The U.S. Open Squash Championships presented by Truist will feature two American semifinalists for the first time–marking the first time two Americans have reached the semifinals of any PSA Platinum event together–after Fiechter upset 2017 champion Nour El Tayeb Thursday, October 12, at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.
Fiechter, who made her debut in a Platinum semifinal at the 2021 U.S. Open, made a strong start to her quarterfinal match against the 2017 champion El Tayeb, taking the first game 11-9. El Tayeb pulled away from nine-all in the second game to level the score 9-all.
The Philadelphia native was cheered on a by a vocal crowd including a large group from her alma mater Germantown Friends School, and pulled through a tense third game 13-11 with well-constructed rallies. Fiechter pulled away to clinch the match in the fourth 11-7 in fifty-eight minutes.
“She [Nour El Tayeb] hits the ball with great weight,” said Fiechter. “On this court, if you let the ball come back, it’s so deadly back there. I was trying to cut that off, take it around the middle and stay in front of her as much as I could. I knew she was going to take it into the front, so I told myself to push up and not get beat on the drop and the boast. We did a lot of work on that in the last few months and it felt like it came through tonight.”
Fiechter and U.S. teammate Amanda Sobhy–who won her quarterfinal match on Wednesday–will compete on opposite ends of the draw against Egypt’s top two seeds.
Fiechter will face Egypt’s seven-time world champion Nour El Sherbini in Friday night’s semifinals. The Egyptian has won every major title in the sport except for the U.S. Open, and appeared to be on the brink of elimination Thursday night when England’s seven seed Georgina Kennedy held a 6-2 advantage in the fourth game with a 2-1 lead in games. The world No. 1 managed to fight back and take the match in five to move one step closer to an elusive U.S. Open title.
“I needed this match to get some momentum and a testing match before the semis,” said El Sherbini. “I have no idea why I haven’t wont he U.S. Open, I tried four times with different people, I lost to Raneem [El Welily], Nicol [David], Camille [Serme] and Nouran [Gohar]. Inshallah this time it will happen.”
Peru’s Defending champion and two seed Diego Elias continues his title defense and quest to reclaim the world No. 1 ranking after a four-game victory over Egypt’s five seed Marwan ElShorbagy.
“We were both playing at a very high pace, so I knew at some point he was going to drop off and I played a bit smarter in the last couple of games,” Elias said. “We’re very close friends and I noticed today that he was a lot more aggressive from the first few rallies. I knew it was going to be a different time to the matches where I won in ToC and Pittsburgh more comfortably. We’re not friends on the court, it’s a different story, so it’s great to play a match like this.”
New Zealand’s world No. 4 Paul Coll will face Elias in what will be his first U.S. Open semifinal appearance since 2018. The Kiwi earned the final spot in the semifinals late into the night after a marathon five-game, eighty-two-minute win over Egypt’s Mazen Hesham.
“I felt like I was getting myself into really good positions, but I was over hitting my length, under hitting my length, hitting the side wall and I kept giving him a good position when I was in a good position,” Coll said. “He’s evolved his game beautifully, he’s more patient and his length is underrated, he’s got that hold, he pushes you back and then he stabs in a drop. He’s lengthening the court out a bit better and being more patient. He’s maturing as a squash player with the weapons he’s got and it makes him a more dangerous opponent.”