Team USA’s Amanda Sobhy and Olivia Blatchford Clyne will face each other in the second round of the PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family after opening-day victories Satuday, February 23, in Chicago.
The first day of match play saw all first round matches in both sixty-four-player draws play out at three venues: Union Station, the University Club of Chicago and the MetroSquash Academic and Squash Center.
Tickets are still available for all rounds of glass court play with prices ranging from $30 to $160 on ticketmaster.com. Live action up until the semi finals will be streamed on the PSA Facebook page and Facebook Watch. Watch all the glass court action from round one to the finals live on SQUASHTV.
Sobhy, the eleven seed, and Blatchford Clyne, the nineteen seed, were a part of the women’s field that saw all top twenty seeds progress. The same could not be said for the men’s first round results, which included three top twelve upsets.
Sobhy, world No. 10, headlined the night session on the glass court where she dispatched England’s Julianne Courtice 11-4, 11-6, 11-7 in twenty-nine minutes.
“Julianne is tough,” said the 25-year-old from New York. “I saw the draw and I was like ‘ok, I have one of the tougher first rounds’, but I’m kind of happy because it just rips the band aid off and you can get straight into it. She ran me around, but I enjoyed playing on the court and it’s a fantastic audience. It’s amazing to be playing in front of a home crowd and I love it. The bigger and rowdier the crowd, the better!”
Blatchford Clyne endured a contrasting match against Canada’s Hollie Naughton, advancing 11-6 in the fifth game after fifty-five minutes. Sobhy and Blatchford Clyne will meet on the glass court in Union Station’s Grand Hall Sunday night at 7pm local time, 8pm EST.
Americans Haley Mendez and Olivia Fiechter both fell in four games against higher-ranked opposition. In one of the first matches on court at the University Club, Egypt’s world No. 31 Zeina Mickawy edged Mendez 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9 in forty minutes. Fiecther pushed Yale graduate and world No. 22 Millie Tomlinson at MetroSqush by winning an incredible 24-22 first game. The English international recovered to win the next three games and match after fifty-five minutes.
Egypt’s Youssef Soliman shook up the men’s draw with a five-game comeback upset over 2016 world champion and five seed Karim Abdel Gawad at the MetroSquash Academic and Squash Center.
After nearly ninety minutes, the twenty-two-year-old world No. 33 pulled off the upset 11-9 in the fifth, completing a comeback from 2-0 down in games.
“To come back against Karim is really tough because you always fear that he will be the one to come back when you play him,” Soliman said. “To be the one that was 2-0 down and to come back, I had to push really hard and it was an unbelievable match for me. I worked him really well in the first game, but he obviously won that one and then the second. If I played fast and hit the ball hard, he was so good at taking the pace off the ball and making me run around. This is definitely the biggest win of my career, I just beat the No.5 in the world. I won’t think about it because sometimes when you have a huge win, it takes it out of you a lot. I won’t enjoy it that much, I will just focus on my next round.”
England’s Adrian Waller provided the other top ten upset on the first day, taking out Peru’s ten seed Diego Elias in four games and fifty-three minutes. England’s Ben Coleman joined Waller in upsetting Hong Kong’s twelve seed 11-9 in the fifth after ninety-one minutes.
Team USA’s Todd Harrity acquitted himself well against world No. 3 and four seed Tarek Momen in the first men’s match on the glass court. Harrity took a close second game, but the Egyptian prevailed in four games and thirty-four minutes.
Sunday’s second round begins at 12pm noon local time, 1pm EST.
For more information and tournament coverage visit psaworldchampionships.com.