Leach Winds Back The Clock In New York
9 Jan 2008
Clive Leach, a 34-year-old Englishman who is Assistant Squash Professional at the New York Athletic Club, produced a stunning upset in the first qualifying round of the Bear Stearns Tournament of Champions to claim an unlikely place in the qualifying finals of the established PSA Super Series event in New York.
Leach, runner-up in the British Junior National Championships 17 years ago, had the home court advantage in the match against Robin Clarke, a 21-year-old from Canada ranked in the world's top 80.
Leach demonstrated the mettle of a veteran as he fought back from 1/2 down, playing his way back into the match by moving the ball to all corners of the court to create openings for winners. "It was incredibly hot and tough out there today," said the former Warwickshire player after his 11-8, 3-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9 victory in 55 minutes.
The lone American player in the draw, Philadelphia's Gilly Lane, moved one step closer to making an appearance on the glass court in Grand Central Terminal with a 3/0 victory over Princeton's Hesham El Halaby, whose older brother Yasser will be playing in Grand Central at noon on Friday.
1st qualifying round:
John Rooney (IRL) bt Lefika Ragontse (BOT) 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (30m)
Amr Mansi (EGY) bt Jason Delierre (CAN) 11-6, 11-1, 11-9 (26m)
Joshua Greenfield (NZL) bt Abdul Razzaq (PAK) 11-4, 11-6, 11-7 (31m)
Patrick Chifunda (ZAM) bt Mohammad Nasir Farooq (CAN) 11-8, 11-3, 11-9 (20m)
Clive Leach (ENG) bt Robin Clarke (CAN) 11-8, 3-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9 (55m)
Khawaja Adil Maqbool (PAK) bt Kim Lee Wong (MAS) 11-10 (2-0), 11-9, 11-9 (40m)
Ahmed Maged Hamza (EGY) bt Michal Reid (CAN) 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (27m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Arturo Castillo (MEX) 11-10 (2-0), 11-1, 11-5 (30m)
Gilly Lane (USA) bt Hesham El Halaby (EGY) 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 (34m)
Regardt Schonborn (RSA) bt Jacques Swanepoel (RSA) 8-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-6, 11-10 (2-0) (48m)
Badr Abdel Aziz (SWE) bt Karim Yehia (EGY) 11-8, 11-10, 11-8 (31m)