Many of the competitors in next week’s channel VAS Championship were getting some practice this week in Philadelphia at the US Open.
We’ll keep an eye on how they’re doing …
#1: Declan James and Adrian Waller
Declan beat US wildcard Chris Gordon 3-0 in the first round, then back from two-nil down to win a marathon Round Two 101-minute five-setter against Adrian Waller – who came through as Borja Golan retired injured.
US Open R2: Declan James 3-2 Adrian Waller 6-11, 6-11, 11-8, 19-17, 16-14 (101m)
Declan then took the first game against third seed (in Philly and St George’s) Tarek Momen before losing out in four.
Declan: “Overall a positive US Open campaign for me. Tarek too good yesterday but we’re going in the right direction. Home now to recover for a few days and already can’t wait to start competing in the Chanel Vas next week.”
Declan and Adrian are now back in the UK, resting up for their first round match … against each other !! (that’s the last match on Tuesday, so if you could avoid another 100+ minutes it would be much appreciated, guys!)
#2: Daryl Selby, Ben Coleman, Tom Richards
A St George’s regular, Daryl Selby also had a tough time in Philadelphia – meeting fourth seed Simon Rosner for the 5th time in his last 8 tournaments !
US Open R2:  Simon Rösner 3-2 Daryl Selby 7-11, 11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 11-3 (69m)
Daryl: “Of course gutted to lose a match in 5, but happy with a decent performance for the first PSA match since May. Hopefully won’t have to play @simonroesner again in 2018!
Good news Daryl – no Rosner in St George’s, so you’re up against Ben Coleman, who lost in in four close games to St George’s own Tom Richards.
US Open R1: Tom Richards 3-1 Ben Coleman (Eng) 11-8, 15-13, 9-11, 11-9 (69m)
Ben: Not the result I wanted but was a good battle against Tom and the margins are getting smaller in these games, I had my chances! Hard work continues looking ahead to the next one!
Tom went on to play Saurav Ghosal (our 7th seed), losing in straight games.
US Open R2: Saurav Ghosal 3-0 Tom Richards 11-4, 11-8, 11-3 (42m)
Tom: Not the result or performance that I wanted last night but credit to Saurav for not letting me get a foothold in the match. Looking forward to getting home to prepare for my home club tournament @CVASsquash in just over a weeks time.
Tom’s first found opponent in St George’s is Borja Golan (see #1).
#3 : Joel Makin, Lucas Serme, Mathieu Castagnet
Welsh number one Joel Makin had a good run in Philadelphia, beating Qatar’s Abdulla al Tamimi in the first round, then coming from a game down to win the next three close games against Mathieu Castagnet (who had beaten dangerous wildcard Andrew Douglas in round one).
Joel Makin 3-1 Mathieu Castagnet 4-11, 15-13, 11-9, 12-10 (86m)
Defending champion Ali Farag ended Joel’s run in round three, but the Welsh Wizard was a little unlucky not to take the second game.
Joel is up against Germany’s Raphael Kandra in the first match of the tournament on Tuesday at 13.00, with the winner going through to face top seed and defending champion Mohamed Elshorbagy.
Later in the day Mathieu will feature in an all-French matchup with Lucas Serme, who beat Karim Ali Fathi in straight games to reach round two in Philly, where he went out to British Open champion Miguel Rodriguez.
 Miguel Rodriguez (Col) 3-0 Lucas Serme 11-7, 11-6, 11-4 (44m)
Lucas: “No great result, no crazy match… but a lot of experience gained and this is how I feel after two good tournaments in the US. Really looking forward to the next one! “
We’re looking forward to seeing Lucas utilising his new powers at St George’s !!
#4 : Tarek Momen, Karim Abdel Gawad, Diego Elias, Omar Mosaad
Our third and fourth seeds will be coming to Surrey on the back of failing to reach their seedings in Philadelphia – Tarek falling just short in a brutal quarter-final against Paul Coll while Karim lost out in three close games to fellow Egyptian Mohamed Abouelghar in round three.
Mohamed Abouelghar 3-0  Karim Abdel Gawad 11-8, 11-9, 12-10 (43m)
 Paul Coll 3-2  Tarek Momen 6-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 13-11 (96m)
Coll, our 2016 champion, had already accounted for two other Channel VAS seeds in Diego Elias and Omar Mosaadin rounds two and three, and all will surely be looking to make amends next week.
They all have byes and await the winners of round one matches in the second round on Wednesday.
Meanwhile in Philadelphia, three of our players are involved in the semi-finals – Coll meets top seed Mohamed Elshorbagy in what is a meeting between our last two champions, while second seed Ali Farag is up against Simon Rosner for a place in the final as he aims to defend the title.
If you haven’t already, time to get your tickets …