An impressive collection of collegiate, national and world squash champions gathered at Hemenway Gym last night for the opening rounds of the tenth annual Boston Open Squash Racquets Tournament.
The Open, sponsored by the Massachusetts Squash Racquets Association, boasts a field of players that includes nine-time world Pro champion Sharif Khan, U.S. amateur king Gil Mateer and Harvard senior and two-time U.S. Collegiate Champ Mike Desaulniers, along with a dozen other world class players.
While both Desaulniers and Khan received byes into today's first round, last night's preliminary action provided plenty of entertainment for the overflow crowd of 200 who paid up to $100 for a "sponsor's seat" in the front row of the Hemenway gallery.
Canadian champion Phil Mohtadi started things off by dismantling Massachusetts singles and doubles champion Tom Poor in the tourney's opening match. Mohtadhi combined soft, floating serves with low, blistering backhand rail shots to eliminate Poor in three straight games.
In later action, Ron Beck and Western Ontario all-star John Lennard battled through a five-game marathon before the scrappy Beck prevailed, 3-2, to earn a spot in the main tournament, which starts tonight at 7 p.m.
Crimson captain Desaulniers is the Open's fourth seed and will start play with an 8 p.m. battle against former Princeton star Frank Satterhwaite. While the Quincy House resident should have no problem handling Satterhwaite, he will face strong competition in the later rounds from members of the Khan family, six of whom are entered in the Open and five of whom are world-ranked players.
However, despite the hordes of Khans, Harvard men's squash coach Dave Fish is optimistic about Desaulniers' chances of victory. "Mike has beaten all the Khans except Sharif and he took him to four games last week in Montreal," Fish said, "so if he gets and early lead he could win it."
Heavyweights Aid B.U.
The Harvard heavyweight crew raised $480 for the Boston University rowing program, which B.U. officials have threatened to eliminate unless the oarsmen raise $50,000.
The row-a-thon, held on the Crimson's only no-workout day of the year, netted more than any other school has contributed to keep Terrier rowing alive.