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Merchant Captures Softball Squash Title

By Eva Moy and Imran Haq

Ali Merchant G triumphed in the 1997 State "A" Massachusetts Softball Squash Championship, held last Sunday at the Concord-Acton Squash Club. Merchant, who was seeded second in the tournament, took five games to defeat Robert Davis (96, 810, 29, 91, 92).

Merchant advanced to the finals by easily winning the quarterfinals on April 21 and the semifinals on Saturday. The strong audience of over 30 people cheered on both players at Sunday's final.

"In the first game, I caught him by surprise, and basically I won because of that. In the second game he was getting back in the rallies," Merchant said. The first game was characterized by long rallies from the back court.

"His shots were cleaner and very well controlled even though he made a few unforced errors in the beginning," said Chris Van Schalkwyk PhD '96, a squash player watching the finals.

With Davis controlling the pace in the second and third games, Merchant was forced to play a defensive game. Merchant jumped to an early lead in the fourth game, and Davis seemed to essentially concede the game.

"It was clear that in the last two games, Ali became very relaxed, and his selection of shots [worked] very well," Van Schalkwyk said. In the fifth game, Merchant unleashed his "Dingpo" shot, hitting the ball harder and volleying to his advantage, to win the game and the championship.

Merchant is currently a doctorate student in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.