CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard men's squash junior Timothy Brownell defeated Yale's Spencer Lovejoy in four sets in the wild card playoff final of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions main draw on Thursday at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, Connecticut.
Brownell earned his way to the match after advancing through Wednesday's semifinals with a three-game victory, setting up a showdown with his Ivy League counterpart and former U.S. junior teammate.
The Belmont native split the first two games with Lovejoy, 11-5 and 7-11, before rallying for an 11-5 decision in the third. In the decisive fourth game, Brownell held off a late charge from Lovejoy and clinched the match with a back-hand, giving the Harvard junior the 16-14 victory.
"Spencer's a really strong player, he's the No. 1 player at Yale," Brownell said. "He and I go way back. We played on the world junior team together in 2015 in Holland. I really respect his game, he's a really skilled player so I knew it was going to be tough. I felt like I was doing a little more running than he was so I was happy to sneak it out in the fourth. He's a very fit player so I knew it would have been tough going into a fifth game."
Brownell is now set for his debut in the PSA World Platinum Draw on the Oracle NetSuite SuiteSuccess all-glass court in Vanderbilt Hall in New York, N.Y. The junior is slotted into the second men's wild card position and will face Egypt's world No. 35 Youssef Soliman on Jan. 16, at 7 p.m.
"This is the best feeling," Brownell said. "The ToC is the biggest tournament I've ever played in. I've been watching the ToC since I was a little kid. The glass court in Grand Central is the biggest venue in the world. It means everything to me to play there. I really respect a player like Spencer, it's tough to see him not win this, but I'm over the moon. I actually traded jerseys with Yousseff Soliman four years ago at the world juniors. He's a really strong player and climbed up the rankings, so it will be cool to play him.
"I remember my first time in Grand Central and I couldn't believe how high the ceiling was," Brownell added. "It was incredible hearing a squash ball hit the wall in that room. Now I'll find out how it feels to play there."
Brownell joins former Crimson players Amanda Sobhy and Ali Farag, and U.S. men's teammates Todd Harrity and Chris Hanson in the Tournament of Champions draw, which takes place Jan. 16-24.