Article by Todd Harrity
Plenty of tough, well-contested, and entertaining squash was played at clubs across Philadelphia in the first rounds of the U.S. Open men’s and women’s local pre-qualifiers over the past week.
On the men’s side, Trinity graduate Parth Sharma ousted Gavin Perrett in a close four game match, 11-7, 11-8, (8-11), 11-9. Sharma will now face #1 seed, Jamie Macaulay in the pre-qualifier semifinals next week.
Also in the top half of the draw, U.S. SQUASH’s Program Director Dent Wilkens defeated Brazilian Fabio Cechin in another tight four game match, 11-7, (9-11), 15-13, 11-9. Wilkens will now face the ¾ seed, Joe Russell.
Both Russell and Macaulay moved straight through to the semifinals with first round byes. The bottom half of the men’s draw also has ¾ seed Imran Khan, and #2 seed Alex Stait receiving first round byes, also moving them straight through to the semifinals.
Imran Khan is now set to face the head pro of the Fairmount Club in King of Prussia, Paul Frank. This match will also be Frank’s first of the pre-qualifiers, as his first round opponent, Joe Millman withdrew from the tournament.
Alex Stait will play Lyall Paterson, who defeated University of Rochester graduate, Matt Domenick in a competitive four game match, (5-11), 11-3, 11-6, 11-5.
The smaller eight-player women’s draw saw more one-sided results in the opening round. #1 seed Alex Clark from Scottland beat Radhika Cobb 11-2, 11-7, 11-7.
¾ seed Amy Gross, Yale University graduate and assistant coach at Penn University, defeated Niki Clement in a comprehensive three games, 11-3, 11-5, 11-6.
Young talent Olivia Fiechter, who just recently returned from the World Junior Championships in Doha, Qatar, cruised through her first match with an 11-1, 11-0, 11-4, victory over Kim Palterman.
The closest match of the women’s draw was contested in the bottom half between #2 seed Karen Kronemeyer and Stephanie Vogel, a University of Pennsylvania graduate. Kronmeyer won (7-11), 11-9, 11-5, 11-2.
In the semi-finals Kronemeyer will now face Fiechter, an interesting match-up as Kronmeyer has coached Fiechter, and Alex Clark will play Amy Gross.