World Masters Set for Pivotal Slate of Semifinals

Seventeen World Masters main draws are down to the last four ahead of a pivotal slate of semifinals Friday at the McArthur Squash Center in Charlottesville, Virginia.

With Nations Cup permutations on the line, Australia leads the field with sixteen semifinalists, followed by England and South Africa with eleven, Team USA at ten and Canada at six.

Most divisions have played out according to seeding with three or four of the top seeds progressing to the semis. The biggest upset of the quarterfinal round came in the men’s 75+ division, where American Michael Gough dispatched England’s one seed Adrian Wright 11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 5-11, 11-4. Gough won the 2014 75+ title in Hong Kong and is seeking his second World Masters title in his fourth appearance.

The women’s 75+ title may be decided Friday morning when South Africa’s Jean Grainger and Team USA’s Joyce Davenport face each other at 9am ET. Both players have a 3-0 record in the six-player round robin with one match remaining on Saturday.

The men’s 75+ semifinals will stage a perennial U.S. nationals rivalry between Jay Nelson, who holds the U.S. record of twenty-nine masters titles, and Canadian Gerry Poulton. Nelson and Poulton have faced off eight times over the past decade, the last six of which were in U.S. National Singles finals. Poulton has won four of the past six match ups, including the 2018 U.S. 75+ final this spring. Nelson will be hoping to reach his first World Masters final in his tournament debut.

The women’s 35+ semifinals fields another first-time American participant in the form of Margaret Gerety. Gerety heads the squash program at Squash on Fire in nearby Washington, DC. The former Harvard player upset Canada’s Leah Boody in a five-game quarterfinal, and faces England’s top seed Lauren Briggs in Friday’s semis.

“It’s exciting to be here,” Gerety said. “There’s so much depth and the level of play is really impressive—all the way up to the 80’s,” Gerety said. “There’s been a great energy and spirit from everyone this week. It’s so nice to connect with both American and international players that I haven’t seen in years and make new friends. It’s such a great community.”

Watch the semifinals live and follow live scores on from 9am ET.