The 2017 S.L. Green U.S. Men’s semifinals will be contested by the top four seeds after the first two rounds of main draw play Thursday at Philadelphia Cricket Club.
The round of sixteen included a re-ignited college rivalry between Princeton graduate and newly-minted U.S. citizen Yasser El Halaby pitted against Yale graduate and nine-time U.S. champion Julian Illingworth. The match extended to five games and halfway through the fifth, Illingworth was forced to retire due to injury. Illingworth had reached every S.L. Green quarterfinals since 2001.
The first round included another retirement in the form of Wael El Hindi, who conceded in the second game against Lucky Loser Timothy Lasusa, who followed up his first S.L. Green main draw appearance with his first quarterfinal.
2013 finalist Gilly Lane exited the first round against Harvard’s Timmy Brownell, who also made his first S.L. Green quarterfinal appearance Thursday evening.
Three of the four top seeds made it through the quarterfinals in three games with the exception of Chris Gordon, who overturned a 2-0 deficit against 2016 semifinalist Faraz Khan. The twenty-three-year-old dominated the first game 11-3, and extended his lead in the second 11-9. After Khan fought off three game balls to level the third at 10-10, Gordon closed out the game 12-10.
The 2013 S.L. Green champion fought off early Khan leads in both the fourth and fifth games, and slotted home two winners at 9-all in the fifth to reach his eighth consecutive S.L. Green semifinals.
“I had to fight,” Gordon said. “I had to do what I had to do to stay in it and stay positive and keep telling myself that there is a way back in. He played amazing in the first two games, he was so accurate and positive with everything he was hitting. I just needed to find a way to get myself back into it and create a bit more pressure with my game.”
The thirty-year-old from New York City is the most veteran player left in the draw with a repeat of his 2015 semifinal against three seed Chris Hanson slated for Friday night at 7pm ET.
The 6pm semifinal will be contested by two-time reigning S.L. Green champion Todd Harrity and U.S. junior champion Andrew Douglas, who both recorded two, three-game wins Thursday. Harrity dispatched fellow Princeton graduate El Halaby, while Douglas advanced to his first career S.L. Green semifinal against St. Lawrence graduate Lasusa.
The S.L. Green semifinals are streaming and scoring live Friday from 6pm ET on www.ussquash.com/live.