World No.61 Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi lifted his first ever PSA World
Tour title after a gargantuan five-game battle with second seed
Chris Hanson in the final of the Life Time Atlanta Open, PSA M10
Top seed Al Tamimi scythed through the field in the opening stages
of the event and only dropped one game, against semi-final opponent
Clinton Leeuw, en-route to the final. Hanson, meanwhile, eased by
Diego Gobbi, Daniel Poleshchuk and Eric Galvez to set up a
mouth-watering final encounter with Al Tamimi.
Both players engaged in some exciting, long-winded rallies from the
outset as they each looked to move their opponent off the ’T’ and
take advantage of the space at the front of the court. Al Tamimi
made the breakthrough in the opening game before a resilient Hanson
powered to victory in the second game.
Hanson then went ahead in the third by the narrowest of margins but
the encounter was to have another massive momentum swing when Al
Tamimi levelled things up with an 11-9 triumph in game four.
With the match heading into the latter exchanges, both players
traded a number of high-octane points as the title hung in the
balance. It was Al Tamimi, the Qatari No.1, who managed to up rise
above Hanson to claim the victory courtesy of an 11-9, 4-11, 9-11,
11-9, 11-5 victory and break his PSA World Tour title duck.
Singaporean wildcard Vivian Rhamanan marked his first PSA World Tour
appearance of the year in style with a stunning come-from-behind
victory over number six seed Cameron Stafford in the opening round
of the Life Time Atlanta Open, PSA M10 tournament.
Playing in just his third PSA World Tour event since 2004,
Rhamanan’s tournament looked to be coming to an abrupt end after a
fast start from Stafford saw the man from the Cayman Islands storm
into a two-game lead. However, a tense third game went in Rhamanan’s
favour and from there, the World No.344 rallied to take a further
two games without reply, closing out the victory with a 2-11, 5-11,
12-10, 11-6, 11-4 scoreline.
His reward is a meeting with top seed Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi in the
quarter-final after the 21-year-old from Qatar comfortably
dispatched Babatunde Ajagbe in straight games.
Number two seed Chris Hanson triumphed on home soil with a strong
display against Brazil’s Diego Gobbi. The World No.73, who has a
solitary PSA World Tour title to his name, edged the opener but
surged ahead from that point onwards to wrap up the win in three.
Israel’s Daniel Poleshchuk lies in wait for Hanson after the
20-year-old progressed due to an injury to his opponent, Ismail
Elsewhere, Mexico’s Eric Galvez eased past Jon Geekie to set up a
quarter-final clash with Reuben Phillips who made short work of
South Africa’s Jean-Pierre Brits.
Fourth seed Kush Kumar and World No.128 Clinton Leeuw will contest
the other quarter-final fixture after they managed respective
triumphs over Albert Shoihet and Hugo Varela.
Top qualifying seed Jean-Pierre Brits moved through to the main draw
of the Life Time Atlanta Open, PSA M10 tournament after downing
Egypt’s Ismail Hafez in an intense five-game encounter as qualifying
drew to a close.
The lead changed hands multiple times throughout the match with
Brits’s early lead being cancelled out by Hafez who took the second
game courtesy of an incredible 16-14 tie-break. Both players went on
to take another game apiece before an impressive show of force from
Brits in the latter stages allowed the World No.190 to complete an
11-8, 14-16, 11-5, 7-11, 11-6 triumph.
England’s Reuben Phillips lies in wait for Brits in the opening
round with Phillips set to make his first main draw appearance at
the Atlanta Open since 2013 having bowed out in the qualifying
stages in both of the last two years. Hafez, meanwhile, benefits
from lucky loser status as a result of some main draw withdrawals
and will play talented Israeli Daniel Poleshchuk.
Nigeria’s Babatunde Ajagbe is also through to the main draw after he
too came through a gruelling five-game match against local player
Ahmed Hamza. Hamza took the opener after both players traded a
plethora of electrifying points but Ajagbe recovered to close out
the win and set up an exceedingly difficult encounter with the main
draw’s top seed Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi.
Diego Gobbi, the 20-year-old from Brazil, dispatched Alex Noakes 3-1
in his final qualifying round clash to set up a tough fixture with
Chris Hanson while Albert Shoihet saw off Jon Geekie in straight
games to qualify for the main draw where he will face Indian
teenager Kush Kumar.
Like Hafez, Geekie also received lucky loser status and will line up
against Mexico’s Eric Galvez.
The opening qualifying round of the Life Time Atlanta Open, PSA M10
tournament saw local player Ahmed Hanza move through to within one
win of a main draw berth after defeating fifth qualifying seed Adnan
Hamza was in fine fettle throughout the four-game encounter but,
after going a game ahead, found himself pegged back by his opponent.
A virtuoso display in game three saw Hamza win it without dropping a
single point though and he used that momentum as a springboard to
wrap up the triumph courtesy of an 11-9, 9-11, 11-0, 11-7 scoreline.
He will go up against number two seed Babatunde Ajagbe for a place
in the main draw with Ajagbe likely to be well rested after he
received a bye in the opening round of qualifying.
Egypt’s Ismail Hafez is also through to the next round after a
dominant display against Rob Wilkins allowed the 31-year-old to
complete the victory in straight games. His reward is a clash with
top qualifying seed Jean-Pierre Brits who was also the recipient of
a bye in round one.
Elsewhere, Jon Geekie progressed in three thanks to victory over
Malaysia’s Le Roy Leong and he will face Albert Shoihet who has been
without a defeat in qualifying since September.
The other final qualifying round fixture will see England’s Alex
Noakes and Diego Gobbi line up against each other after the former
defeated Richard Raptapolous and Gobbi was given a bye.