7:01 am
21 Jun 2024

Young & Old Score In ToC Qualifiers

15 Jan 2015

A mix of veterans and new faces advanced in the first round qualifying matches for the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions, the first PSA World Series event of the New Year at Grand Central Terminal in New York City.

On his very first visit to New York, Lucas Serme (pictured right) enjoyed a day of sightseeing before earning a hard-fought four-game victory over US champion Christopher Gordon. With the partisan crowd at the Harvard Club cheering him on, Gordon snagged the first game 11-7.

The second game was nip and tuck the whole way, as both players pushed each other to the four corners of the court. After Gordon couldn't convert two game balls at 12-11 and 13-12, Serme clinched the game 15-13.

"I think the difference in the end was fitness," said the 22-year-old Frenchman who closed out the match 11-6, 11-1. Serme's next opponent will be Scotsman Alan Clyne who eliminated Faraz Khan in straight games.

In an epic 90-minute encounter, Peru's 18-year-old Diego Elias - the 2014 World Junior Champion - fought back three match-balls in the fourth game to defeat 22-year-old Greg Lobban of Scotland.

Elias' next opponent will another ToC newcomer, 20-year-old Mazen Hesham of Egypt, who attacked his way to victory as he defeated Malaysia's Muhd Asyraf Azan in straight games, in just 24 minutes.

Playing error-free squash punctuated by deceptive holds, Hesham prevented his opponent from scoring a single point in the second game, and kept Azan constantly guessing as to where the ball might end up.

Veteran Ong Beng Hee of Malaysia, who won the 1998 World Junior title in the USA, played what he called "jet-lagged squash" to defeat American Chris Hanson in four games. The 34-year-old from Kuala Lumpur - bidding to make his 11th appearance in the event's main draw since 2001 - will next take on Mohamed Reda, who dropped the first game 14-16 to Shawn Delierre of Canada before winning the next three games in a 74-minute-contest.

"The difference in the end was my shooting," said Reda, who recently moved to Philadelphia from Egypt with his wife Engy and three-month old son.

Englishmen Tom Richards and Joe Lee both advanced, with Richards next slated to play ToC first-timer Mahesh Mangaonkar of India - while Lee takes on New Zealand's Martin Knight. Cesar Salazar of Mexico meets Aussie Zac Alexander; Egyptian Mohamed Abouelghar plays Aussie Ryan Cuskelly and Alfredo Avila of Mexico goes up against Campbell Grayson of New Zealand.

1st qualifying round:
Ong Beng Hee (MAS) bt Chris Hanson (USA) 11-8, 11-6, 10-12, 11-6 (53m)
Mohamed Reda (EGY) bt Shawn Delierre (CAN) 14-16, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9 (74m)
Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 7-11, 15-13, 11-6, 11-1 (69m)
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Faraz Khan (USA) 11-9, 11-8, 11-6 (29m)
Zac Alexander (AUS) bt Leo Au (HKG) 9-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 (74m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Ahmed Abdel Khalek (EGY) 7-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-6 (48m)
Martin Knight (NZL) bt Mike Lewis (USA) 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 (31m)
Joe Lee (ENG) bt Charles Sharpes (ENG) 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 (40m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Bradley Ball (ENG) w/o
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Shahier Razik (CAN) 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 11-9 (64m)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7 (55m)
Alfredo Avila (MEX) bt Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 11-2 ret.
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Eddie Charlton (ENG) 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-3 (54m)
Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) bt Samuel Kang (SIN) 11-2, 11-9, 11-6 (23m)
Diego Elias (PER) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 10-12, 11-8, 3-11, 13-11, 11-2 (90m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) 11-4, 11-0, 11-8 (24m)