[Above: Gaultier (l) leveled his record against Rösner to 2-2 in 2018]
The second session on the Oracle NetSuite Open SuiteSuccess Court produced three clinical, 3-0 performances from Egypt’s Ali Farag and Raneem El Welily and three-time champion Gregory Gaultier Sunday in Embarcadero Plaza.
The first match of the evening was a rematch of the 2016 first round match between Farag and Peru’s Diego Elias. Elias won the encounter between the then up and coming players in a thrilling five games and seventy-five minutes. Two years later, it was Farag who came out on top and in dominant fashion. The Harvard graduate maintained the upper hand throughout the entire match, dispatching Elias 11-5m 11-8, 11-1 in thirty-three minutes.
“Most of our matches have gone to the wire in the past,” Farag said. “He’s such a sound player, but I did my homework this morning and knew what I had to do. It never felt convincing on there, but thankfully I managed to do it well and play attacking squash. I’m very glad that I’ve put in a few good performances this week so far. I’ve never made it past the first round here before so I’m really glad to be in the semis and hopefully there’s two more matches to come for me.”
Farag’s compatriot El Welily followed on court against the 2016 champion Laura Massaro. The world No. 2 and top seed went on to record a 3-0 win 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 in twenty-eight minutes.
“I’m really happy to be through to the final,” said El Welily, who continues her San Francisco debut in Tuesday’s final. “Playing Laura is always very tough. She’s mentally so strong. I’m trying to do my best every point, and in every rally and see where that takes me. I’m playing here for the first time and it’s a beautiful location—even more impressive in real than I thought it would be from pictures—so I want to make the most of it.”
In their fourth match up of 2018, Gregory Gaultier and Simon Rösner closed out the session in the final match of the night. Rösner entered the match with a 2-1 record over Gaultier in 2018, including a massive Tournament of Champions semifinal in January and the World Series Finals in June. At thirty-five years old, Gaultier dictated the pace of the entire match that resulted in an 11-3, 11-5, 11-8 victory after forty-two minutes.
“I had a day off yesterday after the second round match so I took full advantage of that to rest my body and be as sharp as possible tonight,” said Gaultier, who holds three titles in San Francisco from 2012, 2014 and 2016. “I have been training well over the summer and feel like I am on the way back towards my peak once again. I’m doing the best I can to compete against all the young players on Tour and show that even at my age I can get back to my best and challenge. I had a great year last year, but then had a bad run of getting injuries but fingers crossed this year I can play injury free because I have more goals that I want to achieve.”
Monday’s slate of semifinals commence at 7pm local time. For tickets visit oraclenetsuiteopen.com/tickets.
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