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Olivia Fiechter

Fiechter And Ghosal Make Comebacks To Make J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions Semi-Finals

USA’s Olivia Fiechter and India’s Saurav Ghosal both mounted incredible comebacks to overcome the challenges of Egypt’s Rowan Elaraby and Youssef Ibrahim, respectively, to make it into the semi-finals of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions at the iconic Grand Central Terminal in New York City.

The pair’s last meeting came at the Allam British Open last month, with the American winning in straight games on that occasion, Elaraby ensured the same scoreline wasn’t replicated as she took the first game in 14 minutes, 12-10. The rallies were extremely close between the two, with Elaraby using her trademark attacking play to continually trouble the American at the front of the court and despite forcing a tiebreak, Fiechter couldn’t stop the Egyptian from converting.

The American had a huge mountain to climb after she lost the second game but she stuck to her task and straightened up her play from the back of the court to limit the attacking opportunities of her the Egyptian. This tactic started to frustrate Elaraby with errors started to come into her game. Fiechter not only took the third game, but also continued her momentum to force a fifth and final game, winning both the third and fourth by an 11-8 scoreline.

The American ran out to a strong 4-1 lead in the fifth game but back came Elaraby and in the blink of an eye, the World No.8 found herself 8-6 up. For the second day in succession, Fiechter had to save a match ball, and after doing so, she then won the next two points to claim a stunning victory, sending the home crowd into raptures at Grand Central Terminal.

“I’m a little tired, I’m lost for words,” Fiechter said after her epic victory.

“I knew Rowan would be out for revenge, I got the better of her when we played in the British Open about a month ago. I knew she’d come out firing, I definitely had a slow start and she was playing well and everything seemed to be running away from me. I told myself to try and relax and keep retrieving balls and my goal in the match was to just get in front as much as possible and volley and I think I got better as the match went on. I’m at a loss for words.

“Fortunately with my sports psychologist, Danny Massaro, we’ve been working on trying to stay positive and predict positive things, even in moments where things are running away from me and I’m feeling that I’m not hitting my targets, I can turn it around and play the match of my life.  I’m not sure it was tonight but I’m just relieved that I could find a way through. 

“It’s so hard to believe, when I’ve played this event in the past I’ve barely made the draw and just to be able to play on this court and to be able to come out and play again tomorrow and to try and book my place in the final is just incredible.”

Fiechter will now play Egypt’s Nouran Gohar in the semi-finals, after the World No.1 defeated Canada’s Hollie Naughton. The other women’s semi-final will see another battle between USA and Egypt, with World No.4 Amanda Sobhy and World No.7 Salma Hany set to meet on Friday evening in New York City.

In the men’s event, World No.17 Saurav Ghosal reached his biggest PSA semi-final since 2019 after a magnificent performance saw him take out Egypt’s Youssef Ibrahim under the chandeliers of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall.

Saurav Ghosal

It was the pair’s first meeting on the PSA World Tour and 35-year-old Ghosal – who has recently suffered with an abductor injury which saw him miss out on the Allam British Open – made the better start of the two. He had the superior line and length, meaning he was able to starve Ibrahim of the ball in the centre of the court, which is where the Egyptian is often at his deadliest.

The exciting squash continued into the second and third game. In the former, Ibrahim was able to level up after finally unleashing the attacking squash for which he is known and in the latter, he was tested to the max by his opponent but just managed to get his nose ahead to take a 2-1 lead. He was all at sea in the fourth game though and was outplayed by Ghosal, who controlled proceedings and moved the Egyptian into all four corners of the court to send the match into a decider.
The fifth game certainly didn’t disappoint, with both players going toe-to-toe in front of a sell-out crowd. And it was Ghosal who managed to hold his nerve to get a massive win over the line and he will take on Peru’s Diego Elias for a place in the final on Friday evening.

“It means so much, this is my 11th time here and I hadn’t gotten this far,” said Ghosal.

“I’ve been putting a lot of work in and it’s good to see it come to fruition. For it to come fruition at somewhere like Grand Central Terminal is brilliant, I’m super happy.

“I don’t think you can call Youssef an up-and-coming player anymore, he’s chopping people that are much higher up. He’s playing at such a high level, it’s so difficult to play him. I had to be super disciplined in my head to execute the plan that David Palmer, who has been coaching me, had put together.

“He’s going to be around for a really long time entertaining a lot of people around the world. I’m just glad that today we had such a good match and hopefully we can have a few more before I walk into the sunset.”

Elias made his way through to the last four after beating French No.1 Gregoire Marche, while the other men’s semi-final on Friday evening will see an all-Egyptian battle, and a repeat of the Houston Open final, as World No.2 Ali Farag takes on World No.8 Mazen Hesham.

The semi-finals of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions will take place on Friday, May 6, with the action starting at 17:00 (GMT-4). The action will be streamed live on SQUASHTV and on broadcasters around the world.

Men’s Quarter Final Results: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [5] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0: 11-9, 11-4, 11-5 (35m)
[3] Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Victor Crouin (FRA) 3-1: 11-4, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8 (48m)
[2] Diego Elias (PER) bt [4] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-1: 11-3, 11-6, 10-12, 11-6 (49m)
[7] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [8] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 3-2: 11-8, 7-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9 (72m)

Men’s Semi-Final Draw: To Be Played Friday, May 6
[1] Ali Farag (EGY) v [3] Mazen Hesham (EGY)
[2] Diego Elias (PER) v [7] Saurav Ghosal (IND)

Women’s Quarter Final Results: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [8] Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (28m)
[5] Olivia Fiechter (USA) bt [4] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 3-2: 10-12, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10 (63m)
[3] Salma Hany (EGY) bt [6] Olivia Clyne (USA) 3-0: 11-2, 11-3, 11-7 (25m)
[2] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Nada Abbas (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-8 (29m)

Women’s Semi-Final Draw: To Be Played Friday, May 6
[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [5] Olivia Fiechter (USA)
[3] Salma Hany (EGY) v [2] Amanda Sobhy (USA)

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