Bloomfield Hills, Mich – It was a banner day for the Americans as the 2017 Motor City Open presented by the Suburban Collection kicked off Wednesday night at the Birmingham Athletic Club.
In the night’s only five-game match, local qualifier Chris Hanson battled back from being down two sets to one to take down world #49 Farhan Zaman of Pakistan.
It was a back-and-forth battle throughout. Zaman and Hanson traded 11-9 games before Zaman grabbed the third, 11-7. Hanson was able to get separation from Zaman at 8-5 in the fourth game before holding on for an 11-7 triumph of his own.
“I got off to a bit of a slow start,” Hanson said. “But once I got my feet under me, I was really able to get into the game.”
Hanson got out to a 4-0 lead in the decisive fifth game. Zaman was able to close the gap to 8-7 before finally bowing out after hitting the tin on the match’s final two points.
“The whole match was really dependent on what he was doing,” Hanson said. “With his style of play, I had to get him to the point where he would error.”
After holding a two-game lead and match ball in last year’s first round of qualifying, Hanson was definitely relieved to get a win tonight at the MCO.
“I’m happy to come back and get a come-from-behind win of my own,” he said. “This is such a great tournament and a great opportunity for me. I’ll be ready to fire it up again tomorrow.”
Hanson will take on New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson, who got by England’s Nathan Lake in four games (11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-2).
Earlier in the night, Hanson’s fellow American and world #55 Christopher Gordon pulled off an upset with an impressive 11-8, 11-3, 11-4 victory over 28th-ranked Omar Abdel Meguid of Egypt.
Gordon, who came up just shy of qualifying for the main draw in 2016, will look to use the momentum he gained when he takes on 45th-ranked Ivan Yuen of Malaysia in Thursday’s final round of qualifying.
“I’ve never qualified here, and I would love to get my name up on that main draw board that hangs up here,” Gordon said.
“I’m feeling pretty confident and fresh for tomorrow. Today definitely went the way I would have hoped.”
Yuen breezed past Tayyab Aslam of Pakistan in straight sets: 13-11, 11-6, 11-1.
Todd Harrity will be the third American to join Thursday’s action, as 2007 MCO Champion Olli Tuominen of Finland was forced to retire in the second game.
Harrity will take on 39th-ranked Abdulla Mohamed Al Tamimi of Qatar, who made quick work of local qualifier Jon Geekie in three games: 11-4, 11-1, 11-5.
In the night’s other two matches, Rex Hedrick of Australia and Raphael Kandra of Germany both took care of business against local qualifiers.
Hedrick ousted Dylan Cunningham (11-3, 11-4, 11-5), and Kandra got by in three games against Alex Ingham (11-4, 11-5, 11-5). The two will meet on Thursday for the right to play in this weekend’s main draw.
Christopher Gorden (USA) def. Omar Abdel Meguid (Egypt) 11-8, 11-3, 11-4
Ivan Yuen (Malaysia) def. Tayyab Aslam (Pakistan) 13-11, 11-6, 11-1
Rex Hedrick (Australia) def. Dylan Cunningham (USA) 11-3, 11-4, 11-5
Raphael Kandra (Germany) def. Alex Ingham (England) 11-4, 11-5, 11-5
Campbell Grayson (New Zealand) def. Nathan Lake (England) 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-2
Chris Hanson (USA) def. Farham Zaman (Pakistan) 9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 11-7
Todd Harrity (USA) def. Olli Tuominen (Finland) 11-8, 5-0 (ret)
Abdulla Mohamed Al Tamimi (Qatar) def. Jon Geekie (Scotland) 11-4, 11-1, 11-5
Gordon vs. Yuen
Hedrick vs. Kandra
Grayson vs. Hanson
Harrity vs. Al Tamimi