Photos by Paul Schwartz:
It’s been a long night of matches as the first round of qualifying concluded at the University of Rochester squash courts with three of the five UR college squash team members proceeding to the next round. It was an especially good night for reserve locals, Will Newnham and Joe Chapman who slipped into the qualifying draw because of a couple of late withdrawals.
The evening began with Maxym Leclair from Montreal vs UR #5 Englishman Will Newnham in a repeat matchup from the 2008 Rochester Pro-Am when Newnham had beaten Leclair in a close 15-13, 15-13, 11-2. This time, Leclair put up a gritty performance coming back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game score 2-2. Newnham, suffering from a painful muscle cramp in the arm, eventually conceded defeat at 6-9 down in the fifth game. Final score: 6-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3, 9-6 ret. Leclair faces off against Australian Luke Forster in the next round tomorrow. Forster played a solid game against Luke Butterworth to just win in 3 games 11-6, 11-8, 13-11.
In the next round of matches, UR #4 Andres Duany beat Mexican Salvador Martinez in five with Martinez seemingly plagued by a number of errors in the beginning of the match only to recover too late. (11-5, 11-8, 7-11, 6-11, 11-6)
On the other court, a battle ensued between Graham Bassett of USA and Jonathan Ramos Islas of Mexico.
The pattern of play was set early on in the match, with Islas showing great court coverage, reach and athleticism to retrieve most of Bassett’s attacking shots, and taking the first game. As the match progressed, Bassett was challenged to up his game, and he rose to the challenge, playing some great attacking squash and pushing Islas even more, but Islas was up to the challenge too and continued to retrieve relentlessly, whilst also moving bassett around the court. Bassett even broke a racket in trying to retrieve a deep shot to the back left corner. So with Bassett being pushed physically, and the added pressure of Islas’ retrieving, Bassett was forced to keep his shots even tighter, which eventually resulted in errors and points for Islas. Final score: 12-10, 11-2, 9-11, 11-7. (Thanks to John Walsh for match recap!)
The second half of matches featured UR locals Joe Chapman and Jim Bristow overcoming Armando Olguin and Ned Marks respectively in a display of patience and mostly error free squash. Former Yellowjacket Fred Reid, now a professional on the tour, came back solidly from a crushing 2-11 loss in the first game to beat UR co-captain Hameed Ahmed in four games: 2-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-5.
The final match between Oliver Pett and former Rochester champion Karim Yehia went to four 1-8, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5 with Yehia losing his lungs towards the end of the match to a fit and precise Pett.
Luke Forster bt. Luke Butterworth 11-6, 11-8, 13-11 (33 minutes)
Maxym Leclair bt. Will Newnham 6-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3, 9-6 retired (50 minutes)
Andres Duany bt. Salvador Martinez 11-5, 11-8, 7-11, 6-11, 11-6 (66 minutes)
Jonathan Uriel Ramos Islas bt. Graham Bassett 12-10, 11-2, 9-11, 11-7 (62 minutes)
Joe Chapman bt. Armando Olguin 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (26 minutes)
Fred Reid bt. Hameed Ahmed 2-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-5 (40 minutes)
Jim Bristow bt. Ned Marks 11-8, 11-5, 12-10 (41 minutes)
Oliver Pett bt. Karim Yehia 11-8, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5 (47 minutes)