Walker Advances In ToC Qualifying

January 25, 2010

Unranked Englishman Chris Walker scored a major upset in the opening round of the qualifying tournament in the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions, defeating Australia’s world No 75 Matthew Karwalski in five games in a 70-minute marathon in the $92,500 PSA World Tour squash event in New York – the opening event of the 2010 PSA Super Series.

The 42-year-old former world No4, now a squash coach in Connecticut, said: “I would dearly love to get on the glass court one last time,” referring to the sparkling four walled glass court constructed under the chandeliers in Grand Central Terminal for the main draw.

First, however, Walker will have to get past Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly, who defeated TG Raubenheimer of South Africa in four games.

Two former US intercollegiate champions are in the hunt for main draw berths. Princeton University graduate Yasser El Halaby, the only four time winner of the men’s collegiate crown, looked like he was going to be down 1/2 in games when his opponent, Pakistani Arshad Iqbal Burki, pulled up short with a pulled calf muscle and had to retire.

El Halaby will face Gregoire Marche who eliminated New Zealand’s Kashif Shuja in four games with relentless retrieving and court speed. Trinity College graduate Bernardo Samper of Colombia, also a US intercollegiate champion, defeated local pro Karim Yehia in four games and will next play Italy’s Stephane Galifi who came back from two games down to defeat Frenchman Fabien Verseille.

France’s Mathieu Castagnet also moves into the second round and will face tour veteran Mohammed Abbas who was ranked 13 two years ago. The 29-year-old Egyptian, coming back after a year-long injury hiatus, dispatched Welshman Jethro Binns with relative ease in three straight games.

Hometown favourite Christopher Gordon pleased the crowd at the Harvard Club by defeating Canada’s David Letourneau in four games. He will next play Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller for the right to make it to the main draw and the glass court.

RESULTS: JP Morgan Tournament of Champions, New York, USA

1st qualifying round:

Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Wade Johnstone (AUS) 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 (42m)

Christopher Gordon (USA) bt David Letourneau (CAN) 11-4, 11-5, 10-12, 11-4 (63m)

Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Esteban Casarino (PAR) 11-5, 11-7, 13-11 (47m)

Mohammed Abbas (EGY) bt Jethro Binns (WAL) 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 (35m)

Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Kashif Shuja (NZL) 7-11, 12-10, 11-6, 12-10 (58m)

Yasser El Halaby (EGY) bt Arshad Iqbal Burki (PAK) 11-5, 5-11, 6-10 ret. (27m)

Stephane Galifi (ITA) bt Fabien Verseille (FRA) 8-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-6 (67m)

Bernardo Samper (COL) bt Karim Yehia (EGY) 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 (49m)

Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Edward Marks (USA) 11-5, 11-2, 11-2 (27m)

Scott Arnold (AUS) bt Omar El Kashef (EGY) 12-10, 11-9, 11-7 (45m)

Chris Walker (ENG) bt Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7 (70m)

Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt TG Raubenheimer (RSA) 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 (35m)

Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Tom Pashley (ENG) 11-9, 10-12, 11-3, 11-7 (49m)

Yasir Butt (PAK) bt Erik Tepos Valtierra (MEX) 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-3 (33m)

Shaun le Roux (ENG) bt Liam Kenny (IRL) 11-6, 11-7 ret. (20m)

Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt Johan Bouquet (FRA) 11-4, 11-6, 11-7 (31m)

Qualifying finals line-up:

Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Christopher Gordon (USA)

Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v Mohammed Abbas (EGY)

Gregoire Marche (FRA) v Yasser El Halaby (EGY)

Stephane Galifi (ITA) v Bernardo Samper (COL)

Scott Arnold (AUS) v Adrian Waller (ENG)

Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Chris Walker (ENG)

Yasir Butt (PAK) v Alan Clyne (SCO)

Campbell Grayson (NZL) v Shaun le Roux (ENG)