ToC Qualifying round one

Qualifying under way in NY
Beth Rasin reports

SP_1184No lack of desire as several of the first round of qualifying matches at the J.P.Morgan Tournament of Champions went down to the wire.

Hometown favourite Chris Gordon looked as though he would please the packed crowd at the Harvard Club when he grabbed a convincing 2-0 lead against Kuwait’s Abdullah Muzayen and had two match balls in the third. But the young Muzayen, on his first trip to NY, was unfazed and fight back to win the third 12- 10. Gordon again had two match balls at 10-8 in the fifth but Muzayen prevailed 12-10. In the end, the young man from Kuwait used his speed and shotmaking to neutralize Gordon’s reach.

Harvard player Ali Farag also had an opportunity to win his match against Mathieu Castagnet of France when he took a 10-8 lead in the fourth. But the Frenchman remained tough and grabbed the game 13-11. The fifth game was marked by several long rallies where the players moved the ball to all corners of the court. The lead changed hands several times and again Ali had match balls at 10-8. But Castagnet was not to be denied and closed out the match winning 13-11.

There were three former world ones and the current top ranked PSA player at the Harvard Club as well tonight, although none of them played. Karim Darwish, Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour were there to cheer on the young Egyptian while Gregory Gaultier was supporting his countryman Castagnet.

The evening’s last match was the longest as Nafiizwan Adnan of Malaysia outlasted India’s Siddarth Suchde in a 112 minute marathon.

At the other end of the spectrum, veteran Shahier Razik of Canada made short work of his tall opponent, the Cayman Island’s Cameron Stafford. Max Lee ended Wael El Hindi’s return to the PSA tour with a three game victory. Gregoire Marche‘s pace and power were too much for Luke Butterworth. It was a game of attrition in which Joe Lee prevailed over Alan Clyne. England’s Chris Simpson dismissed Trinity University Assistant coach  (by way of Colombia) Andras Vargas by punishing every loose ball. Campbell Grayson, in his third ToC qualifying is hoping he is three times lucky after defeating Jamaica’s Chris Binnie. The young Marwan EL Shorbagy was not unhappy to have had a short match after his opponent Robbie Temple retired in the third.

16 Jan, PSA Qualifying Round One:

Joe Lee (Eng) bt Alan Clyne (Sco) 11-8,11-5,11-9 (67m)
Campbell Grayson (Nzl) bt Chris Binnie (Jam) 11-4,11-6,11-8 (37m)
Ali Anwar Reda (Egy) bt Cesar Salazar (Mex) 10-12, 11-1,11-7,12-10 (59m)
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) bt Zac Alexander (Aus) 11-7,12-10,11-3 (36m)

Max Lee (Hkg) bt Wael El Hindi (Egy) 11-9,12-10,11-3 (36m)
Grégoire Marche (Fra) bt Luke Butterworth (Eng) 11-2,11-6,11-0 (22m)
Adrian Waller (Eng) bt Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy) 12-10,9-11,11-8,11-9 (70m)
Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) bt Siddarth Suchde (Ind) 9-11,13-11,11-5,9-11,11-6 (112m)

Julian Illingworth (Usa) bt Leo Au (Hkg) 6-11,11-8,11-7,12-10 (82m)
Shawn Delierre (Can) bt Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas) 11-5,11-8,10-12,11-8 (91m)
Abdullah AlMezayen (Kuw) bt Chris Gordon (Usa) 5-11,6-11,12-10,12-10,12-10 (89m)
Chris Simpson (Eng) bt Andres Vargas (Col) 11-6,11-5,11-2

Shahier Razik (Can) bt Cameron Stafford (Cay) 11-6,11-3,11-7 (28m)
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) v Ali Farag (Egy) 11-9,6-11,6-11,14-12,13-11 (95m)
Yasir Butt (Pak) bt Martin Knight (Nzl) 11-4,11-7,11-5 (38m)
Marwan El Shorbtagy (Egy) bt Robbie Temple (Eng) 14-12,11-6 rtd

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