A turbulent evening at the McArthur Squash Center saw both Todd Harrity and Sabrina Sobhy record their highest-ranked scalps ever to reach their first U.S. Squash Championships finals.
Match momentum began against Harrity in the first semifinal of the night as defending champion Chris Gordon took the first game 11-9. Down 3-8 in the second game, Harrity leveled the game at 9-9, during which a contentious no let call gave the twenty-three-year-old world No. 114 a 10-9 advantage, which Harrity capitalized on to equalize the match 1-1.
Harrity gained a 2-1 advantage in a marathon, back-and-forth third game ending with a 14-12 scoreline. Gordon turned the match on its head in the fourth game as he powered to a commanding 11-5 victory. A string of nicks and well-placed drop shots in the fifth game propelled Harrity to his first-ever victory against world No. 48 Gordon–the highest-ranked upset of his young career.
“I was pretty nervous at first, ” Harrity said. “I think the big difference between this year and last year is that I’m now training full time and focusing on improving and getting better. I’ve played Chris a lot, but I think this is the first time I’ve won. We’ll have to call it a rivalry. Coming in as the underdog, I was able to stay pretty calm, and I ended up playing really well.”
Seventeen-year-old Sabrina Sobhy also achieved a record upset in the first women’s semifinal when she swiftly defeated world No. 29 and seven-time U.S. champion Latasha Khan in three games. Khan never appeared settled against the U.S. Junior champion as the younger Sobhy sister recorded an 11-7, 11-3, 11-5 victory.
“It’s great to see Sabrina play like that, she’s going to go far, ” said Khan, twenty-four years Sobhy’s senior. “Although too bad it had to be against me!”
“Latasha’s been a great mentor to me this past year, ” Sobhy said after the match. “She’s been coaching me really well and it’s great to play against someone I really look up to.”
When asked how she juggles playing in professional and junior tournaments while maintaining her high school academics, U.S. junior champion Sobhy admitted it could be “pretty draining.”
“It’s really hard to juggle everything. I rely on my teachers a lot. My dad’s always been there to help me, and my sister’s doing the same thing so it’s good to have other people around to support me.”
In a rematch of their 2013 semifinal in which Gilly Lane upset eight-time U.S. champion Julian Illingworth in five games, the 2014 semifinal rematch appeared to be on track to be another blockbuster between the two American squash stalwarts. A fiery Lane–retired former world No. 48 and current assistant squash coach at the University of Pennsylvania–tested the current world No. 49 losing the first 11-9.
With Lane up 10-8 in the second game, an awkward bounce near the end of the second game left Lane exposed in the center of the court causing an unintentional collision between the players, aggravating Lane’s back in the process–the same injury that forced Lane to retire early. Although Lane held on to win the second game 15-13, the twenty-eight-year-old didn’t appear to recover as Illingworth closed out the third and fourth games 11-6, 11-8.
Illingworth now has the chance to tie Demer Holleran’s record of nine national titles against Harrity, who is in search of his first.
The final match of the night ensured an all-Sobhy final as Amanda Sobhy advanced to her third final in a week’s time after defeating four seed Olivia Blatchford in three games. After winning her third College Squash Association Individual title last weekend, and her largest prize money professional tournament Friday night, Sobhy now has the opportunity to win her second national title against her younger sister. Amanda defeated Sabrina in a four-game semifinal in 2013.
The Nationals title matches will be streamed live on three courts (U.S. Squash Championships on the glass court; U.S. Masters on courts 3 and 5). To access the streams, create a free account on livestream.com and use the court-specific links below.
Follow all of the U.S. Masters Squash Championships matches on the live score tracker.
SL Green U.S. Men’s Squash Championship Semifinals:
 Todd Harrity def. Chris Gordon 9-11, 11-9, 14-12, 5-12, 11-6
 Julian Illingworth def.  Gilly Lane 11-9, 13-15, 11-6, 11-1
U.S. Women’s Squash Championship Semifinals:
 Sabrina Sobhy def.  Latasha Khan 11-7, 11-3, 11-5
 Amanda Sobhy v  Olivia Blatchford 11-6, 11-3, 11-3
11:30am  Todd Harrity v  Julian Illingworth
12:30pm  Amanda Sobhy v  Sabrina Sobhy
*All times EST. Daylight savings occurs tonight!