Grainger Takes Women’s Title; 200 Players Make 2012 Second Biggest Hyder Trophy

June 4, 2012 - 12:48pm
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There was also a $2,000 four-player women’s pro event that devolved into a similar five-years-later rematch (this time of the 2007 U. S. Nationals final) between Natalie Grainger and Latasha Khan. Grainger is a former British Open and World Open finalist, but she retired a few years ago from the WISPA circuit, while Khan, a six-time U. S. National champion who held that title throughout the early-2000’s before Grainger displaced her and began a five-year skein of her own, is still, remarkably at age 39, competing and getting good results on the pro tour.

Grainger’s superior skill level and wonderful front-court touch enabled her to capture the first game and, with greater difficulty, the second. But by then she was starting to tire and she fell behind 6-0 in the third game and had to cede the remainder of the game and conserve her strength for the fourth. She appeared ready to capsize again when a trio of tins put her behind 5-4, but she was able to score on a forehand straight drop (a ball she ALWAYS seems to guide accurately into the nick), then on a perfect-width forehand that cleanly passed Khan, who surrendered the next two points as well (8-5 from 4-5).

A long point at 9-6 ended up with a winded Grainger stuck at the back wall, unable to pursue Khan’s drop-shot winner (7-9), leading up to the match’s defining moment, with Khan having an open ball on her forehand, which however she nailed into the tin (10-7 instead of 8-9, an enormous swing), after which Grainger salted away yet another forehand straight-drop winner and breathed a sigh of both exhaustion and relief. The top men’s Open draw, the 6.0, was won for the second straight year by Columbia coach and ISDA doubles performer Jacques Swanepoel, who subdued high-school senior Faraz Khan in a straight-set final, possibly one too many match for Khan, who had qualified into the pro main draw Tuesday night and pulled off a praiseworthy upset win over S. L. Green quarterfinalist Graham Bassett in the first round. Kelsey Engman won the top women’s amateur flight, the 5.5, defeating Harvard freshman Julianne Chiu in the final.

Altogether, more than 200 amateur contestants, in many cases coming from all parts of the country, and even some foreign countries, entered one of another of the many competitive flights, another affirmation of the Hyder’s status as the most popular and well-subscribed tournament of its kind in North America, and a tribute as well to Kenny Scher, the longtime Executive Director of New York Squash (former known as the Metropolitan Squash Racquets Association), the tireless and unflagging efforts of Corey Modeste, the tournament chair of this event throughout the past several years, and the wisdom and vision of Dr. Hyder himself, still going strong (and in attendance at the final) at age 82, in founding this tourney in 1969 and in playing such a role in its growth and current exalted standing.