After a sixteen year hiatus, professional squash returns to New Mexico this week in the form of the inaugural $5,000 U.S. Pro Series Kiva Club Open in Santa Fe.
Team USA’s Chris Hanson, who reached a career high ranking of eighty-five this month, is seeded to win what would be his first career PSA title. Hanson is seeded to meet Nigerian Babatunde Ajagbe in the semifinals. American world No. 170 Faraz Khan is seeded fourth, and predicted to meet Canadian Fred Reid in the semifinals.
Club players, club professional Drewe Williams, and Americans Dylan Cunningham and Sam Gould are among qualifiers aiming for four sports in the main draw in Wednesday’s qualifying.
The players will be competing at the strenuous elevation of more than 7,000 ft above sea level.
“Most of our membership have never seen the professional level of squash in person, and we have some promising juniors so I’m excited to expose them to the international level of squash for the first time,” said Walter Burke, Tournament Director and New Mexico Squash President. “I’ve always enjoyed whenever I’ve traveled to professional tournaments, getting to meet players and then actually watch it in person, so I’m looking forward to giving our community that opportunity.”
From 1992-1999, Albuquerque hosted the most recent PSA events—a 5k satellite—while the Kiva Club Open marks the first time Sante Fe has brushed its shoulders with the professional singles tour.
“Years ago when Albuquerque hosted its PSA events, players like Ong Beng Hee came through as a sixteen-year-old, Peter Nicol as a sixteen-year-old, and Thierry Lincou as a seventeen-year-old. I was able to see those players at the dawn of their careers. I think we’ll be seeing similar young, upcoming players have the opportunity to earn some money and valuable rankings points at the dawn of their promising careers as they go forward.”
— Chris Hanson (@Chris_R_Hanson) September 14, 2015