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Women’s Prize Money Doubled For 2016 NetSuite Open

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The 2016 NetSuite Open looks set to draw some of the biggest names in women’s squash this September after it was announced today that prize money will be doubled for the 2016 iteration of the iconic tournament.

Taking place in front of San Francisco’s Ferry Building in one of the most stunning locations on the PSA World Tour, the 2016 NetSuite Open will see sixteen of the world’s best female players come together to compete for a $50,000 prize fund—double the $25,000 on offer during the inaugural staging of the tournament in 2015. The world’s best male players will also return for the sixth staging of the Men’s NetSuite Open, which maintains its M100 status for a second consecutive year.

“We are very pleased to confirm that prize money at this year’s NetSuite Open will be double that of 2015 in a move that I feel will greatly enhance the tournament’s reputation as one of the most progressive events on the PSA World Tour,” said Tournament promoter John Nimick.

“Female players play on the same sized court, under the same rules and train just as hard as their male counterparts so we are delighted to be in a position where we can begin to close the current disparity in prize money whilst also strengthening the standing of our tournament.”

Evan Goldberg, co-founder of title sponsor NetSuite, said: “Increasing prize money ensures that we will attract some of the biggest names in women’s squash to San Francisco this September and I look forward to welcoming all players to the city for what promises to be a spectacular week of competition this Autumn.”

The 2016 NetSuite Open will take place from September 26 – October 1 on a specially constructed glass-court and spectator venue located in front of San Francisco’s Ferry Building.

Qualification will begin on September 25 at the Olympic Club of San Francisco. Further information and ticket details can be found here:  http://www.netsuiteopensquash.com/tickets/

Ashour Is 2015 NetSuite Open Champion

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Egypt’s Ramy Ashour added a 37th career PSA World Tour title to his impressive collection after defeating three-time World Champion Nick Matthew in the final of the 2015 NetSuite Open on the NetSuite Challenge Court in Justin Herman Plaza on San Francisco’s Embarcadero.

Competing in his first tournament since April, Ashour, who has been dogged by injury since limping off court against Matthew during the 2013 World Championship semi-finals, was in sublime form as he out-gunned the 35-year-old Englishman to take the match 3-1 and get his latest comeback off to the perfect start.

The opening exchanges of the matched were blighted with errors as the significance of the occasion made itself felt on both men before Ashour managed to string together a series of winners to take the first game 11-7.

However Matthew came out strong in the second, hitting great lenth on his rails and cross courts and using the quick volley to the front court to keep his opponent scrambling.  Down 2-7, Ashour was unbowed and picked up the pace to even the score at nine all. Matthew stayed focused and a  controversial overrule from the video referee at 10-9 handed him the game, much to the dismay of his opponent.

Ashour, competing on the day of his 28th birthday, recomposed himself and got off to a flying start in the third game – easing into a 5-0 lead. Matthew, one of the most tenacious competitors on the tour, showed just why he’s known as ‘The Wolf’ as he dug in to mount a comeback.  As the stars aligned in the clear San Francisco sky, the squash became incandescent as each player employed all the weapons in his arsenal. Power drives and cross courts, slow boasts, feather drop shots and the drop lob weer all on display.  Not surprisingly, it was Ashour who had the more powerful ammunition.  His  pinpoint accuracy and unreadable shots left Matthew wrong-footed on several occasions.

After winning the second game, Ashour continued his barrage in the fourth, for which Matthew had no answer.  After 59-minutes on court, the Egyptian sealed the match, and his second NetSuite Open title, winning 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4.

As the trophy presentation ceremony got underway, the delighted crowd serenaded the winner with the birthday song. Ashour then addressed the crowd.  “It feels great to be back in San Francisco and to win this title for a second time,” said  the champion, who beat Gregory Gaultier in the 2013 NetSuite Open final.  “I’ve always had a great rivalry with Nick and we’ve gone back and forth against each other over the years. He’s a great athlete and a great ambassador for the sport and it takes a lot to beat him – he keeps you on your toes and you really have to dig in against him.”

Commenting on the event, which took place under the shadow of San Francisco’s stunning Bay Bridge, he continued: “San Francisco has been very special for me – everything about being here is great and the atmosphere is fantastic. There’s a lot of effort that goes into putting on an event like this and all the guys behind the scenes have been amazing.”

Asked how he deals with the pressure of being one of the very best players on the PSA tour, the voluble Egyptian replied, “Every time I go on court I try to give 100 per cent. I’m always trying to learn from every player on court because there is so little between the top players these days. I know what I can do on court but it can be anyone’s victory on any day.”

The runner-up was sanguine about the match results.  “I kept telling myself in the fourth game that it wasn’t over but Ramy is a different kettle of fish,” said Matthew – who had saved multiple match balls during his quarter-final encounter with German Simon Rösner. “How a guy as good as him doesn’t get the chance to grace the Olympic Games is a joke really.”

Although he is is the oldest player on the tour, the 35-year-old Englishman made it clear he doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon. “I feel like I am still getting better so I am going to keep working to catch  Ramy and World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy.  Hopefully my body will hold together for a little bit longer as I’ve really been enjoying my squash recently.”

Result – NetSuite Open PSA M100 Final:

[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [1] Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-1: 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4 (59m)

Sobhy Claims Inaugural NetSuite Women’s Open Title

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American number one Amanda Sobhy delighted a capacity crowd in San Francisco earlier today when she defeated England’s Sarah-Jane Perry to claim the 2015 NetSuite Open, PSA W25 title.

Although the evening air was chilly as the championship match got underway, the open-air NetSuite Challenge Court in Justin Herman Plaza on the Embarcadero  quickly heated up as two top seeds battled to see who would secure the inaugural NetSuite Women’s trophy.

Sobhy stormed her way through the draw, dropping just one game en route to the final, as did her opponent world no. 15 Sarah-Jane Perry. The 25-year-old Englishwoman had a slight edge coming into the championship match, having triumphed in their only previous meeting on the PSA World Tour. In a compelling title-decider, it was the World No.19 who took the spoils to rapturous applause.

Sobhy started strongly, attacking the ball quickly and hitting with punishing pace, to take the opening game.  Perry responded in the second by moving her opponent deeper in the court and then hitting her trademark trickle boast to tie the match. The 22-year-old left-hander reasserted her status as one of the sport’s most promising talents when she resumed control in the third game, again dictating a quicker and stronger pace to win with relative ease.  Despite watching two match balls go to waste in the fourth, Sobhy regrouped to win the championship on the third attempt, prevailing 11-5, 4-11, 11-5, 12-10.

“I’m feeling great right now and I’m just really happy to get the win here tonight,” said Sobhy, who has embarked on a full-time career as touring professional after graduating from Harvard University this past May. “It was a big goal of mine to come here and perform well, especially leading up to the US Open in a couple of weeks. I’m playing SJ again there in the first round and I know she’ll come back stronger.”

Joining Tournament Director John Nimick and NetSuite founder Evan Goldberg for the trophy prsentation was 10-year-old Mika Barden, who had taken it upon herself to raise an additional $15,000 through a crowdfunding campaign to increase the women’s purse to $25,000. Barden’s organization, GirlShape, will continue to raise money to advance gender parity. Champion Sobhy endorsed that goal. “Thanks to all the organisers for putting on a really great women’s event here in San Francisco. It’s been fantastic to play here and hopefully we can keep growing this event in the future and have equal prize money for the women and men.”

Result – 2015 NetSuite Open W25

[1] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [2] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-1: 11-5, 4-11, 11-5, 12-10 (37m)

Corporate Challenge Raises $30,000 for SquashDrive

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Six companies, six avid squash players and a round robin competition on the NetSuite Challenge Court combined to raise $30,000 in support of SquashDrive, the Oakland-based urban squash program promoting academic, athletic, and personal growth.

Founded by executive director Lauren Patrizio in 2010, SquashDrive programming is based on the National Urban Squash Education Association model of enrolling students from an underserved partner school and providing them, throughout their middle and high school years, with a program of squash instruction, individual academic support/tutoring, health and fitness instruction and community service. The program is designed to equip participants with the life skills for success, including their preparation for post-secondary education.

SquashDrive students have been involved in the NetSuite Open all week, serving as ball kids and court helpers at every match and participating in a clinic with pro players Ali Farag, Mezan Hesham and Samantha Teran.  “We learn a lot when we come here,” said 14-year-old Jacob, one of the SquashDrive participants. He was referring to the shots that the students see the pro players hitting and then try to imitate on the UC- Berkeley and University Club courts where the SquashDrive students practice. But the students are learning so much more.  “Of course, seeing the best players in the world is great,” said Patrizio. “Equally wonderful are all the interactions our students have here with so many varied members of the squash community, who all come together here at the NetSuite Open.”

The Corporate Challenge was created to utilize the enthusiasm and facilities of the NetSuite Open to help raise money in support of SquashDrive’s life-transforming programming.  The six companies who stepped up to the challenge by contributing $5,000 each, and the players who represented them, were:

Dan Judd, East Bay College Fund
Mike Sheppard, GrowthPoint
Jeff Mayorga, NetSuite
Sam Clayman, KKR
Stuart Knight, Vista Equity Partners
Robert Morrison, Authentic Wine Collections 

 

Dan Judd and Sam Clayman won their respective pools in round robin play to make it to the finals on Tuesday evening, playing just before the Men’s Championship Final.  Judd was the winner of the glass court bragging rights as he defeated Clayman 3-1 and SquashDrive was the winner as they continue to garner support for the important work they are doing to create life success opportunities for their students.