YORKSHIRE’S James Willstrop produced a superb comeback to overturn a two-game deficit and eliminate Germany’s Simon Rösner in the quarter-final stage of the NetSuite Open in San Francisco.
The former world No 1, from Pontefract, looked down and out at the PSA M100 tournament at Justin Herman Plaza after some powerful play from Rösner saw the World No 12 open up a two-game lead, leaving him on the cusp of a third straight win over his opponent.
But tournament wildcard Willstrop - currently ranked 18th in the world – used all of his experience to fight back, earning a 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-2, 12-10 victory to set up a semi-final meeting with Peru’s Diego Elias, the two-time world junior champion who overcame France’s Gregoire Marche 11-8, 11-9, 11-4
“I think the quality of the squash was so good,” said Willstrop.
“It was a pretty high standard, we were both hitting the ball accurately. It’s cut-throat stuff, the ball was flying around and you have to have such control to stay in it. His pace and control was a little bit better in the first two games.
“He won the crucial points in the second, but it was close. The key is that I didn’t panic, it’s a difficult psychological deficit to overcome when you’re 2-0 down. The statistics show that people don’t do it often, so I just had to keep making him play and I knew that I might be able to find a way in.”
In the women’s event, world No 2 Laura Massaro became the first finalist after overcoming New Zealand’s Joelle King in an imperious display from the Englishwoman.
Preston-based Massaro overcame a strong start from King to record a 12-10, 11-5, 11-4 win, ensuring she will lock horns with either eight-time World Champion Nicol David or home hero Amanda Sobhy, who playFriday night, in the final.