Bernardo Samper, a favorite Rye squash pro, claimed third place in the Pro Squash Tour’s Westchester Open, which was recently held at four Westchester clubs and involved 15 players representing nine countries.
In the first round at the New York Sports Club in White Plains, Samper, a three-time Colombian Champion, breezed past 14-year-old Mason Ripka, a top junior in his first pro match. Samper went on to sweep by Kush Mahan from Kenya, pro at Pyramid Squash Club, yet in the quarterfinals against Raj Nanda from Australia, the squash coach at Hackley School, he faced more of a battle. Samper nevertheless pulled out the win after four close and exciting games.
In the semifinals, after bowing to No. 1 seed Bradley Ball from England, who went on to win the tournament, Samper earned third place with a 3-1 heart-pumping victory over Ahmed Hamza from Egypt, head pro at the Greenwich Field Club. Ball, who also won the Connecticut Open, beat John Rooney, Irish National Champion, in the finals. Ball is now the top player on the U.S.-based Pro Squash Tour, which was founded in 2009 and has tour stops across the country from September through April.
– Georgetta L. Morque