American Quartet Advance On Opening Day Of US Open
6 Oct 2019
The opening day of the 2019 FS Investments US Open saw American quartet Andrew Douglas, Olivia Blatchford Clyne, Sabrina Sobhy and Olivia Fiechter claim victories to move into round two of the PSA World Tour Platinum event taking place for the ninth successive year in Philadelphia.
The round one matches were split between the glass court in Drexel University's Daskalakis Athletic Center, the traditional 'side court' located at the same university and also the Racquet Club of Philadelphia. It was on the glass court that Brooklyn-based wildcard Andrew Douglas claimed his biggest win on the PSA Tour as he scalped Frenchman Lucas Serme.
Douglas, ranked 119 in the world, had never made it past the first round of a Platinum event before but the University of Pennsylvania junior played with poise and control to defeat the world No.36 from France by an 11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5 scoreline after 75 minutes. Douglas will now face New Zealand's Campbell Grayson for a place in the third round.
"I didn't expect to be here, but it's an amazing feeling," said 21-year-old Douglas afterwards.
"I have to thank everybody that has come to cheer me on. It means a lot for them to come out and support me and undoubtedly I wouldn't have been able to do it without them.
"I think he was probably a bit nervous, so I wanted to put pressure on him and I wanted to really enjoy the last game without thinking too much about the score and that's what ended up helping me win the match and maybe helping him feel a bit on edge. I just tried to enjoy every minute on this court and I played well."
Grayson, meanwhile, got the better of Egypt's Youssef Soliman at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia in what was the longest match of the day at 107 minutes, while England's George Parker came through a four-game battle with fellow Englishman Tom Richards at the university to complete what he regards as the biggest win of his career to date.
The world No.40 from Leicester produced a focused performance to get the better of Richards, winning 11-3, 9-11, 11-3, 15-13, despite Richards having three game ball opportunities in the fourth.
"Some people might not understand it, but confidence-wise that's the biggest win of my career so far," Parker said.
"When it was 10-10, I felt a bit sick deep down in my stomach because I lost so many 3/2s last year to people like [Daryl] Selby, against [Adrian] Waller I was 10-9 up in the fifth and had match balls, so I had that in my mind when I was playing. I was probably a bit aggressive with him and it got a bit heated, but when you're fighting at the bottom for scraps at No.40 in the world like me, it means everything."
In the women's draw, wildcard Sabrina Sobhy marked her return to the US Open for the first time since 2016 with a 3/1 victory over Egypt's Mayar Hany to reach round two in Philadelphia for the first time.
The first two games were nip and tuck as Sobhy edged the opener 13-11, before Hany came back to take the second 11-8. Sobhy, playing in front of home support, steadied her nerves in the third to restore her lead, and she was in complete control in the fourth as she attacked with vigour to earn a round two spot against No.2 seed Camille Serme.
"I was happy with my performance today, the first match of any tournament is always a little nerve-wracking," Sobhy said.
"Especially with it being in the US, I have family and so many friends that have come out to watch me, so I didn't want to underperform and lose in 20 minutes after they've come out here all the way. I found my game, felt comfortable and enjoyed it out there. I'm looking forward to it [playing on the glass court] a lot. I haven't really processed it a lot yet. Any tournament on the glass court is a fantastic experience and I'm really looking forward to it."
She will now take on New Zealand's No.5 seed Joelle King for a place in round three.
"It feels fantastic, it definitely wasn't an easy day at the office," said Blatchford Clyne afterwards.
"Lucy is a fantastic young player and these young ones come and nip at your heels. I'm used to being the young one and trying to nip at other people's heels! It's a new experience with someone trying to hunt you, but I'm very happy to be through today."
World No.40 Olivia Fiechter was the other US player to win on the opening day of action as she dispatched England's Emily Whitlock in four games and will clash with the country's No.1 player Amanda Sobhy in the next round.
Haley Mendez came close to making it five Americans in the last 32, but narrowly went down 3/2 to Australia's former World Champion Rachael Grinham, despite fighting back from five match balls down in the decider against the 42-year-old Australian who made her debut in the event in 2002.