Todd Harrity and Amanda Sobhy provided a pair of stirring victories for Team USA on the ASB GlassCourt during opening day of the 2018 FS Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships Saturday in Philadelphia. The 2018 U.S. Open marks the first PSA World Tour Platinum event for the 2018-2019 season with thirty-two first-round matches staged over the course of the opening day on the ASB GlassCourt and three of Drexel’s Kline & Specter courts in the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
Sunday will see the tournament’s top seeds called into action against the first-round victors.
Four Americans took to the glass court during the afternoon session, including Sobhy, Harrity and Penn’s wild cards Reeham Sedky and Andrew Douglas.
Sobhy, world No. 18, made quick work of Hong Kong’s Tong Tzs-Wing in three games and twenty-four minutes to mark her Philadelphia comeback after missing the 2017 event due to a torn Achilles. Sobhy will now face England’s Victoria Lust on the glass court Sunday at 5:45pm.
“I missed out last year and that was probably one of the lowest times for me and so just to be back here is huge,” said the American former world No. 6 and 2016 Open semifinalist. “I love this venue. I ended up having to move down to Philly for five weeks during my rehab so it is like a second home for me now and I know that whenever I’m here I’m in good hands.”
Team USA’s biggest breakthrough came in the form of Harrity, a Philadelphia-native and Princeton graduate. Harrity, world No. 48, was making his eighth consecutive U.S. Open appearance, but also his ASB GlassCourt debut having never progressed past the qualifying rounds. The twenty-eight-year-old made the most of the spotlight against Australia’s world No. 23 Cameron Pilley, grinding out a come-from-behind sixty-six-minute victory 4-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5.
“Obviously Cam is just coming back from injury so I noticed he wasn’t moving well,” Harrity said. “But sometimes that’s the hardest thing to cope with because it’s something else to think about and distract you from just playing. I wasn’t really feeling my shots and I was trying to hard to expose his movements, but I’m really proud that I didn’t let my nerves get the best of me and ground it out to get the win.”
Harrity now faces world No. 1 and the tournament’s top seed, Mohamed ElShorbagy, Sunday on the glass court at 4:45pm local time. “I get to train and practice with Mohamed in Bristol a lot, there’s no pressure on me,” Harrity said. “I’m just going to have to come outside of myself a bit and it’s a good chance to get more experience on this stage.”
Sedky, the 2018 intercollegiate champion and senior, acquitted herself well against world No. 19 Hania El Hammamy, but faltered late in the fifth game after holding a 2-0 lead. Douglas, a sophomore, joined Sedky in making his glass court debut against France’s Mathieu Castagnet, but lost in three games.
The first round produced nine matches that went the distance to five games between closely-ranked players.
View all results on usopensquash.com/draws.
Sunday sees another slate of thirty-two matches played out on the same four courts as the draws whittle down to sixteen players by the end of the day.
Tickets are available on usopensquash.com/tickets.