Sunday, April 21, 2024

Martin’s long Knight in New York

RESULTS: PSA World Series Gold JP Morgan Tournament of Champions, New York, USA

1st qualifying round:
Tarek Momen (EGY) bye
David Phillips (CAN) bt Jan Koukal (CZE) 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8 (50m)
Martin Knight (NZL) bt Eric Galvez (MEX) 11-4, 8-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-4 (92m)
Chris Ryder (ENG) bt Gilly Lane (USA) 11-5, 11-9, 11-3 (54m)
Mohammed Abbas (EGY) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 9-11, 11-2, 11-7, 11-3 (49m)
Shawn Delierre (CAN) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL) 11-7, 11-7, 11-9 (46m)
Borja Golan (ESP) bt Zac Alexander (AUS) 11-5, 11-6, 7-11, 11-3 (46m)
Simon Rosner (GER) bt Jacques Swanepoel (RSA) 11-2, 11-5, 11-8 (34m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 5-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 (42m)
Raj Nanda (AUS) bt Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) 11-9, 11-13, 11-9, 11-3 (61m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN) 11-6, 11-8, 12-10 (56m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Arturo Salazar (MEX) 11-9, 11-6, 11-1 (47m)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Stephane Galifi (ITA) 4-11, 11-1, 11-4, 11-6 (38m)
Bradley Ball (ENG) bt Todd Harrity (USA) 11-3, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6 (47m)
David Letourneau (CAN) bt Luke Butterworth (ENG) 11-3, 11-4, 11-2 (23m)
Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) bye

While construction of the famed glass court in Grand Central Terminal received finishing touches, players from 15 countries battled at four New York City clubs to qualify for the main draw in the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions, the first Professional Squash Association World Series event of the year.

New Zealand’s Martin Knight and Mexico’s Eric Galvez kicked off the qualifying play with the longest match of the evening. At the conclusion of their 92 minute contest, Knight was the player left standing.

The Kiwi got off to an auspicious start, winning the first game 11-4. Two ensuing nip and tuck games handed Galvez the lead. Both players were feeling fatigued by the fourth game. “My legs were starting to feel quite heavy,” Knight said. “But when I looked over at Eric, he seemed to be in worse shape than me, which gave me confidence.”

Knight’s renewed energy was converted into a five-game victory, as he won the last two games with ease to record his 11-4, 8-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-4 win. The New Zealander’s next opponent will be Englishman Chris Ryder, who took a straight games victory over USA’s Gilly Lane.

Applying relentless pressure from start to finish, Princeton University standout and Canadian David Letourneau wasted no time in making his way into the next round, eliminating England’s Luke Butterworth in straight games in a scant 23 minutes. Letourneau will next face veteran Bradley Ball, an Englishman now residing in New York City who had too much experience for Yale University’s Todd Harrity.

The young American did wrest the second game from his more seasoned opponent. “I had no idea how good he was,” said Ball about the young American after the match. Ball snatched the final two games to win 11-3, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6.

Egyptian veteran Mohammed Abbas further dashed local hopes when he eliminated New York City native Christopher Gordon in four games. The 30-year-old from Cairo, ranked as high as 13 in the world, recovered after losing the first game to win the next three. “I love the game, it is what I do,” Abbas said after the match, explaining his desire to continue playing despite a series of injuries sustained in the past few years.

Abbas will next have to overcome Canada’s Shawn Delierre, who defeated New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson in straight games. Rounding out the trio of Canadians moving on in the draw is David Phillips, who ousted Czech Republic’s Jan Koukal in four games.

Qualifying finals line-up:
Tarek Momen (EGY) v David Phillips (CAN)
Martin Knight (NZL) v Chris Ryder (ENG)
Mohammed Abbas (EGY) v Shawn Delierre (CAN)
Borja Golan (ESP) v Simon Rosner (GER)
Raj Nanda (AUS) v Tom Richards (ENG)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Bradley Ball (ENG) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) v David Letourneau (CAN)

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