Team USA’s Olivia Fiechter is through to her first career Platinum third round following a five-game marathon victory against France’s Melissa Alves at the Black Ball Open Saturday in Cairo.
In her fifth career Platinum second round appearance, Fiechter, world No. 33, outlasted world No. 31 Alves 4-11, 11-9, 11-2, 12-14, 15-13 in sixty-two minutes. After the grueling match, the Princeton graduate admitted how difficult it is competing against a friend in Alves, a Penn graduate.
“I’m a little bit at a loss for words,” Fiechter said. “I haven’t had a battle like that in a very long time, so it feels great. Melissa is actually one of my closest friends on tour. It’s always tricky playing a friend, but I knew she was going to leave it all out there. She’s a huge fighter and I’m just so pleased to pull that out, it really came down to the end there. I was literally just trying to focus on my breathing and trying to make sure that I hit shot-by-shot. I was trying to take it step-by-step and break it down rather than trying to think about finishing the match.”
Fiechter will have a rest day before taking on England’s world No. 6 Sarah-Jane Perry in the third round Monday, March 15, at 2pm local time, 7am ET.
“I was trying to hang in there,” Fiechter said. “I’ve been doing a lot of work with Danny Massaro on the mental side of things, we’ve been talking about being really gritty out there and I was telling myself to refuse to lose. I’m so happy to have pulled it off.”
World No. 20 Sabrina Sobhy was the only other American in action Saturday, and exited the tournament at the hands of world No. 1 Nour El Sherbini in straight games 11-7, 11-4, 11-5.
World No. 7 Amanda Sobhy and world No. 13 Olivia Blatchford Clyne both join the fold Sunday with the bottom half of the second round set to play. Sobhy, the six seed, will play England’s Julianne Courtice at 1:15pm local time, 6:15am ET. Blatchford Clyne, a 9/16 seed, will face Cornell’s Sivansangari Subramaniam at 6:15pm local time, 11:15am ET.