Top seeds through to semis in Bellevue
Top seed and the man in form Gregory Gaultier faced Tarek Momen, the first of four Egyptians in the last eight.
Gaultier 14-2 ahead in previous meetings Momen faced an uphill task, and so it proved as, despite a strong Egyptian challenge in the opening phare of the match, Gaultier once more moved smoothly through the gears, and the games, to reach the semis.
Second up was an all-European battle between Englishman James Willstrop and Spain’s Borja Golan, meeting for the 19th time. Willstrop was always ahead in the first two games, and although it was never easy, few saw Golan’s great fightback coming as he stormed through the next two games to force a decider.
Golan moved ahead from early in the fifth, earning three match balls as Willstrop was denied a let, “that’s brutal” was his reaction. That seemed to spur the Englishman on though, as he took the next five foints for a win that seemed inevitable, then unlikely, and in the end was a great relief.
In the third match Egypt’s Ali Farag met Australian number one Ryan Cuskelly. Both looked in good form in their first round matches, but it was Farag who held sway for all three games as he moved into a guaranteed all-Egyptian semi.
The final quarter-final was all-Egyptian, Marwan Elshorbagy against three-time world champion Ramy Ashour. Elshorbagy took the lead, Ashour though he’d equalised at 10-9 in the second, but video replay on whether Marwan’s shot hit the tin was inconclusive, and he took full advantage to take the game on extra points.
Ashour quickly pulled one back, but Marwan was ahead throughout the fourth, delightedly claiming his first ‘proper’ win over Ashour to complete the semi-final lineup.