The U.S. Open Squash Championships presented by Truist will feature three American women in the round of sixteen for the first time in tournament history following wins by Olivia Blatchford Clyne, Sabrina Sobhy and Amanda Sobhy, while Mostafa Asal’s title defense abruptly ended as the Egyptian was disqualified due to an opponent-inflicted injury Sunday, October 9, at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.
While Amanda Sobhy’s third round appearance was anticipated as the tournament’s four seed, Blatchford Clyne and Sabrina Sobhy both pulled off upsets over higher-ranked opponents on the side courts.
Sabrina, world No. 20, edged Canadian world No. 17 Hollie Naughton 11-3, 8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8 after sixty-six minutes to reach her first career U.S. Open third round. The twenty-five-year-old will face Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy Tuesday evening after the world No. 2 took out Team USA’s world No. 9 Olivia Fiechter in three games in front of a packed home crowd.
The final match on court was between Blatchford Clyne and world No. 18 Farida Mohamed, who reached the Oracle NetSuite Open final last week in San Francisco. After the Egyptian dominated the first game 11-2, Blatchford Clyne dug in to turn the match on its head 2-11, 11-8, 14-12, 11-6 in thirty-six minutes.
“It feels incredible,” Blatchford Clyne said. “It’s not the win, although that feels amazing, and I’m so excited to be on the glass court on Tuesday and yes, being surrounded by my family and friends is incredible. But it was being the last match on with the whole back wall being packed and 99.9% of the people cheering for me and the atmosphere was electric. I felt that for the first time in a long time, I was so present in each rally and even when things went wrong I was really there.”
Blatchford Clyne will face Egypt’s Salma Hany for a chance to reach the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
The second round brought the top seeds into the fray, and all but one seed safely progressed with the sole elimination coming in dramatic circumstances.
Asal, who became the youngest U.S. Open champion last year, held a comfortable 2-0, 6-4 lead in the third game against France’s Lucas Serme when he turned on a loose ball at the back of the court and then hit Serme–who was ducking–in the head with the ball.
The match referee deemed it to be an opponent-inflicted injury which was caused accidentally by Asal. This meant that Lucas was permitted 15 minutes to recover. The physio then deemed Serme to be unable to continue, with the world No. 43 requiring further medical examination, resulting in the match being awarded to Serme. Serme received treatment at a hospital and has suffered a concussion and a perforated eardrum.
Six players will make their first career appearance in the U.S. Open third round Monday and Tuesday including Serme, Moustafa El Sirty, Ramit Tandon, Alexandra Fuller, Sabrina Sobhy and Tinne Gilis.
Follow @USOpenSquash on Twitter and Instagram for updates throughout the tournament. Tickets are still available on usopensquash.com/tickets. SquashTV subscribers can enjoy all of the glass court action live.