Team USA’s Olivia Blatchford Clyne and Olivia Fiechter will meet for the fourth time in four consecutive tournaments as they will face off for the inaugural Chestnut Hill Classic Presented by Springside Chestnut Hill Academy title at the Philadelphia Cricket Club Monday, March 6. The pair both came through four game encounters to beat European duo Nele Gilis and Melissa Alves.
Fiechter, who learned her squash at PCC, was up first as she recovered from a game down to beat France’s Melissa Alves. A strong start for the World No.20 was negated by Fiechter as she stepped up her quality and reversed the score to lead 2-1, winning the second and third games 11-2, 11-6. Alves saved three match balls in the fourth game and earned a game ball for herself to force a fifth game. The USA No. 2 battled back however to take the next three points and seal the game 16-14 to move into her fifth World Tour final.
“It’s never easy playing a good friend but I’m over the moon to be through to the finals,” Fiechter said. “Melissa always battles so hard out there and never gives in so I was really pleased to find a way to close it out in the 4th. It’s been so special to compete and battle it out in front of so many friends and family on my home courts. I came here this week to win the event so I’m really happy I’ve given myself the opportunity to do that tomorrow night!”
Blatchford Clyne was aiming to reach her third final in four tournaments as she took on top seed Nele Gilis in the second semifinal. The game was close throughout with a clash of styles entertaining the Philadelphia crowd. Gilis’ attritional play against Clyne’s attacking game made for close rallies as the score reached 1-1. Gilis earned the first game ball of the third game at 10-9 but it was Clyne who was able to stay strong and close the game out 14-12.
Clyne built on the third game win by running out to a 4-0 lead in the following game. This lead was quickly clawed back by the Belgian No.1 as she won the next five points to lead 5-4. Clyne recovered however and held three match balls at 10-7, despite Gilis getting back to within one points, Clyne took the game 11-9 to seal the victory and give herself another chance at claiming her first World Tour title.
“Wow! I’m so pleased to find myself in another final tomorrow,” Clyne said. “Tonight was absolutely brutal but in the best way, these are the kind of matches that you play and truly feel like you are a better player than when you started. I’m looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow!”