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Team USA’s Amanda Sobhy, Olivia Blatchford and Chris Hanson will take to the glass court in the University Club’s Cathedral Hall for the first round of the Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim Partners & Equitrust Thursday and Friday in Chicago.
Two rounds of qualifying Tuesday and Wednesday completed the men’s and women’s world series main draws of thirty-two players, which offer prize money parity of $150, 000 for a second consecutive year.
Blatchford, world No. 34, occupies the women’s wild card position and will be the first in action on the glass court Thursday at 12pm local time, 1pm ET, against six seed Omneya Abdel Kawy. It will be the first PSA Tour match between the twenty-three-year-old from Wilton, Connecticut, and the world No. 6 from Cairo, Egypt.
Friday night will see an American double-header conclude the main draw’s first round. At 7pm local time, 8pm ET, seventh-seeded Sobhy will face Egyptian world No. 29 Salma Hany Ibrahim. Sobhy, world No. 7, won the only previous encounter against the nineteen-year-old in August 2014.
In January, Sobhy became the first U.S.-born player to reach the final of a world series event in the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, and is relishing playing in front of a home crowd once again in Chicago. This is the first time Sobhy will play in the Windy City Open, which had previously clashed with the College Squash Association national championships.
“Reaching the finals of the Tournament of Champions in January was a huge confidence booster for me because it made me realize that I have the ability to beat any player in the rankings, ” Sobhy said.
“I’m looking forward to carrying that momentum with me as I head into the Windy City Open this week—especially because this is the first time that I’ll be able to play in the tournament.
“It has always clashed with the collegiate national championships so I’m excited to be playing this year and hopefully I can have just as good a run over there as I did in New York City.
“The support in New York was amazing and it will be great to play in front of an American crowd again this week.”
The final first round match on the glass court will be contested by men’s wild card, Hanson, who faces a stern test against two seed and world No. 3 Nick Matthew at 8pm local time, 9pm ET.
Hanson marks his second year as the Windy City wild card, but makes his first appearance on the glass court in Cathedral Hall in what will be a career-first match up against the three-time world champion.
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