Zac’s Back – With Title in Rochester

Zac Alexander (far left), Todd Harrity (center), and tournament promoter John Walsh following Sunday's final.
Zac Alexander (far left), Todd Harrity (center), and tournament promoter John Walsh following Sunday’s final.

Article courtesy of the Professional Squash Association. Image courtesy of Bill Lampeter.

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Australia’s Zac Alexander marked his comeback after a seven-month layoff in impressive style when he took the Hazlow Electronics Rochester Pro-Am title in Rochester, NY, after surviving a marathon ninety-minute final in the PSA World Tour Challenger 5 squash event at the Goergen Athletic Center at the University of Rochester. 

After undergoing hip surgery in Australia last August, the U.S.-based former World No. 36 made a tentative Tour comeback at the Oregon Open in Portland in January.

Now ranked a six-year-low 111, the Brisbane-born twenty-five-year-old entered the Rochester event as No. 3 seed – and made a triumphant breakthrough in the semifinals where he defeated top-seeded Malaysian Muhd Asyraf Azan in five games.

In the final, his nineteenth on the PSA Tour but first this year, Alexander faced local hero Todd Harrity, the sixth seed from the U.S. who ousted Peter Creed, the No. 2 seed from Wales, in straight games in the other semi.

The final was World No. 92 Harrity’s second in three weeks – and the Rochester crowd were pinning their hopes on a first home winner in the event’s ten-year history.

Alexander battled back from two games down – and then from 8-9, 9-10 and 10-11 in the decider before finally clinching a mighty 3-11, 6-11, 11-4, 13-11, 13-11 victory after ninety minutes.

“I’ve been off for a while – had a hip operation in August back in Australia and spent six months there recovering, with no squash or training really until January,” Alexander recalled as he savored his comeback triumph. “It’s harder than I thought to get back to this level!

“It’s great to win in Rochester – I had a fair few lucky escapes saving about ten match balls in the semis and final!

“I really need to thank Rod Martin here in America for getting me back up to fitness – and also Squash Australia for their support with my operation,” added the new Rochester champion (pictured above, extreme left, with runner-up Harrity, centre, and tournament promoter) after notching up the 12th PSA Tour title of his career.

[1] Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) bt [Q] Ahmad Alzabidi (JOR) 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7
[3] Zac Alexander (AUS) bt [8] Aqib Hanif (PAK) 11-2, 11-7, 12-10
[6] Todd Harrity (USA) bt [4] Lewis Walters (ENG) 13-11, 11-9, 11-4
[2] Peter Creed (WAL) bt [7] Michael McCue (CAN) 11-4, 14-12, 11-5

[3] Zac Alexander (AUS) bt [1] Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) 9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 3-11, 12-10
[6] Todd Harrity (USA) bt [2] Peter Creed (WAL) 11-8, 11-7, 11-5

[3] Zac Alexander (AUS) bt [6] Todd Harrity (USA) 3-11, 6-11, 11-4, 13-11, 13-11 (90m)