An appearance in his first PSA World Series event quarter-final this year was Daryl Selby‘s reward when the Englishman beat top-ranked German Simon Rosner in today’s second round of the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters, the ninth and final World Series squash event of the year at the Siri Fort Complex in the Indian capital New Delhi.
The reigning British champion needed to be on his guard against Rosner, the 24-year-old from Paderborn who boasts a career-high world No24 ranking.
Seventh seed Selby took control of the first game, winning it without looking at risk. After several exciting rallies at the beginning of the second, the confident world No16 from Essex soon led 4-1 and later 7-2. Rosner pegged back a few points but Selby strolled to a two-game lead.
It seemed unlikely that the German would stage a comeback – but, seemingly encouraged by a successful ‘Video Review’, the underdog ran away to a 9-5 lead. When he hit a forehand volley winner at 10-8, Rosner raced from the court, pre-empting the no let decision which followed.
Selby led early 3-0 in the fourth, but was no longer the dominant force of the first two games. From 9-5, Selby romped to victory after Rosner handed him the match with two unforced errors.
“It feels great to be in my first World Series quarter finals this year,” said Selby after his 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5 victory in 68 minutes. “I had a good opportunity when I sneaked into the top eight but had to get through a couple of tough opponents to get there. Especially today as Simon has been playing really well lately and I knew I was in for a hard day at the office.
“I felt like I played my best squash for a few months and am at last feeling 100% fit and confident in my game again.”
The 29-year-old from Brentwood will now face England team-mate James Willstrop, the world No2 from Leeds who arrived in Delhi fresh from successive title successes in the previous two PSA World Series events.
“I’ve got nothing to lose tomorrow against a man that is bang in form,” added Selby. “But I won’t be lying down easily. I’m really looking forward to it and have enjoyed it here in India again, I always seem to do well here.”
Third seed Willstrop faced former Leeds resident Alister Walker, the 29-year-old world No17 who recently moved to New York and took up the nationality of Botswana, his country of birth.
Willstrop started with the assurance expected of a player in high form and soon led 4-1 and 5-2. A handful of Willstrop errors from 7-4 saw Walker draw level to seven-all.
Walker served at 10-9 but, after another remarkable rally, Willstrop took the game to a tiebreak which he won 12-10. The considerable contribution Walker had made in the first game told in the second when Willstrop raced to 7-1 before winning it 11-4.
Walker won the first two points of the third – but Willstrop regained the upper hand, hitting several winners of perfect length to lead 7-3 before pressing on to win the game and match 11-5.
A third Englishman grabbed a place in the last eight when Peter Barker ended Indian hopes in the championships by beating Kolkata-born Saurav Ghosal 11-5, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5 in 52 minutes.
The win takes the fifth-seeded Londoner into his ninth successive 2011 World Series quarter-final – thus recording a more consistent World Series performance over the whole year than any other player.
Barker will now face Egyptian star Ramy Ashour, the former world No1 who is making a Tour comeback after a hamstring injury forced his withdrawal from last month’s World Open.
Looking in sparkling form, top seed Ashour despatched Australian number one Cameron Pilley 11-5, 12-14, 11-2, 11-4 in 42 minutes.
2nd round (bottom half of draw):
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt Alister Walker (BOT) 12-10, 11-4, 11-5 (43m)
 Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Simon Rosner (GER) 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5 (68m)
 Peter Barker (ENG) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 11-5, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5 (52m)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 11-5, 12-14, 11-2, 11-4 (42m)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) v  Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v  Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v  Daryl Selby (ENG)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v  Peter Barker (ENG)