Team USA’s Chris Hanson won his first career PSA title Sunday afternoon—the inaugural $5,000 U.S. Pro Series Kiva Club Open in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Hanson entered the tournament seeded first and was untested through the first two rounds with two, three-game victories. Jordanian Ahmad Alzabidi pushed the twenty-four-year-old American to five games in the semifinals, but the Dartmouth graduate prevailed to reach his first career PSA final.
Another first-time PSA finalist in the form of Mexican teenager Jesus Camacho awaited Hanson in Sunday’s final. Unseeded Camacho had upset the tournament’s two seed Fred Reid in the first round, then upset fourth-seeded American Faraz Khan in Saturday’s semifinals.
Sunday’s final was level at 1-1 after two games, Hanson winning the first 11-9, and Camacho responding to win the second 11-4. Hanson regained control in the third, which was level until 4-4, at which point Hanson pulled away to earn a 2-1 advantage 11-7. Early in the fourth game, Camacho slammed into the side wall and stayed on the ground with a leg cramp. Once play resumed, Hanson sped to win the match an title 11-4 in a final clocking in at one hour.
The Kiva Club Open is Hanson’s first PSA World Tour title. Hanson now travels to San Francisco where he is a qualifier in the NetSuite Open Wednesday, September 23.
The Kiva Club Open was the first PSA event in the state of New Mexico in sixteen years. The players will be competed 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 before the tournament. “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.”
Kiva Open Champ! Many thanks to Rod Martin and my incredible sponsors/supporters 🙂 @USSQUASH @harrowsports @BOASTusa @goaloop @controlthet
— Chris Hanson (@Chris_R_Hanson) September 20, 2015
@USProSquash @Chris_R_Hanson Congrats to a fierce competitor and his incredible coach, Rod Martin. Some team effort! pic.twitter.com/d6xSTkFg6E
— Janet Tiebout Hanson (@janethanson) September 20, 2015