Quarterfinal 1 – Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt. Joan Lezaud (FRA) 11-5, 11-6, 12-10 (Match report by Eric Hernady)
This match pitted the #1 seed, Cuskelly, versus the qualifier, Lezaud. Both players were very quick and fit. Numerous rallies in the opening game were lengthy. Cuskelly kept Lezaud in the back corners with relative ease and was quick to volley anything in his reach. The game was close but Cuskelly prevailed. The second game saw the top seed step forward even more and pressure Lezaud off the volley. Drop shots to the front right (both players’ backhands) was the order of the game. Lezaud’s quickness kept him retrieving while Cuskelly would continue to lob out of trouble and reset points. The attacks to the front began to tire Lezaud and Cuskelly ran away with the second game. The third and final game saw Lezaud come out with renewed resolve. He pushed the pace to Cuskelly’s backhand and fearlessly dropped all balls within reach. Lezaud also continued to retrieve all balls just to stay in every point and force Cuskelly to play better shots. Cuskelly defended a game ball against him before squeezing out a tight 12-10 victory.
Quarterfinal 2 – Bernardo Samper (COL) bt. Arshad Iqbal Burki (PAK) 11-7, 11-6, 11-4(Match report by Mark Mijangos)
Rochesterâ€™s Pro Am quarter final round began Saturday morning with third seeded Arshad Iqbal Burki of Pakistan, facing Trinity Alumnus and the 2002 Intercollegiate Singles Champion Bernardo Samper of Colombia. From the opening game Samper controlled the rallies with great length and an high pressure tempo which allowed him to dictate Burkiâ€™s movement from the T. Critical points in the middle of each of the first two games held a bit of frustration for the Pakistani, as his volley opportunities found tin rather than nick, and found himself on the wrong side of a few calls. Samper pushed the pace creating openings for his excellent shot making thus continuing to twist and exhaust the remainder of Burkiâ€™s will. PSAâ€™s 93rd ranked Burki displayed his own flashes of brilliance with exciting finishing and an excellent crosscourt return of service. Burkiâ€™s inability to gain control of the center and constant retrieving broke his desire to grind out longer points as he instead opted to shoot early and often. Bernardoâ€™s movement stifled Arshadâ€™s attempts to shoot while his volleys allowed him to relentlessly pressure Burki. As the scoreline indicates Samperâ€™s pace ultimately drove Burki to exhaustion by early in the third, allowing Samper to string points together while only dropping four points in the final game. Samper has a new energy after taking a brief hiatus from the tour and his game seems well suited to support his return.
Quarterfinal 3 – Adrian Waller (ENG) bt. Gilly Lane (USA) 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8 (Match report by Eric Hernady)
|Adrian Waller had already played three matches while Lane had played only one at the start of this match. The extra mileage seemed to be a great advantage to Lane, who moved Waller all over the court throughout the first game. Waller appeared to be tired at various points during the game, but Lane was unable to capitalize. Waller continued to retrieve well and use his reach to keep points alive when it seemed Lane had the point won. Waller weathered the storm and won what would be a pivotal game in the match. An in-form Lane came out in the second with renewed energy and continued to push the pace.|
Lane also displayed superb retrieval skills along with his strong fitness and quickness around the court. Although a tightly played game, Lane won fairly easily. Waller looked to be out of the match after the running required in the first two games. His physical demeanor belied his ability to smoothly move around the court and retrieve all balls. Lane meanwhile tried to push the tempo and attack the front court more, but made some costly errors to give Waller the advantage. Waller took advantage by shooting to the front court at opportune moments and game himself enough cushion to win another tight game. Lane came out fast again in the fourth, but made sure to push Waller deep in the back court before attacking. His clinging drop shots gave Waller fits in the fourth game. At 8-8 the tension was palpable. Several lengthy rallies later the match was tied 2-all. Waller started the final game aggressively and a few errors from Lane gave him a measurable lead. Lane continued to fight and up the pace to drive Waller to the back court, while generating weak returns to the front. Lane tried to change the pace and but Waller was up to the challenge. Waller also changed tempo by slowing the game down with soft cross court lobs. This seemed to give him a chance to catch his breath and throw Lane off a bit. Waller’s patience paid off in the end with a very entertaining and had-fought victory.
Quarterfinal 4 – Amr Mansi (EGY) bt. Jens Schoor (GER) 11-5, 7-11, 11-4, 11-4 (Match report by Nick Greaves-Tunnell)
|This match featured two very evenly matched players, with Jens producing strong attacking pressure and Amr demonstrating not only his impressive athleticism but also his dangerous counter-attacking ability. For the first two games, these players fought with equal skill and style to take control of the match, but neither could truly establish himself – Amr won the first game, but Jens came back in the second to bring the match to 1-1. As the match progressed, however, Amr’s ability to handle Jens’ fierce offensive pressure and to quickly turn the tables with his beautiful counter-attacking game really began to shine.|
Jens was forced to hit many extremely aggressive and well-placed balls in a row in order to finish the point, and Amr would frequently be able to respond with his own pressure, including several perfect drop-shot nicks. In the end, Jens made an increasing amount of errors as he felt the pressure to produce consistently brilliant shots, and Amr was finally able to take control of the match. The next two games were very exciting, but it was clear that Amr was dictating a majority of the points. He was able to finish the match with confidence in four games.
Photos © 2009 Paul Schwartz: