Qualifying First Round: Farag & LJ Out
Playing just two blocks
from Grand Central where the ToC glass court was being constructed
for main draw play, India’s Ramit Tandon, supported by a
crowd of former Columbia University teammates, unnerved and upended
third seed Ali Farag of Egypt in the first round of qualifying.
After dropping the first game, the 2015 Columbia University graduate
snatched the next two at 11-8. Ali, who graduated from Harvard in
2013, fought back to tie the match at two all. In the decider,
Tandon jumped out to an early four point lead; although the rest of
the deciding game was a nip and tuck affair, that early lead
provided Tandon’s margin of victory.
South Africa’s Clinton Leeuw and Dutchman Laurens Jans Anjema
treated the capacity crowd at the Princeton Club to a second-stirring
nail biter when Leeuw snatched a 12-10 fifth game victory. “It’s
ironic that I am almost at retirement and I just got the biggest win
of my career,” a visibly delighted Leeuw remarked after the
match. The New York Athletic Club assistant pro, who had taught
three lessons earlier in the day and turned down a fourth to ensure
that he had enough gas in the tank, will have to battle his local
training partner Tandon for the main draw spot.
In the evening’s longest match, Frenchman Grégoire Marche
staved off eager young American Chris Hanson in five games at the
New York Athletic Club. Hanson played aggressively from the start of
the match, throwing Marche off-balance. “I was up 2-1, and
leading in the fourth when I started thinking I that I actually had
a chance to win the match,” said the Dartmouth University
graduate, “and that ‘s when Marche really asserted himself.”
The opponent standing between Marche and a main draw slot is New
Zealander Campbell Grayson who eliminated the last American,
Faraz Khan, in three games.
Frenchman Lucas Serme, who was on court for a mere 15 minutes
in his dismantling of Mike Lewis of the US, will have to get past
Mohamed Abouelghar to join sister Camille as a ToC main draw
competitor after the Egyptian eliminated Canadian Shawn Delierre.
Two Pakistanis are in the running for a main draw spot as Nasir
Iqbal and Farhan Zaman won their matches and will face
off against Scotland’s Greg Lobban and England’s Declan