Team USA’s Olivia Blatchford is through to the second round of the AJ Bell PSA World Championship after a grueling five-game victory against India’s Dipika Pallikal Karthik Monday in Manchester, England.
The twenty-four-year-old from Wilton, Connecticut, led the Indian world No. 20 2-1 after the first three games, but Pallikal Karthik fought back to win the fourth 14-12 and force a fifth game. Blatchford regained control in the fifth to take the match 11-8 after fifty-six minutes.
“My record against Dipika is not a great one,” Blatchford said. “She’s a great player and I knew going into this that it was going to be tough. It was a very interesting match and at the end of the day I was just happy to stick in there and hold on for as long as possible. I have done a transformation in the way that I train, especially in the last couple of months and it’s good when you see it come to fruition like today.”
Blatchford, who reached her highest career world ranking of No. 12 this month, is competing in just her second career PSA World Championship. Monday’s victory marks her first in a World Championship main draw. Blatchford’s second round opponent is France’s world No. 3 Camille Serme. Watch their match up live on SquashTV Wednesday, December 13, at 12pm noon local time, 7am ET.
Blatchford, one of six Americans competing in Manchester, fared better than her U.S. teammates. Todd Harrity fell in the main draw against top seed Gregory Gaultier in three games and forty minutes, while Haley Mendez, Chris Gordon, Faraz Khan and Chris Hanson all bowed out in qualifying.
“The American boys had a tough one here, Todd drew Gregory Gaultier and our other boys had tough draws but I’m just happy to be here,” Blatchford said. “I love representing my country and knowing that I have the flag on my shoulders.”
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