Harrity Carries Home Interest Into ToC R2 At Grand Central
17 Jan 2019
The opening day of the 2019 JP Morgan Tournament of Champions lived up to its 'Wild Wednesday' billing with a marathon tournament opener and Team USA's Todd Harrity producing his first career win in Grand Central Terminal in the final match of the opening day of action in the PSA World Tour Platinum event in New York City.
The tournament began in blistering fashion with a clash between France's former world No. 6 Mathieu Castagnet and England's rising No.34 George Parker. A blood injury that required stitches above the eye for Castagnet augmented the physical and at times contentious match, before the bandaged Frenchman returned to the court to clinch the match 12-10 in the fifth after 137 minutes.
The highlight of the day came in the form of the evening session that featured three Americans on the same night at the ToC for the first time since 1993, all of whom were bolstered by a vocal sold-out crowd.
The final match of the session saw world No.48 Todd Harrity record his first career win in his eighth appearance on the Oracle NetSuite SuiteSuccess all-glass court in Vanderbilt Hall against Hong Kong's Yip Tsz Fung. The Princeton graduate recovered from dropping the first game to come back and win 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-7 in forty-three minutes - to become the first American man through to round two since Julian Illingworth in 2008.
"It's great after all these years, to finally win on this stage, I am just overjoyed by it," said Harrity, who will play world No.7 Paul Coll in the next round Friday afternoon. "In previous years I have just been so excited, so I come out with my heart racing, sort of a deer in the headlights with sensory overload."
The victory over Yip, the world No. 22, marks the twenty-eight-year-old's highest-ranked upset of his career.
"I had some tactics to keep him in the back," Harrity said. "He likes loose, random stuff, so I tried to keep it disciplined and I was having to go for chances. More than anything, I wanted to relax and just have a good, rich experience on court."
Two-time defending US. champion Chris Hanson led off the session in what was his debut in Grand Central against former world No.3 Omar Mosaad. Hanson, a Dartmouth graduate and world No.63, acquitted himself well and caused the Egyptian a number of problems throughout the 46-minute encounter, but Mosaad came through to take the win in straight games, 11-8, 12-10, 11-8.
"This kind of match is stressful for me because he played in front of his home crowd," Mosaad said. "I just tried to focus, especially in the second game because I wanted to finish in three. I am training hard, really hard, and I think I did a good job."
Mosaad's reward is a second round fixture with world No.6 Miguel Rodriguez, and he will look to follow up his 3/2 win over the Colombian at last month's CIB Black Ball Open.
The surprise of the night came in the form of Harvard junior and wild card playoff winner Timothy Brownell. The twenty-one-year-old from Belmont, MA, marked his debut in the tournament by taking a shock one-game lead against Egypt's Youssef Soliman, firing off winners to the amusement of the crowd. His former World Juniors counterpart recovered, however, edging Brownell 6-11, 11-6, 11-5, 12-10 after an hour. Despite the result, Brownell displayed his professional potential.
"I think both of us got excited," Soliman said. "He was playing with his home crowd. For me it is the first time in the States and playing in this venue is definitely exciting. I was so nervous inside, I was struggling to find a rhythm because he played really well."