2014 Qualifying Under Way In Rochester

First night of qualifying off to a flying start with all three University of Rochester locals moving into the next round…

Cameron Stafford (CAY) bt. Omar Sobhy (USA) 11-8, 12-10, 11-8
Neil Cordell (ENG) bt. Adam Perkiomaki (USA) 11-4, 11-5, 8-11, 2-11, 11-8
Luke Butterworth (ENG) bt. Adnan Gul (PAK) 11-4, 11-4, 11-2
Ahmad Alzabidi (JOR) bt. Faraz Khan (USA) 11-9, 11-8, 11-3
Ryosei Kobayashi (JAP) bt. Sergio Lopez (MEX) 11-6, 13-15, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8
Chris Hanson (USA) bt. Mike Lewis (USA) 11-1, 11-1, 11-4
Bradbury Thompson (USA) bt. Victor Manuel Garcia Ramirez (MEX) 12-10, 11-5, 11-4
Mario Yanez (MEX) bt. Jonathan Maloney (ENG) 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 11-4

Photos by Paul Schwartz:

Match reports by Jesse Cramer:

Neil Cordell (ENG) bt. Adam Perkiomaki (USA) 11-4, 11-5, 8-11, 2-11, 11-8

The first match-up of the night saw two Rochester boys face-off, with recent graduate Adam Perkiomaki facing current team captain Neil Cordell. Neil started off completely in control. The pace was relatively slow, and that allowed Neil to keep it tight and dominate the T. Perko struggled to get in front, and it was a matter of time until Neil pulled away, winning the first two game with relative ease.
Perko was a new animal though starting in the third. He stepped up the court, quickened the pace, volleying anything within reach. Sure enough, openings began to crop up in the front of the court, and Perko took full advantage. Cordell looked like a New York City tourist, needing one taxi after another to retrieve Perko’s holds and flicks (sorry Neil). And with the change in momentum, Perko won the third and fourth. 2-2.
The fifth started off slow and awkward. After couple decent Cordell rallies, a couple tins, and a couple fluke shots, Perko found himself down 6-0. Although Adam never stopped fighting (he came back to 6-8 and 8-10), Cordell would not relinquish his lead. The fifth goes to Cordell 11-8, and the Rochester captain wins the match.

Ahmad Alzabidi (JOR) bt. Faraz Khan (USA) 11-9, 11-8, 11-3

Former University of Rochester #1 Faraz Khan returned to Rochester hoping to cause some damage, but the young and talented Ahmad Alzabidi had other ideas. The first started out relatively evenly. Khan’s game plan, per usual, was to move Alzabidi around the court while retrieving every shot possible. Alzabidi, meanwhile, attempted to blow Khan off the court with constant hard-hitting, domination of the T, and soft hands up front. Although it appeared Khan might pull it out at 8-6 up, Alzabidi put together a string of good rallies to come back and pull it out.
In the second, Alzabidi got out the an early 5-3 lead, but it appeared he might be feeling it physically; at the very least, he was doing more running than Khan. Despite a noticeable dip in speed, Alzabidi managed to maintain his lead through a change in tactic. Rather than hard-and-low pressure, Alzabidi began to lob/drop Khan and won the second to go 2-0 up.
The third began in a promising fashion, with the two players trading points back and forth. But Alzabidi quickly turned 3-all into 8-3, and the match was all but over.

Luke Butterworth (ENG) bt. Adnan Gul (PAK) 11-4, 11-4, 11-2

A clash of styles was glaringly apparent, as Butterworth used traditional English tactics to control the game, while Gul used any loose shot—and even some tight ones—to attack the front of the court. Although the match started out in a promising fashion, it quickly became apparent that Butterworth’s game plan was going to be more effective. For every time that Gul put Butters under pressure, there were 5 loose attacks that resulted in Luke having time and options in the front. And once the attacks started to fail, Gul ended up doing much more running than preferred.
Soon, the match turned into a comfortable, controlling Butterworth against a scrambling, tired, but still attacking, Gul. Unless you’re Ramy Ashour, scrambling and attacking is a tall task; this match was case-in-point. Butterworth cruises to a 3-0 victory.

Ryosei Kobayashi (JAP) bt. Sergio Lopez (MEX) 11-6, 13-15, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8

In this match, the young Rochester freshman Ryosei Kobayashi faced off against the experienced pro Sergio Lopez. The match started off with Ryo showing the crowd how to attack on his own home courts, and Lopez had a hard time keeping up. Steady play from Ryo, combined with some untimely tins from Sergio, gave Ryo the first game in without much trouble.
But Sergio found his length in the second, and the competitors went back and forth all game, much to the pleasure of the crowd. Everyone thought Ryo had gained a 2-0 lead after asking for a let (read: stroke) at 11-10 up, but the ref maintained consistency from earlier in the match, called a let, and the boys played on. Sergio fought off another game ball at 11-12, lost one of his own at 13-12, but finally converted and won the second 15-13.
Sergio used that momentum to gain an early lead in the third, and Ryo found the tin a few too many times. Sergio wins the third.
Although the forehand is usually Ryo’s strength, Sergio’s straight forehand kill was causing Ryo a lot of grief. In the fourth, Ryo came out with a new game plan: don’t hit to Sergio’s forehand. Ryo created opening after opening by pinning the ball in the back backhand corner, and Sergio could not respond. Soon, Sergio was scrambling all over the court, and Ryo won the fourth game pulling away.
The fifth was tense, and the boys fought back and forth to 8-8, neither gaining more than a two-point lead. At 8-8, Ryo squeezed a loose shot out of Sergio, and deposited a overhead-backhand directly into the cross-court nick. Too bad a roller still only counts as one point! At 9-8, the ref again showed his consistency. After telling the players time and again to play all balls possible, he gave “no let” (and rightly so, in my humble opinion) to give Ryo two game balls, 10-8 up. Ryo only needed one, scrambling around the court to retrieve three attacks from Sergio before the fourth attack clipped the tin.
Kobayashi wins a thriller, 3-2.


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