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Super Mario makes history

Mario Yanez Tapia (MEX) bt Bernat Jaume (ESP) 17-15, 3-0 ret. (due to injury)

Match report to follow….

University of Rochester squash alum and current assistant coach Mario Yanez Tapia made history today. He is the first UofR alum to lift the Rochester ProAm trophy in it’s 16th year joining three other Mexicans and several other top PSA players on the illustrious roster of former Rochester ProAm winners.

  • 2018 – Mario Yanez Tapia (MEX)
  • 2017 – no tournament
  • 2016 – Martin Knight (NZL)
  • 2015 – Eric Galvez (MEX)
  • 2014 – Zac Alexander (AUS)
  • 2013 – Lucas Serme (FRA)
  • 2012 – Ali Farag (EGY)
  • 2011 – Alfredo Avila (MEX)
  • 2010 – Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
  • 2009 – Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
  • 2008 – Ahmed Maged Hamza (EGY)
  • 2007 – Jorge Isaac Baltazar Ferreira (MEX)
  • 2006 – Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
  • 2005 – Ritwik Bhattacharya (IND)
  • 2004 – Karim Yehia (EGY)
  • 2003 – Rafael F. Alarcon (BRA)
  • 2002 – Shawn Delierre (CAN)

Photos by Bill Lampeter

Posted in 2018

Top seeds fall to challengers in Semifinals

Bernat Jaume (ESP) bt Angus Gillams (ENG) 5-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-4
Mario Yanez Tapia (MEX) bt Faraz Khan (USA) 12-10, 11-1, 11-7

Match reports and photos to follow…

Posted in 2018

Three seeds and a qualifier through the quarterfinals

Mario Yanez Tapia (MEX) bt. Anthony Graham (ENG) 8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6
Faraz Khan (USA) bt. Mark Fuller (ENG) 4-11, 11-7, 11-8, 16-14
Angus Gillams (ENG) bt. Leonel Cardenas (MEX) 11-5, 11-4, 11-7
Bernat Jaume (ESP) bt. Syed Hamza Bukhari (PAK) 11-4, 5-11, 11-6, 11-4

Match reports by Ben Pitfield, Photos by Bill Lampeter

Mario Yanez Tapia bt. Anthony Graham 8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6
In this match-up, crowd favourite Yanez Tapia came out looking a bit sluggish against the British Graham, who was up for it with his mother — or at least a woman who looks a lot like his mother — in attendance. Graham used this sluggishness to his advantage and took the first game in and around 11-7. It was at this point that some younger members of the crowd began to seriously wonder whether Graham’s coolness was an act, or whether he was a zombie. Young GVC player Mark buried his head in his father, Ilya’s, shoulder and said, “please dad, don’t let the extremely relaxed man get me!” Which made everyone laugh, except for Anthony of course, who was pretty chilled about the whole thing. Yanez Tapia came out firing in the second and, subsequently, the third and fourth and ground Graham off the court in a gutsy showing, their second face-off in 3 weeks.

Faraz Khan bt. Mark Fuller 4-11, 11-7, 11-8, 16-14
Some people have said to me that Faraz Khan’s game is reminiscent of a beautiful painting, each brush stroke placed just so in a calculated illumination of an emotional idea. Like a Picasso, or perhaps a late Rembrandt. None of those people, however, saw this match. This match was a grinding, greasing, gesticulatingly wild affair. Fuller was able to push the American into four and had an opportunity at 11-11 to get more, but, alas, it was not to be and he lost.

Angus Gillams bt. Leonel Cardenas 11-5, 11-4, 11-7
In number 1 seed Angus Gillams’ second match of the tournament the crowd was given a real treat, as he beat 2017 US Junior Open Champion Leonel Cardenas of Mexico in three games. Despite that scoreline, the match was not wrought or brought withot some dramatic moments, especially given some truly creative refereeing by local amateur and Jonathan Power impersonator Leonard Mohr, who was seen at one point in the third game on court, demonstrating to the players what appeared to be proper forehand length technique. In this bought, the veteran Gillams used his extremely cutty strings to sashimi chop the young challenger.

Bernat Jaume bt. Syed Hamza Shah Bukhari 11-4, 5-11, 11-6, 11-4
If ever there was a man — nay, a legend! — so compelling as the story of Bernat Jaume in this tournament, I’ve yet to hear it. In the first round he took out country man Hugo Varela in a dramatic and fantastic four sets, which set him up to take on the Ponytailed Pakistani in the quarters. This match, I believe, was firmly decided by the play of the Spaniard in the front left corner hitting cross-court lobs, a shot for which Syed could find no answer. If my guess is as good as any, Bernat won in four games.

Bernat and Hugo getting all the applause

Posted in 2008

Round 1 comes to a close

Angus Gillams (ENG) bt Noah Browne (BER) 11-6, 11-6, 11-9
Leonel Cardenas (MEX) bt Cameron Seth (CAN) 11-5, 8-11, 11-3, 11-4
Bernat Jaume (ESP) bt Hugo Varela (ESP) 11-9, 10-12, 11-4, 11-6
Syed Hamza (PAK) bt Alejandro Reyes (MEX) 11-1, 2-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8
Anthony Graham (ENG) bt David Cromwell (USA) 11-5, 11-5, 11-9
Mario Yanez (MEX) bt Ashley Davies (ENG)7-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-6
Mark Fuller (ENG) bt Timothy Lasusa (USA) 11-4, 11-8, 11-1
Faraz Khan (USA) bt Tomotaka Endo (JPN) 11-9, 11-9, 11-1

Match reports by Ben Pitfield/Leonard Mohr, Photos by Bill Lampeter

Yanez vs Davies and Graham vs Cromwell while Pitfield watches

Angus Williams (ENG) bt Noah Browne (BER) 11-6, 11-6, 11-9
The first match of the night saw number 1 seed Angus Gillams of England face of against unseeded Noah Browne from Bermuda. The rallies began long without either one going for too many attacking shots. Though the rallies were long, neither player seemed to really find their length for the most of the game with the ball often loose and not reaching the back of the court, but Gillams length and control of the T was a bit better and so came away victorious in the first game 11-6. The second game was a bit better and both players started hitting more of their targets but Browne often opened up the court too early with loose boasts as well as distracting himself with the referee’s decisions leading Browne to lose 11-6 again. Involvement with the referee continued into the third game and Browne’s frustration with his own game led Browne to be unable to maintain his focus in the crucial points despite putting in a solid and very close last game, losing 11-9.

Leonel Cardenas (MEX) bt Cameron Seth (CAN) 11-5, 8-11, 11-3, 11-4
Leonel Cardenas the six seed from Mexico faced off against qualifier Cameron Seth of Canada who came back from 2-0 down to win in 5 against University of Rochester player Lawrence Kuhn. Both players started off well, finding good length but Cardenas was able to attack and control the T a bit better and came away with an 11-5 win in the first game. The second game Seth neutralized Cardenas’ attacking and deceptive shots with good tight length and won the game 11-8. Seth was unable to follow up this performance the next 2 games, maybe feeling the effects of the previous night’s match and opened the court up enough for Cardenas to use his lethal attacks winning the next 2 games 11-3, 11-4.

Bernat Jaume (ESP) bt Hugo Varela (ESP) 11-9, 10-12, 11-4, 11-6
The third match of the night saw Spaniard Bernat Jaume face off against compatriot Hugo Varela in their first professional match against each other. The first two games were incredibly long, incredibly close with rarely a point between the two, with each winning a game apiece. The third game saw Hugo lose focus going from a 4-4 tie to an 11-4 loss. In the fourth game Hugo put 110% in, and at 3-4 down had the rally of the match, nearly doing the splits multiple times sprinting from corner to corner, and then following up with a sick crosscourt nick! Unfortunately he could not keep up the intensity and just faded ever slightly losing 11-6.

Syed Hamza (PAK) bt Alejandro Reyes (MEX) 11-1, 2-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8
Syed Hamza of Pakistan played Alejandro Reyes of Mexico in a bewildering 5 setter. Hamza came of firing on all cylinders, mixing up his use of height with hard shots enabling him to control the T and win 11-1. It looked like everything was in Hamza’s favor, but Reyes came back punching with an 11-2 win the next game. The third game both players found their rhythm, hitting solid length, with long, grueling rallies, but though visibly tired Hamza came through and won 11-7. The next game Reyes controlled the T more, and used his speed to force errors from Hamza. Play was stopped though with Reyes 8-4 up due to a blood injury, and this allowed Hamza a bit of a breather, who came back firing, but still lost the game 11-7. The last game, both players could not find their length and did not take advantage of loose balls due to nerves. Reyes hit a bit too many boasts opening up the court a bit too much and Hamza played a bit safer and won 11-8.

Anthony Graham (ENG) bt David Cromwell (USA) 11-5, 11-5, 11-9
This was the match of the night. Or, if it wasn’t, it was a match played tonight. Graham came out swinging in that cool, very relaxed Grahamian way that almost says, “I wonder what the score is on the next court” which is funny because during the second intermission he actually did say to me “what’s the score on that court?” and then proceeded, with the referee, to come watch a few points of the Davies-Yanez Tapia match which was, frankly, a banging match. But I’ll get to that. In any case, Graham used his chilled out, British modern swing to push Cromwell to — and past! — his breaking point. The first two games went relatively smoothly for the championing Graham. The third was tighter, in the realm of 11-9, and members of the audience were caught remarking that perhaps he ought to spend more time playing his match rather than coaching his friend Ashley Davies. Fondest attachments to both players.

Mario Yanez (MEX) bt Ashley Davies (ENG)7-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-6
Now this one, this one, this one! was the match of the night. Well, it was a certainly up there. What was really worth remarking about — and I did remark about it, to several interested parties, if you must know — was the back story: current University of Rochester wunderkind Ashley Davies — scourge of the basketball house front garden, king of Vinyl! and, I guess, 2nd team All-American –versus the University of Rochester’s all time leader in wins and winning percentage, four time first team All-American and current assistant coach, Mario Yanez Tapia. Davies took the first in a compelling decision, and the crowd was, like, totally thinking he could win. And then it went to 8-8 in the second, a three minute rally, and Yanez showed the crowd what he’s packing in the tank. Ashley played valiantly, but couldn’t keep up with the streaking, peaking, nick-seeking Mexican, who pulled out all the stops and put some back to come out on top, 3-1.

Faraz Khan (USA) bt Tomotaka Endo (JPN) 11-9, 11-9, 11-1
In another battle of University of Rochester related people, Faraz Khan of the great state of Connecticut took on local non-local player Tomotaka Endo who, despite his PSA card’s opinion, is a representative of the land of the rising sun, Kawasaki, Japan. Unfortunately for the thoroughbred-legged Tomotaka, the courts in the UR athletic centre were the land of the rising tin, and he made that much abundantly clear to everyone watching — listening, even! — to the match. In the end, Khan showed some wily veteran control of the ball, and some wily veteran letting loose of his emotions to take the match 3-0. Cudos to him.

Mark Fuller (ENG) bt Timothy Lasusa (USA) 11-4, 11-8, 11-1
What is there to say about Tim Lasusa that hasn’t already been said? Tall, handsome, coy, an absolute charm with the ladies and the gentlemen alike, and heir-apparent to Gilly Lane as MC of the US Open are all thoughts which spring to mind. Oh, and he’s a great fisherman! Oh! He’s also a decent squash player! Tim, Tim, Tim — what a guy! Well, anyway, he lost to Mark Fuller 3-0.

Posted in 2018

Qualifying complete

[1] Cameron Seth (CAN) bt [L] Lawrence Kuhn (RSA) 10-12, 7-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7 (79m) – plays Leonel Cardenas (MEX)
Mario Yanez (MEX) bt Jacob Bassil (LIB) 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (35m) – plays Ashley Davies (ENG)
[L] Tomotaka Endo (USA) bt [L] Ricardo Lopez (MEX) 11-8, 10-12, 12-10, 11-7 (54m) – plays Faraz Khan (USA)
[2] Hugo Varela (ESP) bt [7] Brock Janzer (CAN) 11-0, 11-1, 11-4 (27m) – plays Bernat Jaume (ESP)

Match report by “Warm Buns”
The action of the Rochester ProAm qualifiers would continue at Genesee Valley Club in Rochester, New York. The second round of the qualifiers had four great matches with the winners advancing to the main draw.
The first match of the day saw University of Rochester’s number three player, Lawrence Kuhn, pitted up against Canadian, Cameron Seth. Kuhn would apply high pressure using his fundamentals in the first two games, winning both games 10-12 and 7-11. However, Seth would weather the storm in the latter half of the match, and turned the match on its head. Seth would
eventually take the match in five games: 10-12, 7-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7. The second contest on Court Two was between the University of Rochester’s assistant coach, Mario Yanez, against an emerging player, Jacob Bassil. Throughout the match, Yanez would use a variety of shots to work the young player into all four corners. Yanez’s working shots would
prove too much for Bassil. Yanez would advance to the main draw in three games with a score of 11-6, 11-5, and 11-6.
The third match came on after the Yanez-Bassil match, and was a contest between Spaniard, Hugo Varela, and Canadian, Brock Janzer. Janzer would put up a fight against the second seed of the qualifiers; however, Varela remained unfazed throughout the whole match. Varela would then proceed to dispatch his Canadian opponent in three games: 11-0, 11-1, 11-4.

The final match of the day was between two University of Rochester squash teammates- the number two from Japan, Tomotaka Endo, and the number three from Mexico, Ricardo Lopez. The match was played in front of a relatively packed crowd comprising of University of Rochester teammates and Genesee Valley Club members. Endo would win the first game 11-8, but the workhorse in Lopez would use his grit and grind out the second game 10-12. However, Endo would ramp up the pace of the game to move ahead of his teammate in four games: 11-8,
10-12, 12-10, 11-7.

Meanwhile visiting pros Bernat Jaume and Alejandro Reyes gave the local juniors and adults/sponsors alike quite a show at a series of lessons as well as an exhibition match at Midtown Athletic Club as part of the tournament’s proceedings.
(Photos by Bill Lampeter)

Posted in 2018

UR Squash strong in early Qualifying

Cameron Seth (CAN) bt Oscar Lopez (MEX) 11-5, 11-6, 11-2
Lawrence Kuhn (RSA) bt Ahad Raza (CAN) 10-12, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5
Mario Lopez (MEX) bt Aditya Jagtap (IND) 11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 15-13
Jacob Bassil (LIB) bt Fernando Magdaleno (MEX) – walkover/no-show
Tomotaka Endo (JPN) bt Velavan Senthilkumar (IND) 11-7, 7-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-3
Ricardo Lopez (MEX) bt Sam Fenwick (ENG) 4-11, 6-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-8
Brock Janzer (CAN) bt Mubarak Mohsin (PAK) 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-8
Cameron Seth (CAN) bt Oscar Lopez (MEX) 11-5, 11-6, 11-2
Hugo Varela (ESP) bt Cory McCartney (CAN) 11-3,11-0,11-3

After a brief hiatus in 2017, the Hazlow Electronics Rochester ProAm is back again this year in it’s 16th edition and promises to showcase top up and coming squash talent from around the world once again.

In a strong showing last night, the local lads from the University of Rochester squash team prevailed over stiff competition from their PSA opponents last night in the opening round of qualifying . For some, the luck of the draw meant this was the toughest PSA 5+ qualifying draw they have had to play in a while with several matches going the full five games.

Former UR #1 and current assistant coach, Mario Yanez fresh from his final appearance in another PSA 5+ event Charlottetown on Sunday started hard and fast against India’s Aditya Jagtap taking a quick 2-0 game lead. Jagtap was not giving up however and came back fighting from 9-3 down in the third game to stay in the match. The fourth was a closely contested game at the start but eventually Yanez got the better of his opponent to earn a spot in the next round.

Yanez vs Jagtap

Another University of Rochester local, Tomotaka Endo faced stiff competition from fellow college squash player and Columbia freshman, Velavan Senthilkumar from India. These two had faced off in college squash twice already this year since February with Velavan prevailing in both those encounters. However, Endo seemed learned from those matches and put that experience to good use forcing errors out of Velavan in the early games. Velavan kept the pressure on nevertheless and had Endo on the ropes in the 4th game when an injury break from Vela gave Endo a much needed breather. Thereafter, there was no stopping the Japanese senior who forged ahead into the fifth forcing additional errors from his opponent to eventually take avenge his previous defeats.

In what seemed like a pattern of comebacks, Endo’s other two University of Rochester team mates, Ricardo Lopez and Lawrence Kuhn starred in their own battles both coming back from two games down against their opponents, Canadian Ahad Raza and Englishman Sam Fenwick respectively.

Tomorrow’s qualifying finals feature at least two of the four University of Rochester lads, Tomotaka Endo and Ricardo Lopez facing off against each other.

Photos by Bill Lampeter

The kids love it!

All eyes on the ball

Posted in 2018

Knight Prevails as Top Seed

rocprosquash2016 - final2

(Match report by Robert Valdovinos)
Kiwi World No. 80 Martin Knight surged past Belgian World No. 109 to capture the title of the 2016 Rochester Pro-Am. This was the first time that players from New Zealand and Belgium were represented in the final. Jan van der Herrewegen found success throughout the tournament by dictating the pace of the games, but today he could not help but watch as Martin Knight took control of the match.

In the first, Martin and Jan used similar tactics, using a combination of length and consistent attacking to win long points. The longest rally in the first came at 5-2, as Martin took at 6-2 lead with a tin by Jan.

The 2016 finalists with  tournament director Oscar Lopez

The 2016 finalists with tournament director Oscar Lopez

Martin capped the first game, with a no-look shot to the opposite side of the court. In the second, it appeared as though Jan’s lengthy matches throughout the week had tired his legs. Martin used this to his advantage and frequently took him to the back of the court with a consistent barrage of lob shots. Martin took the second with a score of 11-5.

Coming into the third, the split crowd cheered both athletes and encouraged them to give it their best in what could potentially be the last game of the tournament. In the third, Jan found himself again on the defensive, but managed to keep pace during the early part of the game.

With full confidence and a relaxed style of play, Martin Knight sealed his first Rochester Pro-Am Championship with a decisive 11-5 score. He joins an illustrious roster of past Rochester ProAm champions and we look forward to watching these guys soar up the rankings in the months and years to come.

Posted in 2016

Top seeds through to the final

Match reports by Robert Valdovinos
Martin Knight bt. Clinton Leeuw (11-7, 6-11, 8-11, 11-2, and 11-5) in 109 minutes 

Martin Knight of New Zealand defeated Clinton Leeuw of South Africa in five games to advance to the final of the Rochester Pro-Am. Martin entered the first semifinal as the favorite having won his first two matches in a dominant fashion against Supreet Singh and Josue Enriquez. Today, Clinton pushed Martin to five games in what turned out to be a marathon of match. The first set the tone for the rest of the games, as both players remained timid on their attacking and looked for their opponent to commit unforced errors. Martin took the first, but Clinton came back firing on all cylinders for the second. Clinton changed the pace of the game by going on the offensive and used a couple of nick shots to propel him to a win in the second. The third, remained closed through its entirety but Martin’s consistency proved to be the difference. In the fourth, both competitors appeared to tire, but it did not impede both players from pushing their bodies to the limit. Clinton used Martin’s frustration to take the fourth and extend the match. With momentum on his side, Clinton looked to upset Martin, but the #1 seed regained his momentum and beat Clinton to secure a spot in the final

Jan van den Herrewegen bt. Lewis Walters (11-8, 8-11, 11-7, and 15-13) in 67 minutes

The second semifinal of the night saw Jan van den Herrewegen of Belgium dispatch Lewis Walters of Jamaica in four games to punch a ticket to tomorrow’s final. The first game was close from the go and saw Jan take advantage of a couple of tins from Walters to take an early lead in games. Fortunes turned in the second as Walters found success with his backhand and a more offensive style of play. However, Jan van den Herrewegen increased the pace of the game in the third to come out ahead to the tune of 11-7. With a ticket to the next round clearly in sight for Jan, he found the extra energy to eliminate Lewis Walters in extra points. Jan will compete in the final tomorrow against Martin Knight in a battle between the top two tournament seeds. 

Posted in 2016

Quarterfinals complete

(Match reports by Robert Valdovinos)

Martin Knight bt. Josue Enriquez (11-2, 11-7, and 11-5) in 36 minutes
In another dominant display by the #1 tournament seed, Martin Knight beat Josue Enriquez in straight games to advance to the semifinals of the Rochester Pro-Am. The first game used a steady dose of drop shots to quickly beat the Guatemalan in 10 minutes of play. The second game was closer but did not end with a different result, Martin put Josue under a ton of pressure to finish the job at 11-7. Martin was a model of consistency during the third, using his length to put Josue under duress and used his precise shots to earn his points. It was an all-around great evening for Martin.

Clinton Leeuw bt. Thoboki Mohohlo (11-13, 11-4, 11-7, 7-11, and 11-9) in 57 minutes
In a battle between two similar styles, Clinton proved to be a better player by beating Thoboki in four games to meet Martin Knight in tomorrow’s semifinal. The first game remained close throughout its entirety as both players used a variation of squash techniques to take it to extra point, with Thoboki surfacing as the winner of the first game. In an act of true sportsmanship, Thoboki sailed a serve eight feet over the side wall, after the referee called a questionable let at 10-7 game ball for Thoboki. In the second, Clinton showed why he was the favorite coming into the match, he jumped to a quick lead and never looked back. The third followed a similar pattern, Clinton started to cut a majority of Thoboki’s shots to increase the tempo of the game, he won 11-7. In the fourth, Thoboki took the court by storm with his confidence and used a series of string of points to sneak out a close win at 11-7. These two excellent players brought all their intensity to the fifth game, as Clinton narrowly beat Thoboki with the help of an unforced error to cap his night.

Lewis Walters bt. Faraz Khan (11-6, 11-7, and 11-6) in 44 minutes
Being the last player with roots to the University of Rochester and with the home crowd on his side, Faraz Khan fell in three games against Lewis Walters of Jamaica. In the first, Faraz seemed to smack the ball with mighty strength, but Lewis worked him around the T and continued to bring the ball to the back to of the court. Faraz did not put pressure on Lewis and fell at 11-6. The second saw Faraz pull closer to Lewis as he built an early lead, but could not continue the pressure. He lost focused and even worse, lost 11-7 in the second. The third saw Faraz change his technique a bit, but Lewis’ outstanding length against the wall proved fatal. Lewis Walters beat Faraz Khan at in the fifth to advance to the semifinals.

Jan Van Der Herrewegen bt. Jesus Camacho (15-13, 8-11, 11-9, 7-11, and 11-9 ) in 122 minutes
The longest match of the day included again Jesus Camacho who fell in 5 games to the No. 2 seeded Jan Van Der Herrewegen. The match started with both players testing each other’s game with long rallies in the back of the court. After over 20 minutes of the first game, Van Der Herrewegen managed to close the game at 15-13 after having two game balls. Camacho came back on court with a more aggressive style which paid off and put the Mexican tied at 1-1. In the 3rd and 4th game both players were very cautious and pushed the game to its first 90 minutes of play. In the 5th Camacho seemed to have his confidence up and started going for winning shots of his volleys but a string of errors and a couple of what it seemed to be “harsh calls” put him down to 10-8. Camacho took an injury break to clean up blood from his right hand before coming back on court and scoring one more point. Van Der Herrewegen kept a fast tempo and closed the game with a tight ball on the forehand side that Camacho could not return. Today, Van Der Herrewegen will face Lewis Walters in the semifinals.

Posted in 2016

Main Draw Round 1 Action

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.

mainrd1 - yanezjesusJesus 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.

mainrd1 - knightMartin 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.
mainrd1 - thobokimainrd1 - moholomainrd1 - mohologobbi

mainrd1 - farazahmadFaraz 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.

mainrd1 - leeuwgeekieClinton 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.

mainrd1 - adamjanJan 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.

Posted in 2016

Qualifying complete

Match reports by Robert Valdovinos

Mario Yanez bt. Ryosei Kobayashi (11-6, 11-4, and 11-5) in 29 minutes [plays Jesus Camacho]
After meeting in the semifinals of the 2016 CSA Individuals Championships, University of Rochester teammates faced off once again with a chance to earn a spot in the Main Draw of the 2016 Rochester Pro AM. Over the past three years, Ryosei and Mario have traded countless matches, but tonight Mario went home a winner. In the first, Mario took a commanding lead at 5-1, but Ryo came back and tied it at 5 all. However, unlike his usual self, Ryo did not have that fire in his eyes and seemed to give up at times, culminating in a win for Mario. The first point of the second game was followed the biggest applause of the tournament so far, with a ridiculous rally filled with sneaky shots. Ryosei won that point with a hit out of a volley into the nick. That point turned out to be the highlight of the night for Ryosei. Mario continued his great play with an arsenal of cross court nick and did not look back, he closed the match in three games.

Ahmad Alzabidi bt. (7-11, 11-7, 12-10, 9-11, and 11-2) in 50 minutes [plays Faraz Khan]
Ahmad Alzabidi will play in the Main Draw of the tournament after beating Ismail Hafez in five games. The start of the match was marred by unforced errors on both parties, Ismail won the first game with his excellent soft touch and volleys. Disputed call seemed to be a theme for Alzabidi once again, however he came roaring back and won the following game with a lot of sudden drop shots. Ismail came back to post a win in the third game, but it was not enough. In the last two games, Alzabidi looked focused and dominant, it was evident that he was not going to let Ismail win the match.

unnamedSupreet Singh bt. Tomotaka Endo (9-11, 11-2, 8-11, 18-16, and 11-8) in 44 minutes [plays Martin Knight]
With the audience on Tomotaka’s side, the newly crowned University of Rochester captain nearly captured the match in four games, but Supreet came back from four Tomotaka match points to ultimately win at 18-16 in the fourth game. Supreet won the fifth game to earn a coveted spot in the Main Draw. In the first game, Tomotaka won a close game with a questionable no let call, which Supreet did not agree. In the second, Supreet was zoned-in and tied up the match at 1-1. In the third, Tomotaka took advantage of a series of unforced errors by Supreet and was highlighted by an outstanding rally at 8-8, which ended with a boast by Tomotaka. He did not look back and won the third. The fourth game was a marathon, culminating with a Supreet win at 18-16 after a total of six game points. In the final game, Supreet showed the same determination he displayed in the second game and beat Tomotaka in a decidedly fashion.

Aqib Hanif bt. Fernando Magdaleno (6-11, 11-5, 12-10, 8-11, and 11-9) in 62 minutes [plays Lewis Walters]
In an exciting five game match, Aqib Hanif booked his ticket to the Main Draw by beating Fernando Magdaleno. The match started off on Fernando’s side as he breezed through the game and hardly broke a sweat. Aqib looked sluggish, but recovered to take the second game. The third game featured a prolonged injury break, as Fernando bled from a finger. Aqib seized the opportunity and recovered from a Fernando game point to win the third at 12-10. Similar to the third game, the fourth saw back and forth between the two opponents, but this time it was Fernando who capitalized. The fifth game proved to be most intense, as both players chirped at the referee’s calls. Aqib won six quick points at the early stages of the game to propel him to a close 11-9 win.

Posted in 2016

Qualifying Round 1

Match reports by Robert Valdovinos, photos by Paul Schwartz

qf1 - tundeyanezMario Yanez bt. Babatunde Ajagbe in 44 minutes (11-7, 11-6, and 11-9)
With his endless energy, University of Rochester #1 Mario Yanez dispatched Babatunde Ajagbe in three games to claim a spot in the qualifying draw. In the first game, Mario built a quick lead to the tune of 5-2 with a flurry of point-ending cross court shots. Babatunde remained composed to tie it up at 8-8, but Mario’s boasting and cross-court shots proved quite effective. The first game ended with a shot straight to the tin in Mario’s favor. The second game started off in a similar fashion, as Mario built a significant lead to 9-3. Babatunde’s determination helped him chip away points to make it 6-9, but it was not enough, Mario scored two quick points to jump to gain a two game advantage. The third game proved to be most competitive of the three, as the two players traded points back and forth throughout the much. However, Babatunde appeared to slow down and began requesting an assortment of lets and strokes from the referee. At one point the referee suggested he “stop fishing,” Mario took advantage of the situation and closed out for strong win.

qf1 - kobayashiRyosei Kobayashi bt. David Haley in 75 minutes (11-9,11-8, 5-11, 7-11, and 11-8)
Sporting a mix of Team Japan and University of Rochester Squash gear, CSA Individuals finalist Ryosei Kobayashi exuberated confidence and delighted the hometown fans with a thrilling five game win. While the display of trick shots and long rallies certainly kept the audience at the edge of their seats, the match was marked by excellent sportsmanship by both parties. Ryosei started off in complete control of the match, with an arsenal of shots, he won the first game in a orderly manner. In the second, David’s frustration was noticeable as he tinned a number of shot and fell to a 0-2 hole. However, David adjusted accordingly and won the next two games, while dominating the T. Entering the fifth game, both competitors flashed smiles and seemed poised to make it to the next day. In final game, Haley mounted an early lead of 4-1, Ryosei roared back to tie it up at 6-6. Haley followed back by winning the next couple of points, but Ryosei made a move and never looked back.

Ismail Hafez bt. Le Roy Leong in 32 minutes (11-5, 11-7, and 11-5)
With an excellent combination of power and grace, Ismail Hafez dispatched Le Roy Leong in the third qualifying match of the day. Ismail’s excellent forearm and play against the wall made the difference for the Egyptian.

Supreet Singh bt. Oscar Lopez Hidalgo in 45 minutes (8-11, 11-5, 11-3, and 11-8)
This match saw University of Rochester assistant coach and local favorite Oscar Lopez Hidalgo go against Supreet Singh of India. Oscar took the first game by retrieving what seemed to be all of Singh’s shots and returning even better ones. Singh caught wind of Lopez’s playing style and began attacking at a higher pace. With the support of the crowd, Lopez managed to stay competitive in the next three games, but could not close and fell in four games to Supreet.

qf1 - cordellAhmad Alzabidi bt. Neil Cordell in 46 minutes (12-10, 11-7, 9-11, and 11-9)
In recent Rochester tournaments, Ahmad has made a point of dispatching UR players and today was no different. Tonight marked what could be the last official match of Neil Cordell’s illustrious career at the Lyman Squash Center. The four-time CSA All-American and University of Rochester captain fell to Ahmad Alzabidi in four tight games. Ahmad’s intensity was on full display as he frequently argued multiple points with the referee throughout the match. In the end Ahmad put a string of great plays to end Neil’s momentum and captured the final game. While we don’t know if Neil Cordell will return for future Rochester Pro AM tournaments, one thing is for certain he left a lasting legacy for the University of Rochester Squash program.

qf1 - takaTomotaka Endo bt. Thomas King (11-6, 14-12, and 11-9) in 39 minutes
The match began with audience whispers of the “Let’s go Endo” chant that is now a staple among the Rochester squash community. Tomotaka did not end up needing the chant in its full-blown state as he progressed to the qualifying final with three strong games. Tomotaka got off to a fast 8-3 start and remained composed to win the first game with a score of 11-6. The second, went back and forth and ultimately ended in a 14-12 win in favor of Tomotaka. With Tomotaka up 7-5, match play was briefly suspended with an apparent injury to Thomas’ hamstring. Thomas came back and managed to pull the game even at 9-9, however it was not enough as Tomotaka claimed the next two points and punched his ticket to the qualifying final.

Aqib Hanif bt. Dan Bergin (11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, and 9-11) in 59 minutes
In what turned out to be the most competitive match of the evening, Aqib Hanif edged out promising young Welsh, Dan Bergin in a high intensity match. Aqib started off slow in the first match and Dan had no problem taking advantage of the situation. In the second, Bergin continued to show flair on the court, while Aquib started to play at the tempo of the match. Bergin won the second in an orderly manner. The third game saw a shift in momentum, as Aqib jumped to a 9-3 lead, Bergin fought back but it was not enough, the beginning of Aqib’s rise had already begun. The last two matches were controlled by Aqib as Bergin struggled to cope with his emotions. The final matched proved to be a nail-biter, as Bergin came back from match point at 10-5 to make it 9-10, though it was not enough as Aqib showed patience to win with two consecutive points.

qf1 - fernandoitalo2Fernando Magdaleno bt. Italo Bonatti (11-4, 11-8, and 11-8) in 36 minutes
In a strong showing, Fernando Magdaleno took care of Italo Bonatti in three quick games. Fernando’s quickness and energy was apparent from the get go as he coasted to a 11-4 win. The following two matches lasted a bit longer, but the story line did not change, Magdaleno was in full control and won by same score of 11-8 to make it to the qualifying finals.

Posted in 2016

Galvez crowned Rochester ProAm champion


Photos by Bill Lampeter

Eric Galvez made history by becoming the only player to make it twice to the finals of the Rochester ProAm in it’s 14 year history.
Two years ago Eric lost a hard fought five game, 102 minute battle against Frenchman Lucas Serme. This year he came back to win the title in spite of the tall Jamaican Chris Binnie stands in his way. Chris is no stranger to Rochester himself having entered the event every single year since 2012. In the last fourteen years since the event began,Eric is the third Mexican professional to win the Rochester ProAm title following in the footsteps of Jorge Balthazar Ferreira (2007) and Alfredo Avila (2011)!

Eric Galvez bt Chris Binnie 11-7, 11-2, 11-6

From the players:

“Of course I’m a little bummed to end on that, too bad it couldn’t have been a closer final. But, Eric really used his experience out there and stayed steady throughout. Can’t wait to be back next year!” – Chris Binnie

“Finals are always tough, after days of matches, it’s a tiring road to get here. Chris is an aggressive player, I’ve seen him play since he was young, as we’re both from the central Americas. Now, he’s the senior Caribbean champion, so he knows how to win. He had a tough time focusing today, and I knew if I just fought to stay mentally strong, then I had the best chance to win. I’ve very happy that it worked out!” – Eric Galvez

(Match report by Jesse Cramer)
2015finalistsThe crowd was exciting this morning for a Rochester ProAm final featuring two fierce competitors who had risen to the top of the tournament bracket. Eric Galvez, the experienced Mexican, and Chris Binnie, a relative newcomer to the tour hailing from Jamaica, had beaten foes from all corners of the squash world to now face down for the Rochester crown.

The match started off tight, with the typical long rallies at the beginning of the match. Chris tried to use his wingspan to stay in front, while Eric used speed and length to counteract. From 4-4. the balance of the game seemed to shift. Eric seemed to expect Chris’s aggressive tactics and was counteracting via slow, tight rails. Chris kept on going shorter and lower until he clipped the tin. Eric took advantage of Chris’ mistakes and won the first 11-7.

The second game was odd. The first few rallies seemed normal, but then Chris seemed to have a mental hiccup. The next eight points all went to Eric, six of them coming from unforced tins by Chris. Even after shouting “Focus!” to himself, Chris couldn’t seem to regain any rhythm. Eric won the second 11-2 and had all the momentum heading into game 3.

Although Chris fought hard in game 3, Eric smelled victory and would not allow Chris to gain a foothold. At 2-2, Eric strung together some of his finest squash of the week to grind out a 6-2, then 9-3 lead. Although Chris managed to pull back a few points, Eric closed out a loose shot on his third match ball to take the 11-6 victory and win the Rochester ProAm!

Posted in 2015

Semifinals


Photo by Bill Lampeter

Eric Galvez makes history by becoming the only player to make it twice to the finals of the Rochester ProAm in it’s 14 year history.
Two years ago Eric lost a hard fought five game, 102 minute battle against Frenchman Lucas Serme. This year he has a chance once again to win the title. But the tall Jamaican Chris Binnie stands in his way. Chris is no stranger to Rochester himself having entered the event every single year since 2012. Will it be fourth time lucky for Chris? We’ll find out tomorrow at noon!

Eric Gálvez bt Josue Enriquez
11-7, 11-3, 9-11, 11-3 ((61m)

Photo by Bill Lampeter:

Chris Binnie bt Amaad Fareed
11-4, 11-5, 11-8 (38m)

Posted in 2015

Round 1 results


Photo by Bill Lampeter

It was a long, exhilarating night of squash with some thriller 5 set matches lasting almost until 11pm. Two qualifiers (including one Yellowjacket team member) proceed to the quarterfinals tomorrow.

Lewis Walters bt David Baillargeon 11-9,13-15, 11-7, 11-7 (80m)
Chris Binnie bt. Albert Shoihet 7-11, 11-3, 11-2, 11-3 (36m)
Eric Galvez bt. Ahmad Alzabidi 7-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-5 (47m)
Syed Hamza Shah Bukhari bt. Michael McCue 6-11, 12-10, 11-7, 9-11, 11-4 (95m)
Josue Enriquez bt. Neil Cordell 6-11, 11-3, 13-11, 11-2 (55m)
Mauricio Sedano bt. Jonathan Maloney 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 (30m)
Ryosei Kobayashi bt. Faraz Khan 11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7 (56m)
Amaad Fareed bt. Tomotaka Endo 11-2, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7 (53m)

Photos by Paul Schwartz:

Binnie vs Shoihet

(Match report by Jesse Cramer)
Two clashing styles met in this battle of larger-than-average squash players, with the attacking, arrhythmic Canadien Albert Shoihet facing off against the steady, volleying Jamaican Chris Binnie.
Game 1 showed why unorthodoxy can sometimes be the best strategy. Binnie came out and played normal squash, and therefore was completely caught off guard by Shoihet’s flicks, drops, and steady stream of unexpected shots. Although the game finished 11-7 to Shoihet, it never even felt that close.
But, for the rest of the match, Binnie showcased how the “classic style” of squash has gained its name. The tall Jamaican dominated the T, volleying everything passing near his expansive wingspan. Shoihet was relegated to digging shots out of the back corners of the court, which is simply not a sustainable pattern of play. Even when Shoihet would string together a cluster of high-pressure shots, Binnie would fall back on tight shots and lobs to regain control. The match never seemed close again, and Binnie cruised in games 2 through 4 11-3, 11-2, 11-3.

Posted in 2015
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