Qualifying for the $35,000 U.S. Pro Series Texas Open, the second oldest running professional women’s tournament in the U.S. behind the Carol Weymuller, is underway at Life Time Fitness in Plano, Texas.
The Texas Open’s roots trace back to a 1999 exhibition between former world No. 1 Sarah Fitz-Gerald and local teaching professional Aidan Harrison in Dallas. Inspired by the skill on display, local squash enthusiasts pooled together to fund and host the $17,000 WISPA Dallas Open in 2000.
In 2002, Dallas Squash and Houston Squash collaborated to host the first Texas Open in Houston, and have alternated hosting the tournament every year since.
Former world No. 2 Natalie Grinham was a qualifier in the 2000 Dallas Open, and makes her way to the Lone Star state for her seventh Texas Open as the 2015 Wild Card. Grinham, the 2013 Texas Open finalist, is making only her second PSA appearance since returning from a maternal absence during the majority of 2014. Grinham’s first-round opponent is Egyptian world No. 16 Nouran Gohar, who is twenty years Grinham’s junior.
Two-time Texas Open champion and Natalie’s sister, Rachael, also returns to Texas as the four seed, and will take on a qualifier in the first round.
World No. 10 Amanda Sobhy marks her first PSA appearance and second tournament as a full-time professional since claiming her second U.S. national title last month as the second seed. The soon-to-be Harvard graduate faces a qualifier in the first round, and is seeded to meet top-seeded world No. 5 Nour El Tayeb in Sunday’s final.
Two rounds of qualifying commenced Tuesday, with one slate of four matches at noon local time, and four matches slated for Tuesday evening starting at 6pm local time.
Tournament director and Dallas Squash President Sanjeeb Samanta is running his fifth Texas Open since 2007, and has seen the Texas Open help grow the Dallas squash community to more than 300 players. The Texas Open is funded by private donations, and a fundraising golf tournament.
Follow Samanta’s Twitter account, @ssamanta, for updates throughout the tournament.
For draws, and more Texas Open information, visit the official tournament website.