton (Can) bt Mohammad Al-Tawari (Kuw)   11/2, 11/5, 11/0
James Snell (Eng) bt Matt Kowal (Usa)                         11/5, 11/2, 11/2
Jonas Laursen (Den) bt Rahul Singh (Usa)                    11/5, 11/3, 112

Jorge Isaac Baltazar Ferreira (Mex)                             Bye
Omar El Kashef (Egy) bt Khaled Ghoniem (Egy)           11/13, 11/8, 11/8, 14/12
Joel Hinds (Eng)                                                         Bye
Chris Walker (Eng) bt. Chris Truswell (Eng)                 11/9, 9/11, 11/7, 11/8

Lefika Ragonste (Bot) bt Ahmed Fady Oweida (Usa)      11/8, 11/9, 11/1
Tom Pashley (Eng) bt Sean Ballard (Usa)                     11/3, 11/8, 11/6
Matthew Serediak (Can) bt Mark Heather (Eng)            11/5, 6/11, 12/10, 8/11, 11/5
Shawn Delierre (Can)                                                 Bye

Graham Bassett (Usa) bt Porter Drake (Usa)               11/9, 6/11, 8/11, 11/5, 11/4
Clinton Leeuw (Rsa) bt Max Laverty (Usa)                   11/3, 11/5, 11/3
Jonathan Harford (Eng) bt Nathan Dugan (Eng)            11/2, 4/11, 11/5, 11/2
Gregoire Marche (Fra)                                                Bye

US Open 2010
25 Sep - 02 Oct, Chicago, $36k
Round One
29 Sep
30 Sep
01 Oct
02 Oct
[1] Natalie Grinham (Ned)
11/6, 11/9, 11/8
Manuela Manetta (Ita)
Manuela Manetta
6/11, 11/3, 6/11, 11/4, 12/10
[6] Latasha Khan
Manuela Manetta

11/3, 11/5, 5/11, 11/9

[8] Amanda Sobhy

[8] Amanda Sobhy

11/7, 11/7, 11/8

[2] Vanessa Atkinson

[6] Latasha Khan (Usa)
11/4, 11/6, 11/6
[Q] Victoria Lust (Eng)r
[4] Aisling Blake (Irl)
11/4, 11/1, 11/4
[Q] Adel Weir-Nunn (Rsa)
[4] Aisling Blake
15/13, 7/11, 11/4, 11/6
[8] Amanda Sobhy
[8] Amanda Sobhy (Usa)
11/6, 11/8, 11/8
[Q] Alexandra Norman (Can)
[Q] Leonie Holt (Eng)
11/9, 13/11, 11/4
[5] Line Hansen (Den)
[5] Line Hansen
8/11, 16/14, 11/5, 11/8 (42m)
[3] Isabelle Stoehr
[5] Line Hansen

 11/5, 11/5, 11/0

[2] Vanessa Atkinson

Miranda Ranieri (Can)
11/5, 11/8, 11/3
[3] Isabelle Stoehr (Fra)
Olivia Blatchford (Usa)
11/9, 11/9, 11/4
[7] Emma Beddoes (Eng)
[7] Emma Beddoes
 12/10, 11/8, 14/12 (44m)
[2] Vanessa Atkinson
Orla Noom (Ned)
10/12, 11/7, 11/3, 11/9
[2] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned)

** Rachael Grinham and Natalie Grainger withdrawn 27-Sep


Victoria Lust (Eng) bt Celia Allamargot (Fra)                    11/6, 11/8, 10/12, 14/12
Adel Weir-Nunan (Rsa) bt
Milou Van Der Heijden (Ned)     1/11, 11/9, 8/11, 17/15, 11/5
Leonie Holt (Eng) bt Stephanie Edmison (Can)                  7/11, 9/11, 11/2, 20/18, 11/9
Alexandra Norman (Can) bt
Samantha Cornett (Can)       11/9, 8/11, 11/9, 11/5

Round One:
Victoria Lust (Eng) bye
Celia Allamargot (Fra)  bt Imelda Salazar Martinez (Mex)   11/4, 7/11, 11/4, 7/11, 11/6
Adel Weir-Nunan (Rsa) bt Niki Clement (Usa)                     9/11, 11/5, 11/6, 10/12, 11/6
Milou Van Der Heijden (Ned) bt Caroline Lemoine               11/4, 11/2, 11/4
Leonie Holt (Eng) bt Genevieve Lessard (Can)                    11/4 11/9 11/2
Stephanie Edmison (Can) bt Randy Dupree (Usa)               11/3, 11/3, 11/5
Samantha Cornett (Can) bt Ivonne Diaz (Mex)                   11/6, 11/4, 12/10
Alexandra Norman (Can)  bye

01-Oct, Semi-Finals:
Amanda Sobhy bt Manuella Manetta      11-3, 11-5, 5-11, 11-9
Vanessa Atkinson bt  Line Hansen                   11-5, 11-5, 11-0

LJ Anjema bt Omar Mosaad                  11-4, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6
Wael El Hindi bt Olli Tuominen              4-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6

Semis in Millenium Park

Phil Yarrow reports

Another packed house at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago witnessed some amazing squash in the semi-final matches of the Metrosquash US Open. The setting could not be more perfect; a beautiful fall evening for this unique outside squash event.

Atkinson in Control

First on court former world number one and Dutch champion Vanessa Atkinson. Her opponent was the Danish number one, Line Hansen. Atkinson came out focused and put on a clinical display. Hansen tried to stay with her in the first game, but Atkinson was too strong and took the game comfortable 11-5. Atkinson continued to dominate in the second game. Hansen showed some promise rattling off four points to gain an early 4-3 advantage. But it was a temporary spell of momentum for the Danish woman as Atkinson ran off the next seven points and closed out the second game 11-5. Atkinson was now in complete control and Hansen became dispirited. In the third game, Atkinson’s deep drives were causing Hansen all sorts of problems. She was making errors in the back corners or being forced to offer up weak boasts. Atkinson won the game 11-0 to complete a comfortable victory.

After the match Atkinson said that she wasn’t sure whether she won so easily because of her strong play or because Line had had a bad day. Regardless of whether the Danish woman was a little overawed by the occasion, it was a solid performance by Vanessa.

LJ makes it a Dutch Double

The second match was the first men’s semi-final between Omar Mosaad and Laurens Jan Anjema. Masaad was coming off his massive win against Thierry Lincou last night. But he was up against another tall strong player who would battled him every inch of the way for control of the T. The rallies were highly entertaining in the first game, but Mosaad was prone to a few too many tins. Anjema on the other hand was disciplined throughout. He built up a 9-2 lead and then closed out the game 11-4.

Mosaad started off much better in the second game. He built a 6-2 lead with some amazing squash. But Anjema continued with his steady play and the mistakes again start to come off the young Egyptian’s racket. Maybe last night’s marathon match was taking a bit of a mental toll on Mosaad, but there was no doubt that the Dutchman was causing many of the errors and Anjema rattled off eight points in a row to take a 10-6 lead. Mosaad steadied himself and fought off the first two game balls. Up until this point in the game, both players had been able to play through much of the interference and there was surprisingly few lets. But that would start to change. There were five lets at 8-10, before Mosaad hit a winner to save a third game ball. Three let balls followed, before Anjema finally managed to capture the game with a wonderful combination of drop shots that had Mosaad scrambling around the front court.

In the third game, Mosaad again built a 6-2 lead. This time though he would push on and he started to force some rare unforced errors from the Dutchman. He advanced to 10-4 game ball, and then despite a couple of badly mishit shots that followed, he was able to win the game 11-6 when Anjema tinned a backhand boast.

In the fourth game, the lets started to come in thick and fast as neither player wanted to give up the advantage. It was tough going to win a point. But again it was the Dutchman who seemed to be just a little bit more focused and he built a 5-2 lead. The game had seemed such a battle to that point, but in an instant thereafter Anjema would open up a 10-2 advantage. Mosaad had one last stand though and he fought back to 6-10 before a tight drive by Anjema that died in the back corner gave the Dutchman the win.

Mosaad had played such great squash in the match but the bottom line is he simply hit too many tins compared to his opponent whose unforced errors in the whole match could be counted on one hand. After the match Anjema said that it is never easy to play Omar as he is such a dangerous player and with two tall players on the court it always makes for a hard physical battle.

Sensational Sobhy

Next up was the 17 year American sensation Amanda Sobhy against Italian Manuela Manetta. Sobhy has been in incredible form of late. She strikes the ball with power and accuracy keeping her opponent constantly on the back foot. In the first two games against Manetta she delighted the packed crowd by simply ripping through her Italian opponent with the confidence that suggests she will soon to be testing all the top women players in the world. She won the first two games 11-3, 11-5. To her credit though, Manetta, who had been totally outplayed to this point, seemed to get to grips with the situation in the third game. She slowed the pace of the game and used more of a lob drop approach to good effect. She negated Sobhy’s power and the American began to find the tin with increasing frequency. Manetta won the third game 11-5 and the fourth game was close throughout. To the great pleasure of the huge crowd though it would be Sobhy who would find the winning touch just at the right time and she would win the game 11-9 to close out the match.

After the match Sobhy said it was amazing to be in the US Squash Open final. She had been pumped up by the large crowd support. She will face a tough test against Vanessa Atkinson in tomorrow’s final. But she certainly will have the crowd cheering her on.

Wael keeps Egyptian interest alive

The final match was between Olli Tuominen from Finland and another Egyptian Wael El Hindi. Tuominen has been a frequent visitor to Chicago tournaments over the past 15 years, but he may never have been playing as well here as he has been this week. He was simply sensational in his victory over Mohamed El Shorbagy in the quarter-finals on Wednesday night and he would continue that good form at the beginning of tonight’s match. The Finn dominated the early going. He was quick on to the ball and his shots were crisp. El Hindi is an awkward opponent who fights hard and doesn’t give an inch in the middle of the court. But Tuominen had him off balance and the Egyptian was struggling for a response. Tuominen won the first game 11-4 and raced to a 6-1 lead in the second game. Perhaps predictably though, the game started to become much more physical as El Hindi fought back. Both players were frustrated with the referees’ decisions, but it was tough for the three officials as both players fought for position on the court. El Hindi got within one at 7-8 and then again at 8-9. The play was choppy but entertaining. A no let call brought El Hindi level and a forehand boast in the tin gave the Egyptian game ball. He would level the match with a tight backhand drive that Tuominen could not retrieve.

The let appeals continued to come in the third game and both players argued a lot with the referees. The excited crowd was more than willing to voice their opinion to add to the atmosphere. The game was close throughout. El Hindi opened up an 8-5 lead but it was soon back on level terms at 9-9. A backhand drop winner would give the Egyptian game ball and he would take a two game to one lead when Tuominen put a backhand boast in the tin on the next rally.

El Hindi is also a frequent visitor to Chicago and is a favorite with the fans. They roared their approval as he fought back from such a bad position. The Egyptian was now growing with confidence. His racket skills are awfully good and he started to punish Tuominen with great shots to the front court and disguised crosscourts that would wrong foot his opponent. He opened up a 5-0 lead. But Tuominen did not give up and he battled back to 5-6 as the Finn’s fans in the crowd started to find their voices. But the Egyptian would regain the initiative and pulled away again and to his great delight at the end won the final game 11-6.

El Hindi said afterwards that he was not feeling good during the second game as Tuominen was putting everything away. But he just tried to stay calm and play his way back into the match. That he did and he sets up what should be a very interesting final tomorrow against LJ Anjema.

30-Sep, Quarters take two:

[3] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) bt Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
                    11-5, 12-10, 11-6 (51m)
[6] Omar Mosaad (Egy) bt [1] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
                    8-11, 11-3, 13-11, 10-12, 11-8 (80m)

[5] Line Hansen (Den) bt  [3] Isabelle Stoehr  (Fra)
                    8-11, 16-14, 11-5, 11-8 (42m)
[2] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned) bt [7] Emma Beddoes (Eng)
                     12-10, 11-8, 14-12 (44m)

Millennium Park, where the glass court was erected

Quarters take
John Flanigan reports

Tonight saw the continuation of the quarter-finals matches of the MetroSquash US Open. First on court was 11-time French national champion, Isabelle Stoehr, versus the Danish number one, Line Hansen. Conditions were perfect as it was another beautiful evening in Chicago. And a large crowd in the Pritzker pavilion at Millennium Park was treated to a highly entertaining opening match.

Stoehr made a solid start and won the first game 11-8. She continued to have the edge in the second game as well, although Hansen battled hard to keep it close. A couple of fabulous backhand volley drops gave Stoehr an 8-5 advantage, but Hansen hit back to tie the game at 8-8. A couple more backhand winners gave Stoehr a 10-9 advantage. But a delicate backhand volley drop from Hansen took the game to a tie-break. A tense tie-break saw both players miss opportunities to close the game out before a couple of errors from Stoehr allowed Hansen to take the 15-minute game 15-13 and level the match at a game a piece.

The lower ranked Hansen’s confidence seemed to be growing and she was striking the ball solidly with her drives and boasts on both sides of the court. She built a 6-3 lead in the third game. A couple of penalty points gave Hansen game ball at 10-5 and she closed the game out with a beautifully executed forehand drop in the next rally.

Stoehr came out more determined in the fourth game. She seemed determined to wrestle back the momentum and she drove Hansen deeper into the back corners and built up a 6-2 lead. Hansen gradually reeled her back though and her height enabled her to reach into the front corners to retrieve Stoehr’s boasts. She got back on level terms at 8-8 and then won the next three points to take the fourth game 11-8 and book her spot in the semi-finals.

A clearly delight Hansen said afterwards that the second game was absolutely crucial and that head to head she had now beaten Stoehr twice versus many losses!

The next match was the first of this evening’s men’s quarter-final’s between Egyptian Mohammed Abbas and Dutch number one Laurens Jan Anjema. Anjema has a strong, steady game. His, deep, hard hit drives kept Abbas under pressure and didn’t allow the Egyptian to play his normally attacking squash. Anjema built a 9-3 lead and soon after took the game 11-5 as Abbas tined out an attempted forehand crosscourt drop shot from the back of the court.

The second game started off with more of the same and the world number 12 was now really working over the Egyptian. Abbas called on all his years of experience to hang in there and keep the game close and he was able to get back on level terms at 4-4 and then at 8-8. Two incredible tight backhand drops shots gave Abbas a couple of game balls. The first was wasted with a loose forehand crosscourt drop that Anjema gladly put away and the second was lost when the referees adjudged that an Anjema backhand drive had died in the back corner, refusing Abbas a let. Another forehand crosscourt tin from Abbas gave Anjema game ball and he closed it out 12-10 with a solid backhand volley kill.

Despite an increasing number of let calls as both players jockeyed to control the T, both players continued to play highly entertaining squash. Anjema remained on top throughout though and eventually triumphed 11-6 to complete a 55-minute victory.

LJ said afterwards that despite the 3-0 score line, the match was far from easy and he really had to play close to his best to beat the experienced Egyptian.

The third match continued to showcase top Dutch squash professionals. This was time it was former world number one Vanessa Atkinson who was up against the rapidly improving English woman Emma Beddoes. Atkinson looked in control as she built a 10-6 lead in the first game. But some uncharacteristic errors allowed Beddoes to force a tie break. Atkinson regained her composure though to win the game 12-10. Beddoes battled hard in the next two games, but Atkinson seemed just a little quicker and stronger. Atkinson won the second game 11-8 and led 10-8 in the third. But Beddoes dug in. She won the next two points to force another tie break. Atkinson could not convert on another two match balls in the tie break as her young English opponent scrambled to stay in the match. Finally at the fifth attempt Atkinson hit the winner which would take her into the semi-finals.

Atkinson highlighted after the match how important it is to take the ball early on the glass court as it tends to die in the back corners. She felt she attacked just a little bit more than her young opponent and that was the difference in what was a tight 3-0 victory. Atkinson said that she is enjoying her squash as much as ever and that she feels more relaxed on court as she nears the end of her career knowing that she has achieved everything that she set out to do in the game.

Last on court was a mouthwatering match-up between another former world number one Frenchman Thierry Lincou and the young Egyptian Omar Mosaad. The first game was a tight affair. Lincou built a 9-6 lead, but was by no means controlling the play. A couple of errors from the Frenchman brought the score back to 8-9, but a backhand drop from Omar that clipped the top of tin set up game ball and Lincou closed out the game with a beautiful backhand volley kill.

The second game though was all Mosaad. He took the ball early putting Lincou under substantial pressure. Midway through the game Lincou seemed at a loss with how to deal with this attack and Mosaad ran out an easy 11-3 winner to tie up the match.

The third game started with some nervy errors from both players but then the game settled into a pattern of play similar to the first game, with tight, well contested rallies. Both players began to grow a little testy with each other and the referees as they struggled to take control of the match. Neither player could find that little advantage they needed though and the lead yo-yoed throughout. It was fascinating stuff; the vastly experienced Frenchman who will battle to the end versus the young and powerful Egyptian who is clearly a rising star. At 9-9, Mosaad won a fantastic rally with a reflex backhand volley to the open court after Lincou had recovered half a dozen seemingly winning shots at the front court. But a no let followed that took the game into a tie break. It appeared a critical moment in the match and it would be Masaad who would eventually come out on top 12-10 as Linocu failed to get a ball out of the back forehand court and then saw a shot from the Egyptian stick to the backhand sidewall.

Lincou started well in the fourth opening 4-1 and 6-3 leads. He would eventually advance to 10-8, but successive forehand and backhand kills from Mossad took it to a tie break. This time though it would be Lincou who would hold his nerve and he shouted with joy as Mosaad tinned out to give the Frenchman the game 12-10.

The deciding game was as hard fought a battle as you can get on a squash court. Neither player giving an inch as the game became increasingly physical. There was nothing in it to 5-5. Two fine volley drops though helped Mosaad open up an 8-5 lead. But Lincou came right back with the most delicate of backhand drop shots and a tin from the Egyptian brought him back within a point. Two fantastic crosscourt kills from Mosaad gave him three match balls. Lincou would save the first but a backhand into the nick just after midnight gave him the victory.

Mosaad was very happy after the match with his first win ever over Lincou. It capped a fantastic evening of squash in the park!

29-Sep, Quarters take One:

Manuela Manetta bt Latasha Khan      6-11, 11-3, 6-11, 11-4, 12-10
Amanda Sobhy bt Aisling Blake                  15-13, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7
Wael El Hindi bt Nicolas Mueller                           15-13, 11-9, 11-8
Olli Tuominen bt Mohamed El Shorbagy       11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10

Millennium Park, where the glass court was erected

Quarters take one

Mark Heather reports

The Pritzker Pavillion known to be the centerpiece of the Millenium park in Chicago, is normally used by the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and Chorus as well as the Grant Park Music festival, featuring classical music played in the amazing backdrop of the Chicago sky line. Tonight's orchestra however was in some ways different and in some ways similar to the other nights.

Tonight the top squash players played on the stage show-casing their talent well into the late hours of the evening. The squash court itself was erected in the middle of the stage and the grand stand was constructed on a raised platform above the audience's viewing area. The squash tempo in the matches was perhaps similar to a symphony with its climax and its lows, triumph and agony surrounding a dance of movement, strength and skill.

All of this display befitted the cause associated with the US Open: Metrosquash. Metrosquash is an organization that uses squash, community service and mentoring to build confidence in urban Chicago Public School students. In addition to the amazing success of hosting the US Open in such an awe inspiring location, Metrosquash organizers experienced further gratification when Metro Squash, one of five organizations short listed for the United Airlines Chicago Impact Award, actually won the $50,000 award in a ceremony held at the United Center while the matches had just begun.

Congratulations to David Kay and the rest of the metro squash team! David Kay was present to announce his group's win after the first match.

Match summaries:

Manuela Manetta (ITA) bt Latasha Khan (US) 3/2

The match seemed to go back and forth, while the fifth game was the highlight of the match with both players showing determination but the Italian got the better of Khan and prevailed despite Khan saving match ball.

Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3/0

Mueller who had overcome the higher ranked Hisham Ashour (EGY) in his previous match was all fired up for the first game, going toe to toe with the Egyptian. He had game ball at 13-12, but seemed desperate to want to finish the game and El Hindi with his amazing touch on his volley drops pressured him and was able to take the game.

The second game showed Mueller starting with errors, perhaps fatigued by his effort in the first game, however all credit to him for coming back to even the game at 6-6. However it seemed El Hindi had that extra accuracy and precision in his shot making as he put the ball in the front corners and countered Mueller's boasts with excellent low drops. The

Third game was closer with Mueller getting to 7-6, however El Hindi's skill and precision prevailed and he took the last few points with ease.

Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Aisling Blake (IRL) 3/1

Sobhy was facing the higher ranked Blake took her time getting into the match. Despite being 6-10 down in the first game she maintained composure and picked up her game, mainly by volleying which seemed to throw off Blake.

There were some excellent rallies however Sobhy's ability to volley and pick up the pace kept her ahead. Credit to Blake, she played a tight second game and Sobhy made several errors that cost her the second game. The third game showed Sobhy back to he original game plan, cutting the ball and playing powerful rails and cross courts. Her touch showed as well on her drops and court coverage seemed to be much better. At 8-3 Sobhy played one of the hardest low forehand rails that one can play to win the point, she seemed very confident at this stage.

In the fourth game Sobhy continued the same volley and power game mixing in drops and boasts to go up 6-0. She was up match ball at 10-4, Blake tried to get back into the match but could not overcome Sobhy's game to lose the final game 11-7. It was impressive to see Sobhy's talent and power, it was obvious why she and American is the women's world junior champion.

Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) 3/1

Olli is a familiar face to Chicago squash enthusiasts, and he has been a regular every year at the squash tournaments held in the Windy City. This year it seems that he has gotten better with age. From the first game onwards Olli had established an excellent error free base game, his backhand was tighter than Shorbagy, and he used his accuracy to force Shorbagy to making mistakes, Shorbagy seemed to hit tins several times off the back hand volley drop.

It seemed the same pattern continued into the second game, and Olli took the game easily after several errors from Shorbagy. In the third game Shorbagy started to collect himself and stopped making the errors off his backhand. His court coverage and reach was on display while also some pretty extravagant shot making, his forehand cross court flick was a treat to watch, he was showing why he was one of the top squash prospects in the world and why had been the junior world champion he won the game after some exhilarating rallies 11-8.

The fourth game was a close affair, Olli was keeping the ball as tight as one can in a squash court. His rails particularly off the backhand were very accurate and his retrieving was as good as ever. With Shorbagy leading at 7-6, he made two consecutive mistakes, and gave easy points off stroke calls to Oli, who went up 8-7. Credit to Shorbagy he came back and saved a match ball when Oli tinned going for a reverse corner winner off the front corner to get to 10-10, however Olli kept his composure and pressure to take the match.

This was the best Olli has played in Chicago, as he commented later his base game was very good and he mixed in excellent winners to take the match.

Last sixteens in Chicago
Jim Wellington reports

Today's play saw both the men's and women's RO16 matches completed at the beautiful, new University Club of Chicago Squash facility.

Latasha Khan (USA) bt Victoria Lust (ENG) 11/4, 11/6, 11/6
Game one was tight to 4/4 when a stroke call against Lust seemed to unnerve her. Latasha then found her rhythm, controlling the court and finding winners when needed.

Manuela Manetta (ITA) bt Natalie Grinham (NED) 11/6, 11/9, 11/8
Manetta scored the win of her career in upsetting new mother and number one seed Natalie Grinham. Natalie was not on her best form as her new baby watched from behind the court in sister Rachael's arms. As the score line shows, the play was close, but errors from Grinham combined with a solid, aggressive, and mentally tough performance from Manuella led to an early exit for the former world #2.

Aisling Blake (IRL) bt Adel Weir-Nunan (RSA) 11/4, 11/1, 11/4
There were some very good rallies here, but Aisling was too strong and never really let Adel in the match.

Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Alexandra Norman (CAN) 11/5, 11/8, 11/8
Play was competitive, but not as close as the score-line would indicate. The new World Junior Champion applied too much pressure as the result never seemed in doubt.

Line Hanson (DEN) btLeonie Holt (ENG) 11/9, 13/11, 11/4
This was close throughout the first two games, but Leonie had left most of her emotional strength on the court last night in saving four match balls and didn't have the fight to come back from 0/2 down. Line had too much energy and drive in the end as she ran away with the third.

Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) bt Miranda Ranieri (CAN) 11/5, 11/8, 11/3
Miranda has been nursing an ankle injury which is not what you need in trying to defeat a tough, higher-ranked opponent like Stoehr. Miranda moved very well considering her ailment, and even made the second game quite close, but it was an uphill battle and Isabelle was too strong.

Emma Beddoes (ENG) bt Olivia Blatchford (USA) 11/9, 11/9, 11/4
Emma was just a fraction better in both the first two games, making fewer errors, and coming good in the big moments. The ball started cold in the third and Emma used it to hit all the shots she wanted while Olivia got frustrated and hit tins and out.

Vanessa Atkinson (NED) bt Orla Noom (NED) 10/12, 11/7, 11/3, 11/9
Vanessa went 10/7 up in the first, but inexplicably lost 5 points in a row to drop the game. She came back focused though and stayed in control the rest of the match, using cross courts to great effect as well as her strong straight game.

Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt Shahier Razik (CAN) 11/6, 11/8, 8/11, 11/3
This was an exciting encounter between two patient but tricky players who both use deception and accuracy more than pace. El Hindi was given a conduct stroke at the beginning of game 3 for letting something unsavory slip out of his mouth, going down 1/4 and never able to get back in control of the game. A totally different man returned for game 4 with Wael hitting amazing drops over and over and moving with grace and speed - we would like to see more of this.

Mohammed Abbas (EGY) bt Alister Walker (ENG) 3/11, 11/4, 11/7, 10/12, 11/9
This was a great match from two spirited, fast, and vocal opponents - punch, counter-punch, dive, retrieve, wipe the court, talk to the referee - a good time for all. Walker saved two match balls in the fourth, but Abbas was more solid mentally at the business end of five.

Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Hisham Ashour (EGY) 11/8, 9/11, 11/8, 8/11, 11/7
As the score-line shows, all the games were close in the back-and-forth battle punctuated by hard hitting, front-court attacks, and all-court play. Hisham looked very tired at the end of the fourth, but went up 4/0 in the fifth with sharp attacks, but Mueller didn't let go, and came up with winners of his own when he needed them most.

Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 11/8, 11/8, 11/7
Highly competitive, but Tom came up on the wrong end of a few too many of the short, fast-paced rallies in this one.

Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt Julian Illingworth (USA) 14/12, 11/6, 10/12, 11/9
Another exciting, close, nail-biter from Oli ended the hopes of the last American in the Men's draw. Julian really got going in game 3 when his accurate short game took him to 8-2, but Oli saw that Julian was getting tired and put it into another gear, winning 8 of the next 9 to give match ball, but Julian still managed to squeak the game. Oli kept up the pressure in the fourth, going short with boasts to work Julian even more. Even with Julian stalling as much as he could this tactic worked to bring Oli to 10/5, match-ball. Julian saved four in quick succession, but Oli hit an unexpected reverse-corner at 10/9 to take it - a thrill to the very end.

L.J. Anjema (NED) bt Simon Rosner (GER) 11/6, 7/11, 11/1, 9/11, 11/2
This up-and-down affair saw LJ control when he focused on not opening the court up, and Simon play well when he had more angles to work with. The fifth was one sided as Rosner was fatigued and not able to see the ball as well as he had throughout the rest of the match.

Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Mark Krajcsak (HUN) 8/11, 11/5, 11/8, 11/3
This hard hitting match had more pace that accuracy, with very little effective short play, especially in the beginning. Things settled down a little in the last two game, as the players got into more of a rhythm, and the ball had lost some of its pressure.

Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 11/5, 11/3, 11/1
The rallies were short and fast as Lincou covered more and more balls and gave Waller less and less to work with - closer than the score line, but never in doubt.

Millennium Park, where the glass court will be erected

Round One in Chicago

Mark Heather reports

The first real upset happened today in the first round of the men's 2010 METROsquash U.S. Open as Adrian Waller beat Rafael Alarcon in a close encounter that went to four games and ended 11-9 in the final game.

The match of the day was when Stephane Galifi almost dispatched Olli Tuominen in a dramatic physical and mental match. There was a fair amount of arguing with the referee who had a tough job on his hands trying to keep the game moving. The crowd was amazed with the retrieving abilities of both players and got all the action they craved as the match went on to a tiebreak in the fifth game. Olli eventually took the game 13-11, only after a final rally where Galifi dove several times for balls, but the exciting match finished with a backhand drop just clipping the tin.

Another five gamer of the day was when Jorge Baltazar took Wael El Hindi to the limit. Wael went up 7-2 in the fifth and looked like a sure winner, but Jorge gave it a good last push and started to close the gap but after a few long rallies in which Jorge did most of the work, Wael finished out the game 11-7

American Gilly Lane took Mohammed El Shorbagy to four games.

Englishman James Snell took a very well played first game from Canadian Shahier Razik, but Razik came in to the second game with his trademark slower pace, retrieving everything and grinding James down. James had some amazing gets, but was unable to do anything as Shahier won the next three games fairly comfortably to move on to the round of 16.

The rest of the men’s matches were won 3-0 by the higher seeded players.

Today also saw the first round of Qualifying for the Women’s US Open and the crowed was treated to some thrilling matches.

The players who qualified were Victoria Lust, Adel Wier-Nunan, Leonie Holt and Alexandra Norman.

Millennium Park, where the glass court will be erected

Qualifying Complete in Chicago
Mark Heather reports

Today the Men’s final qualifying round was played and all matches went as expected, with 3-0 victories to nearly all seeded players.

All of the underdogs fought hard to claim an unexpected place in the main draw, and Lefika Ragonste took a game from Tom Pashley, but the seeded players proved their worth.

Two of today's matches were all Canadian: Robin Clarke won the to first two games against Tyler Hamilton in a tiebreak after that it seemed like Tyler ran out of gas and Robin eased away and took the last game 11-4. Shawn Delierre beat team mate Matt Serediak in a quick-played three-game match.

The University Club’s new Assistant Squash Pro Jonas Laursen lost to Englishman James Snell. Jonas put up a good fight against the Brit with numerous dives and retrieves, but James kept him in the back of the court and Jonas was soon too tired and after 30min of play James was on to the main draw.

Joel Hinds dispatched Chris Walker, Joel’s quick pace and precise volley drops made Chris work hard, and after three very entertaining games Joel could shake hands and get ready for tomorrow’s match.

Clinton Leeuw beat a tired Graham Basset, and the quick Frenchman Gregoire Marche beat Englishman Jonathon Harford after three very hard fought games.

Tomorrow the Men’s main draw will start and the women’s qualifying rounds begin, so there will be a lot of good squash to watch ...

Thanks to Mohamed El Shorbagy and Thierry Lincou for the results 1st round

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