Grayson Claims Largest Career Title in Houston

Danielle Maur (Life Time Squash Director), Andre Maur (Life Time Tour Director), Runner Up Alan Clyne, Omar Saeed (Northwestern Mutual and Title Sponsor), Winner Campbell Grayson and Jahanzeb Khan (Tournament Director)

New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson lifted the largest PSA title of his career, the $30,000 Men’s Northwestern Mutual Life Time Houston Open, August 11, at Life Time City Center in Texas.

Grayson, who is based in New York City, marked his sixth career appearance in the Houston Open with his second title in Texas having previously won the title in his 2013 debut–both times as the three seed–when the prize purse was $10,000.

Grayson’s breakthrough result of the tournament came in the semifinals against Australian rival and top seed Ryan Cuskelly, who Grayson took down 11-5, 11-7, 3-11, 8-11, 11-5 in ninety-five minutes. The world No. 43 kiwi moved on to the final to face Scotland’s four seed Alan Clyne. Another marathon match ensued as Grayson endured eighty minutes to lift the title 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7.

“I’d been in the semis and finals of a few tournaments this big, but hadn’t won one,” Grayson said. “I’m stoked to win it, Alan is always tough and also to have beaten Ryan as well. I used good tactics to win that one. Winning this title has been great to start the season along with earlier in the year taking out the Irish Open and I did well at the British Open too, although I was a bit angry at the way I played in the Nationals final against Paul Coll and thought I could have offered more in that match.”

The Houston Open celebrated its eleventh edition since its first in 2004.

Essam Wins Revived Philadelphia Open

Egypt’s Shehab Essam collected his fifth career PSA title by fulfilling his top seeding at the Life Time Philadelphia Open, June 1, at the newly-opened Life Time Athletic King of Prussia in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Essam, world No. 75, progressed through the $11,000 draw by defeating U.S. junior champion Thomas Rosini in the second round, American Faraz Khan in a four-game quarterfinal and England’s Lyell Fuller in a close five-game semifinal. In the bottom half of the draw, Cornell graduate and four seed Aditya Jagtap reached the finals with wins over Americans Spencer Lovejoy in the quarterfinals and Timmy Brownell in the semifinals.

In the final, Essam stormed to the title in less than half an hour 11-8, 11-4, 11-4.

The tournament marked the Philadelphia Open’s revival since it was last held from 1994-1998.

Dussourd Defeats Brooklyn’s Douglas in Hyder Trophy Final

(l-r): Cleve Miller, Auguste Dussourd, Andrew Douglas, Eddie Kapur, Allwyn Callender

The fifty-first New York Squash Hyder Trophy–the longest continually-running softball squash tournament in the U.S.–saw Frenchman Auguste Dussourd defeat Brooklyn-native Andrew Douglas of the $11,000 PSA final, Sunday, May 5, at Equinox in New York City.

Founded in 1969, the Hyder Trophy featured a twenty-four-player professional draw hosted alongside adult skill level draws, which drew more than 175 players.

Douglas, a Penn sophomore, upset the tournament seeding on his way to just his second career PSA final, including a second round win over three seed Mario Yanez, and quarterfinal win over former world No. 35 Henrik Mustonen in the quarterfinals.

In the final, however, it was the top-seeded Frenchman who came out on top, lifting the iconic trophy 11-9, 12-10, 11-4 after fifty-four minutes.

Douglas, ranked world No. 130 at twenty years old, is set to make his next PSA appearance at the $11,000 Life Time Philadelphia Open, May 28-June 1.

Sixteen-Year-Old Stefanoni Claims Second Career PSA Title in Tennessee

Marina Stefanoni (center, right) with tournament organizers

Sixteen-year-old American Marina Stefanoni earned her second career PSA World Tour title in just as many months after winning the final of the $5,5000 Women’s Bourbon Trail Event No. 4 Saturday, April 27, at Scenic City Squash in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

In March, Stefanoni claimed her first career PSA title by winning the $5,500 Bermuda Open as the tournament’s two seed. Stefanoni entered the Bourbon Trail draw once again seeded second and this time pulled off a perfect tournament, clinching the title without dropping a game.

In the semifinals, Stefanoni overcame four seed and Bates graduate Nessrine Ariffin 11-4, 11-9, 11-6 in twenty minutes to set up a final against French Penn graduate Marie Stephan. In the final, Stefanoni prevailed 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 in twenty-three minutes.

“Stefanoni maintained something of a stranglehold and despite courageous endeavor, Marie Stephan could not break free of the iron grip of precise length and sudden vicious wrong footing volleys and short arm flicks that Stefanoni used to create missteps from her opponent and ultimately, take the match,” Reported Richard Millman, Bourbon Trail tournament director. “Many congratulations to Marina on winning her second career PSA event. A worthy champion giving notice of more to come.”

The Darien, Connecticut-native has now won both of her career PSA final appearances in just her third PSA event of 2019. The three-time U.S. junior champion continues her run of PSA appearances this spring with two events in May: the $5,500 BVI Open, May 16-18, and $5,500 Open International Volcans, May 23-26.

Sedky Retains Richmond Open Title in All-American Final

(l-r): Commitee member Mary, Squash Pro Patrick Chifunda, Finalist Olivia Fiechter, Champion Reeham Sedky, Virginia Squash President Ros

Team USA’s Reeham Sedky won her second PSA World Tour title in just as many months, defeating U.S. teammate Olivia Fiechter in the final of the $11,000 Richmond Open Saturday, April 13, at the Country Club of Virginia.

Sedky, a graduating senior at Penn, entered the draw as the two seed, while Fiechter led the draw as the top seed thanks to a career-high ranking of world No. 43 this month. Fiechter dispatched the younger Sedky sister, Laila, in the quarterfinals and Latvian three seed Ineta Mackevica in a three-game semifinals to reach the final.

Sedky, world No. 60, defeated fellow Penn graduate Marie Stephan in the quarterfinals and advanced to the final without stepping on court after four seed Menna Nasser was forced to withdraw due to injury.

The final marked the first PSA World Tour meeting between Sedky and Fiechter, who has previously met on the U.S. junior circuit and in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Championship quarterfinals. Sedky maintained her unbeaten record against the Princeton graduate, clinching the title 11-7, 11-6, 11-4.

The Richmond Open was Sedky’s first career PSA title in 2018 with the 2019 title weighing in as her third, following up her recent career high title last month–the $20,000 Queen City Open.

Sobhy Wins Fifteenth and Largest PSA Title in Texas

Amanda Sobhy

Team USA’s Amanda Sobhy claimed her fifteenth and biggest PSA title after she defeated England’s Victoria Lust in straight-games to lift the J Warren Young Memorial Texas Open title.

Sobhy, world No. 13, made it a hat-trick of victories at the Texas Open following wins last season and in 2015 after she downed Lust in the final to take home the PSA World Tour Bronze tournament.

Sobhy, the two seed, had been in strong form all week, not dropping a single game throughout the entire tournament. U.S. teammate Olivia Fiechter also put in a strong tournament with a career high upset over world No. 10 Tesni Evans in the second round before reaching the semifinals, where Sobhy ended her run in three games.

World No.14 Lust, on the other hand, had downed former world No. 1 Rachael Grinham in the semifinals to advance, however, Sobhy proved too much for her in the final as the American powered to an 11-4, 11-2, 11-5 in just twenty-three minutes to claim her seventh straight win over the Englishwoman.

“I don’t think the match could have gone any better,” Sobhy said. “The past few times me and Lusty have played it was a battle and I barely won, but today and all week I have been feeling really relaxed and have been enjoying my game. I just went out there and tried to enjoy myself as much as possible and I think it showed in my squash and my movement too was very free-flowing. I’m really pleased to win it for a third time and defend my title that I won in Houston last year. This is my biggest title to date and I haven’t won one since the Texas Open last year.”

The $35,000 Texas Open had been Sobhy’s previous career high title in 2015, and now celebrates a new high of $55,000–the largest prize money Texas Open since its founding in 2002.

“Texas has a great place in my heart,” said 25-year-old Sobhy. “I remember coming back here as a fifteen year old as one of my first tournaments on the tour and I still love it now, not just because I have won the title several times. The Dallas community is smaller than some but they still show great support.”

Leung Wins All-Hong Kong Atlanta Open Final

(l-r): Lau Tsz Kwan, Andre Maur, Henry Leung

Hong Kong’s Henry Leung beat teammate Tsz Kwan Lau to win the $11,000 globalsquash.com Life Time Atlanta Open, the world No. 92’s second PSA title of 2019 Sunday, February 17, at Life Time Athletic Sandy Springs in Georgia.

One week prior to Atlanta, Lau got the better of his Hong Kong compatriot in the Linear Logistics Bankers Hall Club Pro Am, on his way to the final. This week, though, it was Leung that took the victory, defeating Kwan in a marathon four-game final, 13-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-5 after ninety minutes.

“Rallies were long and brutal between both players,” said Andre Maur, Life Time Squash Tour Director. “Henry looked in control all week and had a plan from right from the start of the event. He played, he fought and he conquered to win his first title on the Life Time Squash Tour.”

Leung celebrates his third PSA title in his last four events. The title was also the twenty-three-year-old’s first career U.S. Pro Series appearance, and is the first Hong Kong international to lift the Atlanta Open winners trophy.

The Atlanta Open will celebrate it’s twentieth year in 2020, having been held annually since 2000.

El Hammamy Captures Largest PSA Title in Cincinnati

Hania El Hammamy (r) and Victoria Lust

Report courtesy of Nathan Dugan

Hania El Hammamy won her first PSA Challenger Tour 30 event in Cincinnati tonight, her largest PSA tour victory to date, but it is surely just a sign of a decorated career to follow for the talented eighteen year old. The Egyptian teenager has had an incredible start to 2019, first winning the British Junior Open in January and now she has back to back PSA titles in Scotland (Tour 20 event) and now in Cincinnati. Hania’s only loss of 2019 came at the hands of Nour El Sherbini at the Tournament of Champions, and even then she got a game.

When being interviewed after the match, Hania told the packed crowd in attendance that she had read the reports of the semis where her error count had been eluded too. She decided to make a conscious decision to fix it today and fix it she did as a near flawless performance took her to the title without the loss of a single game this week. It wasn’t that Vicky played badly either, she may have been lacking a little confidence with the injured ankle still heavily strapped, but the fact she was even in the final showed she wasn’t too far from her best. For Vicky it is a second straight Gaynor Cup final loss and she may have thought twice about coming back for 2020, but the announcement by Vere Gaynor, title sponsor for the tournament, that the Gaynor Cup will be a $50k event next year may have just convinced her to return.

It was a great week of squash with the PSA players in town for the week putting on a great show on the court and also representing the World Squash Tour in impeccable fashion. The enjoyment the sponsors had playing the pro’s that lost in the early rounds in both singles and doubles made the week the true highlight of the Cincinnati squash calendar.

Result.
[2] Hania El Hamammy 3-0 [1] Victoria Lust 11-5, 11-8, 11-7

Marche Tops Largest Pittsburgh Open Draw in Tournament History

(l-r): Steven Baicker-Mckee, Gregoire Marche, Dulio Costa, Matt Sherwin

France’s Gregoire Marche won his first career PSA title on U.S. soil–the Three Rivers Capital Pittsburgh at the Rivers Club in Pennsylvania.

Marche, world No. 30, defeated Egypt’s world No. 22 Zahed Salem in the final.

To reach the final, the Frenchman had to overcome both of the Salazar twins as he dispatched Arturo in the quarter finals and Cesar in the last four.

Salem’s route to the final in Pittsburgh saw him beat Campbell Grayson in the second round, Nafiizwan Adnan in the last eight, and World No.25 Nicolas Mueller in the semis.

The final would be the longest match of the tournament, lasting 83 minutes as Marche took an early lead, before Salem fought back to tie the game through four.

Marche won the first 11-9 after Salem made a series of mistakes. Marche then won the second 11-6 to take a two game lead. Salem came back into it, winning the third on a tiebreak, before tying the match after a victory in the fourth game.

However, Marche stayed strong mentally, winning the fifth game 11-5 to take his eighth PSA title and his first PSA Bronze title.

Both men will next be in action at the 2018-2019 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family, in Chicago in two weeks time.

The Pittsburgh Open offered the largest prize money in tournament history, $52,000, in the tournament’s seventeenth year.

Result: Three Rivers Capital Pittsburgh Open Final
[6] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt [3] Zahed Salem (EGY) 3-2: 11-9, 11-6, 10-12, 6-11, 11-5 (83m)

El Tayeb Claims Maiden Cleveland Classic Title in Fourth Appearance

Nour El Tayeb (l) and Tesni Evans (image: Andrea Dawson)

Egypt’s world No. 4 Nour El Tayeb earned her first Cleveland Classic title in her fourth tournament appearance, defeating Wales’ Tesni Evans in a four-game final Monday, February 4, in Ohio.

The Egyptian, who was looking to bounce back after dropping down to world No. 4 at the start of the month, won the match in four to beat the Welshwoman.

Tayeb, who also secured victory on U.S. soil at the Carol Weymuller Open in October, was in control throughout the match, winning the first two games.

The world No. 11 looked to fight back in the third, though, and brought the match to within one after winning it 11-9.

However, it would be the Egyptian that took the crown, winning the fourth game 11-9 to take a 3-1 victory in Cleveland.

“Tesni is smarter than me,” El Tayeb said. “She slowed the pace and talked to the official between almost every point. I love her dearly.”

The $51,250 Cleveland Classic marks El Tayeb’s eighth career PSA Tour title.

Both players will next compete in the U.S. at the 2018-2019 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family in Chicago at the end of the month.

2019 marked the ninth staging of the Cleveland Classic.

Result: Final
[1] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [2] Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-1: 11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9 (55m)

 

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