Azan Ousts Mustonen in Pittsburgh Shock

Azan PO

Article and image courtesy of the Professional Squash Association.

Unseeded Muhd Asyraf Azan doubled Malaysian interest in the quarter-finals of the Three Rivers Capital Pittsburgh Open when he upset No. 7 seed Henrik Mustonen in the PSA World Tour International 25 event—the fifth tournament of the 2014 US Pro Squash Series—at Rivers Club in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The twenty-seven-year-old from Kuala Lumpur, ranked thirty-five in the world, defeated Finland’s World No.36 Mustonen 13-11, 6-11, 11-2, 6-11, 11-6 in forty-four minutes—and will now take on top seed Alister Walker for a place in the semis.

In the quickest match of the day, Botswana’s U.S.-based Walker—ranked nineteen in the world—dispatched Brazilian qualifier Vinicius Rodrigues 11-0, 11-2, 11-4 in just twenty-seven minutes.

Fifth seed Ryan Cuskelly looked like another upset victim after the first two games against qualifier Farhan Zaman. “I came out a little slow, and he was attacking from the start,” said the Australian. “I didn’t feel too sharp, so I tried to focus on getting my shots tighter and my length better, and he started to make a lot of mistakes.”

Left-hander Cuskelly recovered to beat the Pakistani 9-11, 14-16, 11-5, 11-8, 11-4 after seventy-two minutes and will now line up against second seed Karim Abdel Gawad.

The Egyptian also survived a first round battle against a qualifier from Pakistan—beating Syed Ali Mujtaba Shah Bokhari 8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 12-10.

“I had not played him before and he came out shooting from the start,” said the World No. 16 from Cairo. “At first, I was shooting with him. Then, when he won the first game, I decided to be more patient and pick my spots.”

Tournament director Steve Baicker-McKee was delighted with the opening day of the event: “We had a tremendous first day of the main draw. The standing room only crowd was treated to some high level squash, with most of the seeded players advancing. We are looking forward to some great quarter finals tomorrow.”

Quarterfinal line-up:
[1] Alister Walker (BOT) v Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS)
[4] Olli Tuominen (FIN) v [8] Cesar Salazar (MEX)
[3] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [6] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
[2] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v [5] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)