Day ONE: Qualifying begins in Philly

sp_21850Day One of the 2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open, the sixth consecutive year the PSA World Series event has been held at Drexel University, saw 32 qualifying round one matches take place across four Philadelphia Clubs, each club hosting four women’s and four men’s matches.

Gilis reprieved by Sedky injury as Stoker continues pre-qualifying run

sp_21803Women’s play started with a marathon at Drexel University, in which Penn student Reeham Sedky – nicknamed “the Hammer” – was on the verge of an upset win over Belgium’s Nele Gilis after 90 minutes of ferocious play, only to be forced to retire with a calf injury when leading 9-3 in the fifth.

“I was just about done in the fifth,” admitted Gilis, ” but that’s not how anyone wants to win or lose a match.” Match report

sp_21834Two of the sixteen women’s seeds were beaten – Japan’s Misaki Kobayashi beat 14th seed Milou van der Heijden in straight games at Philadelphia Cricket Club, while at Merion Cricket Club Berwyn-based Georgina Stoker, who won the pre-qualifying competition to book her place in the draw, beat 9th seed Samantha Tern in four games.

Only one US player survived as Olivia Blatchford beat Christine Nunn in straight games, but Corey Schafer, Kayley Leonard, Kelsey Engman, Hayley Mendez , Reyna Pacheco and Marina Stefanoni all fell in straight games.

Upsets and Escapes at Philadelphia Cricket

There were two upsets in the men’s draw, both at Philadelphia Cricket Club, where Malaysia’s Ivan Yuen beat top-seeded Egyptian Zahed Mohamed in five games and Finland’s Henrik Mustonen got the better of England’s Declan James, seeded #10, in four games.

Also at PCC there were narrow escapes for Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan, who came from two games down to deny England’s Charles Sharpes, and German Raphael Kandra recovered from two-one down to beat US top junior Andrew Douglas.

sp_21829At the other three clubs the seeded players all won with some comfort, Drexel coach John White the only one to take a game in those matches as the former world number one’s sixth bid to qualify came unstuck against New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson.

“It’s always tough playing someone like John,” said Grayson, who took the first two games for the loss of just three points before White responded to take a 7-0 lead in the third. “He hit some great shots and that gave him confidence – I almost came back in that game but I’m glad I could finish it in four.”

sp_21805There will be no home players in tomorrow’s qualifying finals as Todd Harrity, Dylan Cunningham, Faraz Khan, Hayes Murphy, Sam Gould and TJ Dembinski all lost, Harrity the only one to pick up a game as he fell -playing at his home club – to Scotland’s Greg Lobban.