The Atlanta METAL Open celebrated its twentieth year with its first Indian champion–Vikram Malhotra–who captured the $10,000 title Sunday at Life Time Athletic Sandy Springs in Georgia.
Malhotra, a Trinity College graduate, has now won six PSA titles since returning to the Pro Tour in 2015 with the Atlanta METAL Open representing his third U.S. Pro Series title following the 2015 Betty F. Griffin Memorial Florida Open and 2016 Charlotte Open.
In Atlanta, Malhotra progressed through the draw as the two seed, enduring a five-game semifinal against Mexico’s Edgar Zayas, which Malhotra pulled off 11-9 in the fifth. The twenty-eight-year-old only needed three games in the final, however, against Egyptian top seed Mohamed Reda, who also made it through a five-game semifinal against Portugal’s Rui Soares.
In the final, Malhotra twice needed overtime against Reda to prevail in three games 13-11, 11-9, 15-13.
“It feels great to win, but I’m more relieved than anything,” Malhotra said. “Two of the three games went to to extra points and I really had to dig deep to win today. Very happy that my training, fitness and coaching all paid off and made the difference.”
The Atlanta Open was first held in 2000.
“This was my twentieth Atlanta Open,” said Andre Maur, Life Time Grand Prix Tour Director and Atlanta Open founder. “It’s the flagship of all of our events. It’s where it all started and it’s grown in both prize money and the amateur player involvement and this tournament set the tone for the rest of our Life Time events that we’ve added to the tour since 2012.”
Australia’s Donna Urquhart earned her second career U.S. Pro Series title and eleventh career PSA title in a flawless weekend of squash at the second annual Bahl & Gaynor Cup hosted by the Cincinnati Country Club in Ohio.
Urquhart, world No. 15, captured the $25,000 title without dropping a game all tournament, culminating in a three-game final victory against England’s two seed Victoria Lust. Egypt’s unseeded Rowan Reda Araby caused the biggest surprise in the sixteen-player draw, upsetting one seed Emily Whitlock in the first round before reaching the semifinals where Urquhart ended her run.
“You dream of weeks were it all comes together and you keep playing at the top of your game,” Urquhart said. “I just can’t believe it happened here, I am so happy”
Urquhart matches her biggest career title in Cincinnati, equaling her $25,000 Monte Carlo Classic triumph in December 2017. The result marks Urquhart’s second title on U.S. soil, following up the $10,000 Seattle Open in 2015.
The 2018 Bahl & Gaynor Cup saw a $15,000 increase in prize money from the inaugural $10,000 Bahl & Gaynor Cup in 2017.
Competing in her first Cleveland Classic in four years, New Zealand’s Joelle King upset world champion Raneem El Welily to claim her first PSA title since 2016 Monday night at the Cleveland Racquet Club in Ohio.
King spent majority of 2014 and 2015 on the sidelines following a severe Achilles injury, but has been resurgent in the past two season, returning to the world’s top ten and a strong fall of 2017 that saw the world No. 9 reach the Macau Open final, U.S. Open semifinals and Carol Weymuller final.
King met Team USA’s Amanda Sobhy in the semifinals after the Harvard graduate upset two seed and world No. 7 Sarah-Jane Perry in the quarterfinals. King would go on to defeat Sobhy in three games, but gave her opponent credit in what was just her second PSA tournament after her own ten-month Achilles injury layoff.
“I think Amanda did a fantastic job in only her second tournament back after her injury,” King said after the semifinals.
In the final, King recorded just her second career victory against world No. 2 El Welily in their fourteenth career match up. After defeating El Welily for the first time in four games at the Carol Wemuller this fall, King went one better in the Cleveland final, winning 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 after thirty-five minutes.
The $50,000 Cleveland Classic title is King’s eleventh career PSA title, and third career U.S. Pro Series title.
The nineteenth Motor City Open presented by the Suburban Collection fittingly concluded with one of the best matches in tournament history, when Marwan ElShorbagy took down Paul Coll 11-9 in the fifth Sunday in Birmingham, Michigan.
A packed Birmingham Athletic Club gallery witnessed an intense ninety-six minute final between ElShorbagy, the top seed and new world No. 4, and Coll, world No. 13, who both reached their first career final appearance in Detroit.
The Egyptian edged his Kiwi opponent at the very end of the match converting on his first championship ball to win 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9.
“It was a tough match,” ElShorbagy said. “It was the longest of my career. It doesn’t get any tougher than beating Paul on this court with how it plays. The points never ends. I had to be very strong mentally.”
The match was decided on a difficult stroke call that left both players initially unsure of what the call was.
“It’s a tense part of the match and anything can happen,” Coll said. “I was scrambling. It probably was a stroke, but I’m obviously disappointed to lose like that. I forced a few things at times. He made me a bit edgy on my backhand volley because I could feel him behind me trying to get a stroke.”
The title marks ElShorbagy’s eighth career PSA Tour title
“I’m really pleased to win my first-ever Motor City Open,” ElShorbagy said. “This is great for me, it’s amazing. I’m so happy. To come back here next year and see my name on the wall will mean a lot to me.”
Team USA’s Amanda Sobhy and Olivia Blatchford enter the 2018 $50,000 Cleveland Classic main draw as the five and six seeds, respectively, this weekend at the Cleveland Racquet Club in Ohio.
The eighth women’s Cleveland Classic has drawn Egypt’s world champion and world No. 2 Raneem El Welily as its top seed, while 2016 and 2017 champion Camille Serme does not return to Cleveland to defend her title.
Sobhy is set to make her second PSA tournament appearance since returning from a ten month injury hiatus. The former world No. 6 has dropped to world No. 28 as a result of her injury layoff, but a pinned ranking of world No. 11 has earned her the five seed. The Harvard graduate will take on a qualifier in the first round Friday, February 2, at 7:15pm ET. Should the American advance, Sobhy could face two seed and world No. 7 Sarah-Jane Perry in the second round.
U.S. champion Blatchford will face Egypt’s world No. 24 Hania El Hammamy in their first career match up. Blatchford, world No. 13, will take on the seventeen-year-old Friday at 5:45pm. A victory would potentially set up a Cleveland rematch between Blatchford and two-time finalist Alison Waters.
World No. 50 Haley Mendez is bidding to join her U.S. teammates in the main draw in qualifying. The Harvard graduate has a first-round bye and is predicted to face American Reyna Pacheco in Thursday’s qualifying finals.
Hong Kong’s world No. 30 Max Lee claimed his twelfth career PSA Tour title—and first career U.S. Pro Series title—when he lifted the $25,000 Three Rivers Capital Pittsburgh Open trophy this weekend at the Rivers Club.
The first round included a number of major upsets. Egyptian qualifier Karim El Hammamy upset Scotland’s one seed Alan Clyne in four games. 2011 Pittsburgh Open champion Alister Walker returned to the Steel City as the Wild Card and made the most of the opportunity with a first-round upset against Campbell Grayson, and just falling short in the quarterfinals against three seed Tsz Fung Yip, 14-12 in the fifth.
England’s Ben Coleman began his surprise run to the final with a first-round upset against Qatar’s four seed Abdulla Al-Tamimi. Coleman, world No. 51, then dispatched Team USA’s eight seed Todd Harrity in the quarterfinals, and reached the final courtesy of another upset against six seed Joel Makin.
Lee progressed through the draw as the two seed, including a difficult four-game semifinal against Hong Kong teammate Yip. in the final against England’s Coleman, it was Lee who decisively claimed the title 11-2, 11-7, 11-5 in forty-three minutes.
The Pittsburgh Open concludes a busy week of squash in western Pennsylvania following the SDA Pittsburgh Golf Club Challenger the previous weekend. The Pittsburgh Open was first held in 1993.
Team USA’s Todd Harrity enters his second PSA tournament of 2018—the $25,000 Three Rivers Capital Pittsburgh Open—as the eight seed this weekend at the Rivers Club in western Pennsylvania.
Last year, the Princeton graduate pulled off a first-round upset against Karim Ali Fathi to reach the Pittsburgh quarterfinals. Now world No. 50, Harrity is predicted to reach the finals again, but first but get past England’s world no. 60 Richie Fallows in the first round, Thursday, January 25, at 5:20pm ET.
Should the American advance, he is predicted to face Qatari four seed Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi in what would be a rematch of the 2017 quarterfinals.
U.S. teammates Chris Hanson, Chris Gordon, Faraz Khan and Dylan Cunningham all failed to progress through qualifying and join Harrity in the main draw. Columbia graduate Ramit Tandon was one of four qualifiers and will face Hong Kong’s three seed Tsz Fung Yip in the first round.
Richard Millman and Lee Scott in partnership with and Scenic City Squash and the Louisville Boat Club have announced a PSA Closed Satellite tournament series, the Bourbon Trail Series, in Tennessee and Kentucky.
The three $1000 events will be held over the course of January and February 2018. The first event will be held in conjunction with the Outdoor Elevation Burns Night Open, January 19-20, at Scenic City Squash in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The second event will again be held at Scenic City Squash, February 9-10, and will be sponsored by the MF Restaurant group of Scenic City Squash owners Mike and Taylor Monen. The third event will be held at the Louisville Boat Club in Kentucky, February 16-17.
“Scenic City Squash is proud to support up and coming, committed squash players and is grateful to the PSA for creating this type of entry level tournament to allow a new club to get involved in the PSA program,” Millman said. “We are also extremely grateful for the support of US Squash and their continuing commitment to the growth of the game. Finally, without the consistent generosity of our wonderful local sponsors such as Martin Daniel and Elevation Outdoor Advertising, Blue Moon beer, The MF Restaurant Group, Clay Watson and the Mtn View Automobile group, The Clemens Family Fund and several other anonymous generous sponsors—none of this would be possible.”
These will be sixteen person draws and organizers will endeavor to help players traveling to play in the events with accommodation. To enter these tournaments please email Richard Millman at email@example.com.
U.S. Champion Chris Hanson earned his second career PSA Tour title this weekend, the inaugural $5,000 Boston Open at Equinox Sports Club in Massachusetts.
Hanson pulled off a perfect tournament without dropping a game all tournament to fulfill his top seeding.
Hanson, the world No. 78, defeated surprise finalist and qualifier Syed Hamzah Shah Bukhari in the final 11-8, 11-5, 11-7. Bukhari had upset American two seed Dylan Cunningham in the quarterfinals and four seed Vincent Droesbeke on his way to the final.
The result marks Hanson’s second career U.S. Pro Series title in addition to the 2015 Kiva Club Open.
Number five seed Jesus Camacho came out on top in the Betty F. Griffin Memorial Florida State Florida Open final after a straight games win over David Baillargeon.
The victory sees Camacho claim his second U.S. Pro Series title in two weeks after he prevailed in the Securian Open in Minnesota at the beginning of December.
The Mexican, who came through a hard-fought five-setter in the semi-finals to defeat England’s Joe Green, had no such problems in the Florida final, defeating the Canadian fourth seed Baillargeon 11-6, 11-6, 11-7.
Result – Life Time Florida Open 2017 final
 Jesus Camacho (MEX) v  David Baillargeon (CAN)11-6, 11-6, 11-7