Daryl Selby showed that determination to win overrides friendship on the PSA World Tour when he upset England teammate Peter Barker, the No. 4 seed, in the NetSuite Open Squash Championship to claim an unexpected place in the semifinals of the PSA International 70 event staged on an all-glass court erected on the South Lawn at Justin Herman Plaza on the San Francisco waterfront in California, USA.
World No. 13 Selby is returning to Tour action after recovering from a knee injury and went into the match 3-5 behind in his career head-to-head record with Barker—but his three wins over the London-born world No. 7 were achieved in their last three encounters.
“Both players drove the ball deep on the McWIL glass court, stayed away from risky volleys or boasts and settled in for the long haul,” reported tournament founder and promoter John Nimick. “On paper, this tactical approach has benefited Barker with a 5-3 head-to-head match advantage on the PSA Tour, but it was Selby who emerged in the third game with a more focused assault to break the one-all deadlock and take game three easily, 11-3.
“Gaining momentum, Selby raced out to an 8-3 advantage in the fourth and closed strongly 11-5. In after-game comments, both players affirmed the challenge of being ‘best mates’ and yet having to focus on their individual goals.”
The 8-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-4 win in 78 minutes denied Barker a second successive appearance in the event’s last four—and 30-year-old Selby was delighted with his performance: “Peter has been in great form, so I had to play beyond a level I thought I could, after my recent injury.
“I really enjoy the tournament here and am happy to have started the season so well. It’s always tough playing such a good friend, but one of us has to win and luckily enough tonight it was me!
“Semis tomorrow against Greg Gaultier,” Selby continued. “Need a serious sleep first!”
Bidding to reach his second Tour final of the year, Selby will face defending champion Gregory Gaultier.
“The world number two from France needed his A-Game as the German No. 1 and PSA No. 12 Simon Rosner was competitive from the start,” continued Nimick.
“The game was physical and both players asked for interpretations of ‘minimal interference’ a few times, but the end result was a credit to both. Rosner played with flair and risk, while Gaultier controlled the T and the access to the front and sides, showing how both incredible racquet skills and canny court positioning can keep ‘aspiring’ players on their heels.”
After Gaultier’s 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 win in 46 minutes, a disconsolate Rosner told his Twitter followers: “Wasn’t meant to be today after going down 0:3. It is just the beginning, so looking forward to a great season ahead of me.”
Gaultier arrived in California fresh from title success in the PSA International 70 Abierto Mexicano de Raquetas in Mexico—and is now just one match away from his third successive Tour final after finishing as runner-up in the British Open.
NetSuite Open image courtesy of Ma Patapoff
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v  James Willstrop (ENG)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
Quarterfinals (lower half of draw):
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt  Peter Barker (ENG) 8-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-4 (78m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Simon Rosner (GER) 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 (46m)
Article courtesy of the Professional Squash Association