American Trio Set for Houston Open Main Draw

Elias and Hampco

U.S. Champion Julian Illingworth, finalist Todd Harrity, and 2013 champion Chris Gordon, will contest for spots in the quarterfinals in Thursday’s Hampco Houston Open main draw round of sixteen. Second annual Houston Open at Life Time Athletic CityCentre boasts the highest prize money purse. 

Days after winning his first professional title, Harrity has continued his successful run in the Lone Star State with a routine three-game victory over Chris Binnie Tuesday, then becoming one of four qualifiers to reach the sixteen-player main draw with a four game win over higher-ranked Baltimore-based Yasir Butt. Harrity faces Mexican world No. 41 Cesar Salazar Thursday evening.

Two teenagers earned entry in the main draw as Seattle-based, Pakistani international Shahjahan Khan commanded an 11-2, 11-5, 11-6 victory over Canadian world No. 113 Fred Reid. Nineteen-year-old Khan recorded the highest-ranked scalp of his young career in defeating Mexican world No. 76 Arturo Salazar Tuesday, and will test his mettle in the main draw against defending Houston Open champion and world No. 43 Campbell Grayson.

After representing the squash delegation during the International Olympic Committee presentation in September, seventeen-year-old Peruvian Diego Elias (pictured right, orange, with title sponsor Hampco) kicked off a full slate of professional tournaments in 2014, starting in Houston. Elias’s maiden professional campaign began on a successful note as the U.S. Junior Open champion upset Canadian Andrew Schnell Tuesday, then dispatched Egyptian World Junior champion Karim El Hammamy 11-6, 11-8, 11-2 Wednesday evening. Elias has drawn nine-time U.S. Champion Julian Illingworth as his first round opponent.

Second qualifying seed Zac Alexander was the final qualifier of the night as he defeated Pakistani Aqib Hanif 11-6, 11-7, 11-5, to earn a spot in the main draw against American world No. 49 Chris Gordon.

Qualifying finals:
Shahjahan Khan (PAK) def. [6] Fred Reid (CAN) 11-2, 11-5, 11-6
Diego Elias (PER) def. Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 11-6, 11-8, 11-2
[7] Todd Harrity (USA) def. [4] Yasir Ali Butt (PAK) 11-6, 5-11, 11-7, 11-0
[2] Zac Alexander (AUS) def. [8] Aqib Hanif (PAK) 11-6, 11-7, 11-5

Main draw:
[1] Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v Lucas Serme (FRA)
[8] Chris Gordon (USA) v [Q] Zac Alexander (AUS)
[5] Cesar Salazar (MEX) v [Q] Todd Harrity (USA)
[Q] Shahjahan Khan (PAK) v [4] Campbell Grayson (NZL)
[3] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v [WC] Joshua Masters (ENG)
Matthew Karwalski (AUS) v [6] Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)
[7] Julian Illingworth (USA) v [Q] Diego Elias (PER)
Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY) v [2] Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry (EGY)