Hong Kong’s World No.22 Leo Au twice survived a fightback from USA No.1 Todd Harrity to secure a second round berth at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions PSA Platinum event taking place in New York’s Grand Central Terminal.
Au and Harrity were facing each other for the third time in their careers, with their last meeting coming at this season’s Men’s World Championship, where Au claimed the victory.
The Hong Kong player continued that strong form as he took the first game comfortably before Harrity found his range and rhythm to began to make dents in Au’s game plan as he drew level.
Huge battle here in Grand Central as men's US No.1
toddharrity</a> looks to overturn an early deficit in game five of his RD1 match with Leo Au! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ToCSquash?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ToCSquash</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ToC2020?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ToC2020</a> <a href="https://t.co/EsqOYNY5bZ">pic.twitter.com/EsqOYNY5bZ</a></p>— PSA World Tour (PSAWorldTour) January 10, 2020
The momentum of the match continued to swing back and forth between both players until Au was able to nudge ahead in the fifth to claim an important 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-8 victory in 64 minutes.
Leo Au will now face England’s Tom Richards in the second round after he overcame Egypt’s Karim El Hammamy at the Harvard Club of New York.
“Todd is obviously a top player,” said Au after his 200th PSA World Tour victory.
“He always hangs in there and never gives up. He gave me a lot of pressure and I’m glad that I could get through it in the end.”
Au and Richards will be joined in the second round by England’s Declan James after he defeated Egypt’s Mohamed ElSherbini to set up a second round tie with Hong Kong’s Tsz Fung Yip.
Leo Au (HKG) bt Todd Harrity (USA) 3-2: 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-8 (64m)
Declan James (ENG) bt Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (44m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 3-1: 11-2, 9-11, 11-1, 11-3 (32m)