4:21 pm
10 Dec 2023

Clyne Stuns Fiechter To Face Kennedy In Cleveland Classic Final

5 Feb 2023

Olivia Clyne extended her unbeaten record against higher-ranked US compatriot Olivia Fiechter to set up a surprise Cleveland Classic final against England defending champion Georgina Kennedy.

Unseeded Clyne, now in her first final this season, took control of the first game superbly as she had Fiechter chasing round the court with her excellent shot selection as she claimed the first 11-8.

Nothing much separated the two Americans in the second game, in what was just their third-ever meeting on Tour, but Clyne strengthened her grip on the match when she took an 11-9 win.

Fiechter produced the ideal response to going two games down as she convincingly moved 10-4 up and looked to have found a foothold back in the contest.

However Clyne dug deep to deny her fellow American the chance of halving the deficit, saving six game balls with some extraordinary play before going on to edge the battle 14-12 and book a place in the final.

"I'm a bit in shock!" said Clyne post-match.

"I'm also not shocked as I was just saying to my husband that I said to everyone around me that maybe all this work I'm putting in, I may not reap the dividends for six months and I have to be okay with that.

"It might take until next season to start seeing the rewards of all the hard work that I've been doing, but it's great that we're in the second tournament of the start of this year and I'm in the final!

"It's surreal but I think it's testament to the village of people that I have who care about me who put so much effort and time into me."

Kennedy ended the giant-killing run of Hong Kong's unseeded Tomato Ho 3/0.

The English girl, who's been in excellent form after overcoming some health issues earlier this season, was relentless against Ho, who impressively claimed two scalps en-route to the last four.

Kennedy came firing out of the blocks in the first game, racing into a 7-1 lead, and was stepping up to the front of the court well and finding her targets excellently as she won 11-3 in just seven minutes.

The unrelenting Kennedy continued her blistering start in the second, making the pace difficult to handle for her opponent as she doubled her lead with a comfortable 11-2 win.

The eighth seed's range of shots were causing problems for Ho in the third, as the reigning champion eased her way into the final after triumphing 11-3.

Afterwards Kennedy said: "I'm really happy. The preparations were tough for Tomato - she's been playing so well all tournament and I knew she would be full of confidence, but I also knew it was her first time in the semi-final of a big tournament and, sometimes, you're so content with that it can be hard to mentally get up for that.

"I tried my best to keep the tempo high and get on top of her as quickly as possible and never let off. I was happy with my performance today and I'm absolutely chuffed to be in the final.

"Coming in, with the strength of the draw, I didn't expect it but there's been a few retirements and I'm really happy and I'm looking forward to it tomorrow."