Gordon Grabs Main Draw Slot In Virginia

25 Feb 13

New Yorker Christopher Gordon fought through to the first round of the Davenport North American Open after a brutal qualifying triumph in the second PSA World Series squash event of the year at the Westwood Club in Richmond, Virginia.

Gordon battled back after trailing by two games to one to level the match against Australian Zac Alexander and then had to mount an astonishing recovery from 7-2 down in the fifth before clinching his place as the sole US player in the main draw.

Afterwards he admitted he had begun the fifth game "stumbling around the court like a primate" as Alexander - ranked ten places higher in the world - opened a commanding lead.

As the 26-year-old world No58 worked his way back into the match, Alexander lost his control. The last seven points won by Gordon told the story. Alexander hit the tin five times, Gordon simply crushed a straight backhand kill, and when match ball arrived Alexander lost the point (and a place in the first round) by conceding a penalty stroke.

Gordon's reward is a place in the first round on Tuesday against talented young Egyptian Tarek Momen, ranked 11 in the world.

After the match Gordon was still trying to work out how he rose to the occasion at the end of the fifth game. "At 6-1 down, I was conscious of only one thing, my feelings towards referee Mike Riley for having the ball cleaned between games," Gordon admitted.

"I was just stumbling around the court like a primate, trying to keep the ball in play as Zac showed how capable he is of destroying you.

"I still don't know how I pulled it back but it's a great feeling to reach the first round. I guess I managed to stay calm and kept chipping away."

In another sensational fight-back, featuring a second massive Australian collapse, Pakistan's Yasir Ali Butt recovered from 10-5 match-ball down in the fourth game to beat Matthew Karwalski.

French players Mathieu Castagnet and Gregoire Marche suffered contrasting fortunes. Castagnet overpowered Hong Kong's Leo Au but Marche failed to repeat his heroics of last month, when he reached the second round of the Tournament of Champions from qualifying.

Here in Richmond, the 22-year-old from Aix-en-Provence let slip a 6-0 lead in the fourth game as New Zealander Campbell Grayson regained control to win the game 13-11 and the match 3/1.

Another player to suffer a spectacular collapse was Indian Siddharth Suchde, who held match ball against Mohd Ali Anwar Reda before the Egyptian hit back to win 11-13, 12-14, 14-12, 13-11, 11-8 in 101 minutes to book a first round clash with Australia's Cameron Pilley.

Adding more North American flavour to the tournament, Canadian Shawn Delierre overcame Denmark's Kristian Frost Olesen in straight games in a hugely physical contest.

Picture courtesy of Dan Bogosh

Updated 1st round draw:
[1] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Chris Simpson (ENG)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Q] Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY)
Simon Rosner (GER) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
[8] Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [Q] Shawn Delierre (CAN)
[5] Karim Darwish (EGY) v [Q] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v [Q] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
[3] James Willstrop (ENG) v Alan Clyne (SCO)
[4] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [Q] Joe Lee (ENG)
Adrian Grant (ENG) v Shahier Razik (CAN)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v [Q] Yasir Ali Butt (PAK)
[7] Amr Shabana (EGY) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
[6] Peter Barker (ENG) v [Q] Campbell Grayson (NZL)
Max Lee (HKG) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
Tarek Momen (EGY) v [Q] Christopher Gordon (USA)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)

For further information, visit the official event website www.naosquash.com

For all the latest Tour news: www.psaworldtour.com

Qualifying finals:
Joe Lee (ENG) bt Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) 11-2, 11-6, 11-4 (40m)
Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-13, 12-14, 14-12, 13-11, 11-8 (101m)
Christopher Gordon (USA) bt Zac Alexander (AUS) 8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 12-10 (69m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Leo Au (HKG) 11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 11-2 (51m)
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 11-7, 16-14, 11-9 (52m)
Shawn Delierre (CAN) bt Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN) 11-1, 11-8, 11-8 (52m)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 11-4, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11 (70m)
Yasir Ali Butt (PAK) bt Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 7-11, 7-11, 11-9, 14-12, 11-4 (55m)