Amanda Sobhy defeated her Pan American Games teammate Olivia Blatchford Clyne in a close quarterfinal encounter of the $50,000 Open de France Thursday in Nantes.
The PSA Silver event is the season-opener for both players after a successful summer with Team USA at the quadrennial Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. In Lima, Sobhy matched her record triple gold medal performance in singles, doubles and team, while Blatchford Clyne celebrated another team gold, singles silver and mixed doubles bronze.
The rematch of the Pan Am Games final was a back-and-forth contest with two major momentum shifts across three games. The Open de France uses a best-of-three games scoring format until the semifinals and final.
It was Sobhy, world No. 8, who came out of the gates strongest, speeding to an 11-1 advantage in the first game. Blatchford Clyne, world No. 19, quickly responded in the second game however, leveling the game score to 1-1 after an 11-6 second game. In the third, Sobhy regained control with a dominant 10-point lead until closing out the match 11-1 in twenty-five minutes.
“I think that having such an amazing crowd helps, it was just the difficulty of having to play another U.S. team-mate and good friend,” Sobhy said.“I had to just put that out of sight and try to focus on that she was just another opponent. I think we just wanted to come out and put on a good show for this amazing crowd, which I hope we did.”
The tournament is staged on an all-glass court set up in the courtyard of a thirteenth century castle, the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne.
“Impressive is an understatement,” Sobhy said of the venue. “This is definitely one of the best venues we are going to play at on tour, and I am just happy to be a part of it. I think that gives all of us a little added incentive because I don’t think any of us want to stop playing in front of this crowd!”
Sobhy, the tournament’s three seed, will take on England’s world No. 5 and two seed Sarah Jane on Friday, September 13, at 10:15pm local time, 4:15pm ET. Watch the match live on SquashTV.