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The 2nd Squash Zone Club Championships started off in fine style on Friday evening with all the main ingredients present; squash players and pizza!
Many defending champions showed up in a bid to hold onto their titles and others tried their hand at the next grade up after winning their division last year. Most notable throughout the weekend was the participation of all of our new members; those players that have taken up squash in the past year came out in force, some for their first ever tournament.
With competitors ranging in age from 7 years of age to 70 Squash Zone was a hive of good natured competition throughout the weekend.
The Juniors event was a round robin format with James Yan coming out in a strong first place and Josh Zeitlin taking second. James started playing a year ago and is one to watch for the future!
In the adult sections there were 6 divisions from 3.0 (where Rhonin Faruqi triumphed over Divya Patnam in a 3 game victory in the final) to 5.5 level (where Arav Bhagwati, one of the Bay Area’s strongest juniors edging out Shivin Kumar in 4 games).
Elsewhere in the 3.5s, Chris Evdaimon won a 5 game thriller with Isha Gupta that saw Chris come from 2 games to 1 down before taking it 11-8 in the 5th game.
Meanwhile in the 4.0 division long time sparring partners Eli Abbe and Atul Tiwary faced off in the final, Eli took it in 3 games but not before dealing with 3 tie-breakers.
The 4.5 division was a youthful affair with Humza Rabbani meeting Samira Sankaran in the final, Samira is one of the many juniors at Squash Zone who will go on to play squash in college next year. Humza took the title this time in 4 close games after losing the first.
The penultimate final of the day was contested between Pankaj Srivastava and Peter Thompson – this event fittingly ending with some of our more established players taking to the courts! Pankaj won out in 3 after surviving a 3rd game tie-break.
The final of the 5.5 between Arav and Shivin was watched by an interested crowd fueled by BBQ and refreshments watching high quality squash as inspiration for next year!
NorCal Squash’s annual team tournament wrapped up with some spectacular squash at the Bay Club San Francisco April 19-21. The top teams in four divisions represented the Bay Area from Marin to San Jose and San Francisco to San Ramon. Congratulations to all the players for a great season and making it into the finals. After many hard fought matches the winners were:
1st place: the Bay Club Santa Clara, captain Jimmy Li
2nd place: the Olympic Club, captain Kenneth Chan
3rd place: the Bay Club Santa Clara, captain Venkitachalam Gopalakrishnan
1st place: the Bay Club Marin, captain Nathaniel Mosse
2nd place: Oakland Tinmen, captain Kim Ben Khoo
3rd place: Divone 2, captain Vivek Ravi
1st place: the Bay Club Santa Clara, captain Mehma Jolly
2nd place: UCSF 3, captain Michael Song
3rd place: the Bay Club Marin, captain Sam Swire
1st place: the Bay Club Santa Clara, captain Rachel Yun
2nd place: Squash Zone 4, captain McGee O’Neil
3rd place: the Bay Club Cupertino, captain Jude Tantawy
Squash Zone hosted the 2nd edition of the annual Squash Zone Silver on March 29-31st. With a entry list of over 80 and plenty local and out of state interest, juniors converged on the facility in Redwood City for a fun yet competitve weekend of squash supported by NorCal Squash.
BU11: This age group definitely won the hearts of all the spectators, with rackets nearly as tall as themselves 11 kids battled it out for the prize. Gautham Suresh prevailed in a very closely fought 5 game match on the glass court. Suresh held a off a spirited defense from Arjya Saha who came back to level the match from 2 games down but couldn’t quite edge it in the 5th game. A match played with great sportsmanship and skill, truly a joy to watch.
BU13: Two round robins culminated in Abhinav Athreya facing off against Faizaan Mustafa in the final on Sunday morning. Again, as in the Bu11 final, Abinav went 2 games up in the first two games only to see his lead shattered as Faizaan made his way back to a 2-2 tie. In the 5th game Abhinav’s lower error count was the difference on the day and he came away with the Bu13 title.
BU15: Going to form with yet another closely contested final Nachiket Desai of Cupertino had a relatively easy run to the finals only dropping 1 game on the way. Likewise, Nikhil Prasad of Fremont reached the final smoothly winning all his matches 3-0. Prasad, playing in 2 divisions this weekend, did not let tiredness get the better of him and game back from a 2 game to 1 deficit to win 11-9 in the 5th game.
BU17: In the most populated draw of the event 24 players were whittled down to 2 players with number 1 seed Abhimanyu Gupta taking the spoils on the final match of the event. His closest match having been in the semi-finals against Bharadwaj Sasikumar where he won 3-1. In the other half of the draw Vaibhav Turaga of El Dorado Hills pulled out a suprise victory over no. 2 seed Bharadwaj’s brother Bhavesha but couldn’t quite produce the same upset losing out in 3 close games to Gupta.
Gu13: This was a combined division with Gu11 players alongside their older counterparts. Isha Gupta came out victorious with a clean record in the Round Robing winning all 3 of her matches. Eva Chow came in 2nd with her only loss coming against the eventual winner.
Gu17: This was a combined division with Gu15; the quality of play was extremely high with Dina Morsy of Danville and Ashna Tumuluri of Redwood City battling it out in the final. In a closely fought match with an 18-16 scoreline in the 3rd Dina took the trophy coming from a game down to secure a 3-1 win.
Gu19: The two round robins were won by Ellyn Xu and Fatima Abdelrahman who won all their respective matches. In a very close final where all games went down to the wire Fatima was able to nudge out a win in the 4th game tie-break to take the Squash Zone Silver title. Thank you to all those who supported this event (NorCal Squash and the team at Squash Zone). Well done to all competitors involved, it was a great weekend of high quality squash
matches, sportsmanship and camaraderie.
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!
The start of the 2018-19 NorCal Squash League is approaching, with this years season running from mid-October through April. The league is a great way to get to know the squash community better and play competitive matches against other clubs in the area. Currently the regions include the Peninsula League, the SF City League, the East Bay League, and the Sacramento League. There is play across all divisions, from div. 1 which includes local pros through to div. 4 for those just starting to pick up the sport. Each team consists of 6-10 players, with matches against opposing teams played every two weeks. Four players from each team play each other during a match night, with best of five, rally point games. For a full explanation of the setup and rules, please click here.
For more information regarding the league, and for information on joining, please contact us!
San Francisco – Emilie van der Hoorn East Bay – Waqas Khan Peninsula – Michael Corbett Sacramento – Abel Orozco
Aisling Blake of Squash Zone and Lauren Xaba of Squash Drive are excited to host the Inaugural Bay Area Squash Women’s Leadership Luncheon on Friday, September 28th from 11:30am – 1:30pm. It will be a panel based discussion with lunch before, where they will explore the role of sport in a women’s professional career. We have some amazing panelist, including Courtney Sabo, co-founder at PadPiper, Berkeley Revenaugh, Independent Contractor and Sarah Jane Perry (current world no. 8 squash player).
Our aim is to donate proceeds to a scholarship fund for young girls (from SquashDrive and Squash On Track) to attend female enrichment camps during the summer. Click here to sign up: when you purchase a ticket a portion of it will be tax deductible and you will also get access to the afternoon session of matches at the Bay Club SF.