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ToC shock as Ramit Tandon takes out Ali Farag

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Surprise winner Ramit Tandon (right) and Harinder Pal Sandhu, who went out in qualifying
Surprise winner Ramit Tandon (right) and Harinder Pal Sandhu, who went out in qualifying

Qualifiers battle for a place in the main draw at Grand Central
By BETH RASIN in New York

 

India’s Ramit Tandon fought hard for a superb victory over former college rival Ali Farag of Egypt on the opening day of qualifying for the 2016 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.

Playing just two blocks from Grand Central, where the ToC glass court was being constructed for main draw play, India’s Tandon, supported by a crowd of former Columbia University team-mates, unnerved and upended third seed Farag.

After dropping the first game, the 2015 Columbia University graduate snatched the next two at 11-8. Ali, who graduated from Harvard in 2013, fought back to tie the match at two all. In the decider, Tandon jumped out to an early four-point lead, and, although the rest of the deciding game was a nip and tuck affair, that early lead provided Tandon’s margin of victory.

South Africa’s Clinton Leeuw and Dutchman Laurens Jans Anjema treated the capacity crowd at the Princeton Club to a second-stirring nail biter when Leeuw snatched a 12-10 fifth game victory. “It’s ironic that I am almost at retirement and I just got the biggest win of my career,” a visibly delighted Leeuw remarked after the match.

The New York Athletic Club assistant pro, who had taught three lessons earlier in the day and turned down a fourth to ensure that he had enough gas in the tank, will have to battle his local training partner Tandon for the main draw spot.

In the evening’s longest match, Frenchman Gregoire Marche staved off eager young American Chris Hanson in five games at the New York Athletic Club. Hanson played aggressively from the start of the match, throwing Marche off-balance.

“I was up 2-1, and leading in the fourth when I started thinking I that I actually had a chance to win the match,” said the Dartmouth University graduate, “and that’s when Marche really asserted himself.” The opponent standing between Marche and a main draw slot is New Zealander Campbell Grayson who eliminated the last American, Faraz Khan, in three games.

Frenchman Lucas Serme, who was on court for a mere 15 minutes in his dismantling of Mike Lewis of the US, will have to get past Moh’d Abouelghar to join sister Camille as a ToC main draw competitor after the Egyptian eliminated Canadian Shawn Delierre.

Two Pakistanis are in the running for a main draw spot as Nasar Iqbal and Farhan Zaman won their matches and will face off against Scotland’s Greg Lobban and England’s Declan James, respectively. 

J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, New York, USA:

First Qualifying Round (Tuesday, January 5):
Adrian Waller (ENG) def. Supreet Singh (IND) 11-7, 11-7, 11-2 28 mins

Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY def. Arthur Gaskin (IRL) 11-5, 11-9 11-8 41 mins
Ramit Tandon (IND) def. Ali Farag (EGY) 4-11, 11-8, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8 71 mins
Clinton Leeuw (RSA) def. Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 12-10, 11-6, 9- 11, 6-11, 12-10 67 mins
Greg Lobban (SCO) def. Wael El Hindi (EGY) 6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 6-6 ret. 49 mins
Diego Elias (PER) def. Sam Gould (USA) 11-3, 11-4 11-1 22 mins
Alfredo Avila (MEX) def. Harinder P. Sandhu (IND) 12-14, 11-7 11-6, 11-6 60 mins
Raphael Kandra (GER) def. Abdulla Al Tamimi (QAT) 11-6, 11-6, 13-11 34 mins.
Farhan Zaman (PAK) def, Paul Colli (NZ) 11-9, 11-8, 12-10 35 mins
Declan James (ENG) def. Chris Gordon (USA) 10-12, 11-7, 12-10, 11-6 57 mins
Nasir Iqbal (PAK) def. Sunny Seth (GUY) 11-3, 12-14, 11-4, 11-1 43 mins
Alan Clyne (SCO) def Joe Lee (ENG) 8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 64 mins.
Gregoire Marche (FRA) def. Chris Hanson (USA) 11-8, 7-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-2 72 mins.
Campbell Grayson (NZL) def. Faraz Khan (USA) 11-7, 11-5, 11-3 29 mins
Lucas Serme (FRA) def. Mike Lewis (USA) 11-2, 11-4, 11-2 15 mins
Moh’d Abouelghar (EGY) def. Shawn Delierre (CAN) 11-8, 11-8, 11-3 29 mins

Schedule of Play – Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2015

Princeton Club, 15 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036
6:00 pm Adrian Waller (ENG) v. Mohd Ali Anwar. Reda (EGY)
6:45 pm Ramit Tandon (IND) v. Clinton Leeuw (RSA)
Click here to purchase tickets for matches.. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.

Yale Club, 50 Vanderbilt Ave, New York, NY 10017
6:00 pm Greg Lobban (SCO) v. Diego Elias (PER)
6:45 pm Alfredo Avila (MEX) v. Raphael Kandra (GER)
Tickets may be purchased at the door

Harvard Club, 35 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036
6:00 pm Farhan Zaman (PAK) v. Declan James (ENG)
6:45 pm Nasir Iqbal (PAK) v. Alan Clyne (SCO)

New York Athletic Club, 180 Central Park S, New York, NY 10019
5:30 pm Gregoire Marche (FRA) v. Campbell Grayson (NZL)
6:30 pm Lucas Serme (FRA) v. Moh’d Abouelghar (EGY)
Email [email protected] to inquire as to seating availability

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