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Merchant Successfully Defends Squash Title Despite Injuries

By Jim Taylor
Team Coach

On Saturday Ali Merchant G fought his way into his third straight Massachusetts Squash Rackets Association (MSRA) A final despite hand and forearm cramps as well as a blister the size of a silver dollar on his foot. The A's are the top flight in MRSA squash. Merchant is also the defending champion.

In his semi-final match, Merchant beat Enamullah Khan, a professional squash player from the Cambridge Racket Club, 31. Merchant lost the first game playing quite tentatively. In the final three games, despite the cramps, he played very aggressively and moved Khan around the court. The squash was at a very high level with lots of shot making and very few errors by either player. Several very long points that Merchant won seemed to take most of the energy from Khan. However, Khan fought valiantly despite his fatigue. Merchant earned the win with his superior shot-making and court coverage.

On Sunday Merchant successfully defended his State Championship against Jeremey Goulding, a native of the United Kingdom and currently playing for the Concord Acton Squash Club. Merchant dominated in the final winning 30. While there were a few close game scores, it was plain that Merchant was going to be in command from the start. His superior hitting pace, better court coverage, and clean touch paid off in a relatively easy victory for Merchant.

"Merchant is the best squash player that has been at MIT in the forty years that I have been associated with MIT squash," said Coach Jim Taylor. Although Merchant was not an undergraduate at MIT, his game has improved over the last four years while he has been here. Merchant works with the MIT Varsity Squash Team and with local players when he is not engaged in his graduate studies.