Faraz Khan (USA) 3-2 Edwin Clain 12-10, 7-11, 12-10, 8-11, 14-12 (72m)
I’m back in effect and ready to share my well-intended, but likely misunderstood views of what had possibly happened! This writer is a self-taught junk dawg who can’t hit a ball straight, but is gifted with the pens. Or in this case, the iPhone keyboard.
Game 1 saw Clain jump out to a fast lead in the first, only to find Khan settle in and battle back to tie break, and then go on to seal the game 12-10. Full disclosure I didn’t see that game but I know a guy who knew a knew a girl who I can reasonably almost trust.
In the 2nd: The trend repeated but Clain kept the gas on sizzle. To this untrained eye, it felt like his shots were more patient, and higher quality, which kept Khan moving very aggressively over all 4 corners, while the French player stayed solid in the middle, keeping his counterpart moving and forcing more reaching shots, stretching framers and more. We’re locked at 1-1.
In the 3rd, I feel the pace of the previous games started to show and the compact and speedy Khan fought ahead in the first half of the game. Going short started to appear more effective, if not at least forcing some hard lunges and reaching gets. Clain clawed back to 8-6 by going short himself and both players wiped their sweat. Or modelled their towels synchroniciously (not a word). Lots of trickle boasts, lots of effectiveness.
After a particularly nasty trickle from the backhand Clain exerted and dove to no avail, we are back and tied up at 10-10. Speaking of towel men there was a large applause while GAAARY tidied up the resulting mess. This writer was then struck with an errant towel which was aimed at an aging member nearby who was angrily confused and berating his cell phone ala old man yells at clouds. Riveting of court action! Anyways, after the mopping Khan quickly scored 2 points via quality shots and a fortunate tin from Clain. 2-1 for the US of A!
Kahn jumped out quickly to 2-0. Clain countered and went short, then even shorter. Khan went longer and shorter, across and straight. I’ve realized the impressive breadth of shots these players need to masterfully control just to get a point. A bit of a see saw battle brings us back to a tie, 6-6. The crowd is hoping it goes to 5.
This writer is overwhelmed by his own personal shortcomings but forces himself to watch each entertaining rally with a profound introspection. Clain worked to re-establish his space and the shot selection was strong which resulted in a 4 point run, topped by a stroke with a good accompanying hip thrust dance from Khan. The dance loosened the hips and shouts of ‘sick shot’ from the crowd pushed us to 10-8. I honestly missed game ball as it happened so quickly, I’m not sure why but Clain was pumping his fist, relieved as we are going to 5!
Ah, Game 5.
Us large framed gents rarely make it this far, but both players look focused and limber. Back and forth score wise, before Clain rattled off 3 straight to push to 7-3. A contentious call up front results in a let that motivates Khan to fight back for 2 quick points. A close stroke is called in Clain’s favour who follows it up with a sick backcourt volley nick. We are nearing the end and some contact and stroke in the front corner pushed Clain up 10-6 who quickly tinned the next rally, and Khan went short fast and outlasted the next rally to bring it to 10-9! Next an insane no look cross court Nick from Khan erupted the crowd! 2 big calls bring us to 11s, and Clain claims the 12th but Khan retrieves 4 near winners in the front court before an untimely tin.
A little contact to the face of Khan draws a let, and we are all tied up again. An insanely precise backcourt drop nicks out for Khan, and the next punishing rally moves the players across the court many times before a backhand straight from Khan dies and becomes irretrievable in the back corner. 14-12, 3-2 for Khan!
Edwin Clain (FRA; 87) vs Aqeel Rehman (AUT; 124)
A close-up of several signs
Both playing in their first Nash Cup. Edwin has the PSA edge having won in their past 2 meetings.
Game 1 opened with a very lengthy hard-fought rally, won by a well place boast from Clain, setting the tone for what would prove to be a grueling match. Rehman went for some difficult drop shots, while Clain used the back hand high drop to win several points to take the lead. Reham with a few too many unforced errors allowed Clain to take game 1, 11-7 (10′)
Rehman came out strong in game 2, taking the first 5 points on well-placed drops on the backhand wall, putting immense pressure on Clain. Clain pushed back with a few great holds before driving the ball to the deep court, but Rehman was on a mission to tie up the match relentlessly firing back. The shorter rallies and targeted shots work. Rehman takes game 2, 11-8 (9′)
Game 3, the players began to force the referee to make calls, with 4 requests for let’s in the first 7 points, 3 resulting in strokes. Truly a back-and-forth affair with game 3 tied at 5-5, Clain made an unfortunate tin on back-to-back points. Rehman pulled away winning the game 11-6 (8′)
A person holding a tennis racket
Description automatically generatedGame 4 opened with another long rally culminating in a beautiful back hand drop for Rehman that rolled out on the forehand side. Clain stormed back taking the next 6 points and a commanding lead only to have Rehman nick out another smash on the forehand side. Too many tins for Rehman and game 4 to Clain 11-5 (7′)
Game 5- with the crowd filling in for the final game, Clain slowed the pace down and punished Rehman on the backhand side, including an authoritative overhand smash, roll-out. Up 8-4 Clain continued to use the back hand wall to his advantage, winning 11-6 (9′). Our first 5 game match of the tournament. 3-2 for Clain (53′)
Jeff Wong, DAGI
A second view of Clain (FRA) vs. Rehman (AUT)
by Quinn McLean (15th old and cool) and Mark McLean (old and lame).
Game 1 – As the match begins, the daughter/father reporting team are both hopeful of a great match. The old man is wondering how much of the match his daughter would actually watch compared to being on SnapChat with some boy name Finley.
The first rally of the match was a monster and maybe a sign of things to come. The early part of this game was a back and forth affair with it being knotted at 4-4. As soon as this reporter typed that, the Frenchman (Clain), jumped out to an 9-4 lead and took a commanding lead in the game. A quick couple of unforced errors and it is back to 9-7 with Rehman looking to claw back in the game. A great winner from Clain made it game ball, and an unforced error into the tin finished the game… 11-7 Clain.
Game 2 – Currently in the SnapChat vs. squash battle. I do believe that squash is keeping the interest… for now. As this game starts, Rehman looks invigorated and jumped out to a 6-0 lead. Clain made a great drop that the younger reporter called ‘cheeky’. After a few back and forth points, Clain is looking to regain his earlier form and gets it to 8-5. A few back and forth points and it’s 10-8 with Rehman looking to finish the game. A desperate Rehman makes an incredible winner from the back of the court and promptly apologizes for the great shot… Rehman 11-8 to tie the match at 1-1.
Game 3 – The 15 year old has now moved on to online beer pong, to which this old man is highly perplexed about. As the match moves into game 3, both players seem intent on taking a strangle hold on this match. At 3-2, Clain played another ‘cheeky’ shot to which Rehman quickly responded with a ‘double cheeky’ shot to get it to 4-3. As this match progresses, there is a lot of action in the front left and both players trying to take advantage from here. Two unforced errors has Rehman leading 7-5 and has the crowd wondering if he is tiring. After a great drop to the front left, followed by a drop to the front left, Rehman takes it 11-6.
Game 4 – There are several new SnapChap photos being sent out as the game begins. This match begins with a massive rally that takes both players to every corner in the court. Clain has got his back to the wall and is throwing lots of pace and length to Rehman. The Frenchman jumps out to a 6-1 lead and looks to have regained his confidence from Game 1. A handful of unforced errors in this match by Rehman and at 8-2, Cain is looking to level this match. Fatigue is definitely starting to set in for both players are digging deep. At 10-5, Clain finishes it off with a great winner to get it to 2-2.
Game 5 – I know the younger reporter is tired watching, as she sips on some fancy mango-peach Kombucha concoction and sending out some Snaps to some ‘friend’ and is now annoyed at the ‘dissing’ by the old man. As we settle in for game 5, the crowd is wondering who has more left in the tank. An unforced error, a stroke call and a few winners gives Clain the early 5-0 lead. Gary (local celebrity) gives a loud ‘BONG’ call with the last winner. The SnapChatter thinks that the Frenchman is currently ‘slaying’ it (which i think is good). An epic rally to make it 7-1 for Clain and it is now or never for Rehman. Trading points is not enough for the Austrian, and at 8-3, needs to make it happen. After 3 straight points, at 8-6 it is a crucial point in the match. It goes to Clain to make it 9-6, and he follows with two quick winners to take the game 11-6 and to advance with a 3-2 win in 53 minutes.