Ten months after tearing her Achilles, Team USA’s Amanda Sobhy made a triumphant return to the PSA Tour with a J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions first-round victory over Rachael Grinham Sunday night in Grand Central Terminal, New York City.
Backed by a vocal home crowd, Sobhy defeated the former world No. 1 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-3 in thirty-seven minutes.
The match was Sobhy’s first PSA Tour competitive match since sustaining the major injury on March 11, 2017. The twenty-four-year-old had been ranked at a career high world ranking of No. 6.
““It feels good to be back,” Sobhy said. “When you’re out as long as I was, just being on court is a huge accomplishment. I’ve waited for so long and I got pushed—it was my first match and it wasn’t easy.”
The Harvard graduate reached her first career World Series final in Vanderbilt Hall in 2016.
“I’m relieved to win but I’m also really happy to be back on Tour,” Sobhy said. “She has an impeccable front court game and that tested out my little leg. I’m happy that I could get the majority of her balls and maybe for my next match I’ll be slightly better.”
Sobhy will face U.S. Open champion Nour El Tayeb in the second round Monday, after the Egyptian defeated Dipika Pallikal Karthik in just eighteen minutes in the final match of the day.
Defending champion Camille Serme held off Sabrina Sobhy’s first-round challenge in what was the American’s first ToC main draw appearance. Serme came out on top 11-3, 11-8, 11-3 in twenty-one minutes.
“I saw Sabrina play against Coline (Aumard) a few days ago and knew she would be dangerous today,” Serme said. “I love coming back to New York, it’s so much fun to be playing here and I want to enjoy every minute of it and spend as much time on that court as I can.”
The men’s second round saw another massive upset as Ryan Cuskelly defeated reigning world champion and world No. 2 Mohamed ElShorbagy in five games.
The U.S.-based Aussie emerged victorious from the marathon encounter 12-10, 9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 after ninety minutes. The result marked the end of ElShorbagy’s twenty-one match winning streak on the PSA Tour.
“That’s probably the biggest win of my career,” Cuskelly said. “And winning here in New York in front of family and friends makes it extra special. My wife was trying to scout tickets for the day to get everyone in, so I’m really happy to pull the win off and I have to thank everyone for the great support I had today.
“I came in today with a game plan and tried to vary the pace and be aggressive when I could and just hang in there when he got on a roll. I managed to get some errors out of him and hit my winners as well so I’m really happy.”
U.S. Open champion Ali Farag and resurgent Ramy Ashour set up an All-Egyptian quarterfinal with victories against Miguel Angel Rodriguez and Paul Coll, respectively.
Monday sees the women’s second round play out and the first half of the men’s quarterfinal matches.