US champion Julian Illingworth carried home hopes into the qualifying finals of the Delaware Investments US Open after defeating fellow countryman Dylan Murray, the US junior champion, in straight games in the opening qualifying round of the fifth PSA World Series event of the year in Philadelphia.
Illingworth, the record eight-time national champion from New York who is ranked 28 in the world, cruised to an 11-3, 11-8, 11-6 win in 25 minutes over 17-year-old Murray at Germantown Cricket Club.
The sole US survivor of the first round will now face lone Pakistani Aamir Atlas Khan. The world No40 from Peshawar beat Henrik Mustonen, a Finn ranked just three places lower, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10 in 53 minutes.
An eagerly-awaited battle at Drexel University saw popular coach John White, Scotland's former world number one, face in-form Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez.
"The packed crowd, which included last year's finalists Amr Shabana and Nick Matthew, got fully involved and enjoyed it immensely," said event spokeswoman Kristi Maroc. "But they couldn't spur White on to victory as Rodriguez took three close games, the last two both on extra points."
The 11-8, 12-10, 12-10 victory takes Rodriguez on to face Siddharth Suchde for a place in the main draw. Indian Suchde beat England's US-based Joe Russell 11-3, 11-3, 11-2.
Canadian interest in the qualifiers is being led by Shahier Razik, who eased to an 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 win over Pakistan's Yasir Butt. The six-time Canadian champion from Toronto will now face Matthew Karwalski, the Australian who recorded his first win in three years over higher-ranked compatriot Zac Alexander in a 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 scoreline.
Lee's next opponent will be Mexican Cesar Salazar, who prevailed in an equally tough marathon against world junior champion Marwan El Shorbagy, ultimately triumphing 11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 4-11, 11-9 in 75 minutes over the world No26 from Egypt.
Qualifying finals line-up:
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v Martin Knight (NZL)
Matthew Karwalski (AUS) v Shahier Razik (CAN)
Alan Clyne (SCO) v Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) v Julian Illingworth (USA)
Joe Lee (ENG) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v Max Lee (HKG)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v Siddharth Suchde (IND)
1st qualifying round:
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 11-4, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7
Martin Knight (NZL) bt Jamie Macaulay (SCO) 11-6, 11-1, 11-3 (37m)
Matthew Karwalski (AUS) bt Zac Alexander (AUS) 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 (55m)
Shahier Razik (CAN) bt Yasir Butt (PAK) 11-9, 11-8, 11-7
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Todd Harrity (USA) 2-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-2 (39m)
Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) bt Shawn Delierre (CAN) 11-4, 12-10, 5-11, 12-10 (73m)
Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) bt Henrik Mustonen (FIN) 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10 (53m)
Julian Illingworth (USA) bt Dylan Murray (USA) 11-3, 11-8, 11-6 (25m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) 11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 4-11, 11-9 (75m)
Joe Lee (ENG) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 11-4, 6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7 (111m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Alex Stait (ENG) 11-7, 8-11, 11-3, 11-3 (36m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL) 11-4, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7 (53m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt Graham Bassett (USA) 11-9, 11-6, 11-5 (29m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Christopher Hanson (USA) 11-6, 11-9, 11-7 (34m)
Siddharth Suchde (IND) bt Joe Russell (ENG) 11-3, 11-3, 11-2 (27m)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt John White (SCO) 11-8, 12-10, 12-10 (48m)