Egypt’s World No.37 Youssef Soliman booked his place in the second round of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions courtesy of a 3-1 win over Switzerland’s World No.29 Nicolas Mueller at New York’s Grand Central Terminal.
The two players had only faced each other once before in their careers, with that meeting coming earlier this season at the Malaysian Open which the ‘Swiss Rocket’ claimed 3-1. However, it was a different story today as Soliman produced a strong showing to move forward in the PSA Platinum event at the expense of the Swiss.
It was a comfortable start for the 22-year-old Egyptian as he raced into a one-game lead, with Mueller, who was playing in his first event since the passing of his mother in December, struggling to settle into any kind of rhythm.
The 30-year-old Swiss found his groove in the second and was able to fight back, stepping further up the court to attack more and came close to getting back on level terms, but it was Soliman who was able to double his lead with an error from Mueller at the end of the second.
Mueller picked up where he left off in the third though and continued to cause problems for Soliman, with the Bristol-based Egyptian beginning to look fatigued as Mueller claimed a game back. Soliman was soon back to his best in the fourth though to close out an 11-3, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5 victory to move through to the second round.
Soliman will face the winner of France’s Baptiste Masotti against England’s Adrian Waller in the second round tomorrow.
“I’m feeling good and sharp,” said Soliman following his win.
“Nici beat me at the start of the season and he was in good form, so I had to be solid. I had to make sure that I had my basic game because he is so good with his volleys, especially on the forehand. I had to be sharp.
“When someone is tall, like he is, you have to use to your advantage with the counter drop and I knew that he had a tough time last month, I’m sure he will be back stronger than ever.”
Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 11-3, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5 (46m)