The 2023 U.S. Women’s Championship final will feature two players in the world’s top eight for the first time when world No. 5 Amanda Sobhy faces world No. 7 Olivia Fiechter, while a first-time S.L. Green U.S. Men’s Champion is guaranteed in either Andrew Douglas or Spencer Lovejoy who upset top seeds in the semifinals Thursday, April 27, at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.
The opening match of the day proved to be the longest as Douglas, the five seed, held off a five-game comeback from top seed and world No. 35 Shahjahan Khan. Khan came back from 2-0 down and 5-8 down in the third game to push the match late into the fifth game, which Douglas edged 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 8-11, 12-10 in seventy-nine minutes.
“That was one of the longest matches I’ve ever played and I wasn’t sure if I could hang in with Shah, but I just believed in myself and tried to hang in one point longer and somehow managed to get to the last point of the game,” Douglas said. “I needed to trust myself a bit more and trust my fitness. I didn’t think I was fit enough to hang with him and I started making some bad errors. So I just kind of believed and tried to fake the belief a bit longer and it just ended up being enough by a little.”
Douglas will make this third appearance in the national finals with another opportunity to claim his first national title against first-time finalist and seven seed Spencer Lovejoy, who upset defending champion Timmy Brownell in four games.
“It’s a really tough thing to play against such a close friend, Timmy and I train day in and day out with each other,” Lovejoy said. “He’s been one of the biggest inspirations to me every day in training and it’s so great to have us pushing each other every day. Kudos to him for a great season so far, he’s been crushing it on tour. But once you step on court you need to put all of that to the side, business is business.”
The women’s final will feature a marquee match up between two of the world’s top players in Amanda Sobhy and Fiechter. Fiechter, the two seed, met three seed and world No. 13 Olivia Blatchford Clyne in what was their fifth match up of 2023. Fiechter recorded her third win of those five encounters 11-6, 11-5, 11-3 in twenty-six minutes to reach her maiden U.S. Women’s Championship final.
“Liv and I have played a lot over the last few months and it’s always mentally and physically so tough,” Fiechter said. “Playing her you can’t leave anything open with her hands, her accuracy and her movement. It’s all spot on. So i just had to get in front of her as much as I could. My goal today was to be really really positive with my hitting and I was really pleased with how I played.It would be incredible to win my first title. I wasn’t pleased with how I performed at last year’s nationals so I really came in this week making it a priority to play my best squash. I came here to win and I’m really happy to give myself the opportunity to play for the title tomorrow. I think I was sixteen the last time I was playing for a national title. This one’s certainly a different level and it would mean the world.”
World No. 5 and five-time champion Amanda Sobhy awaits Fiechter in the final after the top seed dispatched twenty-year-old Marina Stefanoni in three games.
“I wanted to play well this week and carry the momentum into the World Champoinships next week,” Sobhy said. “Liv and I are good friends and every time we play whether it’s practice or competitive we play in the right spirit. I know she’s going to be going to be gunning for her first title tomorrow, but I’m looking for number 6. It’s going to be a good match.”
Friday’s finals open with the men’s final at 5pm ET. Tickets and live streaming are available on ussquash.org/live. The live broadcast will include guest commentary from players, coaches and special guests.