Hamza Gets a Tour
April 7, 2008, By Kirsten Carlson, SquashTalk.com , Independent
News; © 2007 SquashTalk LLC
Tour Title Breakthrough At Rochester
symbiosis is all the rage in Rochester, NY. The most prevalent
examples stem from last weekend’s Rochester Pro-Am, a PSA satellite
tournament that was held at the University of Rochester alongside
a four-draw amateur event. Egypt’s Ahmed Hamza won his first PSA
title, defeating top seed Patrick Chifunda in four. The tournament,
now in its seventh year helps the Rochester SRA grow and the PSA
gain notoriety in the area. Members of the increasingly talented
University of Rochester men’s squash team get the opportunity to
play a pro tournament while their growing fan base is able to see
their school’s best players compete against some of the world’s
"It was a packed
house," tournament director Mithun Mukherjee
said of the later rounds. "A lot of the University of Rochester
kids came down too. With the new team there has been a rejuvenated
enthusiasm for squash."
Hamza and Chifunda
have met twice in PSA competition, both times at the Rochester
Pro. Hamza won their match in the first round of the 2005 event.
Their match in the final was a fiercely fought affair, but one
Hamza always believed he could win.
tournament, he was playing really good squash and I was a little
worried," Hamza said. "I just believed in
myself, and told myself I can do it." Chifunda took the first
really well hitting winners, playing tight squash," Hamza
said of Chifunda. "He hit 11 winners in a row. In the second
time I said to myself, ‘Keep it clean and tight. No errors.’ In the
second I volleyed more and won. The fifth was point by point. I would
score, then he would score. It went on like that until we were tied
Hamza ended the tie
and the match quickly: First a backhand nick, and then a forehand
nick for the win.
The title was the
first after playing in three finals during his six years on the
tour. Hamza, who is an assistant pro at the Field Club of Greenwich,
was thrilled with his win.
In addition to the
final, other matches that drew plenty of spectators included those
featuring University of Rochester players. Awareness of the team,
and squash itself, have grown. An intramural squash program at
the school was reestablished, giving some less experienced players
a chance to compete. Three players from Rochester’s team played
in the main draw. Jim Bristow was given the wildcard spot, while
Hameed Ahmed and Will Newnham each made it through two qualifying
rounds to secure their first round positions. The first round was
end of the road for all three.
objective for the guys was to qualify," said
University of Rochester Head Coach Martin Heath. "Hameed and
Will both came through tough matches. They both played okay. Hameed
pushed Chifunda quite hard. Will did well. The only disappointment
was Jim’s match."
at Rochester last fall, Newnham took a year to train fulltime.
The England native played 10 PSA events during that time but hasn’t
played a pro tournament since beginning college.
"It was a really good opportunity to play in it," Newnham
said. "Quite a few students were watching which always gives
more motivation to play well. I think it is a good event for squash
Newnham lost in four to No. 3 seed Fernando Lopez of Mexico.
"I managed to
get reasonable length but wasn’t holding the ball tight.
third, which I won, I hit the ball tighter and was getting flicks," Newnham
said. "Playing pro squash now is hard
because with studying and other things, you can’t play squash all
the time. It was pretty hard to keep up the pace. If I was fitter,
I would have had an edge on him."
One Rochester player
walked away a victory this weekend. Pat Harris, who has now concluded
his collegiate squash career, won the 4.0 draw in the amateur event.
The number of amateur players to enter surprised Mukherjee.
"Last year we
didn’t have such a great turnout for the amateur," he
said. "We had close to 60 participants this year. It was nice,
but made us a little nervous initially because we weren’t expecting
that large of a turnout. We were initially planning to play Friday
onward, but a lot of the players had to start Wednesday evening.
We are hoping this success encourages more people to travel to Rochester
for tournaments, and that this can help promote more play in between
cities in upstate New York."
The amateur tournament
switched venues after the quarters, moving from the Genesee Valley
Club to the five court complex at the University of Rochester.
The amateurs were able to watch the pros as their matches concluded
The organizers are
aiming for another successful tournament next April. Mukherjee
said they are strongly considering taking the event up to Super
Satellite level, along with scheduling it to make it easier for
PSA players to travel to a few events in the general area during
around the same time. The growth of the tournament seems a sure
thing as squash gets more popular throughout Rochester.
RESULTS: Rochester Pro
Squash Open, Rochester, NY, USA
Patrick Chifunda (ZAM) bt [Q] Hameed Ahmed (FIN) 11-9,
11-2, 10-11 (0-2), 11-4
(MEX) bt  Jacques Swanepoel (RSA) 11-9,
6-11, 11-8, 11-8
 Fernando Lopez (MEX)
bt [Q] William Newnham (ENG) 11-9,
7-11, 11-9, 11-8
[Q] Lekgotla Mosope (BOT)
bt  Armando Olguin (MEX) 11-6,
 Ahmed Maged Hamza (EGY) bt
[Q] Jason Delierre (CAN) 11-10
(4-2), 11-9, 11-7
 Michal Reid (CAN) bt
Jim Bristow (ENG) 11-7,
 Arturo Castillo (MEX) bt Navin
Samarasinghe (SRI) 11-7,
11-10 (3-1), 11-4
 Andrew McDougall (CAN)
bt Joe Millman (ENG) 11-5,
Patrick Chifunda (ZAM) bt Salvador Martinez (MEX) 11-8,
5-11, 11-1, 11-9
[Q] Lekgotla Mosope (BOT)
bt  Fernando Lopez (MEX) 11-4,
11-6, 9-11, 11-6
 Ahmed Maged Hamza (EGY)
bt  Michal Reid (CAN) 8-11,
8-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-6
 Andrew McDougall
(CAN) bt  Arturo Castillo (MEX) 11-6,
8-11, 11-4, 11-6
Patrick Chifunda (ZAM) bt [Q] Lekgotla Mosope (BOT) 7-11,
11-7, 11-10 (2-0), 11-4
 Ahmed Maged Hamza
(EGY) bt  Andrew McDougall (CAN) 11-8,
Ahmed Maged Hamza (EGY) bt  Patrick Chifunda (ZAM) 6-11,
11-8, 5-11, 11-5, 11-9
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Historical information PSA Men's Pro Event:
|1996||Jansher Khan||Ahmed Barada|
|1997||Peter Nicol||Jansher Khan|
|1998||Ahmed Barada||Martin Heath||15/5,15/17,15/13,13/15,15/13|
|1999||Peter Nicol||Ahmed Barada||15-9, 15-13, 15-11|
|2000||Peter Nicol||Ahmed Barada||15/14, 9/15, 15/3, 15/12|
Historical information PSA Women's Pro Event:
|1997||Sarah Fitz-Gerald||Michelle Martin|
|1998||Michelle Martin||Cassie Jackman|
|1999||Michelle Martin||Carol Owens||9-6, 9-0, 10-9|
|2000||Leilani Joyce||Carol Owens||8/10, 9/7, 9/5, 3/9, 9/5|
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