Team USA opened its 2019 WSF Men’s World Team Championship campaign with a loss against top seeds Egypt Sunday afternoon at Squash on Fire in Washington, DC.
The U.S. originally entered the tournament seeded thirteenth and in Pool C alongside France, Malaysia and South Korea, but a late withdrawal from Switzerland’s world No. 30 Nicolas Müller caused a seeding and pool assignment shift on Saturday, December 14. As a result, Switzerland’s seeding dropped to fifteen and the U.S. moved up to twelve and into Pool A with Switzerland and Egypt.
The U.S. and Egypt–the first-time men’s world teams host nation and defending champions–appropriately opened proceedings with the tournament’s first match on the glass court in front of a full gallery of squash fans. Despite the daunting match up, Team USA acquitted themselves well against the title favorites.
The No. 2’s led off with Team USA’s Chris Hanson against recently-crowned PSA world champion Tarek Momen, who put Egypt on the board 11-2, 11-9, 11-8 in twenty-seven minutes. The No. 1’s followed on as world No. 1 Ali Farag awaited three-time U.S. champion Todd Harrity in a match up of former college champions. It was the Harvard graduate, Farag, who came out on top, but Princeton’s Harrity pushed the world champion 11-6, 11-7, 10-12, 11-4 in thirty-seven minutes.
“He’s playing off his rocker!”
— WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championship (@wsfmensteams) December 15, 2019
Penn junior Andrew Douglas stepped up in No. 3 position against former world champion and world No. 3 Karim Abdel Gawad–the highest-ranked player Douglas has ever faced on the PSA World Tour or international competition. The twenty-one-year-old from Brooklyn impressed against Gawad, narrowly losing in four games and forty-one minutes 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6.
“We had a couple of guys coming off some injuries and we were hoping they could play their way through–and in all cases I think they felt better about themselves coming off the court,” said Paul Assaiante, Ganek Family US Squash Head National Coach. “All three guys came off the court with their eyes a little bigger! They did a really nice job–I’m very proud of them. It was a super crowd, very appreciative of the squash from both sides.”
U.S. focus now shifts to Tuesday afternoon with an important match against fifteen seeds Switzerland at 3pm local time. With only three teams in Pool A, the winner of the match will guarantee a spot in the 1-12 playoff that begin on Wednesday.