2019 MFS Boston Pro Am
Hosted by The University Club of Boston and The Harvard Club
The 3rd MFS Boston Pro-Am to feature a women’s draw became the first ever WSDA and SDA parity prize money event. This landmark tournament hosted jointly by the Harvard Club and The University Club of Boston and speared headed by Stephen Columbia, Lenny Bernheimer and Tom Poor, featured an overall prize fund of $80,000.
The event began with a high quality qualifying field featuring a number of teams who regularly appear in WSDA main draws. Some fierce early round play saw 4 teams through to the qualifying finals. Notably, high school senior Caroline Spahr and her partner Nessrine Ariffin lost out on a place in the main draw to former Princeton Tigers Olivia Fiechter and Maria Elena Ubina. The second qualifying spot went to sister pairing Lume and Elani Landman after a long and fierce battle against Canadian tour newcomers Jamie Laird and Jackie Moss.
Fiechter entered the main draw to face her former coach, Tina Rix. Rix, partnered with Victoria Simmonds, taught Fiechter at the CHASS club in Philadelphia when Fiechter was a high school student. A long 3 game match that featured a heavy cross-court battle between Rix on the left wall and Ubina on the right was interspersed with some great attacking play from Fiechter. The creative and attacking frontcourt play from the younger team saw them prevail in three games.
At the bottom of the draw, second seeds Kelsey Engman and Madeline Perry came up against a terrifyingly accurate and determined Narelle Krizek and Stephanie Hewitt. Krizek/Hewitt took control early in the match with winners flying from both rackets. Perry/Engman found their rhythm in the 3rd but it was too late to halt the Krizek/Hewitt momentum as they took the game 15-14. This win for Krizek/Hewitt created another pupil/coach match up with Krizek coming up against her former Greenwich Field Club pupil, Maria Elena Ubina. Ubina, who played on the same high school team as 2018 MFS Boston Open Champion Kayley Leonard, was making her second appearance in a WSDA main draw having played the NYC Open earlier in the season. This time it was the coach who prevailed in three games. A close first two games saw some excellent play from both teams with only a few points between them. The second game saw Ubina/Fiechter go 13-11 before Hewitt/Krizek were able to run off a string of points to take the second game. Losing the second game seemed to dishearten the younger team and Krizek/Hewitt dominated the 3rd game to secure their spot in the final.
In the top half of the draw qualifiers, Lume and Elani Landman came up against top seeds and local favourites, Amanda Sobhy and Fernanda Rocha. Sobhy/Rocha proved too strong for the young twins and they advanced to the semi-final, where they met Natalie Grainger and current World #1 Suzie Pierrepont. The semi-final saw a predictably large crowd pack the Harvard Club courts to support the local team. The match started at a high pace and never let up, with Grainger/Pierrepont sneaking the first game 15-14 from 14-12 down, with Grainger hitting 2 spectacular winners to take the first game. The unseeded pair started the second game as they finished the first, racing to an 8-1 lead before giving up long strings of points to lose the game 15-12. Grainger/Pierrepont came out strong in the 3rd and 4th securing the match and a place in the final in 4 games.
The final was a match up many had been hoping to see. This was the first time these four players have taken to the court together, all previous World #1’s and World Champions. It was an even match throughout with neither team getting more than a couple of point’s margin on the other. Krizek, who prefers the right wall, showed that she has also mastered the left wall as she and Grainger traded winners at the front of the court. Eventually, the match came down to a couple of crucial errors towards the business end of the games. A very close 3rd game saw Krizek/Hewitt take the lead 14-12 before two winners from Grainger’s racket and an error from Krizek ended the match. The win gave Grainger her first WSDA title in two seasons and Pierrepont her 3rd consecutive MFS Boston Open title.
Thank you to everyone who supported this landmark event and special thanks to Kelley Pederson for her contributions to this article and many others.
The $40,000 MFS Boston Pro-Am, hosted by the Harvard Club and The University Club of Boston, begins Thursday morning. The record prize fund has attracted the strongest field of athletes possible, providing an all-star draw that will be sure to keep the Boston crowds entertained all weekend.
Qualifying matches begin Thursday at 10 am with some exciting local interest. Caroline Spahr, top US junior and daughter of University Club Head Pro Chris Spahr, makes her WSDA debut with Squash Busters Program Director and former Malaysian international Nessrine Arrifin. Also featured in qualifying is rising PSA star Olivia Fiechter. Fiechter, fresh off a win at the William White event last weekend and her first PSA tour title in November, makes her WSDA debut with fellow Princeton alum Maria Elena Ubina.
Top seeds in the main draw are local favourites and 2018 finalists Amanda Sobhy and Fernanda Rocha. Team USA superstar and PSA world #11, Sobhy will be looking for her second WSDA title of the season having partnered with Canadian Niki Todd to win the Breakform|RE LA Open in October. Rocha, the current assistant pro at The University Club will be hoping to go one better than in 2018 when she and Sobhy were defeated in the final by Suzie Pierrepont and Harvard sophomore, Kayley Leonard.
The bottom half of the draw features second seeds Madeline Perry and Kelsey Engman. Engman/Perry, who partnered together to reach the final of the NYC Open earlier this season, face unseeded tour veterans and former WSDA World #1s Narelle Krizek and Stephanie Hewitt in what will certainly be the match to watch on Friday night.
Elsewhere in the draw is the exciting addition of former PSA and WSDA World #1, Natalie Grainger. Grainger, the current mixed world champion, is partnered with current WSDA #1 Suzie Pierrepont. This will be Grainger’s first appearance on the WSDA pro tour in two seasons.
All matches are available for viewing on the live stream. Please visit www.wsdaprotour.com/live/ for match times and access.
2018 Boston Open
January 4th – 7th
This years MFS Boston Pro-Am featured an exciting mix of youth and experience with a number of new teams and a promising array of talented young players. Fresh from winning the Briggs Cup in December, Amanda Sobhy and Niki Todd were back in action, this time with different partners. Sobhy paired with fellow Boston based pro, Fernanda Rocha while Todd paired with the younger Sobhy sister, Sabrina. Todd/Sobhy won through qualifying to meet fellow PSA professionals, Lumi and Elani Landman. The match was a close 3-1 with both teams displaying the excellent court coverage you would expect from such great athletes and it was just a few poorly timed errors from the Landman twins that separated the two teams.
In the first semi final Todd/Sobhy found themselves 2-0 down to #2 seeds Kayley Leonard and Suzie Pierrepont before they were able to establish themselves on the court. The young pair managed to draw the match level at 2-2 before Leonard/Pierrepont were able to reassert themselves to win the 95 minute marathon. In the top half of the draw, “local” team Sobhy/Rocha dispatched 3rd seeds Dana Betts and Latasha Khan to meet top seeds Meredeth Quick and Stephanie Hewitt in the second semi final. Sobhy/Rocha started the match strongly, taking a close first game and following a mismatched second game looked on course to take the match 3-0. Quick/Hewitt fought back however and with some excellent shot making from Quick they were able to take the third game and establish a strong lead in the fourth before Sobhy/Rocha used their superior strength and court coverage to secure the match 3-1.
The final was an excellent all court match between two evenly matched teams. Pierrepont/Leonard took a close first game before a number of Pierrepont racket errors gave Rocha/Sobhy the second game. The two teams traded points for the majority of the 3rd game before Pierrepont/Leonard were able to pull away towards the end. The 4th game saw 21 year old, Harvard Junior Kayley Leonard play her best squash doubles to date, producing a number of crucial winners under extreme pressure to secure the match. Leonard showed the tenacity and composure that made her a top junior and will certainly make a player to watch in the future.
This year’s event was co hosted by the University Club of Boston and the Harvard Club of Boston. Now in it’s 27th year, this was the 2nd time the Boston Pro-Am has featured a women’s draw. Thank you to tournament organizers Lenny Bernheimer, Tom Poor and Stephen Columbia along with head pro’s Sharon Brady and Chris Spahr. Thanks also to title sponsor MFS and everyone else who supported the event.
#2 Suzie Pierrepont/Kayley Leonard bt. Amanda Sobhy/Fernanda Rocha 8,(10),12,9
Scott Arnold/Robin Clarke Bt. Yvain Badan/Michael Ferreira 11,14, (11), (11), 10
The WSDA pro tour will once again start the New Year in Boston. The MFS Pro Am, hosted by the University Club of Boston and the Harvard Club of Boston features an exciting draw headed by tour veterans, Stephanie Hewitt and Meredeth Quick. This is the first time in a number of seasons that Hewitt/Quick have partnered. Quick/Hewitt had previously joined forces in the 2013/14/15 seasons, winning the Philadelphia Open twice and the Turner Cup once.
The second seeds are a new paring, current WSDA World #1, Suzie Pierrepont and Harvard sophomore, Kayley Leonard. Leonard/Pierrepont had previously played together in the 2013 US Nationals when Leonard was a member of the Greenwich Academy high school team, coached by Pierrepont. Leonard has featured in a couple of WSDA events, most notably in the 2015 Turner where she and her partner, Natalie Grainger, fought their way through to the final before losing to top seeds Krizek/Pierrepont. Leonard/Pierrepont are seeded to meet rising stars on the WSDA pro tour, identical twins hailing from South Africa and now based in the New York/Connecticut area, Lume and Elani Landman.
The team to watch this weekend will be “local” pairing, University Club assistant pro, Fernanda Rocha and Harvard graduate, Amanda Sobhy. Sobhy/Rocha partnered to win the first WSDA Boston Open back in 2015 and both players were finalists in last months Briggs Cup. Rocha/Sobhy will face former WSDA World #1, Dana Betts and new partner and current WSDA World #3, Latasha Khan in the quarterfinals.
Briggs Cup winner, Niki Todd also appears in the draw and will once again be partnered with a Sobhy. For this event Todd is playing with the younger of the two squash phenom sisters, Sabrina Sobhy. Sabrina, currently playing on the Harvard women’s team has just returned from a semester abroad in Europe and will be keen to get back into a competitive mindset for the college squash season.
There is limited live streaming available due to the split venue but one semi-final and the final will be available to view and all matches will have live scoring available. Please see the LIVE page on the website for more information.
First Time Partners Sobhy/Pierrepont Win 2017 MSF Boston Pro Am
The first event of 2017, the MSF Boston Pro Am, took place at the University Club of Boston this weekend.
A strong draw featured #1 ranked pair, Dana Betts and Stephanie Hewitt, rising stars Latasha Khan and Tehani Guruge and first-time partners, PSA world #6 Amanda Sobhy and WSDA world #2 Suzie
In the top half of the draw, #3/4 seeds Amy Milanek and Victoria Simmonds beat local pairing Mary McKee and Squash Busters coach Nessrine Ariffin before falling to Betts/Hewitt 3-0 in the first of Saturdays semi finals. The bottom half of the draw saw two new faces to the WSDA tour. Elani and Lumi Landman from South Africa faced fellow PSA player Amanda Sobhy and her partner Suzie Pierrepont in the first round, losing 3-0. The Landman twins will certainly be players to watch in the future.
In the second semi final of Saturday afternoon, Sobhy/Pierrepont dispatched #2 seeds, Khan/Guruge 3-0. Guruge appeared to find Sobhy’s court coverage frustrating in a high paced, all court game.
The MSF Boston Pro Am final was a battle of the left handed players. Impressive ball striking and shot making from both Betts and Sobhy ensured a high paced game with Sobhy once again using her excellent court coverage to apply pressure to Betts/Hewitt. The event was Sobhy’s first appearance on the WSDA tour in over a year, her last being the 2015 Boston Open which she won with University Club pro, Fernanda Rocha. Sobhy was once again victorious on her home court as she and Pierrepont defeated the tops seeds 3-0.
Thank you to tournament organizers, Lenny Bernheimer and Tom Poor, and everyone involved with the event.
#3/4 Amanda Sobhy/Suzie Pierrepont bt. #1 Dana Betts/Stephanie Hewitt
15-10, 15-5, 15-10
The first event of 2017 takes place this weekend in Boston. The draw for the MFS Pro-Am Boston, hosted by the University Club, is topped by current world #1, Dana Betts and her partner world #9, Stephanie Hewitt.
The top half of the draw features local players Mary Mckee and Squash Busters coach, Nessrine Ariffin. McKee/Ariffin face Victoria Simmonds and Amy Milanek for a place in the semi-finals.
At the bottom half of the draw, #2 seeds Latasha Khan and Tehani Guruge face strong competition from first time partners, Amanda Sobhy and Suzie Pierrepont. This event will be a first appearance on the WSDA tour in over a year for Sobhy, the current PSA World Ranked #6. Sobhy, will be a player to watch in the Tournament of Champions next week. Sobhy/Pierrepont will need to get past two new faces on the WSDA tour, Elani and Lume Landman, to secure a spot against Khan/Guruge in the second semi-final.
Home Favorites Capture 2016 Boston Open Title
Fernanda Rocha and Amanda Sobhy made the most of their home court advantage in the first WSDA Boston Open sweeping to a 3/0 vicotry over #2 seeds Dana Betts and Victoria Simmonds in the final. Sobhy, the PSA world ranked #11,flew back from competing in Qatar to partner with University Club assistant pro Rocha.
Hosted by the University Club of Boston the $10,000 event included #1 seeds and current #1 ranked pair, Narelle Krizek and Natarsha McElhinny. Krizek/McElhinny lost a nail biting semi final match to the eventual winners.
In the bottom half of the draw #2 seeds Dana Betts and Victoria Simmonds defeated Alex Clark and Georgina Stoker in a close 3/0.