12:02 pm
16 Apr 2024

Leung Fights Back to Upset Tandon In Houston Open Opener

14 Feb 2024

Hong Kong's Leung Chi Hin Henry staged an impressive fightback to upset Ramit Tandon in five games as action got underway at the HSC Houston Open, the PSA World Tour Gold event at Houston Squash Club in Texas.

Tandon had won the pair's only two previous matchups on the PSA Tour without dropping a game, but it was a different story in Houston as Leung battled back from 2/1 down to reach round two.

It was Tandon who took game one, but the Hong Kong No.2 - playing his first match since getting married a fortnight ago - increased his tempo in game two, playing at a higher pace and showing off some impressive retrieval skills to level the score.

The Indian regained control in game three, winning it with a forehand drive that sent Leung the wrong way, but just as he done in game two, Leung upped the pace in game four, sending the match into a decider with a deep squeeze on the backhand side.

Perhaps feeling the physical strain, Tandon let Leung out to an early lead in game five, and while he threatened to stage a comeback of his own, it was too little, too late, as the 28-year-old wrapped up victory on a forehand smash down the line.

"I'm very happy to get a win today," Leung said after his victory. "My opponent, Ramit, is a very talented player but today I was also playing well, and I just tried to make it physical.

"I tried to go forward more, to attack more, push up the court a little bit, so it's amazing.

"It's my first time here in Houston, and the court is very good. I'm happy to get the win today and it's a good New Year for me."

Leung was joined in round two by Egypt's Karim El Hammamy, who came through a five-game test of his own, beating England's Simon Herbert.

Like Leung, El Hammamy had to fight back from 2/1 down, showcasing his speed and movement around the court along the way.

Never was that more noticeable than at 2-2 in game four, when he followed a sprawling dive at the back of the court with a delicate dropshot winner at the front, setting the tone for his comeback.

"In the beginning, I was struggling to find a little bit of length," El Hammamy said, speaking on court after his win.

"When it's not going your way and you're not feeling your shots, you just have to run, so that was my thought, and credit to Simon. He was playing really well, and he was taking the middle of the court from me, so I'm glad I managed to get through this.

"I will have to improve for the next round."

Unseeded trio Farkas Balazs, Juan Camilo Vargas and Cesar Salazar also progressed, beating Yahya Elnawasany, David Baillargeon and Rory Stewart respectively.