Match report by Jesse Cramer
THREE LOCALS PROCEED TO THE MAIN DRAW
A beautiful showing for former and current College Squash players tonight in the final round of Qualifying at the Rochester Pro-Am. University of Rochester’s Joe Chapman and Andres Duany advanced, as did former Trinity star Chris Binnie and American player Graham Bassett. An opportune time for the launch of SquashURoc.com, the unofficial University of Rochester Squash Blog.
Andres Duany (PER) bt. Gerardo De Paul Garcia (MEX) 11-6, 11-5, 11-4 (38m)
plays Wade Johnstone (AUS)
A series of long, patient rallies starting tonight’s match between Andres Duany (PER) and Gerardo de Paul Garcia (MEX). Unfortunately for Duany, too many of those rallies ended in tins or de Paul winner. All too soon, the Peruvian was down 6-3. But a questionable “no let” in Duany’s favor turned the tides. Either de Paul was rattled, or Duany calmed his nerves; maybe it was both. Either way, Duany strung eight straight points together using tight drops and quick flicks to win the first 11-6 in 11 minutes.
Andres used the momentum from the first to carry him through the second. A quick 4-2 lead grew into 8-4 through a succession of solid rallies from Duany and volley-drop errors from Gerardo. A beautiful straight kill followed by a perfect lob gave Duany five game balls. He capitalized on his first with a slightly lucky back wall nick, giving him the second game 11-5 in 10 minutes.
Again in the third, Andres leaped out to a 3-0, then a 5-1 lead. He was playing pressure squash, using all four corners to run Gerardo around and keep him on the defensive. With too much time in the front of the court, even the crowd was reacting unsurely to Duany’s holds and flicks as the lead grew to 9-2. The match was all but over, and after a few more non-descript rallies, Andres had it won 11-4 in 11 minutes.
Joe Chapman (BVI) bt. Patrick Chifunda (ZAM) 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 11-3 (50m)
plays Ali Farag (EGY)
Early on, Patrick Chifunda (ZAM) had Joe Chapman (BVI) on a leash, leading young Chapman around the court from corner to corner. Yet, Joe managed to stay in the rallies long enough to hit a couple lucky winners and force some Chifunda tins. Despite being the lone player breathing heavily, Joe found himself leading 4-0. After taking a deep breath, Joe calmed his nerves and rode that lead to a 11-4 victory in the first in 10 minutes.
But Patrick came out determined in the second, playing fast, tight, and looking for the volley. In this game, Patrick was finishing off his positive rallies. A quick 3-0 lead steadily grew to 7-4 with a series of vicious drives from the front of the court. Patrick blew Joe back on his heels, always waiting until the last minute to hit straight, cross, or boast. Throw in Patrick’s favorite reverse boast from the front of the court, and he quickly won the second 11-6 in 9 miuntes.
The third was much more even. Both players put in a lot of effort, neither exactly controlling the pace. But Joe won the first few points quickly, gaining 3-0 lead in 45 seconds. Using steady, tight length, Joe extended the lead out to 8-4, and then 10-6. But Joe seemed a bit shaky despite owning four games balls. A pair of poor (no offense, Joe) tins took the score to 10-8. Crunch time. The longest rally of the match ensued, with neither player willing to go short. Finally, Joe played a tight volley drop that Patrick barely retrieved. But his lob to the back hit just out of court, giving the point and game to Joe “Fist Pump” Chapman. 11-8 to Joe in 15 minutes.
And Joe didn’t feel like losing his momentum. He quickly gained a 6-1 lead in the fourth; no errors and steady retrieving. After a few tough rallies also going Joe’s way, he had too much confidence to lose. The fourth goes to Joe 11-3 in 9 minutes.
Chris Binnie (JAM) bt. Aurangzeb Mehmund (PAK) 11-6, 9-11, 14-12, 11-9 (79m)
plays Josh Cardwell (AUS)
From the first rally, there was a clear difference in styles. Chris Binnie (JAM) used his size and strength control the T and keep Aurangzeb Mehmund (PAK) behind him. Mehmund used his quickness and smooth racket to stay in the rallies and keep his bigger opponent from ending the rallies too quickly. But, he who controls the T controls the rally, and Chris was doing an excellent job. Without too much trouble, Binnie wins the first 11-6 in 10 minutes.
In the second, both players were more willing to attack; the rallies were rife with front court action. Binnie used some nice drops and counter-drops to quickly get a 5-2 lead. But Zeb fought back to 5 all using a couple of “What just happened?” cross court nicks. The boys then found themselves locked at 7 before a couple of poor shot selections by Zeb gave Chris the opportunity to take a 9-7 lead. But Zeb regained his focus and brought this pivotal game back to 9-9, and played used a vicious cross court fade to get a game ball at 10-9. A Binnie tin gave Zeb the second 11-9 in 12 minutes.
Both players knew winning the third game was vital to victory. Every decision by the referee was questioned, or at least drew a suspicious glare. And the squash was heated as well. Binnie held on to a one or two point lead all the way to 8-6. After a series of long rallies and lets, Zeb hit a forehand reverse boast from the left side of the court (should I include a diagram?) that fooled everyone, Chris included. Frustrations grew as the pace quickened. Zeb hit a perfect dying length to bring the game to 8 all. A “no let” gave Binnie 9-8, and a straight forehand kill (along with a fist pump and yawpish “Let’s go!”) gave him two game balls. Zeb saved the first with a thunderous nick, and an out of court lob by Binnie brought the game to 10 all. A winner by each then yielded 11 all. A volley reverse boast gave Zeb his first game ball at 12-11. Let, let, let, then Binnie pulls it back to 12-12. “No let” after a perfect dying length gives Binnie another game ball at 13-12 and this time he capitalized. After a long rally, Chris found the nick after Zeb’s rail popped out to the middle. 14-12 to Binnie after 31 minutes. Take a breather fellas.
Back-to-back flicks drops and a tin by Chris, and Zeb jumps out to a 3-0 lead that quickly grew to 5-1, then 7-2 in the fourth. Zeb’s play was much tighter than in the second, and Chris had little choice but to scrape shots off the wall into the middle of the court. A few back and forth points brought the game to 8-5. A nick and an error brought Chris right back into it at 7-8, but a thunderous straight nick from zero angle gave Zeb the key two point advantage yet again. But it didn’t last, as consecutive unretrievable backhand drops brought the game to 9 all. After a series of lets, the referee warned both players to “play the ball, not the player.” A tin by Zeb gave Binnie his first match ball at 10-9. Then, after a lengthy rally, Chris’s rail popped out into the middle, and Zeb did not play it; instead, he opted to find Chris with his racket and ask for a let (or stroke?). To everyone’s surprise (but to the ref’s credit), the referee stuck to his previous warning, and issued a “no let” on match ball. Game and match to Binnie 11-9.
Graham Bassett bt. Arshad Iqbal Burki 7-11, rtd. (14m)
plays Erik Tepos Valtierra (MEX)
The other 7:00 PM match featured American Graham Bassett and Pakistani Arshad Iqbal Burki. Arshad got off to a quick, efficient start; before the match was five minutes old, he held an 8-4 lead. But Graham fought back to 7-8, and Arshad began to wince a bit between points, flexing his leg. Nevertheless, Arshad hit a couple gorgeous nicks and took the game 11-7 in 14 minutes. But the leg was a major issue; Arshad had re-aggravated a pre-existing hamstring niggle, and could not continue.
Bassett over Iqbal Burki (7-11, RET) in 14 minutes