Leanza OT In The 5th Over Ripka To Win PST Westchester

September 24, 2012 - 1:00am
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Adrian Leanza won the Buffalo Wild Wings Open at Club at 800 in Rye Brook, NY on Sunday afternoon in a hard fought match against rising star Mason Ripka.

Game scores were 11-2, 7-11, 5-11, 11-9, 14-12.

Ripka is just 16 years old, but he won’t be catching any pros unaware again as word will quickly spread about his current level of play. There is also an unmistakable similarity in his style of play to that of reigning PST World Champion Wael El Hindi. The tour’s champion is a masterful shooter, who uses his body on court better than anyone on the planet. Ripka trains with Hindi and the master has taught him well.

Leanza dominated the opening frame as the junior seemed overly energetic. His coach (and father) must have righted the ship because the second and third games were all Ripka. He moved Leanza around the court by controlling the tempo of play and capitalizing on Leanza errors.

Leanza showed tremendous resolve in game four and jumped to a fast 8-2 lead. But Ripka won the next 6 points to pull the game level. Leanza’s confidence seemed shaken. But an unforced error from Ripka  ended the streak and Leanza seemed settled again. He won the next two of three points to close out the game and force a deciding fifth game.

Leanza was the first to reach 10 points as he pulled ahead 10-8. Ripka won the next three rallies and had match ball. He actually had match ball at 11-10 and 12-11. On each of these rallies, he appealed to the referee for the point and each appeal was denied. These decisions appeared to frustrate the young star who was in search of his first PST title.

Leanza closed out the match at 14-12.

"It doesn’t get closer than what we saw today," said PST Commissioner Joe McManus.  "It’s interesting to watch Mason play. I tell juniors who compete on tour that they will gain experience with us. Our tour will make them tougher because the pros do things that they don’t see on the junior circuit.

"However, Mason was the one frustrating our pros this week. He’s mentally tough, he’s big and he is getting so strong. I think he very well could be playing the best squash of any junior in the U.S. today, and I expect he will win some PST events this season."

Final, PST Buffalo Wild Wings Open, Rye Brook, New York

Adrian Leanza d Mason Ripka 11-2, 7-11, 5-11, 11-9, 14-12.