Team USA’s Amanda Sobhy won the first PSA title her first season as a full-time professional and second of 2015 Monday night, defeating British national champion Sarah-Jane Perry to win the inaugural $25, 000 NetSuite Open women’s draw in San Francisco. It won’t be long until Sobhy and Perry play their rematch, with the two players set to face off in the first round of the Delaware Investments U.S. Open Sunday, October 11.
In the men’s final Tuesday night, Egypt’s Ramy Ashour proved his fitness after six months away from the tour with an emphatic four-game victory over England’s Nick Matthew. Next week in Philadelphia Ashour is set for a collision course with world No. 1 Mohamed Elshorbagy in the U.S. Open quarterfinals.
Sobhy stormed her way through the draw to reach the final, dropping just one game en route, to line up against second seeded Perry who had defeated Sobhy in their only previous meeting on the PSA World Tour in February, but in what proved to be a compelling battle it was the World No.19 who took the spoils.
Sobhy started strongly, applying her trademark attacking style, to take the opening game before Perry responded to level the scores at one game apiece. Twenty-two-year-old Sobhy again reasserted her status as one of the sport’s most promising talents to take the third and despite watching two match balls go to waste, she regrouped to take the forth game and the championship 11-5, 4-11, 11-5, 12-10.
“I’m feeling great right now and I’m just really happy to get the win here tonight, ” Sobhy said.
“It was a big goal of mine to come here and perform well, especially leading up to the U.S. Open–I’m playing SJ again there in the first round and I know she’ll come back stronger.
“Thanks to all the organizers for putting on a really great women’s event – it’s been fantastic to play here and hopefully we can keep growing this event in the future.”
Sobhy and Perry will meet again on Sunday, October 11, on the Delaware Investments U.S. Open ASB GlassCourt at Drexel University. Buy tickets to the rematch on www.usopensquash.com.
Competing in his first tournament since April Ashour, who has been dogged by injury since limping off court against Matthew during the 2013 World Championship semi-finals, was in sublime form as he out-gunned the 35-year-old Englishman to take the match 3-1 and get his latest comeback off to the perfect start.
“It feels great to be back in San Francisco and to win this title for a second time, ” said Ashour, who beat Gregory Gaultier in the 2013 NetSuite Open final.
“I’ve always had a great rivalry with Nick and we’ve gone back and forth against each other over the years. He’s a great athlete and a great ambassador for the sport and it takes a lot to beat him – he keeps you on your toes and you really have to dig in against him.
“Every time I go on court I try to give 100 per cent. I’m always trying to learn from every player on court because there is so little between the top players these days. I know what I can do on court but it can be anyone’s victory on any day.”
Commenting on the event, which took place under the shadow of San Francisco’s stunning Bay Bridge, Ashour said: “San Francisco has been very special for me – everything about being here is great and the atmosphere is fantastic. There’s a lot of effort that goes into putting on an event like this and all the guys behind the scenes have been amazing.
“It’s been great to be here this week and hopefully I’ll be back to compete again next year.”
The opening exchanges of the encounter were blighted with errors as the significance of the occasion made itself felt on both men before Ashour managed to string together a series of winners to take the first game 11-7.
However Matthew came out strong in the second to dictate proceedings and flip the momentum of the match, levelling the scores at 1-1 after a controversial overrule from the video referee at 10-9 handed him the game, much to the dismay of his opponent.
But Ashour, competing on the day of his 28th birthday, recomposed himself and got off to a flying start in the third game – easing into a 5-0 lead. Matthew, one of the most tenacious competitors on the tour, showed just why he’s known as ‘The Wolf’ as he dug in to mount a comeback but he couldn’t live with Ashour’s pinpoint accuracy and unpredictable shot-making talents.
With a 2-1 advantage secured Ashour continued his barrage in the fourth and had too much in his locker, sealing the match, and his second NetSuite Open title, after 59-minutes on court – winning 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4.
“I kept telling myself in the fourth game that it wasn’t over but Ramy is a different kettle of fish, ” said Matthew – who had saved multiple match balls during his quarter-final encounter with German Simon Rösner.
“How a guy as good as him doesn’t get the chance to grace the Olympic Games is a joke really – you’re scratching your head against him at times but I’ll go away and keep working to catch him and World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy.
“Hopefully my body will hold together for a little bit longer as I’ve really been enjoying my squash recently.”