Rösner Removes Champion Farag To Reach Maiden US Open Final
13 Oct 2018
Germany's world No.5 Simon Rösner became the only non-Egyptian to appear in the finals of the FS Investments US Open after an immaculate semi-final performance in the PSA World Tour Platinum event which brought to an end the title defence of world No.2 Ali Farag.
Farag made history last year when he took the men's title shortly after wife Nour El Tayeb had prevailed in the women's final, meaning that they became the first husband and wife in sporting history to lift the same major sports title on the same day.
But the Egyptian, who toppled world No.7 Gregory Gaultier in a 74-minute epic quarter-final at Drexel University in Philadelphia, failed to capitalise on a one-game lead against his semi-final opponent as Rösner responded in stunning fashion to claim a 4-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-6 triumph which sees him become the first German male to reach the final of the US Open in the event's long history.
"I was able to play my attacking squash and I'm very pleased and relieved with my performance," said Rösner.
"It seems like the US is good for me. It has a lot to do with how comfortable you are and how the place is treating you. After not making the semis before and now reaching the final, it is huge for me.
"Life is treating me well at the moment, so I just want to continue on that wave and play my best squash in the final tomorrow."
Paderborn-based Rösner, who will appear in his biggest PSA Tour final since he won the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions in January, is set to face world No.1 Mohamed Elhorbagy for the title after the two-time US Open champion also came back from one game down en-route to beating world No.8 Paul Coll.
A clinical display from Coll saw the New Zealander go a game up before pulling ahead to 7-3 in the second - but 27-year-old Elshorbagy dug into the mental reserves which have helped him to dominate the PSA Tour in recent years as he came back to win it 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-6.
"I've reached my fourth US Open final in the last five years," said the top-seeded Egyptian.
"I have great memories here, this is the tournament that got me to world No.1 four years ago and I come back here every year having those great memories. I'm really happy to be back in the final - I lost it here last year and I was disappointed, but I lost because my opponent was the better player."
Elshorbagy has won all 14 of his matches against Rösner on the PSA Tour and will look to improve on last year's runner-up finish at this event.
There is guaranteed to be a new name etched onto the women's trophy after world No.1 Nour El Sherbini and World Champion Raneem El Welily claimed respective wins over world No.4 Camille Serme and world No.12 Tesni Evans to set up a final showdown between the event's top two seeds.
El Sherbini, a US Open runner-up in 2014 and 2016, lost to Serme in the latter of those finals but made amends today as she too overturned a one-game deficit to claim the win in four games.
"I'm really glad I won today, they were long rallies and all the games were close so I'm really happy to be through to the final," El Sherbini said.
"It would mean a lot [to win the tournament], the US Open is one of the biggest tournaments and I would really love to put my name on the trophy. It's the third final for me and hopefully it is going to be the one."
Meanwhile, El Welily will appear in the final of this tournament for a second successive year after she came through a testing encounter with Tesni Evans - the Welsh giant-killer who had upset world No.5 Joelle King and world No.8 Sarah-Jane Perry to become the first ever Welsh US Open semi-finalist.
Evans played some incredible squash throughout the 64-minute battle and took the first game as she kept the nerves at bay to unsettle the world No.2. But despite a tenacious display from the 25-year-old, El Welily soon found her range and was able to claim victories in each of the next three games to book her place in the final at Evans' expense.
"Tesni played really well and all credit to her for pushing me all the way and fighting," said El Welily.
"Winning the US title is definitely something I would love to do, but it's not going to be easy. It's definitely more difficult playing against Nour, she is a very good friend and we play against each other a lot. Playing any Egyptian girl is usually more difficult mentally."
The two Egyptians will meet for the 19th time on the PSA Tour, with the current head-to-head record locked at nine wins apiece. The pair met in six finals last season, with El Sherbini claiming four wins to El Welily's two.
Both the men's and women's winner will claim $22,800 in prize money and will qualify for the season-ending PSA World Tour Finals.