Pyramid Squash Club owners Gamal and Katja Amir
with Tournament Champion Shahid Khan
March 25 - England's Shahid Khan beat American Adrian Leanza 3-1 to win the 2012 Pyramid Open Tournament Championship. Games scores were 11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8.
"I played well this weekend," said Khan. "It was a good draw, but I felt very good about my training and play."
Khan is the first player to advance from a qualifying round to win a PST tournament title.
Leanza is regarded as the fittest player on tour. He seemed quite content to extend rallies and force Khan to cover all corners of the court. With the two knotted at 3 in game four and Khan looking for more oxygen after an extended rally, it appeared like Leanza's strategy would work again.
However, Khan won the next four of five rallies with aggressive shot making. Facing a 7-4 deficit, there was now a little pressure on Leanza to find better answers. Khan didn't relent and closed out the match and tournament win an 11-8 victory in game 4.
This victory represents Khan's first tournament championship in PST action. He is a teaching pro in residence at Rye Brook, NY's Club at 800.
Khan beat reigning Connecticut Open Champion Supreet Singh in the semi-finals. Khan's final round opponent Adrian Leaza won last December's Philadelphia Open and entered the weekend tournament as PST's #2 player in the season standings.
The Pyramid Open marked PST's second season holding a tournament at the Pyramid Squash Club. "The Amirs (club owners) are good friends and wonderful hosts," said PST Commissioner Joe McManus. "This year was especially nice because we were able to schedule our tournament to coincide with their junior tournament. It's always wonderful to see the young kids courtside."
In the 3rd place match, 18 year old Faraz Khan bested Supreet Singh in four games. Scores were 12-14, 11-8, 11-5, 12-10. Khan is the first US junior to reach the semi-finals of a PST tournament.
Pro Squash Tour action continues next weekend when the tour moves to Rhode Island for the Providence Open.
Adrian Leanza (USA) beat Faraz Khan (USA) 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-3
Shahid Khan (ENG) beat Supreet Singh (IND) 11-5, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8
Shahid Khan played the best squash of his season in beating Supreet Singh 3-1. Khan entered the tournament as a qualifier. He is the first qualifying round player to reach a PST tournament final. Khan played confidently and aggressively. He was good above the shoulder, in the front court and back court. He hit nicks from all corners and found winning length at other moments.
Every now and again, an athlete is simply "in the zone". Tonight, Shahid Khan was in that zone, and nothing Supreet did was enough to counteract that fact.
Khan is currently a teaching pro at Club at 800 in Rye Brook, NY. Singh is the Director of Squash at Avon Old Farms School in Avon, CT.
Shahid will face Adrian Leanza who survived a grueling four game match against 18 year old Faraz Khan. Both players take pride in their fitness. Both play every ball and extend rallies to wear down their opponents. Leanza was just a little better at it tonight in a four game match that lasted 77 minutes.
Khan is a rising star on the US Junior stage and is testing the waters now on the pro tour. "He is an impressive young man, on the court and off," said PST Commissioner Joe McManus. "I hope we see more of him on tour."
Leanza is a teaching pro at Fairmount Athletic Club in King of Prussia, PA. Khan is still considering which college to attend next year.
Pyramid Squash Club Owner Gamal Amir watching match play
Supreet Singh on court
Intimate setting at Pyramid Squash
Kids courtside watching the semis
Shahid Khan reaching for a ball
Katja Amir and Corey Modeste courtside
Shahid Khan (L) and Faraz Khan (R) advanced to this evening's Pyramid Open Semis
Quarter Final Results
Adrian Leanza (USA) beat Dylan Murray (USA)10-12, 3-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5
Faraz Khan (USA) beat TG Raubenheimer (RSA) 6-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-6
Supreet Singh (IND) beat Mason Ripka (USA) 11-4, 11-4, 11-6
Shahid Khan (ENG) beat Ned Marks (USA) 11-3, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8
March 24 - 18 year old Rising star Faraz Khan and veteran Shahid Khan both advanced to this evening's Pyramid Open semi-finals at Pyramid Squash Club in Tuckahoe, NY.
Faraz will face PST #2 Adrian Leanza in this evening's semi-fianls. Leanza beat Dylan Murray in a closely fought five match. Game scores were 10-12, 3-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5.
Leanza started very slowly in this match and Murray's play reached the sublime in the first two games. But Leanza began to assert himself at the mid-point - maybe too much. Referee Mohamed Nabil warmed Leanza for an excessive swing on several occasions, but stopped short of penalizing him a point. The physicality seemed to bother the younger Murray who seemed to lose focus at later stages of the match.
Faraz beat TG Raubenheimer 6-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-6 in his quarter final match. Faraz Khan won a statement victory over veteran TG Raubenheimer. Faraz was quicker to the ball and more precise in his shot making. It seemed to surprise Raubenheimer, who is ever the gentleman on and off court. Raubenheimer played well, but the match was Khan's.
Shahid will face Supreet Singh who comfortably adanced in 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 victory over Mason Ripka. Young Ripka looked solid in last night's qualifying round, but Singh gave him few openings to hit his signature shots. The went quickly to Singh.
Shahid Khan needed to beat Ned Marks in quarter final play. He did in four games: 11-3, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8. The rallies were long and impressive throughout. Both Khan and Marks are patient players. And because they often train together, they know each other's game well. Khan was simply stronger today. Marks had beaten Khan earlier in the month at the Buffalo Wild Wings Open. So, Khan enjoyed exacting his revenge today.
Parents and future PST stars enjoying the action
Coaches, parents and future PST Stars enjoying the action
Opening Round Results
Mason Ripka beat Nathan Ticho 11-6, 11-7, 11-4
Dylan Murray beat Bradbury Thompson 9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-7
Shahid Khan beat Hesham el Torky 11-5, 11-6, 11-2
Faraz Khan beat Assem Salem 11-9, 11-8 (ret.)
Each of America's top junior players who entered the Pyramid Open advanced to Saturday's main draw. Dylan Murray and Faraz Khan faced one another in last week's US Squash U-19 National Championship match. And Mason Ripka was last year's U-15 National Champion and is already a top 10 player in the U-19 ranks. Each won in impressive fashion tonight against veteran opponents.
Murray dropped the first game against Brown University's Brad Thompson but rebounded to close the match out in four games.
Ripka opened the match confidently and never allowed Nathan Ticho to get his feet as he closed out the match in three quick games.
Faraz Khan extended the rallies against former Pyramid Squash teaching pro Assem Salem, who was forced to withdraw due to injury.
Englishman Shahid Khan beat Egypt's Hesham el Torky, who was making his PST debut. Khan will now face Ned Marks (U.S.). Marks and Khan last faced one another at the Buffalo Wild Wings tournament, which went to Marks in five close games.
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Dylan Murray, Mason Ripka, and Faraz Khan to Battle Touring Pros
Pro Squash Tour is returning to Pyramid Squash Club again this year on March 23-25 for the Pyramid Open. Four of PST's Top 11 players have registered for the event as they chase points to qualify for the PST Championship tournament in May.
Of equal interest, three of America's top junior players will again test their mettle against the tour's pros. Dylan Murray (Bronxville, NY), Faraz Khan (Floram Park, NJ), and Mason Ripka (New York, NY) are all Top 10 ranked juniors in American squash.
PST Commissioner Joe McManus says this could be a breakthrough event for the juniors. "These young men are training hard and are improving quickly. It's very possible one of them could go deep in this tournament."
Located in Tuckahoe, NY, Pyramid Squash is owned and run by Katja and Gamal Amir.
Gamal Amir was formerly ranked 28th in the world and was born in Cairo, Egypt. After more than 15 years of competitive playing, Gamal focused increasingly on his true passion - coaching. Since 1999 he has lived in the NY area and has developed several nationally and internationally ranked players.
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