Harvard junior Timmy Brownell defeated Yale’s Spencer Lovejoy in the men’s Wild Card playoff final, completing the men’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions main draw Thursday, January 10, at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, Connecticut.
Both players entered the final having advanced through Wednesday’s semifinals with decisive three-game victories, setting up a clash between the former U.S. junior teammates and Ivy League rivals.
The fifty-four-minute battle featured highly-polished play, long rallies and plenty of drama for the fans and was an early start to the ToC excitement. After splitting the first two games, Brownell took the third to earn a 2-1 lead. Lovejoy fought back in the fourth, however, earning two game balls late in the game, which Brownell fought off before clinching the match on a back-hand winner, 11-5, 7-11, 11-5, 16-14.
“Spencer’s a really strong player, he’s the No. 1 player at Yale,” Brownell said. “He and I go way back. We played on the world junior team together in 2015 in Holland. I really respect his game, he’s a really skilled player so I knew it was going to be tough.
“I felt like I was doing a little more running than he was so I was happy to sneak it out in the fourth. He’s a very fit player so I knew it would have been tough going into a fifth game.”
Brownell, who plays No. 3 on the Harvard squad, is now set for his debut in the PSA World Platinum draw on the Oracle NetSuite SuiteSuccess all-glass court in Vanderbilt Hall. The twenty-one-year-old from Belmont, Massachusetts, slots into the second men’s wild card position and will face Egypt’s world No. 35 Youssef Soliman Wednesday, January 16, at 7:15pm.
“This is the best feeling,” Brownell said. “The ToC is the biggest tournament I’ve ever played in. I’ve been watching the ToC since I was a little kid.
“The glass court in Grand Central is the biggest venue in the world. It means everything to me to play there. I really respect a player like Spencer, it’s tough to see him not win this, but I’m over the moon.
“I actually traded jerseys with Yousseff Soliman four years ago at the world juniors. He’s a really strong player and climbed up the rankings, so it will be cool to play him.”
Brownell joins former Crimson players Amanda Sobhy and Ali Farag, and U.S. men’s teammates Todd Harrity and Chris Hanson in the ToC draw.
“I remember my first time in Grand Central and I couldn’t believe how high the ceiling was,” Brownell said. “It was incredible hearing a squash ball hit the wall in that room. Now I’ll find out how it feels to play there.”
Main draw action takes place January 16-24 with a record prize purse of $360,000 on offer—making the ToC the second most lucrative event on the PSA Tour throughout the 2018-2019 season.