Seventeen-year-old U.S. junior Riya Navani pulled off the first top fifty upset of her career, defeating Egypt’s world No. 45 Nour Aboulmakarim in the first round of the Southwestern Open Wednesday, September 27, at Houston Squash Club.
Navani–a top-ranked U.S. junior from California–was making just her second appearance as a wild card in a PSA Gold event, following up her debut last fall at the Oracle NetSuite Open.
The American earned a 2-0 lead, but Aboulmakarim came back to level the score and force a fifth game. Navani went on to take the fifth 11-7 after fifty-one minutes.
“We train so hard as juniors, and we look up these pros like idols, and honestly to be on court with one of the best in the world and even get the win is probably the best day of my life! I’m super happy to be in the next round,” Navani said. “Being up 2-0 and 9-3 against a top player is tough to deal with, especially as I’ve never been in this situation before. After losing the third game, I really had to pull myself together and pick it up and in the fifth game… anyone could take it. I just wanted to give it everything I had and I’m glad I won.”
Navani will take on Wales’ eight seed Emily Whitlock in the second round on Thursday.
Thursday will see the top seeds enter the fold, including Team USA’s Amanda Sobhy, Olivia Fiechter and Olivia Blatchford Clyne.