James Willstrop approached last year’s U.S. Squash Open ranked World No.31 – his lowest PSA World Ranking since November 2003.
Despite the setbacks of the previous 12 months, including two bouts of COVID, the 38-year-old former World No.1 rolled back the years to produce one of his best tournament displays in recent memory as he reached his first major quarter-final since the 2017 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.
James Willstrop began his campaign in Philadelphia in assured fashion with an 11-8 11-7 11-7 victory over World No.53 Tsz Fung Yip of Hong Kong before capturing the headlines as he fought from one game down to beat 5th seed Marwan ElShorbagy 9-11 11-5 11-4 11-8.
The Englishman then proved his remarkable display was no fluke as he once again defied the seedings to mount another comeback in the third round. After going 2-1 down to World No.15 Mohamed Abouelghar, James Willstrop clawed his way back with an 11-4 win & then sent the fans into raptures with an 11-3 victory in the fifth.
Although World No.4 Tarek Momen ended James Willstrop’s fairytale run in the quarter-finals, the former World No.1 & reigning Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist was able to push the 2019 World Champion all the way before Momen eventually closed-out a hard-fought 63-minute 11-7 11-13 11-6 11-9 victory.