The fourth U.S. Pro Series Wasatch Funds Salt Lake City Open is underway in the beehive state at Squash Works. All eight seeds in the the sixteen-player $10,000 men’s draw advanced in three games Tuesday night to reach Wednesday’s quarterfinals.
Nine-time U.S. champion Julian Illingworth and world No. 170 Faraz Khan found themselves on the losing end of their openers against Arthur Gaskin and Ben Coleman respectively.
Sixth-seeded Gaskin, world No. 92, defeated Illingworth 12-10, 11-4, 11-2, in thirty-six minutes.
“I knew the start was going to be tough,” Gaskin said after the match. “My plan was to make the first game tough and physical—win or lose. He’s a clever player and has played for a very long time so he was a tough draw to begin with. I knew if I won the first game it would put me in a very strong position. The most important stage of the game was when I was down 2-4 in the second, I felt like I lost my way a little bit mentally so I jeered myself up, and I thought if I can just push myself to up the tempo. I was working hard to apply pressure and take time away from him, at 7-4, 8-4, in the second, I felt like he was really hurting. In the third I felt that I could start expressing myself a little bit more, and opening up the court.”
Third-seeded Coleman, world No. 67, took care of Khan 11-9, 11-8, 11-5, in forty minutes.
“It was a tough three love, but happy to win three love and advance.” said Coleman, who reached the semifinals in Salt Lake City last year.”I had a good result last year getting to the semifinals and beating a higher-ranked player to get there. This year, I’m back, I like the place. I like the people, and I’m looking forward to going two steps further.”
Coleman he admitted he enjoyed playing at a higher altitude with a faster ball.
“It’s definitely different from what I’m used to, but it’s something you have to get used to mentally and physically. Technically, the ball moves a little bit differently, but it’s good. It’s an extra challenge and you’re all on the same court. It’s great, I like it.”