12:24 am
20 Jun 2024

Eleinen Scores Biggest Upset On NetSuite Open Day One

1 Oct 2022

Unseeded Egyptian Aly Abou Eleinen scored the biggest upset on day one of the Oracle Netsuite Open when the 22-year-old world No.58 defeated Qatar's world No.30 Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi in straight games to advance to the last 16 round of the PSA World Tour Silver event in San Francisco.

The Egyptian, who has risen 70 places in the PSA rankings from this time last year, displayed his excellent deception and touch from the outset against the Qatari at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, testing the movement of his higher ranked opponent every time he took the ball short. The Qatar No.1 was forced into making numerous errors by the smart and accurate play of Eleinen and after securing the crucial opening game 11-8, he repeated the scoreline in the second game to claim the best-of-three-games victory.

"Coming in, I had a little bit of confidence because we just played at the QSF 4 event in Qatar and I was able to win in five games, but at the same time, he just had such an incredible run at the Qatar Classic, beating Paul Coll," said Eleinen afterwards. "I had to be patient and trust myself. In the past month, I've put in a lot of work for this tournament and I just had to trust my training. The best of three is a little bit tricky and the first game is so important to make sure to start well. In terms of preparation, I woke up early at 7:30 because I couldn't sleep, so I had a good breakfast, I'm going to prepare and do my best, and it worked out."

Underdog Eleinen now faces compatriot Youssef Soliman, the event's No.7 seed.

"Soliman and I have only played once before in El Gouna, he won in four games and it was such a good match, we played good squash. There's no pressure on me, he's world No.11, I'm going to enjoy it and give it everything I can."

Another ranking upset came earlier at the Olympic Club as England's Nick Wall needed just 14 minutes to dispatch Pakistan's Tayyab Aslam and book his place in round two. The Yorkshireman possesses great strength around the middle of the court and used this to full effect in only his fifth World Tour appearance. He now faces No.6 seed and PSA Tour veteran Miguel Rodriguez for a place in the quarter finals.

The sole USA win of the day came from world No.53 Faraz Khan, the USA No.3 who overcame Hong Kong's Henry Leung in a tight two games to advance to round two. Khan was able to use his speed to attack Leung and pounced on his loose attacks at the front to punish the Hong Kong No.1. He took the games 11-7, 11-8 in 36 minutes to set up a round two encounter with the tournament's No.1 seed Diego Elias on the all-glass court.

Three different squash clubs hosted matches across round one with six women's matches taking place at The University Club in the afternoon. England's Lucy Beecroft scored the first upset at this venue, taking out France's Enora Villard in three games. Beecroft started the match in great form, picking off her opponent with devastating attacks at the front of the court and after taking the first game 11-3, looked sure to be moving through in straight games. Despite dropping the following game 12-10, Beecroft shook of the nerves that the best of three format can create and returned to business, winning the final game 11-5 to advance.

"It was so nerve-racking," admitted Beecroft, now the sole English player in the L16 round.

"I won the first and felt great, then I had a lead in the second but tensed up and she started to get some points back and get into the match. But I'm just glad I calmed down in the third and managed to get control of the match back and got through.

"I just felt quite edgy. It felt like you had to really take any opportunity, It shouldn't be any different as it's just trying to win points, the same as any other match. But it just feels tenser on there with the best of three. Hopefully I can feel okay tomorrow against Farida [Mohamed], she's a very attacking player. We've played before and she beat me 3-0 but who knows what will happen tomorrow and I can't wait to get stuck in."

Finland's Emilia Soini was next to score an upset as she recorded a convincing win over Czech Republic's Anna Serme to advance to the second round in San Francisco. With just three places between the two in the latest rankings, this was a big opportunity for both players to score a win and advance to the second round of a Silver event. Soini took this opportunity with both hands, using good height to constantly keep Serme on the back foot and stay in front. Soini seemed to grow in confidence with every point and after taking the first game 11-8, remained clinical to close the match out 11-4.

The third venue used in round one was the SquashZone Club in Redwood City which saw wins for seeds George Parker, Cesar Salazar and Chan Sin Yuk, who all won comfortably in straight games. The only upset came from new French National Champion Marie Stephan, who defeated Canada's Nicole Bunyan 2/0 to book her place in a Silver event second round for only the second time in her career. Her reward is a last-16 clash with Scotland's No.8 seed Lisa Aitken on the same court.