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24 Jul 2024

Mueller Survives Swiss Clash To Make Grasshopper Cup Quarters

20 Oct 2023

Home favourite Nicolas Mueller booked a spot in the men's Grasshopper Cup quarter-finals on day three, claiming Swiss bragging rights in the process.

Playing his good friend and compatriot Dimitri Steinmann in front of a full house, Mueller needed 57 minutes to claim victory, letting out a huge roar upon winning game three.

The Swiss No.1 had taken the first game 11-8 and had a 2-1 lead in the second, but a well-placed trickle boast from Steinmann's racket changed the momentum.

He followed it up with a forehand volley to end a somewhat wild rally and give himself a second-game lead which he would never relinquish.

Mueller, though, found his length again in game three to open up an early lead, and while Steinmann remained in touch, he was unable to close the gap, falling to defeat on a diving backhand which dropped short of the wall.

Speaking after the best-of-three match, Mueller said: "It's a pretty good crowd when we're here in Switzerland, so I really enjoyed the match with Dimi.

"We're obviously good friends on and off the court, but it gets feisty out there, we both want to win at the Grasshopper Cup on home soil so I'm very, very happy that I managed to get that one today.

"It's obviously a dream for us to play on home soil, in front of a knowledgeable Swiss crowd waving the Swiss flags.

"Obviously, it was a split crowd today but tomorrow is going to be just team Switzerland, so I'm looking forward very much to playing that match."

Mueller's quarter-final opponent will be Marwan ElShorbagy, who was joined in the last eight later in the day by his brother Mohamed.

The younger ElShorbagy beat Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi 11-6, 11-9, but things were far less straightforward for top seed Mohamed.

The Englishman took the opening game against Iker Pajares Bernabeu but opened the door for the Spaniard in the second, with a fierce backhand drive taking the match into a decider.

Early momentum in game three remained with Bernabeu, who was sensing at upset at 6-5 up, but as he has done so often throughout his career, ElShorbagy came up trumps when it mattered most, winning the next six points to close out the win.

In the women's draw, the four seeded players all made it safely through in two games.

Sabrina Sobhy was the day's first winner, needing just 16 minutes to knock out Miriam Metwally, taking a hard-fought first game 11-9 before cruising through the second 11-2.

She will meet Belgium's Nele Gilis for a place in the semi-final, after the No.3 seed overcame a slow start to see off Kenzy Ayman.

Gilis was 7-2 down in game one, but turned things around by winning eight of the next 10 points to claim it 11-9.

The second game was a more straightforward affair for the 27-year-old, who secured her last-eight spot with a forehand drop on match ball.

"It took me a while to find my groove, to find my length and to feel comfortable on the court," Gilis said after her win.

"As the match went on I felt more comfortable, so I'm very happy to get a win and I'm sure I'll be better for the next one.

"I was nervous because it's best-of-three. Normally I can come back physically, but with the best-of-three format you don't have that, so it was very important to win that first game."