Kiva Club : McCue on a high in Santa Fe

Kiva Club Open 2019 : FINAL
[1] Mike McCue (Can) 3-0 Babatunde Ajagbe (Ngr)        11-5, 11-9, 11-5 (34m)

Final : McCue on a high in Santa Fe

Mike McCue claimed the Kiva Club Open title with a straight-game win over Babatunde Ajage in the final in Santa Fe.

McCue, a 26-year-old Canadian, was the tournament’s No. 1 seed. Ajagbe, a 32-year-old Nigerian, was unseeded.

In the first game, McCue, jumped to a 4-0 lead. The players traded a few points, but Ajagbe never found his rhythm. McCue controlled the T and moved Ajagbe around the court. When the game ended after nine minutes, it was McCue 11-5.

In the second game, Ajagbe made an early run, building a 5-2 lead, but then started making errors and hitting tin. Ten minutes into the game, the players were tied 8-8, but McCue ended a long rally with a winning drop shot to the left corner, making it 9-8.

He got a stroke call to get it to 10-8. Then Ajagbe hit a winner to get within a point at 10-9. But McCue ended the game by hitting a winner off of Ajagbe’s serve. It was 11-9 in 17 minutes.

The third game was all McCue. He jumped to a 7-0 lead, helped along by Ajagbe hitting the tin twice. Ajagbe fought back for a while, winning two points for each of McCue’s one, but given McCue’s lead, the match was against Ajagbe.

The game was over in seven minutes, with McCue taking it 11-5.

The win gave McCue his second PSA championship. His previous win was at the 2018 Mount Royal University Open in Canada.

By making it to the finals, Ajagbe made history: It was not only his first trip to a PSA final, but also the first time a Nigerian had ever made it to a PSA final.

The tournament was played in Santa Fe, New Mexico, at an altitude of 7,200 feet.

Previous Kiva Club Opens

Semis: McCue and Ajagbe advance

Mike McCue, a Canadian and the tournament’s No. 1 seed, cruised past Guatemala’s Josue Enriquez in straight games, 11-6, 11-3 and 11,5 in the first semi-final in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The match lasted just 33 minutes. It was McCue’s shortest match of this tournament. His previous two matches lasted 71 and 79 minutes.

McCue, 26, has been to six PSA tournament finals and has won one: the 2018 Mount Royal University Open in Canada.

He’ll face the 32-year-old Nigerian Babatunde Ajagbe in tomorrow’s final.

Ajagbe staged a magnificent comeback to get past Allen Nunez of Mexico and into the final.

Ajagbe dropped his first two games to Nunez, 11-7 and 11-8. In the third game, Ajagbe won several points early with a stroke call and two perfect shots — length into the corners.

Nunez helped by hitting the tin a couple of times. The result for Ajagbe was a 5-3 lead five minutes into the third game. Ajagbe then ran off six straight points to win it, 11-3.

In the fourth game, Ajagbe also jumped out to a lead, using perfect drop shots as well as winners off of Nunez’s drops. Five minutes into the game, Ajagbe was leading 7-4.

Nunez won another point, but two minutes later, the game was over, 11-5, for Ajagbe. That tied it, 2-2 in games.

In the fifth game, Nunez was the one to get early points, taking a 4-2 lead, and it seemed Ajagbe’s comeback might end. Ajagbe quickly struck back, winning eight points in a row to make it 10-4.

But Nunez didn’t quit. He forced Ajagbe into few errors and hit a winner himself. He won three points, bringing the score to 10-7. Then Ajagbe hit a forehand boast into the nick for the game’s final point, winning it 11-7. The match lasted 55 minutes, and earned Ajagbe his first appearance in a PSA final.

Marathon quarters in Santa Fe

It was a day of marathon matches, hard-fought points and long rallies at Friday’s quarterfinals of the Kiva Club Open in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

No. 1 seed Michael McCue of Canada survived his second hour-plus, five-game match, beating Alejandro Reyes of Mexico in a seesaw battle.

McCue won the first and third games, and Reyes took the second and fourth.

The fifth and deciding game went to McCue, but not without a fight. McCue took a two-point lead. Reyes tied it up. The players traded points until it was 5-5, then McCue took two points in a row, making it 7-5.

Reyes won a point, making it 7-6 for McCue. But then McCue took four of the last five points, and with them, the 79-minute match.

McCue will play Josue Enriquez of Guatemala in the semifinals on Saturday.

Enriquez cruised into the semis by dispatching Miled Zarazúa of Mexico in three straight games, 11-9, 11-7 and 11-7, in 36 minutes.

The day’s other marathon match was won by Allan Nunez of Mexico. It took him four games and 71 minutes to beat Chris Fuller of England.

Nunez won the first game easily, 11-5, but then Fuller stretched him in the second. Nunez was ahead 10-8, but Fuller tied it at 10-10. Nunez won the last two points, winning 12-10.

But down two games to none, Fuller didn’t quit. He came on strong in the third game, winning it 11-5.

The fourth game tipped back and forth, with extended rallies that seemed games in themselves. The players tied at 2-2, 4-4, 8-8, 9-9, 10-10, 11-11, 12-12, 13-13, 14-14 and 15-15.

Nunez ultimately prevailed, 17-15 — to the wild and appreciative applause from the audience for both players.

In the fourth quarterfinal, Babatunde Ajagbe of Nigeria beat Ronald Palomino of Columbia. Ajagbe lost the first game, 8-11, but took the next three, 11-9, 11-9 and 11-3. That match lasted 52 minutes.

Ajagbe will face Nunez in the semifinals

Seeds suffer in Round One in Santa Fe

It wasn’t a good day for seeded players in the first round of the Kiva Club Open in Santa Fe on Thursday as six of the eight seeded players lost their matches.

The twothat survived the first round were No. 1 seed Michael McCue of Canada and No. 7 seed Ronald Palomino of Colombia.

McCue’s escape was narrow. Mexican Jorge Gomez took McCue to five games in the day’s longest and best match. Gomez won the first game, 11-8, in 15 minutes, the second game went to McCue, 14-12, in 18 minutes.

Gomez took the third game, 11-4, in a quick seven minutes but  McCue struck back in the fourth, taking a fast 4-1 lead, and closing out the game, 11-6, in 10 minutes.

The final game followed the same pattern as the fourth, with McCue taking an early lead and never relinquishing it. He won that game 11-5, and with it, the match, which lasted 71 minutes.