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ELIAS ELICITS VICTORY AND SERME SOARS

A mix of veterans and new faces advanced in first round qualifying matches at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, the world’s largest spectator squash event,

On his very first visit to New York City, Lucas Serme enjoyed a day of sightseeing before earning a hard fought four-game victory over American Chris Gordon.  With the partisan crowd at the Harvard Club cheering him on, Gordon snagged the first game 11-7. The second game was nip and tuck the whole way, as both players pushed each other to the four corners of the court. After Gordon couldn’t convert two game balls at 12-11 and 13-12, Serme closed out the game at 15-13.  “I think the difference in the end was fitness,” said the 22-year-old Frenchman who closed out the match 11-6, 11-1. Serme’s next opponent will be Scotsman Alan Clyne who eliminated Faraz Khan in straight games.

In a 90-minute epic encounter, Peru’s 18-year-old Diego Elias, the 2014 World Junior Champion, fought back three match balls in the fourth game to defeat 22-year-old  Greg Lobban of Scotland in the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions first round qualifying matches.  Elias’ next opponent will another ToC newcomer, 20-year-old Mazen Hesham of Egypt, who  attacked his way to victory as he defeated   Malaysia’s Muhd Asyraf Azan in straight games, in just 24 minutes. Playing error free squash punctuated by deceptive holds, Hesham prevented his opponent from scoring  in the second game, and kept Azan ot constantly guessing as to where the ball might end up.

Veteran Ong Beng Hee of Malaysia, who won the 1998 World Junior title, played what he called “jet lagged squash” to defeat American Chris Hanson in four games.  He will next take on Mohamed Reda who dropped the first game 14-16 to Shawn Delierre of Canada before winning the next three games in a 74-minute-contest.  “The difference in the end was my shooting, “said Reda, who recently moved to Philadelphia from Egypt with his wife Engy and three month old son.

Englishmen Tom Richards and Joe Lee both advanced, with Richards next slated to play ToC first-timer Mahesh Mangaonkar of India while Lee takes on New Zealand’s Martin Knight.  Cesar Salazar of Mexico meets Aussie Zac Alexander; Egyptian Mohd Abouelghar plays Aussie Ryan Cuskelly and Alfredo Avila of Mexico goes up against Grayson Campbell of Australia.

Ong Beng Hee (MAS) def. Chris  Hanson (USA) 11-8, 11-6, 10-12                53 mins

Mohamed Reda (EGY) def. Shawn Delierre (CAN) 14-16, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9   74 mins

Lucas Serme (FRA) def. Chris Gordon (USA) 7-11, 15-13, 11-6, 11-1           69 mins

Alan Clyne (SCO) def. Faraz Khan (USA) 11-9, 11-8, 11-6                          29 mins

Zac Alexander (AUS) def. Leo Au (HKG)  9-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-5         74 mins

Cesar Salazar (MEX)def.  Ahmed Kalek (EGY ) 7-11,11-6, 11-3, 11-6          48 mins.

Martin Knight (NZL) def. Mike Lewis (USA)  11-4, 11-7, 11-4                       31 mins

Joe Lee (ENG) def. Charles Sharpes (ENG)  11-5, 11-3, 11-8                      40 mins

Mohd Abouelghar (EGY) def. Bradley Ball (ENG)                                         w/o

Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) def. Shahier Razik (CAN) 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 11-9          64 mins

Campbell Grayson (NZL) def. Raphael Kandra  11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7          55 mins

Alfredo Avila (MEX) def. Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 11-2, ret.                           3 min

Tom Richards (ENG) def. Eddie Charlton (ENG)  9-11,11-8,11-5 11-3         54 mins.

Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) def. Samuel Kang (SGP)  11-2, 11-9, 11-6        23 mins.

Diego Elias (PER) def. Greg Lobhan (SCO)  10-12, 11-8,3-11,13-11,11-2     90 mins

Mazen Hesham (EGY) def.  Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) 11-4,11-0, 11-8         24 mins.