Hong Kong’s Max Lee began like the proverbial house of fire in his first round encounter with Gregoire Marche at the Windy City and looked odds on for a quick victory as he stormed into an early 6-0 lead as he completely controlled the Frenchman.
But a series of errors allowed Marche a lifeline and he grasped it with both hands, fighting his way back into the opening game before eventually taking it 11-9 the lead much to the surprise of all in attendance before he punched on Lee’s wayward mindset to quickly double his lead, taking the second game 11-3.
However the tenacious Word No.15 asserted himself again in the third to keep his competition alive and played with composure and accuracy to take the their game 11-5 and hang on to his hopes of progressing past the first round in Chicago for the first time since 2013.
Lee then saved three match balls in the fourth to force a decisive fifth and with momentum on his side, and Marche shellshocked, he dominated to take the fifth 11-3 much to his immense relief.
“In the first two games he was too good, too fast, too fit,” said Lee.
“The fourth was very interesting. I was down 7-3 I think and I managed to come back but we had a hard rally at 9-7 and he was all over me. I could feel he was hoping I would make the error, he was pushing me to get lower and lower but I was very lucky today as I didn’t make a single error from that point on in that game.”
Max Lee (HKG) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-2: 9-11, 3-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-3 (77m)