Greenwich locals Chris Hanson and Phil Barker recorded victories in the first round of qualifying for the Professional Squash Association (PSA) 2014 Greenwich Challenger at the Greenwich Country Club in Connecticut Tuesday evening. The Greenwich Challenger, part of the U.S. Pro Series, marks the first PSA event held in Greenwich since the 2001 Men’s Greenwich Open.
Barker, playing on the courts where the thirty-two-year-old Englishman serves as a teaching professional, recorded the fastest win of qualifying when he defeated Trinidad & Tobago’s Colin Ramasra in just seventeen minutes, 11-4, 11-5, 11-4. Barker will face Peruvian Diego Elias in Wednesday’s qualifying final. Elias, fifteen years Barker’s junior, sky-rocketed over seventy places in May’s PSA rankings to his highest career world ranking of 130. Elias sealed his qualifying finals spot against the Round Hill Club’s Squash Doubles Association world No. 21, Greg McArthur, in twenty-two minutes.
Playing at his home club and in his fourth tournament of 2014, twenty-three-year-old world No. 324 Hanson upset Mexican world No. 255 Sergio Lopez in his third career PSA win, 11-2, 11-4, 11-5, in thirty-two minutes. Hanson, a Dartmouth graduate and Elite Athlete Program prospect, will vie for his second career PSA main draw appearance against fellow American and Brown graduate, Bradbury Thompson. Thompson defeated American Dartmouth graduate Mike Lewis Tuesday 11-9, 11-7, 11-6, in twenty-seven minutes.
The closest and longest match of the round came down between Jordanian world No. 226 Ahmad Alzabidi and American twenty-year-old Faraz Khan. Luke Butterworth reports:
“The match of the night was the battle between Alzabidi and Khan. A clash of styles with the tall Jordanian’s strong hitting and large court presence against a smaller, scrappy fighter in Khan. Alzabidi seemed to be in control of the match until Khan got on to the ball early and hit the ball into the space on the court, nullifying Alzabidi’s volleying game with excellent width.
“Players were exchanging excellent rallies in the tie-breaker points at the end of the second game and two lucky nicks at the back of the court followed up by an excellent length winner that took the important second game for Alzabidi. Down, but not defeated, Khan dug in hard and kept up the pressure on his opponent, playing a much better game in the third.
“It was Khan all the way in the fourth, but a little inexperience at the end cost him. All credit to Alzabidi who hung in and soaked-up the pressure he was under to close the game out well—11-9, 14-12, 6-11, 11-8 to Alzabidi.”
The sixteen-player main draw has already seen movement with the withdrawals of Canadians Thomas Brinkman and Mike McCue. Argentinian world No. 174 Hernan D’Arcangelo inherits Brinkman’s main draw spot which, in turn, allowed on-reserve Thompson to compete in qualifying. McCue’s vacancy creates a lucky loser spot against Seattle-based Pakistani Shahjahan Khan.
4:00pm: Chris Hanson (USA) v Bradbury Thompson (USA)
4:00pm: Diego Elias (PER) v Phil Barker (ENG)
5:00pm: Ahmad Alzabidi (JOR) v Aurangzeb Mehmund (PAK)
5:00pm: Charlie Johnson (ENG) v Tom Pashley (ENG)
Qualifying Round One:
Chris Hanson (USA) bt Sergio Lopez (MEX) 11-2, 11-4, 11-5 (32m)
Bradbury Thompson (USA) bt Mike Lewis (USA) 11-9, 11-7, 11-6 (27m)
Diego Elias (PER) bt Greg McArthur (SCO) 11-8, 11-4, 11-4 (22m)
Phil Barker (ENG) bt Colin Ramasra (TRI) 11-4, 11-5, 11-4 (17m)
Ahmad Alzabidi (JOR) bt Faraz Khan (USA) 11-9, 14-12, 6-11, 11-8 (57m)
Aurangzeb Mehmund (PAK) by Leroy Leong (MAS) 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 (41m)
Charlie Johnson (ENG) by Supreet Singh (IND) 11-7, 11-9, 12-10 (37m)
Tom Pashley (ENG) bt Travis Judson (USA) 11-3, 11-4, 11-6 (19m)
 Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) v Qualifier
 David Letourneau (CAN) v Christopher Binnie (JAM)
 Shahjahan Khan (PAK) v Lucky Loser
 Lewis Walters (ENG) v Qualifier
 Clinton Leeuw (RSA) v Hernan D’Arcangelo (ARG)
 Todd Harrity (USA) v [WC] Luke Butterworth (ENG)
 Matthew Serediak (CAN) v Qualifier
 Zac Alexander (AUS) v Qualifier