Windy City Open RD3: Blatchford Clyne Reaches First Platinum Quarter-Final
United States No.2 Olivia Blatchford Clyne has reached her first ever PSA World Tour Platinum quarter-final after a gripping 3-2 victory over Egypt’s Nadine Shahin at the University Club of Chicago.
Shahin came into the fixture on a high after hammering 2018 runner-up Joelle King in straight games in the previous round and picked up where she left off against the Kiwi, playing at an unforgiving pace as she took an 11-8 win in game one.
The pair were neck and neck until the midway point of the second, until a couple of unforced errors handed the momentum to the American player, and she raced away, levelling courtesy of an 11-6 victory.
Blatchford Clyne dominated in the third with an immaculate short game seeing her drop just three points to go ahead for the first time. It looked like the World No.17 had complete control, however Shahin threw everything at Blatchford Clyne in the fourth, forcing the American into a succession of errors as she forced a decider.
The fifth game was a nail-biting affair with spectators on the edge of their seats in the University Club’s Cathedral Hall as Blatchford Clyne and Shahin fought tooth and nail for a quarter-final spot. Blatchford Clyne managed to edge ahead and held off Shahin’s assault to complete an 8-11, 11-6, 11-3, 9-11, 11-9 victory in 49 minutes.
Reaction from— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) February 29, 2020
LivBlatchClyne</a> as she beat <a href="https://twitter.com/Nadeen_Shaheen?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">Nadeen_Shaheen to reach her first ever Platinum quarter-final!#WCOSquash pic.twitter.com/bpLZb8iYtR
“My husband [men’s World No.39 Alan Clyne) knows I’m a very vocal person in general, I like to talk a lot and you can tell that it meant a lot to me today because I was making a lot of noise out there,” Blatchford Clyne said afterwards.
“I’m ecstatic, you have one of those days when you think it’s an opportunity and it’s so hard not to get ahead of yourself. You can’t not get ahead of yourself a little bit and I know that Nadine is playing fantastic squash, she had a crazy win yesterday, and I just wanted to fight, leave it all out there and see what happens.
“We both like to play fast, but if it’s getting all over the place then she is going to win those rallies. I think she won every single rally that became extremely frantic. I had to take my time, especially on the backhand length, not only to hit a good shot but mentally and emotionally to compose myself every time I went back there.
“It’s such a pleasure to be a part of this new group [of US women]. I’m really privileged that I get to train with Natalie Grainger who did so much for US squash when she came and played for us. I definitely see that it’s blossoming and I think our biggest goal has to be encouraging girls to come and do this [professional squash] rather than playing recreational squash after college.
“US Squash has done a wonderful job at really enabling our players to make that jump. It is hard to do without funding, but now that they have this wonderful funding scheme they want us to be playing. Our ladies kick-ass so why wouldn’t you?”
 Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) bt Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 11-6, 11-3, 9-11, 11-9 (49m)