From the tournament director:
Jesse’s match report below goes into the specifics but I’d like to make a special mention of the professionalism and sportsmanship that these two athletes displayed on and off the court during the match.
Both Clinton Leeuw and Ali Farag played a clean, masterful game worthy of a final and delighted our sponsors and spectators. They showed us how this great sport should be played, applauding each other’s shots and entertaining the crowd. Thank you both for being such gentlemen and consummate professionals!
Clinton Leeuw bt Wade Johnstone 11-8, 11-1, 11-8 (46m) Tonight’s first semifinal had South African Clinton Leeuw against Aussie Wade Johnstone. Clinton came out attacking, but straight into the tin. A few poor mistakes early on gave Wade a 5-2 lead. But, the game began to calm down. The first long rally of the match had Wade doing most of the work, and Clinton took advantage to bring the game back to 4-5. More solid play, and a fantastic drop by Clinton brought the score to 6-6. From there, Clinton strung together three solid rallies to give himself a commanding 9-6 lead. But, the tin monster reared its ugly head yet again; this time, two unforced mistakes by Clinton gave Wade new life. In the next rally, Wade hit a beautiful volley drop and then anticipated that Clinton would be forced to hit it cross court. Wade stepped up, expecting the volley. But somehow Clinton managed to delicately play a counter drop, and Wade was hung out to dry. That gave Clinton two game balls. On the first, Wade slipped as he played a forehand, and the shot went straight into the tin. Game 1 to Leeuw, 11-8 in 15 minutes.
The second game was locked at 1-1 when Clinton slipped and re-opened a knee wound from the previous rounds. After taking a few minutes to stop the bleeding, play resumed. Clionton returned to the court focused, while it seemed that Wade perhaps had lost his concentration. Clinton quickly built a 4-1 lead, then 6-1, then 8-1. Even when Wade had Clinton doing the occasional court sprint, he could not put the South African away. Clinton runs away with the second game 11-1 in 7 minutes (not including the injury time).
In the third, Wade came out re-focused and firing, quickly gaining a 2-0 lead. The game then went back and forth until the score reached 4-4. The next few points ended in a series of curious referee decisions (or, so the players would tell you); both Johnstone and Leeuw felt hard done by, and the score was 6-5 in favor of Clinton. Good length by Clinton, followed by a Wade tin, brought the score to 8-5. Wade storms back, 8-8. Wade then hits a loose boast; Clinton jumps onto it, holds, and flicks. Taxi! 9-8 to Clinton. In the next rally, Wade could scrape a tight drop off the wall. 10-8 to Leeuw. With two match balls, Clinton goes for the nick on the half-volley. The ball rolls out, game and match to Clinton 11-8 after 18 minutes.
Ali Farag (EGY) bt. Erik Tepos Valtierra (MEX) 14-12, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8 (65m) The second semifinal had crowd favorite Ali Farag (EGY) playing the steady Erik Tepos Valtierra (MEX). In the first, Ali came out firing. A quick 3-0 lead grew into 6-1. Tepos played consistently, hoping that Ali’s winners might turn into tins. And sure enough, they did. A series of lengthy rallies seemed to wane Ali’s focus, and he started shooting from poor positions on court. Tepos came back, bringing the score to 6-7. But then Ali found the nick again, followed by an ankle-breaking trickle boast. 9-6 to Farag. Then more tins; three in a row bring the score to 9-9. Another tin, and Tepos has game ball. Time to play safe? Hardly. Ali played a three wall boast off the serve directly into the nick. 10-10. Steady rallies bring the score to 11-11. Another nick, and Ali has a game ball. But Erik saves it, 12-12. The next two rallies gave Ali the game; but rather that attack, he won both points with tight, ungettable drives. First game to Farag, 14-12 in 14 minutes.
In the second, Ali controlled play terrifically. Volleying, attacking. Tepos was running to and fro. But the tin continued to plague Ali’s final attack. Despite playing better squash for 90% of the rallies, Ali fell behind 6-3, then 8-5. Erik was picking everything up, and Ali was trying for too fine of a margin. The score grew to 10-5 for Tepos. Ali managed to fight off three game balls, but Erik converted the fourth. Game two to Erik, 11-8 after 12 minutes.
In the third, Erik continued to frustrate Ali with his retrieving. He jumped out to a 2-0 lead, which grew into 7-3 then 8-4. Ali stopped shooting altogether; he was hitting to many tins to ever win that way. Instead, he started playing tight rails, tight drops, no nick attempts at all. He fought back to 6-8, but another tin gave Erik a 9-6 lead. Two more long rallies, both going Ali’s way using tight rails. A trickle boast by Ali made it 9-9, and then a perfect hold-rail gave Ali a game ball at 10-9. Erik played a terrific next rally and fought back to 10-10. But Ali could not be denied. Ali won 11-10 using a perfect backhand drop, and then won the game using a delicate forehand drop. Farag wins the third 12-10 after 21 minutes.
Steady squash in the fourth brought the boys to 4-4. Perhaps the best point of the match ensued; the players took turns attacking and retrieving, and a ton of action took place in the front corners. The crowd applauded loudly afterwards despite the point ending in a let! The game went on, and a pair on tins gave Erik a 6-4 lead. Ali went back to playing straight and tight, and tied the game at 6-6. More steady play from Ali, and he took a 9-8 lead. Then, Tepos tinned on a straight drop; it was one of his only unforced errors all day, and it occurred at such an inopportune time. That gave Ali a 10-8 lead and two game balls. On the next rally, Ali played a run-of-the-mill backhand drop. Tepos went in and lobbed it to the back right corner. Ali leaped into the air to volley, and planted his shot directly into the crosscourt nick. The crowd gasped at the athleticism and gutsy shotmaking, and then gave both players a standing ovation as they left the court. Well played boys.
Tomorrow’s final between Clinton and Ali will take place at noon.
Clinton Leeuw (RSA) bt. Hernan D’Arcangelo (ARG) 11-4, 11-9, 11-2 (26m) Clinton Leeuw (RSA) took the game to Hernan D’Arcangelo (ARG) starting from the first point. Clinton’s movement was quick and efficient, and his holds from the front kept Hernan unsure and unbalanced. Hernan simply could not apply enough pressure to make Clinton doubt himself, and the game lasted only 8 miuntes. 11-4 to Leeuw.
Leeuw vs D'Arcangelo
Similar play continued into the second, but some sloppy finishing by Clinton kept Hernan within reach. The boys were locked at 5 after two consecutive drop shot tins by Leeuw. Then he strung together some beautiful points to take a 9-5 lead. But the tin plague struck him again; this time, three tins in a row pulled Hernan back to 8-9. A tight rail by Hernan then tied things at 9. Luckily for Clinton, the tin was unlucky for both players. This time, Hernan made erros on two consecutive points to give Clinton the game 11-9 after 10 minutes.
Leeuw came out determined to play cleaner squash in the third. Perfect play gave him a 4-0, then 5-1 lead. He was volleying everything he could, fighting to stay on the T. The lead grew to 9-1 as Hernan could not quite keep up with the pace. A pretty straight nick gave Clinton 10-1 and nine match balls. Clinton won the second, giving him the third 11-2 after 8 minutes.
Wade Johnstone (AUS) bt. Matthew Serediak (CAN) 11-9, 12-10, 11-6 (42m) The other 6:00 PM match featured Wade Johnstone (AUS) and Matt Serediak (CAN). The play started even and steady, nothing that would set the world alight. Back and forth, the game reached 6-6. But then Wade went on a little run, taking advantage of a couple tins by Matt. 11-9 to Wade.
Matt came out re-focused in the second. He maintained a small lead throughout, as 5-3 grew to 8-5. Then a pair of untimely tins and a few nice winners from Wade brought the score to 9-9, then 10-10. After a couple long, searching rallies, Wade had the game won at 12-10.
Matt seemed to tire a bit in the third, and Wade took full advantage. Tight, deep squash gave Wade a 4-2 lead that grew to 7-4. Even when Matt did apply pressure, Wade retrieved brilliantly, mitigating even Matt’s best shots. A perfect lob gave Wade four match balls at 10-6. He capitalized on the first, winning the third game 11-6.
Ali Farag (EGY) bt. Scott Arnold 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 10-12, 11-5 (81m) The best match of the night saw young, mercurial Ali Farag (EGY) against lengthy, smooth Scott Arnold (AUS). The game was even early on, tied at 4. Then some terrific shots from the front court gave Ali a 7-4 advantage. Scott retrieved brilliantly, but Ali was too good. The lead grew to 10-6. Scott fought off three game balls using steady length, rebuffing any of Ali’s attacks. But a thunderous tin at 10-9 gave Ali the first game, 11-9.
Farag vs Arnold
The second found both players fighting for T position. The game was locked at 3, then 5, then 7. A feathery drop gave Ali an 8-7 lead, but a taxiing flick by Scott brought the game back to 8-8. A tight rail by Scott followed by a poor nick attempt from Ali gave Scott a 10-8 lead. Ali fought off the first, but tinned on the second. Game to Scott, 11-9.
Ali started out loose in the third, and Scott took full advantage. His lead was quickly 6-2. Then Ali calmed himself and came roaring back. Great shotmaking brought the score back to 5-6. A lob out of court by Scott tied things at 6. After a few more rallies, it was 8-8. A straight nick by Scott, followed by a lucky guess when Ali held him in the front, and Scott had two game balls. But Ali fought both off, and then won the next point to give him 11-10. After a short rally, Ali lept onto a loose forehand rail and dunked the ball into the nick. Game to Ali 12-10.
The fourth was fierce. Scott jumped out to 4-1, then Ali fought back to 4-4. Back and forth to 6-6. A loose boast gave Scott time to deceive Ali in the front right corner; too much time it turned out, as Scott’s hold-drop clipped the tin. After a “no let” and a pair of strokes, the score was locked at 8. A perfect length by Scott gave him 9-8, but he immediately followed it with a tin. 9-9. Ali forced Scott to leave a ball out in the middle, but this time it was Ali who clipped the tin. 10-9 to Scott. Ali fought off the game ball, but could not permanently deny Scott. A tight drop followed by a lob out of court gave the tall Aussie the fourth, 12-10.
The fifth started out very even. 2-2, 3-3, then 4-4. There were some terrific rallies ending in lets; the crowd especially loved watching Ali dart in and out of the deep corners, refusing to go down easily. Scott simply could not put Ali away. Eventually, Scott began to aim lower and lower on the front wall, trying to put the ball out of Ali’s reach. But, he ventured too low. A series of tins moved the game from 5-5 to 9-5 in Ali’s favor. Yet another tin brought the score to 10-5. Ali secured the match on his first match ball, winning the fifth 11-5.
Erik Tepos Valtierra (MEX) bt. Josh Cardwell (AUS) 11-9, 8-11, 11-4, 11-1 (50m)
Cardwell started off the first game with and 8-3 lead. Erik was just getting warmed up and dug back in but it was to large a ap to bridge wth Cardwell taking the first game 11-9.
In the second Erik shot back with a 6-0 lead finishing off at 11-8. Game score 1-1.
The third and fourth were comfortable 11-4, 11-1 wins for Erik winning him a place in the semifinals.
The pros relaxing over a meal at the "Party with the Pros"
Hernan D’Arcangelo (ARG) bt. Thomas Brinkman (CAN) 11-5, 11-8, 11- 7 (47m) Hernan D’Arcangelo (ARG) came out playing tight, steady squash against Thomas Brinkman (CAN). It was clear from the beginning that Hernan’s mission was to keep the ball above the tin. Thomas was willing to play steady squash for a while, but usually it was he who attacked first. Unfortunately, Hernan picked everything up off the front wall, and kept Thomas at the back of the court. The boys were locked at 5-5, but Thomas was worse for wear. Hernan took advantage and strung together 6 straight points. After 16 minutes of straight drives and occasional boasts, Hernan had the first won at 11-5.
The second started out the same as the first. Steady play, but Hernan usually getting the better of Thomas. This time, the score got to 8-8 before the lactic acid began to show in Thomas’s movement. After a couple deep lunges in the back corners, Thomas couldn’t retrieve Hernan’s volley drop. That gave Hernan a 9-8 edge, and two tins from Thomas gave him the game at 11-8 after 15 minutes.
In the third game, Thomas managed to find his game, except for the final shot. The first two rallies found Hernan doing court sprints while Thomas staying cozily on the T. Yet, when Thomas decided to attack short, he clipped the tin twice. Frustrated, his play began to slow and Hernan took full advantage. The game was 6-2 to Hernan in no time. Thomas managed to string a few point together, but Hernan was just too strong, too steady. The third game goes to Hernan 11-7 after 12 minutes.
Clinton Leeuw (RSA) bt. Yasir Butt (PAK) 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6 (53m)
Top seed Yasir Butt (PAK) stepped on court with Clinton Leeuw (RSA) and immediately asserted himself; quickly, Clinton was in a 3-0, then 6-3 hole. But then Clinton found his length. To everyone’s surprise, Clinton reeled off seven straight points–tight, fast, on the volley–to take a 10-6 lead. Yasir fought off one game ball, but Clinton could not be denied. Game to the underdog Leeuw, 11-7.
Clinton Leeuw & Rory Pennell
Both players stepped on court in the second ready to play. The crowd was delighted by the fast pace and great retrieving. The fellas were tied at 4, then some back and forth play brought the score to 8-7 in Clinton’s favor. A long, probing rally ensued; neither player was willing to go short. Then, out of nowhere, Clinton slammed a slightly loose rail into the nick, bringing loud applause from the packed audience. Two more short rallies both ended in Clinton’s favor and he took the second 11-7.
Yasir came out in the third determined to prove why he was the number one seed. He controlled the court deftly, playing from the T while Clinton ran around him. After a 4-4 start, Yasir took five of the next six points to take a controlling 9-5 lead. Clinton played the next few rallies fiercely, determined to come back and get off in three. But Yasir was too strong, taking the third 11-8.
Yasir had finally settled in, and the crowd sensed that perhaps Clinton was losing his grasp. After the initial rallies, it was Yasir who looked the stronger despite being down 3-4. But, just like in the first game, Clinton managed to find a new gear. He began to play inspired squash, keeping Yasir deep in the court then attacking with perfect straight drops. Yasir simply could not keep up. After five straight points to Clinton (9-3), the match was all but over. Yasir scraped a few points back, but Clinton finished in style by thundering a match ball into the nick, deader than Elvis
Wade Johnstone (AUS) bt. Andres Duany (PER) 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (35m)
Both fellas felt like the straight nick was the right place to start, as five of the first six points rolled out from little angle. A series of steady rallies brought the score to 6-4 in favor of Wade as he began to move Andres around the court. A pair of Duany tins gave Wade an 8-4 advantage. Andres managed to pull a bit tighter at 9-6, but a Wade winner and Duany tin ended the first. 11-6 to Wade after 11 minutes.
The second game started out with Wade moving Duany to all four corners. He was volleying everything he could, playing stereotypical “Australian” squash. But Duany stayed in it and began to read Wade’s play. After falling behind 2-0. Duany made a run to take a 4-2 lead. But Wade stayed steady, and began to force errors off of Andres’ racket. After a few long rallies, Wade tied things at 5, then pulled away to an 8-5 advantage, and then 10-7. Wade capitalized on his first game ball after a beautiful final rally. 11-7 to Wade after 11 minutes.
The qualifying began to show in Duany’s legs during the third game. Tired movements led to poor shots and even more pressure. Wade, meanwhile, still looked fresh. Although Duany won the first two points, Wade kept up the pressure and built a 10-4 lead. With six game balls, the victory seemed inevitable for the veteran Johnstone. But then Duany found his game! A couple of tins by Wade, followed by two rolling nicks brought the game back to 8-10, and the crowd began to liven. But Wade stayed steady. After a long, patient rally, he squeezed Andres into a lob out of court. Game to Wade 11-8 in 10 minutes.
Matt Serediak (CAN) bt. Beni Fischer (SUI) 12-10, 10-12, 11-4, 11-8 (49m)
Matt Serediak (CAN) and Beni Fischer (SUI) were, according to the other professionals in attendance, equal players. Both quick, solid, nothing too fancy. They’ll both wear you down. Yet, despite the close games and even play, it was Serediak’s day.
The first game was back and forth throughout. Neither player had more than a two point advantage. Not surprisingly, the boys found themselves at 10-10. But Serediak’s experience showed itself, and he played exquisite squash for the next two rallies to win the first game 12-10.
The second game started as a continuation of the first. Matt jumped out to a 6-1 lead playing error-free squash. But Beni fought back hard, playing faster and tighter than Matt. His attacks had bite, and he was ready to pounce on the volley. Point after point went Beni’s way, bringing the score back to 7-7, and then 10-8. But Matt was not ready to let Beni tie the match; he fought off both game balls, forcing another 10-10. But this game, it was Beni’s turn to win consecutive points and take the game 12-10.
The third was a different game entirely. Matt began to attack vigorously, while Beni was slow to react to the change of styles. A 3-0 lead for Matt quickly bloomed to 8-3. He was controlling play, hitting winners or forcing tins. Beni had no answer and quickly fell 4-11.
The fourth began just like the third. Matt was attacking, Beni was retrieving, and the score was quickly 6-1 to Serediak. But this game, Beni charged back, tying the game at 8-8. But all the work in his legs began to take its toll. Three straight tins from Beni ended the game and the match. 11-8 to Serediak.
Ali Farag (EGY) bt. Joe Chapman (BVI) 7-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-7 (45m)
In the first 8:00 PM match to get underway, a couple of College Squash Association (CSA) rivals met in the form of Harvard’s Ali Farag (EGY) and Rochester’s Joe Chapman (BVI). Despite his underdog position, Joe came out the more positive player. His play was simply too tight for Ali to attack. A 4-2 lead grew into 9-5 after Joe kept squeezing Ali to the wall. After a few more passive rallies, Joe had it won 11-7.
But in the second, Ali began to assert himself; the Egyptian has arrived. Nicks, flicks, amazing anticipation. The pace picked up, but Joe could not. Ali controlled from start to finish. The rare rally that found Joe on the T, Ali gazelled about the court to pick up every shot. The second goes to Ali quite easily, 11-7.
The third mirrored the second. Ali moving Joe about while maintaining T position. Joe was running, but Ali was winning. Ali’s drops were barely retrievable, and the ensuing rails were just within reach. Ali’s 3-0 advantage grew to 8-2, and the running began to show in Joe’s movement. A few more cross court flicks, and Ali’s had it won 11-3.
Ali kept his momentum from the third and maintained a lead throughout the fourth. A pair of three wall boasts into the nick drew some ooooh’s from the audience, but Joe fought valiantly. Despite Ali’s shotmaking, Joe had the game tied at 5-5. But the ensuing rally found Joe doing court sprints, and the momentum was solidly back in Ali’s favor. Four consecutive points brought the game to 9-5, and a cross court drop into the nick (even Martin Heath was shaking his head) gave Ali four game balls at 10-6. Ali capitalized on the first was a trickle boast, winning 11-6
Scott Arnold (AUS) bt. Adrian Dudzicki (CAN) 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-3 (55m)
Josh Cardwell (AUS) bt. Chris Binnie (JAM) 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7 (59m)
Jamaican qualifier Chris Binnie takes on the tournament’s other Aussie, Josh Cardwell, in the final round of matches. Although Josh came out quicker, Chris managed to pick up a few points and a 4-3 lead early on. A few flick winners and a nice reverse boast, and Chris built his lead to 8-5. But a pair of weak tins and some solid play by Josh, and the game was back at 8-8, and then 9-8 to Josh. Another tin gave Josh two game balls, and Josh won the first. Game to Cardwell 11-8 in 15 minutes.
The second game started out with Cardwell in control again, but Binnie stuck in it. The Aussie took a 2-0 lead after some long rallies filled with deep lunges by Binnie. But eventually his hard work paid off. A few nice winners and a tin by Josh gave Chris a 7-5 lead. A pretty nick and perfect length then extended Chris’s lead to 10-5. After a couple weak winner attempts by Chris, and finally came through via the unorthadox dying corkscrew. Binnie wins the second 11-7 in 12 minutes.
The third was vital, and both players fought tooth and nail throughout. But it seemed that Josh had more energy to push. Perhaps Binnie’s tough match against Zeb Mehmund the night before left him slightly fatigued. Early on, the boys were locked at 4-4, and then 7-7. A couple of long rallies favored Josh, and he snuck ahead 9-7. A volley drop that just clipped the tin gave Josh three game balls. Binnie fought off the first, but couldn’t scrape off a tight rail on the second. Game to Cardwell 11-8 in 12 minutes.
The fourth game saw Binnie attacking and Cardwell on the defensive. Unfortunately, Cardwell moved too well and a few too many of Binnie’s drops found the tin. The game stayed close at 8-7, but Josh won three consecutive points to win the game and the match. Fourth game to Cardwell 11-7.
Erik Tepos Valtierra (MEX) bt. Graham Bassett (USA) 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 (43m)
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.
University of Rochester locals Andres Duany (PER) and Joe Chapman (BVI) are all smiles as they proceed to the main draw tomorrow
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
Three locals proceed to Round 2. First wins on the PSA tour for two former Carribean juniors, Joe Chapman (BVI) and Chris Binnie (JAM)!
Match reports and video interviews by Jesse Cramer
Joe Chapman bt. Shahjahan Khan 12-10, 11-6, 14-12 (55m)
The first game started out steady between local player and University of Rochester team member Joe Chapman (BVI) and Shahjahan Khan (PAK). The boys were locked at 5-5, and then 7-7. It seemed Joe would secure the game when he gained a two point advantage at 9-7, but Shah came back to tie it at 9, then fighting off a game to tie it at 10. Nobody wants to drop the first, and both players fought hard to win the next couple points. It was Chapman, though, who came out on top, winning the first 12-10 in 20 minutes.
Chapman came out firing in the second game. Combined with a couple errors by Shah, Joe found himself with a 7-4 lead. Although Shah hit a couple feathery drops, Joe was picking everything up, perfectly willing to do the running. At 5-7 down, Shah accidentally clipped Joe’s calf with a cross court. Although no hard feelings were held, Joe focused his pain into some beautiful squash, pulling away to win the second 11-6 in 14 minutes.
Two love down is a tough place to be, but Shah refused to go down easily. The third could not have been tighter. The boys fought back and forth until Shah pulled away to an 8-5 lead. The momentum was shifting in Shah’s favor. But after a service error and a couple of tins, his lead faded into an 8-9 deficit. Composing himself, Shah regained his form and managed to pull the game into a 10-10 tie. The game then locked at 11, and then 12, before a counterdrop tin by Shah gave Joe the lead at 13-12. Chapman would take advantage of his game ball, winning 14-12 after a lengthy rally.
Joe, in his final year at the University of Rochester, is looking forward to making the transition from college squash to professional squash and playing a few more PSA events this summer after he graduates.
Andres Duany bt. Luke Butterworth 11-2, 11-8, 7-11, 11-4 (69m) Andres Duany (PER) set the tempo against Luke Butterworth (ENG) from the first point. Using his wingspan and holds, Duany vollied and flicked Butterworth around the court. Luke was perfectly willing to do the running, but Duany was winning the points. Andres found himself with a two game lead and a tired opponent.
But Luke found his legs and his length in the third. Combined with a few silly errors from the Peruvian, Luke managed to get the match back to 1-2. But all the running from the first two games caught up with Luke in the fourth. Down 6-2, his legs began to cramp and the beginning of the end started to unfold. Despite fighting the discomfort and continuing play, Duany took advantage of his hobbling opponent and secured the victory 3-1.
Gerardo De Paul Garcia bt. Adam Perkiomaki 14-12, 11-5, 10-12, 15-13 (43m) After watching a few minutes of the match between Adam Perkiomaki (USA, via FIN) and Gerardo de Paul Garcia (MEX), one might have questioned whether they were in Rochester, or Heliopolis. Nicks, flicks, holds. Deception and shot making. A fun match to watch. Although Perkiomaki found himself leading throughout the first, Garcia hit some beautiful winners to overtake the young Finnish ninja. A combination of soft drops and cross court nicks gave Garcia the first game, 14-12. The second continued as the first ended, with Garcia controlling play and hitting winners. Although Perko fought hard, his Scandinavian defense could not withhold Garcia attacks. The second goes to Gerardo, 11-5. In the third, it looked like Garcia was simply too strong for Perko. A quick 4-0 lead exploding into 10-3, advantage Garcia. Yet, being seven match balls down, Perko found his game. In his own words, “I just went for some winners, and they worked.” If only squash were always that simple! Seven winners later, Perkiomaki found himself tied at 10! Sadly, his hot streak couldn’t maintain. A few hard fought points brought the boys to 13 all, but Garcia proved too much, winning the fourth game 15-13
Graham Bassett bt. Rory Pennell 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 (36m)
The match started off with Pennell making a few unforced errors in the first game giving Bassett enough room to capitalize with a quick lead. A gritty comeback in the third by Pennell not enough to keep Bassett’s momentum going with the American eventually winning the fourth to claim the match.
Chris Binnie bt. Michael McCue 11-9, 11-7, 10-12, 11-3 (49m)
In the final match of the day, Trinity alum Chris Binnie (JAM) took on young Canadian Mike McCue. From the get go, Binnie was asserting himself at the T. A combination of hard hitting and some aesthetic nicks gave Binnie the lead in both the first and second, but McCue fought back in both games. Despite Mike’s best effort keeping the score tight, Binnie still controlled play, winning the first two games 11-9 and 11-7. It looked as if Binnie would be off it three, as he jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the third. But McCue starting playing a very conservative game, keeping his shots tight and deep. Binnie tried to hit a few winners from the back, but McCue pounced on every ball and returned the shots with vigor. Slowly the lead slipped, until McCue managed to grab momentum and pull out a surprise 12-10 win in the third. The retrieving finally got to McCue in the fourth; a half-step slower than before, Mike simply couldn’t stay with Binnie’s pace. Despite even rallies, Chris was simply too good in the end, winning the fourth 11-3.
Dear Fellow Rochester Squash Fan,
It’s that time of the year again when we begin to countdown to the premier squash event in Western New York – the 11th Rochester ProAm PSA Challenger event!
From the current PSA signups, this year promises yet another great draw of exciting talent!
Please consider supporting the event, hosting a squash pro, participating in the amateur city tournament or just generally coming down to the courts to witness this sports spectacle. Entry is open to the public.
Watch this space for more details…