US SQUASH

Evans and Rösner Set for U.S. Open Semifinal Debuts

Tesni Evans (l) and Simon Rösner

Tesni Evans of Wales and Simon Rösner of Germany are set for their first FS Investments U.S. Open semifinal appearances Friday where they will face Egyptian world No. 2’s Raneem El Welily and Ali Farag, respectively, following Thursday evening’s quarterfinal session at Drexel University’s Daskalakis Athletic Center.

Evans, world No. 12, entered the first quarterfinal match of the night with a 0-6 career PSA record against world No. 8 Sarah-Jane Perry. The twenty-five-year-old Welshwoman made a strong start in the first game 11-9, but Perry pulled back ahead taking the second and third 11-5, 11-6. Evans regrouped in the fourth, and despite Perry fighting off four game balls, forced a fifth game 11-8. Evans sped ahead in the fifth, maintaining a large lead until clinching the match 11-5 after seventy-one minutes.

“I’m really pleased with my performance today,” Evans said. “I’ve always struggled, and still do, against SJ. I find her style doesn’t seem to suit me and I’m really happy that I could play well today.”

Evans made history with the result, becoming the first Welsh woman or man to reach a U.S. Open semifinal.

“I’m a very proud Welsh person so it makes me really happy that I can break records as much as I can,” Evans said. “I’m so happy that I’m the first one to do it at this event and I hope there are many more after me. It’s one of my favorite events that I have been to. I love the place, I stay with a really good family and I feel really good here.”

Rösner, Germany’s world No. 5, followed suit in securing his first U.S. Open semifinal berth as the first German to reach a U.S. Open semi in his tenth tournament appearance. The thirty-year-old only needed three games in a confident victory over Colombia’s world No. 6 Miguel Angel Rodriguez. Friday will mark Rösner’s semifinal first appearance in a PSA World Platinum event since his break-through title run at the 2018 Tournament of Champions.

“I feel amazing,” Rösner said. “I felt comfortable. I kind of struggled in the beginning to find my rhythm and my tactics—I didn’t get my tactics right at the start. So, I thought I had to change something when I was 9-6 down and I’m quite surprised with how I was able to convert my tactics. I needed to slow down the pace every once in a while, get into the corners better and I think I managed to do that by chipping it up high in the air from the left side corner to the right-side corner and after that I was able to counter-attack.”

For the second time in two weeks, El Welily dispatched England’s world No. 6 Laura Massaro. After a close 11-7 first game, El Welily powered through an 11-2 second game, and despite Massaro fending off one match ball to force a tie-breaker in the third, advanced in three.

“Laura is never easy to play against,” El Welily said. “I didn’t know we have played each other thirty times—that’s a lot. We have been playing each other for a long time now, but it wasn’t easy today. It was 3-0 but as you can see from the score line it was close, especially in the third—Laura was really getting me all around the court. Maybe I played safe a little bit, maybe I wanted to win too much so that a bit of pressure on me, but overall I’m very happy to come out as a winner today and it was a good match.

El Welily, the reigning women’s world champion, holds a 6-0 record against Evans, including a 3-0 second round victory last year in Philadelphia.

In another Oracle NetSuite Open rematch from two weeks ago, defending champion Farag once again came back from 2-1 down against three-time U.S. Open champion Gregory Gaultier to keep his title defense alive. In a seventy-four-minute battle, the two top-ten players put on a show for the Philadelphia crowd in the final quarterfinal match of the tournament as Farag prevailed 6-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9, 11-2.

“I have a huge amount of respect for Greg,” Farag said. “Playing at such a pace for five games at the age of thirty-six—I really can’t believe it. I look up to him and I hope one day I can be like him. Whenever I try to drag him into long rallies, he always finds a way out. He’s still fit at this age, he’s very smart and always finds a way out. I’m glad I had Nour [El Tayeb] in my corner, who kept telling me to keep pushing and that I would find a way somehow. I don’t know how I did it, but it just happened and I’m so relieved to be in the semifinals again.”

Farag enters Friday’s semifinal with a 3-3 PSA record against Rösner.

“Out of the non-Egyptians, Simon is my closest friend on tour,” Farag said. “We spend a lot of time together and he’s an amazing guy on and off the court. He’s a very skillful player who likes to volley a lot, so I have to be on my game tomorrow.”

Watch the semifinals live on SquashTV Friday, October 12, from 5pm local time. For tickets visit usopensquash.com/tickets.

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