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Georgina Kennedy

Squash On Fire Open: Kennedy Excited For US Return

The Squash on Fire open takes place this week at the same venue that hosted the 2019 WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championships.

The tournament will be the second fully international event on the Challenger Tour since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and following the 2nd HCL SRFI Indian Tour – Chennai Leg 1, which took place at the start of April.

It will also be the biggest event on the Tour since it returned in September, with a Challenger 20 level prize for both the men’s and women’s draws in Washington, D.C. this week.

There will be a high-class field at the tournament, with 17 members of the world’s top 50 in action, including former World No.1 James Willstrop. The Englishman will be the top seed for the men’s event, with Frenchman Victor Crouin, Pakistan’s Tayyab Aslam, England’s Nathan Lake, Malaysian Ivan Yuen, India’s Mahesh Mangaonkar, USA’s Shahjahan Khan and Mexico’s Leonel Cardenas the rest of the top eight seeds.

Kuwait, Jamaica, Japan, Nigeria, Qatar and Wales are also represented in the 24-strong men’s field. The women’s draw is even more international, with 15 countries represented.

India’s World No.11 Joshna Chinappa will head the field, with Belgium’s Nele Gilis and the American duo of Olivia Fiechter and Sabrina Sobhy among the top four seeds. The Malaysian duo of Low Wee Wern and Sivasangari Subramaniam, Frenchwoman Melissa Alves and Scotland’s Lisa Aitken are also in action.

Following an incredible week on home soil, where she won two events in the space of five days, Georgina Kennedy has been given a wildcard spot in the women’s draw, and she is more than ready to keep going, and to keep playing as much as possible.

“I am really excited to be competing in the Squash on Fire event. I am really happy with how I have been playing recently and so I am excited to test myself against some top players in Washington next week. I have got a few good wins under my belt recently and so I have gained a lot of confidence before heading to the tournament,” she explained.

“Over the last week or so, I have competed in a satellite event and two Challenger events, so I have basically been playing matches everyday! It feels so good to be back competing again after such a long time away from the tour, and these matches were the perfect way to prepare me for the Squash on Fire tournament!
“I have no real expectations going into the event next week. Given that I took such a long time away from the tour whilst I was studying at university, my ranking is down at 170, and so I have to play all the satellite and 3K events I can in order to get my ranking up.”

Kennedy will return to the United States for the first time since prior to the pandemic, and she is excited to do so. She also admits that, despite coming off a two-win week, there are no expectations to make it three in a row in Washington, D.C.

“Given the strength of the players in the tournament, I have absolutely no expectations for myself and so I can just go out there and enjoy my squash! I feel really lucky to have been given the wildcard for this tournament and am definitely going to do my best to make the most of it,” the Englishwoman said.

“I am also really looking forward to being back in the States for the first time since I was forced to leave in March of 2020 due to the pandemic!”

The event takes place from Sunday 27 June to Thursday 1 July at Squash On Fire in Washington, D.C. Follow the PSA Challenger Tour on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates from the event.

Action from Washington, D.C. will be streamed throughout the week on the PSA Challenger Tour YouTube channel, where you can watch Challenger Tour action, and interviews with rising stars.

Men’s First Round Draw: Squash on Fire Open
[1] James Willstrop (ENG) – [Bye]
Emyr Evans (WAL) v [9/16] Christopher Binnie (JAM)
[9/16] Faraz Khan (USA) v Addeen Idrakie (MAS)
[7] Shahjahan Khan (USA) – [Bye]
[5] Ivan Yuen (MAS) – [Bye]
[WC] Karan Malik (IND) v [9/16] Mohammad Syafiq Kamal (MAS)
[9/16] Ryosei Kobayashi (JPN) v [WC] Nick Sutcliffe (ENG)
[4] Nathan Lake (ENG) – [Bye]
[3] Tayyab Aslam (PAK) – [Bye]
Babatunde Ajagbe (NGR) v [9/16] Spencer Lovejoy (USA)
[9/16] Syed Azlan Amjad (QAT) v Nasir Iqbal (PAK)
[8] Leonel Cardenas (MEX) – [Bye]
[6] Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) – [Bye]
Timothy Brownell (USA) v [9/16] Christopher Gordon (USA)
[9/16] Asim Khan (PAK) v Ammar Altamimi (KUW)
[2] Victor Crouin (FRA) – [Bye]

Women’s First Round Draw: Squash on Fire Open
[1] Joshna Chinappa (IND) – [Bye]
Diana Garcia (MEX) v [9/16] Ineta Mackevica (LAT)
[9/16] Haley Mendez (USA) v [WC] Georgina Kennedy (ENG)
[6] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) – [Bye]
[5] Low Wee Wern (MAS) – [Bye]
Lucy Beecroft (ENG) v [9/16] Nicole Bunyan (CAN)
[9/16] Emilia Soini (FIN) v [WC] Maria Arseniev (RUS)
[4] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) – [Bye]
[3] Olivia Fiechter (USA) – [Bye]
Wen Li Lai (MAS) v [9/16] Rachel Arnold (MAS)
[9/16] Hana Moataz (EGY) v Amna Fayyaz (PAK)
[8] Lisa Aitken (SCO) – [Bye]
[7] Melissa Alves (FRA) – [Bye]
Ali Loke (WAL) v [9/16] Marie Stephan (FRA)
[9/16] Marina Stefanoni (USA) v Lily Taylor (ENG)
[2] Nele Gilis (BEL) – [Bye]

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