Saturday, April 13, 2024

USA’s Olivia Fiechter scores career high title at DAC Pro Squash Classic

The USA’s Olivia Fiechter produced a spectacular performance to beat England’s Georgina Kennedy in the final of the DAC Pro Squash Classic and win the biggest title of her career to date.

The World No.11, who had lost to Kennedy in the final of the Bronze-level Carol Weymuller Open in January, put in a performance of both quality and determination to win 3-1 at the Detroit Athletic Club.

Despite Fiechter’s higher seeding, there were plenty who pointed to Kennedy as the favourite in tonight’s Silver-level final, with over 75 percent of a poll of 900 squash fans feeling the Englishwoman was the most likely winner.

That confidence in Kennedy was perhaps understandable, given the 25-year-old’s title at last week’s Cleveland Classic and her 3-0 head-to-head record against the US No.2, with their last match Kennedy’s 3-0 Carol Weymuller Open win.

Fiechter made a mockery of those predictions as she made an ideal start to the match, opening a comfortable lead at 7-2 in game one, with the 27-year-old keeping Kennedy at the back of the court well and reducing the pace of play.

The World No.9 was able to exert some pressure as she began to reel in the American to 7-5, but slipped to a 1-0 deficit as Fiechter’s consistency delivered an 11-7 win.

Fiechter then doubled her lead with a superb performance in game two, blowing the Englishwoman away with a comprehensive 11-5 win in nine minutes.

No.8 seed Kennedy came back furiously in the third game, going on the attack and volleying early as she won the first seven points on the way to an 11-6 victory.

Fiechter’s performance in game four was one that combined skill and grit in equal measure.

After slipping to 7-4 down against an increasingly assured Kennedy, the US No.2 clung on desperately, chasing every ball no matter how lost it appeared. This surge flipped the momentum of the game, with the World No.11 moving to championship ball at 10-9, which she converted at the first attempt to the thunderous applause of the crowd.

“I think it’s going to take a while for that to sink in!” Fiechter said afterwards.

“It was such a tough battle, like every point you play against Gina. That’s the first win I have over her and the whole day and throughout the match I was just focusing on playing my game and believing in myself.

“I had some gritty wins this week that helped me with my self-belief and told myself that I had to do it. The fact that I’m here now, as the champion, is crazy.”

At the trophy presentation, Fiechter and Kennedy thanked the Detroit Athletic Club, fans and sponsors, as well as their respective support teams.

Kennedy added: “I want to congratulate Liv for a great tournament. You really deserved to win today, you were the better player and I’m really happy for you!”

Result: DAC Pro Squash Classic Final

[4] Olivia Fiechter (USA) bt [8] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) 3-1: 11-7, 11-5, 6-11, 11-9 (44m)

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