Finals: It’s a first for Andrew Douglas, and a 6th title for Amanda Sobhy
World No. 5 Amanda Sobhy earned her sixth U.S. Women’s Championship title without dropping a game, while Andrew Douglas lifted the U.S. Men’s Championship trophy for the first time in his third final appearance
The men’s final opened proceedings with five seed Douglas taking on seven seed Spencer Lovejoy, who marked his first final appearance after upsetting four-time champion Todd Harrity in the quarterfinals and defending champion Timmy Brownell in the semifinals.
The match began at a high pace with both players earning a game, but Douglas harnessed the momentum in the third game to win 11-8, 6-11, 11-6, 11-2 in forty-five minutes.
“I was really struggling, Spencer was playing really well,” Douglas said. “I figured I had to do something to make it quicker honestly because the long rallies were killing me. So I tried to opt for intensity over duration and it worked out.”
Douglas, who lives and trains with Lovejoy, previously reached the finals in 2017 and 2018 as a junior and student at Penn, and now adds a new name to the S.L. Green U.S. Men’s Championship trophy.
“Credit to Spencer, I know how hard he works and I think he deserves so much,” Douglas said. “I’m so happy he was able to produce the level of squash that he did this week. It means a lot to me to win this title and I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me.”
The ensuing women’s final featured the first two American women ever ranked together in the world’s top eight in Sobhy and world No. 7 Olivia Fiechter–a first-time finalist. Sobhy asserted her higher ranking by controlling the first two games 11-5, 11-6. Fiechter regained her composure in the third game, however, and earned two game balls, but Sobhy twice came back to win 13-11 in thirty-four minutes.
“I was telling myself you don’t want to go to a fourth game so you better finish it,” Sobhy said. “Liv’s been playing well, we’re five and seven in the world and have two American women in the top eight and four in the top sixteen for the first time. I couldn’t take this easy. This was a really tough match mentally because we’re really good friends. I wanted to go out there from the beginning and pump up the pace to get through in three. I’m so happy I did because that was a neck and neck at the end so I just ran and smashed the ball as hard as I could and sometimes that works.”
In lifting the Cup for the second year in a row, Sobhy matches Natalie Grainger’s record of six women’s national titles.
“It’s awesome to win number six,” Sobhy said. “I’m very competitive and want to break records, there are a few other U.S. players who have won eight or nine and while that could be a stretch I think I can get there. It’s a big deal for us
Semis : New men’s champion guaranteed in Philadelphia
A new men’s US National Champion will be crowned in Philadelphia after semi-final wins by Andrew Douglas and Spencer Lovejoy. Douglas held off a comeback from top seed Shahjahan Khan to win 12-10 in the fifth while Lovejoy took out defending champion Timmy Brownell in four games.
In the women ‘s final Amanda Sobhy, who beat Marina Stefanoni in straight games, will be aiming for a seventh title as she takes on Olivia Fiechter, a straight games winner over Olivia Clyne.
The 2023 U.S. Women’s Championship final will feature two players in the world’s top eight for the first time when world No. 5 Amanda Sobhy faces world No. 7 Olivia Fiechter, while a first-time S.L. Green U.S. Men’s Champion is guaranteed in either Andrew Douglas or Spencer Lovejoy who upset top seeds in the semifinals Thursday, April 27, at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.
The opening match of the day proved to be the longest as Douglas, the five seed, held off a five-game comeback from top seed and world No. 35 Shahjahan Khan. Khan came back from 2-0 down and 5-8 down in the third game to push the match late into the fifth game, which Douglas edged 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 8-11, 12-10 in seventy-nine minutes.
“That was one of the longest matches I’ve ever played and I wasn’t sure if I could hang in with Shah, but I just believed in myself and tried to hang in one point longer and somehow managed to get to the last point of the game,” Douglas said.
“I needed to trust myself a bit more and trust my fitness. I didn’t think I was fit enough to hang with him and I started making some bad errors. So I just kind of believed and tried to fake the belief a bit longer and it just ended up being enough by a little.”
Douglas will make this third appearance in the national finals with another opportunity to claim his first national title against first-time finalist and seven seed Spencer Lovejoy, who upset defending champion Timmy Brownell in four games.
“It’s a really tough thing to play against such a close friend, Timmy and I train day in and day out with each other,” Lovejoy said.
“He’s been one of the biggest inspirations to me every day in training and it’s so great to have us pushing each other every day. Kudos to him for a great season so far, he’s been crushing it on tour. But once you step on court you need to put all of that to the side, business is business.”
The women’s final will feature a marquee matchup between two of the world’s top players in Amanda Sobhy and Fiechter. Fiechter, the two seed, met three seed and world No. 13 Olivia Blatchford Clyne in what was their fifth match-up of 2023. Fiechter recorded her third win of those five encounters 11-6, 11-5, 11-3 in twenty-six minutes to reach her maiden U.S. Women’s Championship final.
“Liv and I have played a lot over the last few months and it’s always mentally and physically so tough,” Fiechter said.
“Playing her you can’t leave anything open with her hands, her accuracy and her movement. It’s all spot on. So i just had to get in front of her as much as I could. My goal today was to be really really positive with my hitting and I was really pleased with how I played. It would be incredible to win my first title.
“I wasn’t pleased with how I performed at last year’s nationals so I really came in this week making it a priority to play my best squash. I came here to win and I’m really happy to give myself the opportunity to play for the title tomorrow. I think I was sixteen the last time I was playing for a national title. This one’s certainly a different level and it would mean the world.”
World No. 5 and five-time champion Amanda Sobhy awaits Fiechter in the final after the top seed dispatched twenty-year-old Marina Stefanoni in three games.
“I wanted to play well this week and carry the momentum into the World Champoinships next week,” Sobhy said.
“Liv and I are good friends and every time we play whether it’s practice or competitive we play in the right spirit. I know she’s going to be going to be gunning for her first title tomorrow, but I’m looking for number 6. It’s going to be a good match.”
Quarters : Stefanoni and Lovejoy gatecrash the semis
Marina Stefanoni and Spencer Lovejoy upset the seeding to reach the U.N. National semi-finals on Day Three in Philadelphia.
Stefanoni, the fifth seed, came from a game down to beat fourth seed Sabrina Sobhy, setting up a semi with top seed Amanda Sobhy, who eased past Emma Trauber in three. In the bottom half of the draw second and third seeded Olivias Fiechter and Clyne overcame top US juniors Caroline Fouts and Lucie Stefanoni.
“It feels amazing to win,” Marina said. “We’re almost in finals period at school so I’m honestly running on the last of my fuel. I just wanted to play a good match. I’ve never actually played her in a real match, we’ve only sparred before. I didn’t know which side of the draw I was on to be honest, but I’ve never played Amanda so this will be an incredible opportunity and I’ll try to make the most of it.”
Lovejoy also came from a game down to record his first win over second seeded former champion Todd Harrity. He’ll face training partner and defending Champion Timmy Brownell – who saved two match balls along the way to beating Chris Gordon in five – in the semis, with top seed Shahjahan Khan facing fifth seed Andrew Douglas, who overcame fourth seed Faraz Khan in straight games.
“The last couple of times we’ve played, I’ve never even taken a game off of Todd,” Lovejoy said. “It was the first time I ever felt like I was in the match against him. When I won the second game I felt like I could win the match and I was hungry for the win today. Timmy’s my long-time training partner, we always have good matches so I’m looking forward to that one tomorrow.”
Day TWO :Top seeds through to quarters
The second day of play in Philadelphia saw all the top seeds safely through to the quarter-finals, the only upset coming in the men’s draw as Dillon Huang ousted eighth seed Alvin Heumann in three close games to set up a meeting with top seed Shahjahan Khan. In the women’s event the top eight seeds all progressed, with only eighth seed Emma Trauber needing more than three games.