By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
After winning the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions Challenger on Saturday evening to qualify for the event, USA’s Timmy Brownell and Hong Kong’s Chan Sin Yuk continued their incredible runs in New York, each saving multiple match balls (two for Brownell and seven for Chan) to book their spots in the second round at Grand Central Terminal.
After USA’s Brownell got the better of Egypt’s Aly Abou Eleinen in the Challenger 10 level final on Saturday, he took on another Egyptian, Karim El Hammamy, in the opening round of the PSA World Tour Gold level J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.
The first three games were all extremely tight, with neither player able to get on a clear run of points. The Egyptian claimed the first on a tie-break 12-10, with the next two being split evenly, with El Hammamy holding a 2-1 lead in the contest. Brownell fought back to take the fourth quickly, to send the match into a decider, with the home fans getting behind their favourite.
The fifth and deciding game of the match would go all the way to a tie-break, as the American came back from 10-8 down, saving two match balls in the process. He won four consecutive points to turn the game around, winning it 12-10 to the crowd’s delight. Brownell will now face Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal in the second round on Tuesday afternoon.
“My mum is one of the brightest squash minds on the planet and she doesn’t get the credit she deserves, so for me to come out here and do this is just one small thing to show what an incredible woman, coach, player, everything she is,” Brownell said.
When asked about his smile ahead of match ball, he replied: “This is what I love to do. I look out and see a lot of people I love in the crowd. Who wouldn’t want to do this?
“We’re doing a lot of good work at US Squash over at the National Centre. I’m a testament to it, I showed up nine months ago and I think [Ong] Beng Hee [US Squash Head National Coach] just had to laugh at me. To come out and get a win on the glass court is a dream, but we’re just getting started.”
Hong Kong’s Yuk defeated Egypt’s Kenzy Ayman in the Challenger final to make the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, and her first round match rounded off the opening day’s play at the Gold level tournament, as she took on another Egyptian in World No.36 Zeina Mickawy.
The Hongkonger took the opening game on a tie-break 13-11, but found herself 2-1 behind after losing both the second and third games to the Egyptian, the latter also coming on a tie-break, 12-10.
The fourth game was a show in itself, with Yuk having to save seven match balls in the process to stay in the contest. She saved the first at 10-9 down, before saving a further six in the tie-break. Yuk eventually won it after 20 minutes of action 21-19, before then going on to win the deciding game 11-5 to advance to the semi-finals. She will now face World No.7 Salma Hany no Tuesday afternoon.
“I was just thinking about getting this game [the fourth] and all the cheering was making me want to fight more,” said the World No.43. ”
Three other Americans were involved in first round action on Sunday. Sabrina Sobhy, who pulled off an impressive third round run at the 2020 ToC, opened up the tournament with a clinical three-game win over former world No. 20 Millie Tomlinson.
Todd Harrity lost to ToC debutant Moustafa El Sirty in a tight five-game battle, with the Egyptian finishing strongly to win the fifth 11-5. And Egypt’s world No. 19 Farida Mohamed dispatched world No. 42 Haley Mendez in straight games.
J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, Grand Central Terminal, New York, USA.
Men’s First Round Results:
Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) bt Todd Harrity (USA) 3-2: 4-11, 11-2, 5-11, 12-10, 11-5 (63m)
[WC] Timothy Brownell (USA) bt Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 3-2: 10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 11-3, 12-10 (89m)
Men’s First Round (continued, Monday, May 2):
Greg Lobban (SCO) v [9/16] James Willstrop (ENG)
[9/16] Baptiste Masotti (FRA) v Auguste Dussourd (FRA)
Nathan Lake (ENG) v [9/16] Victor Crouin (FRA)
[9/16] Shahjahan Khan (USA) v Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA)
[9/16] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Lucas Serme (FRA)
[9/16] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) v Dimitri Steinmann (SUI)
Women’s First Round Results:
Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 (25m)
[WC] Chan Sin Yuk (HKG) bt Zeina Mickawy (EGY) 3-2: 13-11, 6-11, 10-12, 21-19, 11-5 (61m)
Nada Abbas (EGY) bt Ineta Mackevica (LAT) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 13-11 (29m)
Farida Mohamed (EGY) bt Haley Mendez (USA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-9, 11-3 (19m)
Women’s First Round (continued, Monday, May 2):
Anna Serme (CZE) v [9/16] Danielle Letourneau (CAN)
[9/16] Lucy Turmel (ENG) v Tze Lok Ho (HKG)
Enora Villard (FRA) v [9/16] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS)
[9/16] Melissa Alves (FRA) v Donna Lobban (AUS)
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour and US Squash