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Olivia Fiechter

Fiechter Survives Five-Game Scare To Reach Last Eight of J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions

USA’s Olivia Fiechter survived a huge battle, saving match ball en route to a fifth-game victory over Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramaniam, to reach the quarter finals of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, a PSA World Tour Gold level tournament being held at Grand Central Terminal in New York City.

Fiechter had won a thrilling five-game contest at the Cincinnati Gaynor Cup in February and repeated the trick in New York amidst a cracking atmosphere inside Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall. It was a match in which the American had to draw on her fighting spirit as well as her accuracy with a racket, particularly with an impressive Subramaniam managing to engineer a match ball opportunity in the fourth game after coming back from a game down.

The Malaysian will perhaps consider herself unfortunate to receive a no let decision when match ball up, which was immediately followed by an error and then a well-constructed rally from Fiechter to draw level at two games apiece. And it was the American who had the bit between her teeth in the decider as she dominated proceedings, closing out an 11-9, 8-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-5 victory in 54 minutes to reach the last eight.

“The last time we played I think she had a few match balls in the fourth as well, so when you’ve done it before it definitely adds to that self belief in those hard and challenging moments,” said Fiechter.

“She’s such an incredible player, she was pounding the ball so severely and for a while I was just trying to weather the storm. I have so much respect for her, she’s playing at Cornell while playing on the tour and I couldn’t have done that when I was at Princeton. Now she’s at her highest ranking of 20, so I’m at a loss that I was able to find a way to win, especially in front of this crowd. She had an incredible junior career, so she’s always been a player to watch. Now we’ve played twice and I’m sure we’re going to play many more times once she graduates.

“It’s definitely a strange feeling [being seeded] because the last two times I played this event I barely got into the draw. The fact I’m playing my first match on day four is a little strange. When I was eight years old I came up to the ToC and it was the first professional tournament I went to with my first coach Bill Lane, and I sat up in these stands all day long.

“There’s something magical about this court and it’s been a lifelong dream to play on here. To do it in front of my family, friends and loved ones is extremely special.”

Fiechter will now face Egypt’s Rowan Elaraby in the last eight of the Gold level competition. She will be joined in the quarter finals by another American, in Olivia Clyne, after the World No.22 defeated Frenchwoman Melissa Alves in four games in her first match of the competition.

In the men’s draw, Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez faced a tricky task against France’s Auguste Dussourd, who had made the last 16 after defeating a higher-ranked compatriot in Baptiste Masotti, but came through in an exciting four-game contest.

Miguel Rodriguez (fore) on court against Auguste Dussourd

The pair were meeting for the first time on the PSA World Tour, and Rodriguez quickly got settled on the court at Grand Central Terminal, and found himself two games to the good, delighting the crowd with his unique style of play. Dussourd pulled a game back but suffered a knee injury after some contact with the Colombian at the start of the fourth game. Following the delay, Rodriguez found his game once again, and went on to win in four to advance to the last eight.

“This is my 15th time at the TOC, I’m very glad and happy,” said Rodriguez.

“I was so pumped for the match. I had to wait three days, I’m feeling great, this year has been amazing for me, very busy and I have accomplished many goals in this period so I’m just grateful for the opportunity to be here and win again.

“I think I stayed on his pace in the third, in the first and second games I was playing my plan A and I was picking up the pace and controlling and in the third one I was playing too much on the backhand side and with the same rhythm so he got some confidence so I had to pick up the pace and play faster in the fourth.”

Rodriguez will now face top seed Ali Farag, after he defeated England’s James Willstrop in a battle of former World No.1s. Frenchman Gregoire Marche and Egypt’s Youssef Ibrahim were the other two men to make it through to the quarter finals on day four in New York City.

The action continues at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, with the quarter finals being played on Thursday, May 4. Action starts at 13:30 (GMT-4) with it all being streamed live on SQUASHTV.

Men’s Second Round Results: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-4, 11-6 (26m)
[5] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) bt Auguste Dussourd (FRA) 3-1: 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6 (66m)
[4] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 11-8, 11-9, 12-14, 11-3 (58m)
[8] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) 3-0: 11-2, 11-5, 12-10 (37m)

Men’s Quarter Final Draw: To Be Played Thursday, May 5
[1] Ali Farag (EGY) v [5] Miguel Rodriguez (COL)
Victor Crouin (FRA) v [3] Mazen Hesham (EGY)
[2] Diego Elias (PER) v [4] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
[7] Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [8] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY)

Women’s Second Round Results: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Danielle Letourneau (CAN) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 (26m)
[8] Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt Lucy Turmel (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 (31m)
[5] Olivia Fiechter (USA) bt Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) 3-2: 11-9, 8-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-5 (54m)
[6] Olivia Clyne (USA) bt Melissa Alves (FRA) 3-1: 12-10, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6 (41m)

Women’s Quarter Final Draw: To Be Played Thursday, May 5
[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [8] Hollie Naughton (CAN)
[5] Olivia Fiechter (USA) v [4] Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
[3] Salma Hany (EGY) v [6] Olivia Clyne (USA)
Nada Abbas (EGY) v [2] Amanda Sobhy (USA)

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