There was plenty of local interest in the 2nd Men’s Pro 1K event in as many months held at the newest squash club on the West Coast – Squash Zone. The Ligeti Open – generously sponsored by Kiersten Ligeti of Alain Pinel Realtors allowed the chance for local pros and upcoming juniors to flock to the squash center in Redwood City from Thursday 29th November to Saturday 1st December to watch players strategize and outwit each other on the glass court. Spectators were treated to many riveting matches over the course of the weekend, the action started in the first round where there were several match ups between student and teacher (Mustafa Nawar and Charlie Johnson edging out their respective students Arav Bhagwati and Mukunth Gopalkrishnan in 3 games each).
The main contenders for the final; no. 1 seed Charlie Johnson and no. 2 seed Mustafa Nawar were pushed hard in each round from the quarters onwards. The Huang dynasty put up some great competition in the form of Dillon who pushed Johnson before losing out in 4 games and older brother Zephyn holding a 2-1 lead over Nawar only to lose out in the 5th game. Elsewhere Nick Talbott, local head pro at Stanford Squash Club made Johnson work hard for his final placing. The no. 1 seed needed 5 games again to dispatch the son of legendary Mark Talbott. Cole Becker, Princeton student, was in the bottom half of the draw and have a relatively easier run to the semi finals where he came up against Nawar. An extremely hard fought 5 games with both players using their athleticism, guile and wits to dominate play at different stages. Becker finally clinched the match in a 5th game tie-breaker to set up a final clash between, yet again, former student and coach!
Johnson had the better start in the final and seemed buoyed by the crowd to take the first game with little resistance from the younger player. However, Becker came out firing in the first part of the second using pace to unsettle Johnson and it looked like we had a battle on our hands once Becker leveled the match at 1-1 on a tie break. He continued to spend time in front of his opponent along with a higher pace which seemed to be causing Johnson problems with shot selection when he had the time. With a lead of 2-1 and 4-2 int the 4th we heard a cry from Johnson as he went foot first into the side wall. The injury time out proved enough to make a decision where it was unwise to play so match awarded to Becker as Johnson applied ice to his ankle and reflected on a great few days of squash!
Well done to Cole Becker as winner who put in a solid performance throughout the weekend, his consistency proving key to his victories. A huge thanks to those who came out to support the event. Sponsor Kiersten Ligeti of Alain Pinel Real Estate was in attendance as were several members of the Squash Zone Member’s Handicap Tournament. Richard and his team at Squash Zone were delighted with the events and are looking forward to the next one already!