Match reports by Jesse Cramer/Robert Valdovinos, photos by Paul Schwartz.
Lewis Walters bt. Aqib Hanif 12-10, 11-6, 11-6 in 35 minutes
In the first match of the main draw of the Rochester ProAm 2016, Lewis Walters dispatched Aqib Hanif in three straight games.
The match didn’t start smoothly for Lew. Aqib was moving well from the first serve, while Lew struggled a bit to get in a rhythm. Sprinkle in four nicks from Aqib—some intentional, some not—and the Pakistani built a commanding 8-2 lead. Slowly but surely, Lew began to scrape back. A massive point at 8-5 ended with Aqib attacking a loose drive, but clipping the tin. What could have been a momentum-ending 9-5 lead instead became a nervy 6-8. And Lew kept up more good quality, fighting to 9-9, and then 10-10. Two tins in the next two rallies gave Lewis a comeback 12-10 first game.
The next two games saw Lewis finding all four corners of the courts, establishing a strong position on the T, and expressing himself with a true variety of pace and tactic. In his own words, “I started stepping up a bit more, moving [Aqib] around until he was out of position. Once that happened, I felt like I couldn’t lose.” Indeed, Lew steadily won both games 2 and 3 by scores of 11-6.
Jesus Camacho bt. Mario Yanez (9-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, and 11-7) in 117 minutes
In what was the most anticipated match of the evening and an all-Mexican showdown, Jesus Camacho came back from being down 1-2 to beat Mario Yanez in a battle of attrition. Before the match, you could hear whispers among the crowd as they speculated on the length of the match, everyone joked about how it would last at least two full hours. It turned out that they were not too far off, as it turned into a marathon of game at 117 minutes. The first match filled the stat sheet and ended in Mario’s favor at 11-9. Both of these competitors looked to wear out the other, but it did not seem to work. Jesus came back in the second with a series of kill shots to even things at one. The third match followed the same rhythm of the first, with cross court nicks coming in bunches for Mario. He smelled blood in the water and looked to close this match in four, but Jesus’ resilience flashed as he took a commanding 10-5 lead. Mario made a strong push 9-10 and had the audience at its feet, however it was not enough, Jesus finished him with a drop shot. Coming into the fifth, Jesus exuberated confidence and beat Mario 11-7 to beat his compatriot. What a match, one thing is for certain, we hope to see these two fellas duke it out again soon.
Josue Enriquez bt. Albert Shoihet (11-6, 6-11, 5-11, 11-9, and 11-7) in 54 minutes
In a close one, Josue Enriquez of Guatemala beat Albert Shoihet of Canada in a five setter to advance to the next round of the Rochester Pro-AM. The first began as a close contest, but a string of unforced errors by Shoihet propelled Josue to victory in the first. However, the following two games belong to the Canadian as he regained his confidence with a series of precise drop shots to turn the tables and take a 2-1 lead. At that point the match shifted momentum for one last time. Josue narrowly beat Albert in the fourth to tie things up. Josue carried himself into the fifth with swag and did not disappoint, he beat Albert in five to earn a place in the quarterfinals of the tournament.
Martin Knight vs. Supreet Singh (11-4, 11-3, and 11-3) in 27 minutes
In the quickest match of the night, #1 tournament seed Martin Knight dispatched Supreet Singh in three games. The match was very fast paced from the start, as Martin worked Supreet’s legs and ran him around the court. Martin’s strategy worked from the go, he was cutting every ball and put pressure on Supreet with no unnecessary risk. It was a very solid game by Martin, he kept Supreet behind him throughout the match and clinched a spot in the quarterfinals within thirty minutes.
Thoboki Mohohlo bt. Diego Gobbi (11-7, 9-11, 11-4, and 11-3) in 36 minutes
Thoboki’s quickness marked the difference against Diego tonight’s duel for a spot in the quarterfinals. Diego’s frustration and lack of focus played a large role in the final result of the match. All three of the games that Thoboki won, were aided by at least a string of six consecutive points. Thoboki was in full control throughout the match and deservedly the winner of this match.
Faraz Khan bt. Ahmad Azibidi (11-6, 4-11, 11-9, and 11-9) in 39 minutes
Faraz has competed in the Rochester Pro-Am several times, but has never gone past the first round of the main draw. Two years ago in this exact stage, he lost to Ahmad, but tonight the tables turn. Faraz used his outstanding footwork to tire out Ahmad and end the match in four. The last game was the most competitive fueled by long rallies against the rail, but Ahmad’s fitness seemed to let him down. At times, it appeared that Ahmad would question a call to the referee, only to extend the break between points to catch his breath. Tomorrow will be Faraz’s first appearance in the quarterfinals of the tournament, where he will look to mark his place in history at his alma mater.
Clinton Leeuw bt. Jon Geekie (11-9, 11-1, and 11-3) in 29 minutes
In arguably the most dominant performance of the night, Clinton took care of Jon in a quick match at the Peter Lyman Squash Center. The first game was the most competitive between the two, though it was clear that Clinton had the advantage as his points came from kill shots, as opposed to Jon’s, which came from unforced errors on Clinton’s part. In the second, Clinton carried his momentum from the first to win ten quick points to ultimately win 11-1. The third remained eerily similar, led by several shots to the tin by Jon. Tonight, the crowd was clearly on Jon’s side, but he was unable to capitalize on that advantage.
Jan Van Den Herrewegen bt. Adam Perkiomaki (10-12, 11-7, 13-11, and 11-8) in 61 minutes
With the home crowd behind Adam Perkiomaki, he got off to a strong start. Both players found their length and attacked throughout the first game. Jan had three game balls but was unable to capitalize, Adam put his head down and only needed one game ball to stun #2 seed Jan. The Belgium ended up winning the next three games, but Perkiomaki did not go down without a fight. He nearly pulled away with a win in the third, but Jan’s determination could not be beat.