Team USA to Field Eight Players at U.S. Open

Three members of Team USA’s Women’s World Team Championship squad will compete in the U.S. Open. (l-r): Sabrina Sobhy, Olivia Blatchford, Reeham Sedky, Amanda Sobhy

Eight players will represent Team USA at the 2018 FS Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships during the first weekend of action, October 6-7, at Drexel University’s Daskalaskis Athletic Center in Philadelphia.

Following the PSA tour’s restructuring this season, the 2018 U.S. Open marks the first year without qualifying rounds, which often fielded local and college players in the early rounds. This year with 48-player men’s and women’s main draws, eight Americans—five women and three men—including a few ASB GlassCourt debuts.

On the men’s side, Wayne, Pennsylvania’s Todd Harrity will make his glass court debut in his eighth straight U.S. Open appearance. Fresh off winning his third career PSA title in Portugal this weekend, the world No. 50 will take on Australian veteran Cameron Pilley Saturday, October 6, at 6:30pm.

“It was great to win the Madeira Open, it’s  been a long time since I’ve won an event and it’s a great feeling,” Harrity said. “I definitely want to carry this momentum into the U.S. Open.  I’ve been feeling good and it’s been a great start to the season.”

Harrity started playing squash at Merion Cricket Club, and earned national titles for his high school, Episcopal Academy, and college, Princeton, before turning professional in 2013.

“I’m very much looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd,” Harrity said. “It’s a great opportunity to play a big match like this on an all-glass show court in my home city.”

Harrity is joined by wild cards Chris Gordon and Andrew Douglas in the men’s draw. Gordon, world No. 67, is set for his seventh consecutive U.S. Open wild card appearance and will take on England’s world No. 23 Declan James Saturday, October 6, at 2:30pm on Drexel’s Kline & Specter Court 1. Later that afternoon Douglas, a Penn sophomore, will make his U.S. Open main draw debut against France’s former world No. 6 Mathieu Castagnet at 4:45pm on the ASB GlassCourt.

On the women’s side, world No. 14 Olivia Blatchford is the sole American to enjoy a first-round bye as the twenty-five-year-old awaits either Hong Kong’s Liu Tsz-Ling or England’s Emily Whitlock on the ASB GlassCourt Sunday, October 7, at 4pm.

After missing the 2017 U.S. Open due to injury, Amanda Sobhy returns to Philadelphia in hopes of replicating her 2016 semifinal run. The world No. 18 opens her campaign against Hong Kong’s Tong Tsz-Wing Saturday, October 6, at 5:45pm on the ASB GlassCourt.

World No. 43 Haley Mendez qualifies for her first U.S. Open main draw based on ranking after her 2017 wild card appearance, and will play Egypt’s Nadine Shahin in one of the first matches on Drexel’s Court 1 Saturday, October 6, at 1:45pm.

Penn’s 2018 Intercollegiate national champion Reeham Sedky will hope to make waves on the professional level again as one of two women’s wild cards. In April, Sedky reached the final of the Texas Open as a qualifier, where she lost in the final against U.S. teammate Amanda Sobhy.

“Playing in the US Open main draw in my college town is something I have been dreaming of for a long time–especially given that it’s my last year at Penn,” Sedky said. “For the past couple of years, I have only been in the qualifying draws so to finally be in the main draw is a fantastic opportunity. Given that this is my biggest main draw appearance, I plan to make the best of the moment, and I’m so excited to have friends and family come support me.”

In the past month, the Seattle, Washington-native has competed in two glass court events, the Bellevue International and Women’s World Team Championship, which she believes will help her at the U.S. Open. At the World Teams in China, Sedky boasted a 4-0 record when called into action.

“Between playing at the World Team Championships and the Bellevue Invitational I was able to adapt my game to the glass court,” Sedky said. “Before, I didn’t have much experience with such courts, but those two tournaments definitely have given me a lot of confidence when it comes to adapting my game to a different environment. I actually love the feel of the glass court as it gives more of a professional vibe.”

Sedky’s first-round opponent is Egypt’s world No. 20 Hania El Hammamy, who Sedky defeated in five games and ninety-five minutes in the Texas Open.

“Hania is a very talented player who has shown great results in both the professional tour and the junior tour,” Sedky said. “Last time when I played her, I gave it all I had, and so did she, resulting in a very prolonged battle. I know this time will require maximum effort as well, and it will be a great opportunity for two young players to have a great match again.”

Reeham makes her ASB GlassCourt debut against Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy Saturday, October 6, at 4pm.

Recent Princeton graduate Olivia Fiechter marks her wild card debut against Australia’s Donna Lobban Saturday, October 6, at 5:45pm on Drexel’s Court 1.

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