After five years of trying Max Lee finally ended his first round duck at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, downing Pakistani qualifier Farhan Zaman 3-1 to reach the second round of the prestigious PSA World Series tournament for the first time in his career.
The 27-year-old World No.14 from Hong Kong had never previously won a game in the main draw of the event played inside Grand Central Terminal and after finding himself down one-game to nil to surprise package Zaman, who downed higher ranked opponents Paul Coll and Declan James in qualification, the curse of New York looked like it could strike once again.
But Lee mounted a resurgence in the second game and managed to assert a level of control and authority on proceedings to level the match, before quickly taking the third game to put the pressure on Zaman. The 22-year-old showed no signs of big-stage nerves, playing an attacking and unpredictable style that underlined his potential calibre as a further top player, but he couldn’t find enough in his locker to force as fifth game, falling 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-9.
“It’s been a long time for me to win a first round match here so I am very happy today,” said Lee.
“He’s an unpredictable player and hit some amazing winners today so I am happy that I managed to come through.”
Max Lee (HKG) bt [Q] Farhan Zaman (PAK) 3-1: 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-9 (43m)