The 16 professional players are competing for ranking points and $5,000 in prize money. Here's what happened in the PSA quarterfinals on Friday:
| || |
Noon: Jaymie Haycocks easily defeated Babtunde Ajagbe, 3-0.
Haycocks, an Englishman, is the tournament’s No. 1 seed and is ranked No. 88 in the world.
He won 11-8, 11-7 and 11-8.
The first game was the longest at 12 minutes. The players traded points early on, then Haycocks ran off two strings of three points in a row to take a 10-5 lead. Ajagbe ran off three straight to close the margin, but it was too late. Game to Haycocks.
In the second game, which lasted 9 minutes, Haycocks jumped to a 4-0 start, and built a 6-1 lead before Ajagbe won five straight to make it a game. But Haycocks won five of the next six points to close it out. Haycocks won two points on service aces, both lobs to Ajagbe’s backhand.
The third game, which lasted 10 minutes, was back-and-forth and was tied 8-8. But then Haycocks won three straight points to win it. On the final point, Ajagbe returned a serve into his forehand corner and managed to trap himself there. Haycocks went to hit the ball, but the ball hit Ajagbe first. End of match.
The audience chuckled, the two players smiled and briefly hugged each other before leaving the court.
Haycocks had cruised in his opening round match, beating Mexico’s Heralio Salaiz Estrada in three quick games and giving up only 12 points in the match.
Ajagbe had to work hard in his opening round win over 16-year-old Mexican Leonel Cardenas. That match took an hour and went to five games.
Ajagbe, a 29-year-old Nigerian, was seeded No. 7. Ajagbe is ranked World No. 184. This is his second time playing in the Kiva Open.
The 32-year-old Haycocks is the oldest player in the tournament to reach the quarterfinals.
1 PM: Reuben Phillips prevailed in a long, hard-fought, five-game match against Charlie Lee.
The match went the full distance, with Phillips winning, 12-10, 7-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-5. It took 1 hour and 12 minutes.
Lee stretched Phillips with many long rallies, retrieving shot after shot and often winning the rally, but Phillips was the more physical player. At 5-foot-9 and 181 pounds, he outweighed the 5-foot-10 Lee by 50 pounds. Phillips often used his mass to his advantage, making it difficult for Lee to get cleanly to the ball.
Phillips, a 24-year-old Englishman, is the tournament’s No. 3 seed and ranked World No. 147.
Lee, an 18-year-old also from England, is ranked World No. 187, and was the tournament’s No. 8 seed.
Both Phillips and Lee won their opening round matches in three games. Phillips took unseeded American Andrian Leanza in a 45-minute match, while Lee cruised past Bermuda’s Noah Browne.
3 PM: Edgar Zayas defeated Alex Ingham in a seesaw five-game match.
Game scores were 11-9, 8-11, 5-11, 11-3 and 11-4.
Ingram, a left-hander, seemed in control of the match after the third game, but found himself quickly behind 6-1 in the fourth game and never regained his equilibrium. He began missing shots that he had made earlier in the match, and seemed to go for the knockout punch rather than playing with the patience and consistency that had won him games two and three.
Zayas, a 21-year-old Mexican, is ranked World No. 147. He dispatched American Nick Talbott in the tournament’s opening round, 11-9, 11-5 and 11-5.
In his opening round match, Ingham upset No. 6 seed Diego Gobbi of Brazil, winning easily in three straight games, 11-7, 11-3 and 11-4. That match lasted just 30 minutes.
Ingham, a 26-year-old Englishman, was the only unseeded player to reach the quarterfinals.
4 PM: American Dylan Cunningham upset No. 2 seed Adam Murrills of England, 3-1.
Cunningham won the first game, 11-9. The game was tight throughout, with both players hitting rails and cross-courts with power.
The second game went to Murrills. The game was close until near the end, when Murrills hit a crosscourt winner into the nick off of Cunningham’s serve, then got a stroke call from a loose rail hit by Cunningham. The second game went to Murrills, 11-8.
The third game was neck-and-neck. Murrills tinned two shots midway through the game to keep Cunningham close, then Cunningham took a 10-9 lead, only to have Murrills tie at 10-10. Cunningham won the next two points, and the game, 12-10.
Cunningham took the fourth and final game decisively, 11-6.
Ultimately, it was Cunningham’s size – he is 6-foot-4 – along with his reach and power that won the match. It was a mystery Murrills couldn’t solve.
Murrills was the tournament’s No. 2 seed and is ranked World No. 113.
In his opening round match, the 26-year-old Murrills defeated his former coach and mentor, Drewe Williams. Williams is the Kiva Club’s resident squash pro, and he taught Murrills when Murrills was a junior player in England.
The 22-year-old Cunningham is seeded No. 5 in the tournament and his world rank is No. 179. In his first match at this year's Kiva Open, he beat Scotland’s Jon Geekie in straight games.