Title-Holder Asal Out Of US Open After Serme Suffers Injury
10 Oct 2022
Defending US Open champion Mostafa Asal exited the PSA World Tour Platinum event in Philadelphia after an opponent-inflicted injury sustained by Lucas Serme at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center resulted in the Frenchman being awarded the match.
Asal, who last year became the youngest winner in the event's history, was leading 2/0 and 6-4 when he turned on a loose ball at the back of the court which hit Serme - who was ducking - on the head.
The match referee ruled it to be an opponent-inflicted injury which was caused accidentally by the third-seeded Egyptian, which allowed Serme 15 minutes to recover. The physio then deemed the Frenchman to be unable to continue, with the world No.43 requiring further medical examination, resulting in the match being awarded to Serme.
Serme later received treatment at a hospital and has suffered a concussion and a perforated eardrum. Serme will be monitored closely ahead of his potential return to the court today when he is scheduled to take on Marwan Elshorbagy.
Two-time champion Ali Farag got his title challenge off to a winning start with a clinical display against Malaysia's Eain Yow Ng. The World No.2 won 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 in 35 minutes to set up a third round fixture with Colombia's Miguel Rodriguez.
"I did well in the first, in the second he came back more strongly, but I'm glad I got away with the second and finished it off in three," said Farag, who suffered a shock defeat to Rodriguez in the Qatar Classic third round last month.
Referring to the previous encounter, Farag added: "They are different conditions - but it's always exciting to play someone after you lose to them.
"There is some nervous energy going into it, but you try and live up to these challenges. We know each other's game inside out, but hopefully I come out on top this time."
Rodriguez ended US hopes in the men's event as he took out world No.39 Todd Harrity in straight games. Elsewhere, world No.1 Paul Coll began his tournament with a 3/0 win over France's Sebastien Bonmalais, while Peru's Diego Elias and three-time champion Mohamed Elshorbagy also opened up with wins, beating Switzerland's Dimitri Steinmann and Spain's Iker Pajares Bernabeu, respectively.
In the women's event, history will be made when three American women line up together in the third round of the US Open for the first time following wins from Olivia Clyne and the Sobhy sisters, Amanda and Sabrina.
World No.22 Clyne has reached the last 16 of this event for the first time since 2018 after she upset in-form world No.15 Farida Mohamed in the last match of the day, winning 2-11, 11-8, 14-12, 11-6 to delight the home fans. Clyne will line up against No.8 seed Salma Hany for a place in the last eight.
"It feels incredible," said Clyne.
"It's not the win, although that feels amazing, and I'm so excited to be on the glass court on Tuesday and yes, being surrounded by my family and friends is incredible. But it was being the last match on with the whole back wall being packed and 99.9% of the people cheering for me and the atmosphere was electric. I felt that for the first time in a long time, I was so present in each rally and even when things went wrong I was really there."
Clyne will be joined in the last 16 by US No.1 Amanda Sobhy, who dispatched France's Melissa Alves in straight games to ensure she will take on South Africa's Alexandra Fuller for a place in the quarter-finals.
"It's the first match in after a quick turnaround from San Francisco, so I'm just happy to win in three and have the support of the home crowd and my coach here as well as friends and family," said Amanda.
"I'm loving squash at the moment, I love playing, I'm healthy, I'm having fun out there, I like where my squash is at and I feel really confident in my team. I'm just trying to enjoy every challenge and every opportunity that this season gives me."
Reigning champion Nouran Gohar began her title challenge with a 3/0 win against Emily Whitlock, while there were also wins for her fellow members of the world's top three, Hania El Hammamy and Nour El Sherbini.