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Brits Battles Past Hamza to Reach Atlanta Open Main Draw


Top qualifying seed Jean-Pierre Brits moved through to the main draw of the Life Time Atlanta Open, PSA M10 tournament after downing Egypt’s Ismail Hafez in an intense five-game encounter as qualifying drew to a close.

The lead changed hands multiple times throughout the match with Brits’s early lead being cancelled out by Hafez who took the second game courtesy of an incredible 16-14 tie-break. Both players went on to take another game apiece before an impressive show of force from Brits in the latter stages allowed the World No.190 to complete an 11-8, 14-16, 11-5, 7-11, 11-6 triumph.

England’s Reuben Phillips lies in wait for Brits in the opening round with Phillips set to make his first main draw appearance at the Atlanta Open since 2013 having bowed out in the qualifying stages in both of the last two years. Hafez, meanwhile, benefits from lucky loser status as a result of some main draw withdrawals and will play talented Israeli Daniel Poleshchuk.

Nigeria’s Babatunde Ajagbe is also through to the main draw after he too came through a gruelling five-game match against local player Ahmed Hamza. Hamza took the opener after both players traded a plethora of electrifying points but Ajagbe recovered to close out the win and set up an exceedingly difficult encounter with the main draw’s top seed Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi.

Diego Gobbi, the 20-year-old from Brazil, dispatched Alex Noakes 3-1 in his final qualifying round clash to set up a tough fixture with Chris Hanson while Albert Shoihet saw off Jon Geekie in straight games to qualify for the main draw where he will face Indian teenager Kush Kumar.

Like Hafez, Geekie also received lucky loser status and will line up against Mexico’s Eric Galvez.

Results – Final Qualifying Round: Life Time Atlanta Open 2016
Albert Shoihet (CAN) bt [4] Jon Geekie (SCO) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 11-4
[1] Jean-Pierre Brits (RSA) bt [6] Ismail Hafez (EGY) 3-2: 11-8, 14-16, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5
[2] Babatunde Ajagbe (NGR) bt [L] Ahmed Maged Hamza (EGY) 3-2; 11-13, 11-5, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5
Diego Gobbi (BRA) bt [3] Alex Noakes (ENG) 3-1: 9-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-3

Main Draw – First Round
[2] Chris Hanson (USA) v [Q] Diego Gobbi (BRA)
[LL] Ismail Hafez (EGY) v [5] Daniel Poleshchuk (ISR)
[7] Reuben Phillips (ENG) v [Q] Jean-Pierre Brits (RSA)
[LL] Jon Geekie (SCO) v [3] Eric Galvez (MEX)
[4] Kush Kumar (IND) v [Q] Albert Shoihet (CAN)
Hugo Varela (ESP) v [8] Clinton Leeuw (RSA)
[6] Cameron Stafford (CAY) v [WC] Vivian Rhamanan (SIN)
[Q] Babatunde Ajagbe (NGR) v [1] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)

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