Harrity the only home survivor as Lake takes out top seed
The 2017 U.S. Open presented by Macquarie Investment Management – the first PSA World Series event of the 2017/18 season – got under way today with first round qualifying at four Philadelphia venues.
There was only one home winner on the day as Todd Harrity won his all-USA match against Timothy Brownell in a men’s draw that saw a big upset as England’s Nathan Lake took out top seed Tsz Fung Yip in straight games. More on the Merion Report below
Dylan Cunningham came close to joining Harrity in the finals, losing out 11-9 in the fifth to second seeded Swiss Nicolas Mueller. The other seed to fall was Tom Richards, the Englishman taken out by Mexico’s Arturo Salazar in four games.
There were upsets In the women’s matches too, Egypt’s Menna Hamed beating former U.S. Open champion Rachael Grinham, Canada’s Nikki Todd overcoming third seed Nadine Shahin in five games, and Kiwi Amanda Landers-Murphy beating eighth seed Liu Tsz Ling.
Top seed Jenny Duncalf – also a former U.S. Open champion – came from a game down to beat world junior champion Rowan Elaraby, and pre-qualifier Madeline Perry advanced to the finals with a tough four game win over Ho Tze-Lok.
At Drexel University the women’s matches started with a minor upset as New Zealand’s Amanda Landers-Murphy beat eighth seed Liu Tsz-Ling in four games, setting up a final against Japan’s Misaki Kobayashi, who beat late stand-in Nicole Bunyan in straight games.
Canada’s Samantha Cornett came from a game down to beat hard-hitting Reeham Sedky – collecting a painful bruise on her leg after a ‘Hammer’ blow – and she’ll meet Nele Gilis for a place in the main draw after the Belgian beat top US Junior Marina Stefanoni in straight games.
“I saw the shot coming and thought it was going to hurt,” said Cornett after the match. “There was a moment of no pain and then it hit … I need some ice now!”
The home hopefuls bowed out in the men’s matches too, Qatar’s Abdulla Al Tamimi beating Penn freshman Andrew Douglas in four and Mohamed Reda disappointing a noisy crowd as he beat Drexel’s Atticus Kelly in three.
“He played well, that was a tough match,” said Tamimi. “I’m not used to being the younger player, so now I know what it’s like to be pressured by a youngster!”
Kelly admitted: “I was so nervous going on there, but the crowd was great, and what an experience that was!”
Reda now meets Mexican Arturo Salazar, who came from a game down to beat seventh-seeded Englishman Tom Richards, while Tamimi faces New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson, the eighth seed coming from a game down to deny Charles Sharpes.
“I tried to keep the pace fast, and the work I put in in the first two games paid off, I’m so pleased to get through,” said a delighted Salazar.
Merion Cricket Club
England’s Nathan Lake pulled off the biggest upset in men’s qualifying with a decisive three-game win over Hong Kong’s top seed Tsz Fung Yip at Merion Cricket Club. Lake, world No. 49, defeated Yip, world No. 30, 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 in thirty-seven minutes.
“Obviously it’s the toughest draw I could have got on paper, so pleased to come through it, and especially to get through in three. That’s so crucial for these big tournaments if you want to win a couple of rounds, you need to be efficient.”
The twenty-five year old is enjoying his first U.S. Open so far.
“I always like a place if I win, if I had lost, I may not have come back!” Lake joked. “I like it here, haven’t tried a philly cheese steak just yet, but it’s nice.”
The qualifying finals will have a U.S. men’s representative in the form of world No. 50 Todd Harrity, who dispatched U.S. teammate Timmy Brownell to record his first U.S. Open victory since 2013.
Merion produced another upset on the women’s side in the form of Canada’s Nikki Todd, who took out three seed Nadine Shahin in a pacy five-game match. The result was the world No. 53’s first career U.S. Open victory in three tournament appearances.
Pre-Qualifier Perry Progresses at RCoP
Former world No. 3 and local pre-qualifier Madeline Perry made a triumphant return to the PSA Tour at Racquet Club of Philadelphia.
Supported by her Baldwin School pupils, the Irish international converted her third match ball against Hong Kong’s Ho Tze-Lok at 14-12 in the fourth.
“They could see that I’m a bit competitive out there,” Perry said. “I apologise to all of my Baldwin girls for my arguing with the ref, don’t do that. I just enjoyed being out there. It’s not like I’m coming out of retirement or anything, I just wanted to enjoy playing again.”
Team USA’s world No. 109 Dylan Cunningham nearly pulled off a massive upset in the final match of the night in downtown Philly, pushing two seed and world No. 25 Nicolas Mueller to five games, falling short 11-9 in the fifth.