After becoming the sole seed to survive the first round of the Phoenix Open in Tempe in the US state of Arizona, Australian Rex Hedrick continued all the way through to the winner’s podium after beating Pakistan’s Syed Hamzah Shah Bukhari 3-0 over 120 punishing minutes.
The top seed from Melbourne was taken the full distance in the semi-finals before overcoming unseeded Pakistani Tayyab Aslam in a 100-minute marathon.
The other semi was a surprise clash between two qualifiers – with Bukhari emerging victorious after seeing off Canadian Nicholas Sachvie in straight games to reach the first Tour final of his career.
“The first game lasted nearly an hour with 80 to 100 shot rallies making it hard to play winners on a hot and bouncy court,” reported tournament director Andre Maur. “Hedrick seemed to be the more patient player and won the first game 11-9.
“The second game was a Hitchcock with every rally played to the full limit. This game had it all, lets strokes, blocking, arguments with the ref, but at the end Hedrick came through with a clear stroke at 10-9 to win the second game.
“Both players came out of the blocks for the third and eventually Bukhari was feeling the Aussie’s hard and tight pace to take a comfortable lead of 8-5 before closing the deal at 11-7 to win his first Phoenix Open.”
 Rex Hedrick (AUS) bt Tayyab Aslam (PAK) 11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 9-11, 7-1 ret. (100m)
[Q] Syed Hamzah Shah Bukhari (PAK) bt [Q] Nicholas Sachvie (CAN) 12-10, 11-3, 11-5
 Rex Hedrick (AUS) bt [Q] Syed Hamzah Shah Bukhari (PAK) 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (120m)
The win marks the eighth PSA Tour title of Hedrick’s career – and his third this year.
Presentation picture includes Hedrick (third from right); Bukhari (second from left); and Maur (far left)
Tayyab Aslam and Syed Hamzah Shah Bukhari are one match away from a shock all-Pakistani Phoenix Open final after claiming unexpected semi-final berths in Arizona.
Aslam survived a marathon quarter-final against fellow countryman Shahjahan Khan, a qualifier. The 17-year-old from Lahore fought back from 2/1 down to win 12-10, 5-11, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10 after 115 minutes.
“Both players collapsed after their games from exhaustion and cramps,” said tournament director Andre Maur.
In the other half of the draw, Bukhari beat fellow qualifier Robert Downer of England 11-3, 11-9, 11-8.
 Rex Hedrick (AUS) bt [WC] Mohamed Elsherbini (EGY) 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 (70m)
Tayyab Aslam (PAK) bt [Q] Shahjahan Khan (PAK) 12-10, 5-11, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10 (115m)
[Q] Nicholas Sachvie (CAN) bt Aqib Hanif (PAK) 11-1, 11-5, 11-8
[Q] Syed Hamzah Shah Bukhari (PAK) bt [Q] Robert Downer (ENG) 11-3, 11-9, 11-8
 Rex Hedrick (AUS) v Tayyab Aslam (PAK)
[Q] Syed Hamzah Shah Bukhari (PAK) v [Q] Nicholas Sachvie (CAN)