RYE BROOK, N.Y. -- The Pro Squash Tour's Buffalo Wild Wings Westchester Open began play at the Club@800 in Rye Brook on Friday as American Yasser Kamel fell to 15-year-old New York City native Mason Ripka by a score of three games to none.
"I was just really slow today," Kamel said in a post-game interview. "He played really well and was all over me from the beginning."
Although Ripka thought the elder Kamel didn't play his best game, he was happy to advance.
"I played well and I'm happy to be in the next round," Ripka said. "It's great experience playing against the pros, it's a real challenge."
In the second match of the evening fellow American and Greenwich, Conn. native Ned Marks rallied to beat English national and Club@800 pro Shadid Khan by a score of 3-2. Khan took the first two games, but Marks came back to win the final three and advance to day two of the tournament.
"I've probably played him 100 to 150 times and that's probably my third or fourth win," Marks said. "(As the match went on) I settled in a little bit more, but he played incredibly well."
Club pro and local favorite Khan was complimentary of his opponent.
"I know Ned's game and he played well and went on when I got tired," Khan said. "My body didn't have it in me."
Port Chester resident and club owner, Mike Callaway, spoke to what the tournament means to the club and its members.
"It's great for our members and the people we teach," Callaway said. "It's a great opportunity for people who don't see squash to learn what it is about and start playing."
According to Pro Squash Tour Commissioner Joseph McManus, 2012 is the first year all the matches will be played at Club@800. McManus also spoke about the growth and importance of the Rye Brook-based tournament.
"Squash is the en vogue sport right now," McManus said. "This tour point is a nexus for the sport because it's in between two of the biggest hotbeds for squash in Connecticut and New York City."
The tournament will continue on Saturday as the two top seeds, 2010 U.S. Open Champion Wael El Hindi and 12-time Greek Champion Fabian "Fabuloso" Kalaitzis take the court. The first match of the day starts at 11 a.m. and pits Connecticut Open winner Supreet Singh against U.S. Junior Dylan Murray. The second match features Kalaitzis and Ripka, and in the third, El Hindi will square off versus Marks. South African TG Raubenheimer will face American Adrian Leanza at 1 p.m. for the final match of the day.
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