Playing on the Denver Athletic Club courts where he learned the sport in the thirty-fifth Hashim Khan, Denver-native Preston Quick and partner Matt Jenson claimed their first ranking event title since becoming full-time partners two years ago.
World No. 11 and 12 Jenson & Quick both dipped in March’s rankings from eight and seven after Jenson took a brief hiatus, during which Quick played with Greg McArthur and Viktor Berg in the David Johnson and North American Open respectively.
Reunited for the first tournament since the Putnam Pro-Am, top seeds Jenson & Quick started their campaign against recently-crowned U.S. hardball and softball singles champion Julian Illingworth in the quarterfinals. Illingworth recorded his first SDA round of sixteen victory since November’s Big Apple Open with partner Hamed Anvari against locals Andrew Lumpkin & David Ramsden-Wood. Quick & Jenson knocked off the rust against Illingworth & Anvari to win 15-7, 15-11, 15-14.
Former PSA world No. 4 Chris Walker partnered with versatile Canadian PSA and SDA professional Fred Reid in the fourth-seeded partnership. Walker & Reid eliminated Michael Ferreira & Dylan Patterson in their first match of the tournament 10-15, 15-12, 15-8, 15-11 to set up a semifinal against Jenson & Quick.
With the match score level at 1-1, Walker attacked Quick high on the right wall, which Quick swiftly responded with winners that propelled the top seeds into the finals 15-7, 12-15, 15-8, 15-9.
Awaiting Jenson & Quick in the final were second seeded world No. 5 Manek Mathur—playing without regular partner Yvain Badan due to injury—and instead with world No. 14 Baset Chaudhry.
Chaudhry’s right-wall play proved formidable with Mathur as the Indian-Pakistani partnership led to two three-game victories in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
With momentum on their side in the final, Mathur & Chaudhry commanded a face-paced first game 15-5, prompting Jenson & Quick to re-evaluate and re-strategize going in to the second game.
“Clearly we got outplayed in the first game,” Jenson admits. “We consciously spoke about controlling the pace of the game. It was very fast and furious there for a while, and we needed better width. We really focused on slowing the pace and going high and wide making either Manek or Baset hit a backhand.”
With a change of pace and targeting, Jenson & Quick turned the match on its head, maintaining their new game plan to win the next three games and the title 5-15, 15-8, 15-7, 15-12.
Although Jenson & Quick won an invitational version of the Hashim Khan in 2009, winning a full ranking event in his home town at his home club was particularly gratifying for Quick.
“It was amazing to win in Denver and at my home club,” Quick said. “I grew up playing squash there and it was incredible to look up and see all my family and friends who I have known since I was a little kid.”
“Preston is the perfect sportsman: his on court demeanor, his attitude, is second to none,” Jenson remarked about his teammate in a brief speech after the match. “This was a privilege and a joy. He is a great leader of the SDA tour.”
To cap off an already euphoric weekend on court, Jenson got engaged to his long-time girlfriend, Sarah, in Denver, her hometown, surrounded by her family.
The thirty-fifth iteration of the Hashim Khan also included a Women’s Doubles Squash Association draw. For the second tournament in a row, Meredeth Quick—sister of Preston, was one half of a team to knock out two seeds Victoria Simmonds & Heidi Mather in the semifinals. In St. Louis, Quick & Steph Hewitt eliminated Simmonds & Mather in three games, and in Denver, Dana Betts joined Quick in their repeat upset to reach the finals.
Hewitt was pitted against Quick in Denver, however, as the world No. 3 joined joint world No. 1 Suzie Pierrepont to defeat Quick & Betts in the final 15-9, 15-11, 15-3.
In addition, over twenty simultaneously-held singles and doubles Pro-Am and amateur draws—organized by DAC professionals John and Anne Lesko—created a lively and vibrant atmosphere throughout the weekend.
The tour travels east to Cleveland, Ohio for the Tavern Club Invitational next month, the final full ranking tournament of the season, followed by the season’s final event, the Racquet & Tennis Club Challenger in New York City April 25-27.