American Quartet Advance to British Open Second Round

Haley Mendez (l) against Katie Malliff.

Todd Harrity, Olivia Fiechter, Sabrina Sobhy and Haley Mendez all booked a spot in the Allam British Open second round courtesy of opening day victories Monday in Hull, England.

World No. 45 led off the slate of American victories with a three-game upset over England’s world No. 35 Tom Richards 11-7, 11-9, 11-3 in thirty-two minutes.

“I feel great. I think it was my second win at the British Open, so I’m really pleased with that and looking forward to tomorrow,” Harrity said. “It was a tough match today, I was really pleased to win the second game, that was really close and crucial. I think I play my best when I’m relaxed and just settled down, so I want to cultivate that feeling.”

Harrity will face Pan American competition in the form of Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the second round Tuesday at 12:45pm local time, 7:45am ET. World No. 48 Shahjahan Khan nearly joined Harrity in the men’s second round, coming back from 2-0 down against Qatar’s Abdulla Al Tamimi and falling short in the fifth game 11-8, 11-7, 4-11, 10-12, 11-6 in sixty-six minutes.

Fiechter, world No. 20, was the first American to advance in the women’s draw with a commanding 11-7, 11-5, 11-2 win over Switzerland’s Nadia Pfister in twenty minutes. Fiechter set up a World Championship rematch against world No. 1 Nour El Sherbini on the glass court Tuesday at 6:45pm local time, 1:45pm ET.

“I’m really excited to be here and get out there after spending all day yesterday in my room,” Fiechter said. “Nadia played some really good squash, her kills were so severe out there and she took advantage of every angle I gave her, so I’m happy to get through in three. It’s always a good opportunity to play the World No. 1 at one of, if not the, biggest event of the year. I’m extremely excited.”

World No. 41 Haley Mendez celebrated her twenty-eighth birthday with a four-game win over wild card Katie Malliff–her first career British Open win in her fourth tournament appearance. Mendez will now take on India’s world No. 10 Joshna Chinappa at 6:45pm local time, 1:45pm ET.

“I didn’t know what to expect [from Malliff] having never seen her play, so I just wanted to go out there and play some good squash,” Mendez said. “I knew she was a talented player who’s just starting out, so her ranking didn’t reflect her ability. I’m excited. I haven’t played Joshna in a few years and am really happy to make it to the second round!”

World No. 21 Sabrina Sobhy recorded her first career British Open main draw win in her first appearance since 2015, dispatching England’s world No. 72 Lily Taylor in three games and nineteen minutes. Sobhy will face Belgium’s world No. 19 Tinne Gilis at 5pm local time, 12pm noon ET.

“I’m obviously really pleased with the win after my draw was changed quite late, it was a little bit of a shock but Taylor’s a great player and I’m sure the last-minute change of plans was difficult for her, too,” Sobhy said. “Luckily it’s a great opportunity for both of us. I was pleased with the match and coming all the way to England is always exciting and I’m happy to get the first one out of the way.”

World No. 5 Amanda Sobhy and world No. 13 Olivia Blatchford Clyne join their U.S. teammates in second round play in the first slate of matches at 12pm noon local time, 7am ET. Sobhy, the six seed, awaits Cornell’s Sivasangari Subramanium, while Blatchford Clyne takes on Holland’s Milou van der Heijden. A win for both would set up an all-American third round clash between Sobhy and Blatchford Clyne.

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